5 Reasons to Budget with Mint

Goodbye Excel spreadsheet! I felt triumphant as I transferred our budget spreadsheet to Intuit Mint. That was two years ago and since then, budgeting has been so easy for us. It’s our one-stop-shop to effortlessly visualize and manage our finances.

  1. It’s Free.

    That’s already a plus for me. I don’t know if I would have considered trying it out if there was a subscription fee to use the app. You could be wondering how they make their money. Along with the features the app has to offer, the blog  (I choose to hide the blog) gives you advice on financial services, and of course, they get a referral fee if you choose to use those services. I understand if the 3rd party, “data collecting”, cloud-based service is not for you and there is no need for you to read further.

  2. Easily Adjustable Budgets & Alerts

    Life has ups and downs, so everyone needs a little flexibility. It’s so easy to adjust your budgets when necessary. Mint also provides notifications and alerts, keeping you in full control of your spending.

  3. Tracking upcoming bills

    This feature shows you the various bills you’ll need to pay by the end of the month and gives you a complete total — no surprises. 🙂

  4. Linked debit / credit cards

    Linking the cards you use for purchases will help you get a more realistic visual of your finances. It helps to see all my card balances in one location with the transactions – even the ones still pending. I categorize and tag each transaction as it comes in and I’ve been able to easily pull up medical receipts, etc. for our taxes.

  5. Savings Goals

    Motivation helps! Select a goal — new car, new home, vacation, emergency fund — and Mint helps you decide the amount to save per month. Link an account to see the results of your savings.

 

For us, Mint is about saving time. And that means more time to enjoy our life together with friends & family!

Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

 

Ways I Beat the Grocery Budget

I love that feeling when I’m right on budget for groceries each week or, even better, when I end the month with extra cash to stash. It doesn’t always happen but I’ve noticed my weekly efforts are establishing a routine, and I know the results will be rewarding.

I purpose to hold back from a grocery list until I’ve looked over my pantry and use Yummly to suggest recipes from the ingredients there.

Using the Ibotta app, I browse my usual stores (Costco & Fred Meyers) for cash back offers. The offers don’t always match what I need to buy but the app usually offers $0.25 for any item and it’s better then nothing! Read more about the Ibotta app, here.

This takes about 5 minutes to browse but it’s worth it. I have earned over $75 in the last 10 months.

The Fred Meyers app is a must for me too! Before I had the app, I would never go to Fred Meyers because I always felt like I spent more than I should. Now with the app, I can easily see items on sale, browse their coupons with the items that apply, and quickly add items to my cart. It also has a “Start my Cart” option, listing items you purchase regularly. I pay the $4.95 for the ClickList because the amount of time I’m saving is worth it. It takes me 15 minutes (max) to put my ClickList together.

With these, I have cut my grocery bill in half and that doesn’t include my extra money earned with Ibotta!

On top of these great apps, my time spent in the kitchen is profitable.

IMG_2857
Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls

I make my own sandwich bread for Don’s lunches, using ingredients I always have on hand, and he likes it better than sliced bread that falls apart when you eat it. 

This bread is soft and sweet and you can find the recipe by clicking on the photo or here.

 

I also store away half of certain dinners for a future week! Here’s what you’d find in my freezer:

  • Tomato Soup*
  • Chili
  • Prepared Rice & Bean Burritos
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Homemade Pizza Dough
  • Pizza Toppings (i.e. Costco’s Kirkland mozzarella – I wasn’t sure if this would work but I tried it and it was just fine!)

*I don’t usually add dairy to our tomato soup which is why I’m able to freeze it.

Freezing enables me to use meals twice within the same month, saving me a week of meals to plan and groceries to buy!

For some of my recipes, follow the links below:

Rice & Beans , Pizza Dough, Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls, No-Knead Artisan Bread, Chicken Soup

Feel free to share your input with me! I’m always looking for great recipes, budget advice, and anything else that helps in my duties as wife, mother, (let’s be honest ) maid, cook, and financial amateur! 😀