I’ve been a user of Mint, a personal finance website, for several years, and it has become an essential tool for keeping track of my expenses and organizing information that my accountant needs to prepare my income taxes. The great thing about Mint is the way it pulls data from my checking account, savings accounts, stock brokerages, and credit cards and creates attractive and easy to understand reports and graphs. It’s so much easier to use than Quicken, which I struggled with for over 15 years. As soon as I started using Mint, I zapped Quicken from my hard drive, vowing never to use it again. (I got nervous when I learned that Intuit, the company that publishes Quicken, purchased Mint, but so far Intuit has not mucked with the elegance of Mint.)
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Shortly after the iPhone was introduced, Mint created an app for it. And like the Web version, the iPhone app was very useful at providing a snapshot of my income, expenses, and financial status. I didn’t think Mint could get much better, but in October the company created an iPad version (which is free, like all versions of Mint) and it is the best way yet to take stock of your personal finances.
When you launch the iPad app you are presented with a screen that displays the following:
1. A pie chart that shows your spending by category;
2. Alerts about upcoming bills and other important information;
3. A progress bar that shows how much under or over budget you are for the month;
4. A list of your top spending categories for the month.
If you click on any of these items, Mint will drill down to display detailed information about it. If you need to edit a transaction, or change the spending category that Mint has incorrectly assigned to a transaction, you can do that on the iPad app, but I find it easier to make those kinds of changes on the web-based version.
If you haven’t tried out Mint yet, I highly recommend that you do. And if you have an iPad, I’m betting you’ll find the Mint app to be as useful as I do.
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