Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Get (Financially) Organized

Hi, friends. I hope you're off to a wonderful week.

The weather is quite gloomy here in in Wilmington, but it's a wonderful morning nonetheless. The weekend is finally in view! I'm so excited to me making a trip to Maryland to see my grandmother. It's been way too long. I'm also hoping for snow. It's not looking very likely, but fingers and toes are crossed :)

I wanted to talk a little bit about finances today. A new year is refreshing in so many ways. We can make resolutions, we can reinvent ourselves, we can start the year off with organization in mind, and we can finally get our finances in order.

It's been my goal for practically forever to own my own home by the time I'm 25. And at 23, that goal is right around the corner. I have a down-payment saved up and I feel ready. I still need to find that perfect home, and I'm not exactly sure that Wilmington is where I want to call home for the next dozen or so chapters of my life. At least not with a mortgage.

Thinking about home-buying makes me a little nervous when it comes to finances. I know better than to tackle a mortgage that I can't pay and I know that any renovations will probably come later than sooner, but the unknown is sort of terrifying. What if I become unemployed? What if I get sick? The unknown is scary. Especially when it comes to sustaining the life that you've become accustomed to.

With the end of 2014, I finally downloaded an app (Mint) that can help me get my finances in order and at my fingertip. I first learned about Mint on Cupcakes and Cashmere and I am hooked! I vowed that as 2015 drew near, every purchase I made would be documented and categorized.

I used to hand-write my income and expenses back in the day, when I rebelled against getting a smartphone. But now that I'm permanently glued to the darn thing, downloading an app made more sense for me.

However, if you prefer the ol' pen and paper method, I made a weekly spending hand-out for ya! Just right-click to save it or print it. At the end of the week, take a look at what you are actually spending. Can you make reductions for unnecessary purchases? Are you spending more than you are making? Make a budget and allow for a savings category. It's a good idea to save 10-20% of your income each month. It's good to be prepared when a rainy day arrives.From there, allow for rent, food expenses, clothing, transportation, utilities, entertainment, etc.

Okay, now back to Mint...

So what is Mint and what does it do? It's a free app that lets you have complete control over your income and expenses. You can sync your various financial accounts to it and you can see a complete overview with your income, expenses, and net worth at any moment.

You can set budgets for yourself and easily monitor how close you are to approaching the max of a specific budget category. Mint reminds you when bills are due and you can even set up bill payment with Mint. I'm sure that Mint can be used for a hundred other things, but with just two bank accounts and a single credit card, my finances are pretty simple.

This is a sample from of what the app looks like on your smartphone. This screenshot is a little dated, but the basics are still the same. All of your accounts are right at your fingertips. For a control freak that craves organization, this app is amazing.

Why do I love mint? Mint helps me save money. When you can easily look at your phone and see exactly how much you've spent at restaurants this month, you might think again about going out for dinner and might cook at home instead. It has certainly helped me cut back on spending. Especially the unnecessary spending. Do I really need to buy another iced coffee when I can make it at home?

If you need a little help with getting your finances organized, I highly recommend Mint. And no, this was not any sort of paid endorsement. I just adore Mint.

Friends, how do you stay financially organized?
Any financial goals for 2015?

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