My Favorite Things: Mint

image

I thought I’d take a page from Oprah’s book (no, not that one) and share start sharing about some of the products and technologies I use and love. Think of it as my way of giving back. Or perhaps just sucking up to try and obtain some swag….

First up is Mint, a really great online money management application. What makes this product so great is that it follows the adage that has helped so many other products be tremendously successful: do one thing and do it better than anyone else.

Mint isn’t a replacement for Microsoft Money or Quicken. Rather, it gives you a detailed view of what you spent and intelligently shows where it is going; in some cases providing comparisons to the national averages (or your city) so you get a sense of how you stack up to the Joneses. What I especially like is how it stays pretty spot-on in knowing whether an expenditure is groceries, restaurant, etc., something that the other products still have a hard time figuring out.

Mint is free, funded by advertisers that softly offer alternatives to the cell phone, cable and other services Mint notes you spend money on. Very cool. They have been receiving a lot of accolades of late, and I would not be surprised to see them picked up by a large Internet company that could offer them the financial backing, consumer audience and merchant contacts to become extremely successful. Get in now, so you can tell everyone you knew them when!

I’ve recommended Mint to friends and family because it’s extremely convenient, uses SSL for security and is easy to setup – I had my 2 primary bank accounts and 3 credit cards entered and running in less than 10 minutes. Like I said, they do a few things and knock them out of the ballpark. It’s not going to replace Microsoft Money for me, but I find myself logging in and monitoring expenses, adjusting budgets etc. more frequently here and using the other product for long-term financial planning and investment reviews. For most people, I think Mint will fit the bill very nicely.

Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft, but am not directly involved with the Microsoft Money product.