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Mint.com is designed to help you manage your money, pay down your debt and track your finances all from one central location. You can write a monthly budget and “roll over” extra money from one month to the next. The website uses information from your checking account so you don’t have to track every purchase to keep your budget – it does it all for you. And it does it for free.
Maybe that is why Mint was rated the “best budgeting site” by Kiplinger’s magazine and by many others.
You can also use Mint.com to help you pay down your debt, including credit cards, car loans and mortgages. This is an extremely easy process. I’d even go so far as to say it’s fun to do. Especially when you get to watch your balances go down month after month.
There are several ways that Mint can help you pay down your debt.
Watch Your Balances Drop
The overview page of Mint.com offers some important information at a glance that will inspire you to continue making more than the monthly minimum of your credit card payments to get out of debt. It shows:
- Available cash (checking and savings)
- Other assets (investments, property)
- A breakdown, card by card, of your credit card debt
- Your total credit card debt
- Your total loan debt, including mortgages, car loans, personal and student loans
- Your total net worth
Mint.com makes all the calculations for you. You can see if your total net worth is positive or negative, and you can watch this number change month by month.
I won’t share details, but my debt number is way higher than I’d like it to be. In fact, it’s slightly higher than what I thought.
Looking at all my debt together gave me a realistic picture of my financial situation. Now I can take steps to change it.
I look forward to watching my net worth grow each month as my debt drops. The best place to see your debt shrink is in “Trends”. This lets you follow a bar graph of your debt month-by-month. This is one of my favorite features.
Email Alerts – Never Miss a Payment
Minutes after signing up for my Mint.com account and adding my credit cards and bank account to my profile, I received email alerts letting me know I had credit card payments due in just a few days. In reality, I had paid these when I first received the statement. Plus, a quick look at when I made my last payment, available through Mint.com, told me I had no worries.
You’ll save money on late fees and rising interest rates with these reminders.
Stay Informed with Onscreen Alerts
Your Overview pages is where the key important information you need to know to better manage your money is located. This includes your “Onscreen alerts”, which can be found in the center of your Overview page.
For instance, one alert warned me I have only $188 left available on a credit card. This information could prevent me from going over my limit.
It also lets me know I need to pay down that card to keep my debt-to-available credit ratio low. Since this ratio affects my credit score, it is one of the many ways Mint helps me many my credit as well.
Know Exactly What Your Credit Cards Offer
Mint.com also shares important information at a glance that credit card companies force you to hunt for. This includes information like your interest rate.
When you click “transactions” for a particular credit card, you’ll see:
- Your balance
- Your available credit
- Your total credit line
- Your APR
- Your total fees for the month
With just a few clicks, I was able to see that I had space available on a lower APR card.
I’ll keep my eyes open for a “free balance transfer” offer, which will permit me to zero out one of my high interest cards that’s close to its credit limit. I’ll get a lower APR and one less payment to make each month, which will help me pay down my debt faster.
Learn Your Spending Habit to Choose Better Credit Cards
Using this software also allows you to see your monthly, quarterly and annual spending by category. This type of tracking allows you to choose a rewards credit card that matches your spending habits.
You are using the card, you might as well maximize your results.
Get Better Credit Cards to Manage Your Debt
Mint.com also makes recommendations for lower APR credit cards you can apply for. It does this by comparing your existing card(s) with other offers available. You’ll find this in the “ways to save” section.
It will also tell you how much you’d save over 1, 2 or 3 years if you transferred balances to these lower APR cards (in many cases, 0% for an introductory period of 6 months to one year.)
I only recommend doing this if you are responsible enough to stop using your old cards after you transfer balances. Constantly transferring balances to lower interest cards is one way people can get into a lot of trouble with revolving credit.
Simply having an easy-to-read snapshot of your finances can inspire you to gain better control of your money and pay down your debt faster. I definitely recommend Mint.com, which is a free service.