“Saving my sanity!”
That’s how Anne Postic, a contributor to Mortgages.com, describes her experience using Mint. We sat down with this full-time working mom of three kids to hear more about her financial journey and how Mint is helping her to achieve her dreams.
So tell us a little bit about you and your money habits.
My husband and I are in our 40s and are parents to a 17, 14 and 9 year old. I’d say our money habits have fluctuated based on life circumstances. When I first met my husband, he was the spender and I was the saver, both to an extreme at times. We helped balance each other out. As we started making more money, he leaned in to saving and I felt relaxed enough to spend. Now, with the kids in private school and headed to college, I’ve gotten conservative about saving again.
We’re good about treating our savings as a bill, automatically putting aside money monthly for retirement and 529 savings plans.
We also overpaid our mortgage a little bit when we could and on top of that, six years ago, we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage at a good interest rate.
What were your money challenges before using Mint?
As we started making more money, I found I wasn’t being as careful as I could or should be with purchases on things like groceries and dining out. We caved to convenience rather than thinking about our spending.
We also had children years before any of our friends did. That put us in a different mindset. We didn’t realize that as our income grew, we were actually in a position to really save and build something substantial. For years, we were proud just to pay the bills, keep the kids alive and enjoy an occasional night out. Now that we’re closer to retirement than we think (everyone is!) and the kids are preparing for college, its crunch time.
Why did you start using Mint?
I signed up out of curiosity. Several years ago, my mother died of breast cancer and my dad died three years later. They were great about saving and talked openly with me about money matters. They were able to pay for me and three siblings to go to private school and college, which is something I want to be able to do for my kids.
We’ve done pretty well on saving, but it was never enough, and I wanted to make sure I was spending wisely.
I also wanted to be able to have money to spend on things like family vacations, owning part of a second home and not panicking when my car needed a repair.
How do you make Mint work for you?
I check Mint almost every day. It helps me identify where I’m overspending, especially in areas where I’m not even enjoying it. Like those nights when you buy a pizza out of convenience, but it would have been so easy (and cheaper) to throw together something simple at home.
I also set financial goals in Mint. I recently met a savings goal that allows me to pay my bills as soon as I get them which inspired me to raise it even further. I’ll probably have to spend that money on tuition before I reach my new goal, but it is so nice to have that cash, ready when I need it.
Are there any tips or “secret tricks” you use within Mint?
I really like setting individual budgets and looking at the big picture. I might spend nothing on travel for a few months, but then spend quite a bit in the following month. It’s nice to know how much I’m spending per year, not just in the moment. I also set a monthly goal for charitable giving, carrying the remaining balance to the next month, based on a percentage of what I make. I love knowing that I met that goal for the year.
How has Mint helped ease your financial challenge(s)?
It helps me focus on cash savings, rather than just investments. It also helped me cut grocery spending by about 30 percent and eliminated spending on clothes I don’t need. When I worry I’m not saving enough, it’s nice to log in and look at my investment accounts to remind myself why I save.
What was the most surprising or coolest benefit of using Mint?
I like having liquid cash. When my dad died, my uncle was in charge of his estate. As he started paying bills in the months after dad’s death, he said, “Managing your dad’s stuff is so easy. When a bill comes, I just pay it. The money’s there. He didn’t have to wait for a paycheck.”
I took that to heart. I mean, I had always paid bills on time, and didn’t feel that stressed about it, but it sure is nice to be a few months ahead, and to not have to ask which account to take the money from, or when to pay the bill. Who wants to break into an investment account for tuition? Not me!
Holly Perez is a consumer money expert at Intuit and Mint spokeswoman, a leading money management tool that helps people understand and do more with their money so they can achieve their dreams.