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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Free easy tools for budgeting and frugal living with mint.com If getting your finances in order is on the top of your goal list, then you need to start with a budget. No one likes that word, but it is very important to see where your money is going and get a handle on out of control areas.

One place to start is definitely Mint.com.  This is a FREE online program that will help you not only balance your check book, but also track every thing you spend money on.  While you may not enjoy seeing that you spend over $100 a month at Starbucks…  it is definitely an eye opening place to start on getting things under control.

This is actually a pretty advanced program that can even track retirement accounts.  My favorite part though is the budgeting software.  It looks at your past expenses and helps you make reasonable goals.

Do you use Mint.com?  I’d love to hear your thoughts (and even tips).

See more ways to organize your budget and find budget friendly entertainment.

    • F5luffy

      My family converted our very detailed budget to Mint last year.  It has saved us a lot of time and works well for the way we organize our finances.  
      It has been a refreshing change, and though it still takes some thoughtfulness to manage, it’s great to have all of our financial info in one place. 
      Not all of the features translate perfectly and so we do have to get creative sometimes, but it is definitely manageable and again, has saved so much time.

    • cblakefl

      I’ve used mint for 1.5 years and I track every account with it from college  to retirement. I set up a budget on the 1st of the month and I sign on about every 2 days to make sure transactions go into the correct budget category.
      I love the trends and the noticeable month I started to coupon. Groceries dropped by 1/3 thanks to mint and Jenny!

    • Anonymous

      I found Mint to be a complete pain in the rear and I wasn’t able to customize it enough for my purposes.  It never seemed to be accurate when it was “talking” to my online banking.  I finally gave up and went back to my Excel spreadsheet and online banking.  For some reason I still get the weekly balance update text and it is always completely wrong from what is actually in my account.  I don’t think it is worth the time.

    • Emily

      I used Mint briefly, but became frustrated with it because of the iPhone app. It was often wrong, even after updating the app with each available update. It would tell me crazy things like telling me I’d gone over my. Like saying I’d gone over my clothing budget by $600 when I hadn’t spent a cent on clothing that month. Since I really only used the app and didn’t log on much elsewhere, it eventually just got deleted. Not worth the frustration of always having to cross check what the app says.

    • Loni

      I used it last year & it always seemed to allocate the charges wrong so I was constantly fixing the information.  If I had the time to get in there every day & fix the stuff, maybe it would’ve worked out better.  Also my husband has to make charges for work sometimes & then we get reimbursed later….that ALWAYS messed things up in there.  I just do our budgeting myself with a spreadsheet & online banking also.  No screw ups so far & we’ve saved more than we ever have in the past year. 

    • BN

      We’ve been using Mint for about a year and love it.  You do have to keep up with it by categorizing your charges (it’s not psychic, but does a pretty good job of guessing what category a charge falls into and then remembering a merchant for next time).  It’s really a great option for people who want to have “electronic envelopes”. 

    • Anonymous

      I LOVE Mint! But I switched banks and mine isn’t supported now. :((((( Even though they’ve tried to add it, my bank is blocking it somehow. So my budget is nonexistent now.

    • BrigetC

      I LOVE MINT! I started using it a few months ago after I lost some financial records when my computer crashed. I’m a little OCD, so I like lists and organized charts, etc. It did take a little bit of time to initially set up the accounts, but I like having all of my accounts (including bank, credit, etc.) in one place. I also love the way that it allows you to track your spending in categories and set budget goals. I did experience some of the same issues that others have mentioned (like having to change the assigned categories manually), but it doesn’t take long to change the few that are wrong, and it’s definitely quicker than having to record each transaction, as in some other programs. I’ve also found that when you add your own “pending” transaction, you might have to go back in and delete a double entry once the original transaction clears. Just as using any new program, it takes some getting used to, but once you learn how to use it, it’s quick and easy.

    • MaryLena

      Update on our self-challenge of one week of spending nothing for household expenses and two weeks of $10 only….consecutively
      Today is the last day of my first week of financial “diet” (limit of $10 for the week’s household expenses). I will spend the last few dollars today to supplement my stock of V8 juice before my coupons expire. Tomorrow, I’ll buy a gallon of milk for $2 off. The only thing we have run out of is vinegar (I buy a gallon twice a year) We did agree we would forego our daily yougart for this week and next but he “lost” calcium is made up for in our soymilk. This week I will buy 7 “dinners” of chicken breast because it’s on sale for half price.
      What this tells me is that the coupon planning segment is really potent! Thanks, Jennie, for getting me started

    • Bsandcs

      Is this a completely free budget program? 

      • Loni

        Yes!  They make “recommendations” about other loan options or credit cards w/ lower APR’s occasionally.  You just X them out if you’re not interested.  It’s not obnoxious in any way though. 

    • I was super excited about starting this but can’t., They don’t cover my bank.. :( LGFCU

      • Cheryl Moore

        if you are referring to local government fcu (division of state employees credit union in north carolina), mint does have it…  you have to enter it as LOCAL GOVERNMENT FCU…  i have been using it for a while now and love it

    • Jbpersson

      I used Mint for a year and have now changed to another free program call Yodlee. It takes a bit to get all your accounts loaded but is great if you use a credit card cause every penny you spent is tracked.

