We conclude Gotcha Capitalism week with a Friday Recommends for a website that has helped us gain a certain amount of financial perspective: mint.com.
Mint.com is free (and secure) personal finance software that helps bring order to any financial situation, no matter how chaotic. If you are anything like us, colorful pie charts and graphs probably enhance your understanding of any subject matter, no matter how potentially complex or thorny. This is why Mint is for you. It links to your bank accounts and credit cards and then categorizes your purchases into various buckets: Home, Food & Dining, Fuel, Education, Shopping, etc. You can set monthly targets for your budget in each of those categories, and Mint will e-mail you weekly with updates or alerts on how you’re doing. It also gives you a reminder about pending credit card payments so you don’t get zapped by outrageous service charges.
Fair warning: Mint will introduce a level of transparency into your monthly accounting that could be potentially uncomfortable for your marriage. The following conversations have taken place in the Vore household since using Mint.
ERIN: Wow, we’ve spent $89 on twenty-eight visits to Busken Bakery.
BEN: Hmmm. That’s … interesting.
ERIN: That’s a lot of coffee and Apple Bran Cinnamon muffins.
BEN: Maybe there’s a, um, glitch in the software.
ERIN: Maybe. You could buy a lot of things for eighty-nine dollars. Say, some pretty dresses for your pretty wife.
BEN: Do you think somehow Scooter Thomas got a hold of our credit card?
BEN: Look, my credit card was in Scooter’s bed! This explains everything!
Our primary complaint with Mint is that it frequently miscategorizes your transactions. Potbelly, for example, gets categorized as “Home Furnishings.” Same with Skyline Chili. Snooty Fox, a local consignment store, was once labeled “Pets.” You can edit these, of course, but that’s valuable time not arguing with your spouse about the ways you could be saving money.
Thanks to all who shared their experiences fighting back against Gotcha Capitalism in the second Voreblog Readers Forum. Should any married couples out there care to share their stories of financial reckoning, please, by all means, comment below.