A penny saved is a penny earned.

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I have a confession to make. The year Trevor and I got married we argued about money. Alot. Before we got married we made the decision that we would join our bank accounts and consider what each of earned as “our” money.  It has been totally worth it and I wouldn’t have done it any other way, but man, that first year was tough! We are two different people with different ideas on how to spend money. I’m an everyday budget breaker that likes to spend $20 bucks here and there which adds up quick. Trev, on the other hand, will occasionally feel the need to splurge on larger, more expensive items.

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On top of both our splurging habits we ate out a lot and did a lot of fun activities during the weekend. We were living the life! The problem was we didn’t realize how quickly everything was adding up. As 21 year olds going to school, we quickly figured out that we needed some way to track our money. I attempted to track it on a spread sheet, but I wasn’t ever consistent enough for it to be effective.

I can’t remember who recommended this website to us, but it has been a lifesaver. It is called Mint.com. It is a financial support website that we have used for the past five years for budgeting. It tracks where we spend money and then categorizes it into the budgets we set up. We have a mortgage budget, grocery budget, gas budget, amusement budget, baby supplies budget… okay, we have like 30 budgets so I won’t list off all of them. The point is you can have a budget for practically everything.

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When transactions are made Mint categorized the purchase to a budget. The system is pretty smart to know when you purchase something at Smiths it is likely going to come out of the grocery budget. But, if Mint gets it wrong, you can reassign the transaction to be accounted for in the correct budget.mint.com 3

By tracking our spending habits online we have been able to really see what we are spending money on and where we need to cut back. Do we really need to spend $300 on eating out every month, umm…no. So, we set a budget for eating out and try to stick to it as closely as possible.

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Trevor recommended this website to one of his co-workers. His friend got set-up with his own account and a couple hours later Trev saw his friend in the corner getting noticeably frustrated. Trev went over to see what was wrong and his friend said that he had just categorized his purchases and he and his wife had spent $600 on just alcohol in one month. It was an eye opener for him.

I’ll be honest, we do not stick to our budgets ALL THE TIME, but this website keeps us in check. Life happens, and there are always unforeseen expenses that come up. But, we have been able to budget for savings and set goals so that we are not blowing money and just getting by every month.

It does take a little time to set up and link your bank accounts and credit cards, but it is a one-time thing and totally worth it. It is a secure website that is absolutely free. If you are wondering where your money goes every month or just need a good way of tracking your money I recommend this website. We may not be able to buy everything we want on a whim, but In the six years we have been married we have been able to buy and sale two homes, both graduate with bachelor degrees, buy cars, go on vacations, and I proud to say that our only debt is our current home. Not to be dramatic or anything, but mint.com will change your life…or…at least how you spend money. 🙂

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