From all the apps on my phone, Mint is probably the most useful and helpful — besides my period tracker and Starbucks of course. After I put my predetermined savings from my paycheck into a separate account, I have to spread my money out to suit all aspects of my budget. I've always had trouble with this since capitalism has basically ruined me.
After I save the desired amount for rent and utilities, Mint gives me the option to budget out my money to groceries, transportation and other miscellaneous expense. But if you love planning every little detail like me, there are a few tips and tricks to personalize the Mint app even more
Tag your transactions
You probably noticed how Mint tagged your interactions into separate categories. However, you probably want to tag them yourself to find them a bit easier. Tap the "add tags" option when you open the details of an interaction to tag them.
You can also add notes if you need to like "Call store about refund" or "Don't spend your money on dumb stuff."
Split your transactions
When I go somewhere like a convenience store, I won't just buy pharmacy items. Stuff like candy and coffee would go under "Food and Drink" instead. When you tap on an interaction, there should be an upper right hand corner button called "Split." You can split the transaction into however many categories with however much you want in them.
Doing this will ensure that you don't overspend in one category while another one suffers the consequences.
Put in cash transactions
Cash is king! Even though many modern food trucks and merchant stands have incorporated technology into their sales, cash is still the most universally accepted currency. Be sure to log your cash transactions and any other transaction that doesn't show up on your card or bank account.
To do so, tap the small plus sign on the upper righthand corner. Enter in the amount you spent, the merchant and the expense. Categorize, tag and date the transaction and save it to your budget.
I'm sure your entire budget isn't split up into a few basic categories. By tapping the plus sign again on the "Budgets" tab you can add a budget that isn't on there already. For example, every Christmas I make a gifts budget so I can show my love without breaking bank.
Don't get cluttered though — too many labels and budgets will overwhelm and stress you out. Make broader categories whenever you can.
Mint presumably uses offers from advertisers to stay in business and that's completely fine except that they can get annoying and clutter up your overview. By tapping the options button on the ads, you can ignore all of them until the entire section goes away. You're welcome.
Mint.com is the app's official website and will — of course — include more options than the app does. If you decide to go online, you'll get more out of your budgeting and savings experience along with setting long term goals.
You can send alerts to people that share your financial situation like spouses, roommates or friends that owe you money. If you're on the app, you can set up notifications and bill reminders using the "Bill" option.Mint isn't the only app out there to track your expenses, but it works for me. It's got a simple, clean interface and doesn't use big accounting words that I don't understand. So if you're a broke college kid trying to get out of a rut or an disorganized adult dealing with a lot of bills, take the Mint app out for a spin.
- Mint: Personal Finance, Money Manager, Bill Pay, Credit Score ... ›
- Mint: Personal Finance, Budget, Bills & Money on the App Store ›
- Mint: Money Manager, Personal Finance, and Budgeting ›
- Mint: Budget, Bills, Finance - Android Apps on Google Play ›
- Mint Bills: Pay On Time ›
- Mint (for iPhone) Review & Rating | PCMag.com ›
- Mint Support Center ›
- Should You Trust Mint.com? - The New York Times ›
- Mint.com Review & Rating | PCMag.com ›
- Mint.com Review 2017 | Investor Junkie ›
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.