Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mint

As discussed eons ago, I read the "It's your money or your life" book and started doing step 3...or whatever it was. And I honestly haven't done anything since. But, that's not the point. The point is that Shawn has been teasing me since about March that I use Open Office Spreadsheets to keep track of everything when I could just use the open source equivalent of Quicken to do the same thing, only better. I however found it cathartic to actually go through and type up everything at the end of the day. Then, instead of typing everything every day, I started only checking stuff on Sundays. And then it went to 2 times a month, until finally it was checking everything on the last day of the month when it just became a hassle to typing in everything just to get the end numbers so I could put it in my graph. The graph that shows how much I spent/earned over the month, how much is in my Roth account and how much I have in my account from which I make donations.

[aside] funny thing about the donations account. I started it so that during our combined charities drive at work, I could make donations and shawn couldn't complain because I'd budgeted to donate that money (basically counting it as money I've already spent so when I donate it, I don't actually use any money we need). However, since starting this account with ING, I haven't EVER transferred money out of it to donate and instead just donate directly from my paycheck. Which is how we ran into that overdrafting of my account debacle. [\aside]

At the beginning of the new year, Shawn decided to broach the subject of using an online tracker for our expenses instead. Now then, I don't trust the internet. When Shawn started using ING back in 2004, I only signed up for it so he could get the $10 "refer a friend" thing and then only kept like $50 in the account for a year. So basically until I was pretty sure that ING wasn't a scam that was going to take my money. Sadly, ING actually has better security protocols than a lot of banks. Shawn's new baby: Mint.com

When you sign up for Mint it asks for all the other log on information for your other accounts (bank, credit card, 401k, etc.) and then tallys up your net worth every time you sign in. Plus it has nifty features such as showing you where you spent the most money in the last month, proposes budgets for you, and you can set it up to text you whenever there's odd activity.

Now then, as I said, I don't trust the internet. So of course my biggest fear is that someone hacks into the servers at Mint.com and steals all of the money out of all our accounts (which I realize the irony since I do all of my banking online. But! if they hacked into the Wells Fargo servers, they could only take my Wells Fargo money, and my other money would be safe). Shawn tells me that this wouldn't happen because who would be stupid enough to steal a bunch of money out of one person's Mint account? Wouldn't it be smarter to either take a little bit out of everyone's accounts so that no one notices (how many people would notice a penny missing)? Or wouldn't it still be smarter to only take money out of accounts from the same bank? If you take all the money out of all the accounts, it's pretty obvious that it happened because of Mint, and it would get shut down; whereas if you only took money out of one brand of bank account, then it would look to be that specific bank's problem and it would take much longer for Mint to be shut down.

Yeah, sometimes he scares me too, people.

1 comment:

Corey said...

I started using MInt.com about 18 months ago. I was originally skeptical about the security protocols, but found that the site was highly recommended by several major publications (Wall Street Journal, Money, etc) so I thought they must have done enough legwork to ensure that the site had adequate security protocols.

Anyway, I always found it a little weird that they didn't have a user guide. So, I took a little time to write up a manual to help users get started on the application. You can find it at my website www.mintguide.com.