Budgeting is EASY. Seriously. EASY. When I graduated college and realized I had no idea how much things cost I definitely didn’t think so. Is $100 at the grocery store a lot? Can I afford to get manicures every week? Can I afford to buy soft tissues or do I need to buy CVS brand? Now I’ve been budgeting EVERYTHING for a few years. I would say I am an expert in this area and I’m here to help.
Download Mint. This app makes it easy! Hook it up to your checking account, savings account, and credit cards first. Then every transaction you make will show up in Mint and you can categorize them as they come in. You can budget by category. I budget rent (easy, you know how much this is), utilities, fast food, restaurants, alcohol & bars (not easy at all), clothes, entertainment, etc etc etc the list goes on. When I started I went over budget on everything every month but that is A-OK this is a judgement free zone. It takes a bit to figure out how much you are spending so take the first few months as a learning experience and not a behavioral change. Once you figure out how much you normally spend, you can try to make sure you don’t spend more or see if there are places you can cut down. My budgets have gone the direction and I raise them almost every month. But at least I know and knowledge is power and power is money so it’s definitely working.
Like all of us, sometimes Mint is smart and sometimes Mint is dumb (I am smart and graduated college but I am dumb and ate Doritos for lunch yesterday – it happens). It knows which category to put grocery stores in but has yet to realize Uber should go in the Taxi category. You do have to do a litttttttle bit of work here categorizing things but it is worth it! Also you can use this to your advantage. I have a budget category for gifts. Normal birthday gifts go here, but also if I buy things for other people in general I’ll categorize it there. Bought a round of tequila shots for everyone? Don’t put it in alcohol & bars — put it in your gift budget so you don’t have to feel guilty you can just feel generous. Or you can split it (once the transaction posts – not while it’s pending) and put a little in each category.
If you want even more minty fun, you can hook up your retirement or investment accounts depending on where those assets are held. I have my Fidelity accounts in there so I can actually see how much I have in all of my accounts any given second. You can also go to mint.com and take advantage of more functionality than is on the app. This includes setting savings goals and seeing different trend graphs. As long as the slope is positive on the net worth graph (math major holla) you’re doing great.
I don’t have any codes or referral things for this one but I really do love doing this so email/DM me if you need any help I promise not to judge.