      The main reason Mint didn’t work for me cause you can’t print your budget or your account balances. It just was too difficult to discuss money with my husband while hovered around a computer screen. There were other minor pet peeves but is a decent program for free.

    • Jenna

      I got everything all set up on Mint and loved it… for about 2 weeks. Then, something must’ve changed on my bank’s website because it no longer works with Mint. After that, I made a big spreadsheet to track our spending/budget, but everything has to be entered by hand, and it can’t be done on the go. Everything has to be entered at my home computer, meaning my husband will spend money and forget how much (he’s bad about not keeping receipts). After about 2 months of that, I gave up and am still searching for a better option.

    • Lauren

      We have been using Mint for over a year. We have iPhone with the app so you can see it on the go. I love the budget part! :)

    • Flicker

      I’d love to use it hut I’m worried about linking my accounts to it. Just doesn’t feel safe. Any thoughts?

    • Mary E

      I can’t imagine life without Mint! My husband always wanted to use envelopes but carrying cash and actually tracking where the money was going was tough. Plus we needed to track expenses we’d paid with our credit cards that were reimbursable for work. Mint allows us to do all that.

      Just last night I was wondering if a company had credited back a purchase. I searched for the name of the company in Mint and was able to see all transactions from that company for the last 2 years. No credit yet, but saved me so much time of going back to my credit cards.

      One other feature I love – you can rollover your budgets month to month. So, for example, our clothing budget – about $50 a month will rollover. I don’t always buy clothes every month, but sometimes I spend $100 or more at a time every few months. The money is there for me, saved.

      Just a warning – it does require time – not a ton, but mostly making sure your transactions are going into the right categories. Getting into a habit of logging in every few days makes everything easier. The features aren’t perfect but being able to track our bank accouts, credit card transactions, retirement, etc…makes up for it.

      • Melissa

        Mary how do you get your accounts to rollover? Does it do it by itself or do I need to set it? Does it also rollover you bank balances? I have been using Mint for a few weeks but I want my categories and bank balances to rollover each month. Thanks for the help

    • Chiefsangeleyes

      I just don’t trust any account that wants access to my banking info. Period

      • guest

        i think the same way. i use a simple windows app called spending viewer ( http://spendingviewer.apphb.com ) that is local to my computer and feel safe. 
        It does not ask for your bank credentials. I download the transactions my banks manually and bulk upload them to this tool. it automatically assigns categories..i only needed to set up category the first time for a store.
        gives me full control of assigning categories and changing them, and its really fast. i can view years worth of data in a single click

    • Princesskrysi

      I’ve used Mint for YEARS now… they have an app too. It’s perfectly safe. I have never had any issues and like I said, I have used it for years. You can link all your accounts… credit cards, banks, loan accounts, everything. It’s really a great tool.

    • mama02

      I have been using mint for about 2 months now, we are currently trying to rebuild our credit and get things back on track, so has  started helping us, it does take a little time but so far it has been worth it.

    • Hillary

      I’m a little (ok a lot) obsessive about where our money is going so I’ve been tracking our spending dollar for dollar for years.  I just started using mint 3 months ago and it has saved me countless hours.  Soooooo much better than manually entering transactions into an excel sheet.  Probably prevents a lot of human error on my part as well.  There are a few “quirks” with the software that I’ve had to figure out how to work around. (For instance, if you do go over budget in a spending category, it doesn’t include that additional money in your “you’ve spent” total.)  I’m still inputting everything into excel for record-keeping at the end of each month, but now I only have to open that document once a month!

    • Paltice

      Can u use it for budgeting and not include ur bank info?  If so, how do u do so..thanks

    • Ellera3

      I’ve been playing with this site this morning.  Pretty neat I must say.  Thanks Jenny!

    • Anonymous

      I used MS Money for years because I loved the “budget forecast” and so wish some other product offered this feature.  Yodlee offers something that kind of works for this but not a great alternative.  If anyone knows of a program that will do this, I would love to know!!!

    • Jorgecalder

      PROS
      1. FREE automatic downloads & sync from banks, credit unions and brokerage firms. (with Quicken you have to pay $10/mo. average per bank)
      2. Categorizes downloaded items automatically for you
      3. Let you export downloaded items in CSV format
      4. Let you add transactions by hand
      5. One button to filter and display all bank fees

      CONS
      1. No balance column
      2. No reference code column that helps you reconciliate, enter check numbers and transaction ids
      3. Can’t import data at all
      4. No reports facility period
      5. The All Accounts view does not display a column which bank or account the item comes from.
      6. Can’t export to Quicken (Web Connect) or MS Money Format
      7. CSV exports are unusable. One Amount column and one transaction type column (credit or debit) as opposed to one Credits and One Debits columns. No balance column.

      CONCLUSION
      Unusable for most people