When my editor prompted us on which personal finance app we’d recommend without hesitation, I didn’t have to think long.
Hell, the app was already open in one of my tabs in Chrome.
It’s Mint. I love Mint.
And I don’t mean “love” in the contrived, hyperbolic sense like “I love this ramen,” or “I loved the last episode of House of the Dragon.”
I love Mint in the sense that it’s truly changed my life. It helped me buy a house, stop an identity thief in his tracks, and overall accelerate my path to financial independence.
So without further ado, here’s why I love Mint (and why you might, too).
It Helps You Perform “Financial Health Checkups” in Under 30 Seconds
Mint is like the ideal personal trainer. When you’re falling behind, it’s firm but fair. When you’re on track, it’s encouraging without being patronizing.
What do mental, physical, and financial health all have in common?
They all require regular checkups.
Before I discovered Mint, my “financial health” checkups were almost as lengthy and tedious as visiting my dentist or my doctor. I’d spend an hour with 15 different tabs open in my web browser, going over my:
- Checking account
- Savings account
- Retirement account
- Middle-term brokerage account
- Short-term brokerage account
- Crypto wallet #1
- Crypto wallet #2, filled with coins crypto wallet #1 didn’t support
- Credit score
- Credit report
- Budgeting goals
- Current market values of my assets (cars, house, etc.)
… all just to assimilate a picture of my comprehensive financial health.
And even then, critical data points — or linkages — regularly fell through the cracks.
Now, Mint shows me all of those accounts in one place (yes — even the crypto wallets!). And within 10 seconds of logging in, all 15 of my accounts and credit score have automatically been refreshed and updated.
Mint even fetches the latest Kelley Blue Book values of my two cars, as well as the latest market value of my house, so it can give me an accurate personal net worth.
Granted, the ability to display all of your accounts in one place isn't exclusive to Mint. Most modern budgeting and personal finance apps can pull it off.
But if you ask me, nobody does it as stylishly as Mint.
The Dashboard Is Clean, Simple, and Gorgeous
Good UI may be subjective, but I personally haven’t found a budgeting app — nor almost any app in existence — as logical and well laid-out as Mint.
From the moment I opened it I thought “Yep. That’s where I would’ve put that, too.”
As you can tell from the generic screenshot above, the first things you see are the essentials: Your account balances and bills. Scroll down a bit to see your spending habits, credit score, net worth, budget, and more. Below that you can see investments and trend data.
And because the information is presented so cleanly, so logically, it just flows. You’ll get a tactical viewpoint of your current finances in just 30 seconds.
This not only saves you beaucoup de time, but encourages you to do financial checkups more frequently.
And when you do them more frequently, you start noticing when something's amiss.
It’s Helped Me Uncover Countless Gremlins in My Finances
Mint helped me realize that part of why I wasn’t checking my finances more often was because it was such a pain in the ass. Twelve tabs, 30 minutes, two phone calls — ugh.
But once it shrank from 30 minutes to 30 seconds, I started doing it way more often. Then, I started catching “gremlins” way faster.
Here are just some of the countless money gremlins that Mint has helped me catch in the past few years:
- After my credit score unexpectedly dipped, Mint showed me it was because a well-meaning family member had accidentally used my emergency credit card for a large purchase.
- Mint caught a suspicious charge on my other credit card — a $3.00 donation to some Twitch streamer — which helped me stop an ID thief in their tracks (also, who steals a credit card and still only donates $3.00?).
- Mint asked if I was still using a paid subscription — which I wasn’t — so I canceled it, sparing myself from a $250 annual renewal.
But perhaps most notably, Mint slapped my hand every time I overspent and jeopardized my goal of saving for a house.
Its Credit Reporting Tool Is Bar None
Mint could just as easily link you out to a third party for monitoring and interpreting your credit.
But it doesn’t.
Instead, it pulls your data directly from TransUnion and points out trouble spots in plain English. By plain, I mean that Mint literally says things like “good” and “not bad.”
Again, you could find your credit score data anywhere, easily. It’s just that Mint does such a superb job of finding it, displaying it, and helping you interpret it — all to speed up your financial independence.
And for all this life-changing help and guidance, what does Intuit, Mint's parent company, charge?
It’s Free and the Ads Are Surprisingly Non-Intrusive
Mint generates revenue through referrals. And while most apps “punish” their non-paying users with intrusive ads and popups, Mint certainly isn’t one of them.
In fact, Mint’s approach to ads should be the standard for the industry.
As you can see from the screenshot, all of the ads get their own little window. They’re light on text and match the rest of the page visually.
When I say “No, thanks” to all of them, they go away. Poof.
Mint’s ads are so harmless and non-intrusive that I often just leave them on the page. And to their credit, some are genuinely helpful. Before I linked my retirement account, Mint was like “Hey, want a retirement account? Here are some of our top-rated partners.”
That brings me to the last reason why I love Mint: It feels good.Try it for yourself! Get started with Mint
It Cheers You On in Subtle, Mature Ways
You know that feeling when you get in shape and start wanting to go to the gym?
Mint gives you that same feeling for your personal finances.
It’s like the ideal personal trainer. When you’re falling behind, it’s firm but fair. When you’re on track, it’s encouraging without being patronizing. When I’ve done well, it sends me notes like:
“You should have $3,835 left over by the end of the month.”
And: “The world is your oyster — you’re a credit score champ.”
And even: “You go, goal-getter.”
Now that’s positive reinforcement, done right.
The Takeaway: Find An App That Makes You Feel The Way That I Feel About Mint
I love Mint, for all the reasons I've outlined and more. But despite my ravings, you might find that Mint isn’t quite a fit for you and your preferences. It’s all good. All that matters is that you find some kind of app that helps you clear a path to financial freedom.
For ideas, check out our list of the Best Money Management Apps.
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