How to Set a Budget in

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Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

There’s nothing like a new shiny toy to boost your enthusiasm for a New Year’s resolution.

Wanna run a 5k? Buy a gadget that tracks every trot around the park.

Wanna eat healthier? Join a diet club.

Wanna save money? Sign up for Mint!

Wanna win a $500 gift card from Mint? Set a new budget for the new year! is helping you get back on track with our “30 Days to a Buffer Bank Account” sweepstakes.

Every Minter who sets a new budget in January is automatically entered to win one of eight $500 Visa gift cards.

Are you ready to get your budget on track for 2014?

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial with lots of screenshots to walk you through every step.

In a few minutes, you’ll be checking off your New Year’s resolution to organize your finances!

Sign Up

The first step is easy peasy. Head on over to and click “Sign up.”

Enter your email, your zip code, and set a password. Next, a screen will pop up to help you sync your financial information with Mint’s free tools.

Add Your Accounts

Enter the name of your bank, the name of your credit card, or even the URL of your financial institution.

If you’re not sure of the exact name, Mint will help you by suggesting the most common options.

If you enter a credit card or bank name, for example, Mint will ask for your account number and password.

By sharing your financial information, Mint is able to access your account and pull your transactions into its tools to give you a big picture look at your finances.

The more accounts you add, the more complete your picture will be.

Adding accounts will also enable you to use Mint’s free budgeting and planning tools. I’ll show you how to use those tools in just a minute.

At any time, you can log in at and enter additional financial accounts by clicking on “Accounts” at the upper right corner of the screen.

If you’re concerned about security, make sure to check out Mint’s page on how it keeps your information safe.

Once you log in, you can access this page from the bottom of the welcome screen.

Download the App

If you’re like me, you’re constantly on your mobile. Who has time to pull out the laptop anymore?

For quick updates on the go, download Mint’s apps. From the homepage, click on How it Works.

Then click on Mobile apps, in the lower left corner. Mint has apps for Windows 8, Windows 8 Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, and Android Tablet.

Most functionality is available on the apps and it’s great to be able to keep an eye on transactions on your mobile or tablet.

Set a Budget

Now for the fun part. With one or more financial accounts synced with Mint, it’s time to use Mint’s free budgeting tools. What a great way to procrastinate at work!

After you’ve logged into Mint and added at least one account, click on Budgets.

Then click on Create a Budget.

Type in a category of spending, like Entertainment, decide the timeframe for this category, and set the amount of money that will be earmarked for this type of spending.

I allotted $100 per month for my Entertainment budget.

Add additional categories, like Income, Groceries, Rent, and Gas. Mint automatically knows which charges on your credit card fall into which category.

The more categories you have, the more closely you can track how you are spending your money.

Once you know where your money is going, you will be able to plug the holes, if need be.

How to Adjust Categories

To adjust a category that you’ve already added, mouse over the category and it will be highlighted. Look for the words “Edit Details” in a small green font.

You can change the timing and the amount for that category.

How to Add Cash Transactions

To add a cash transaction or to look at details transaction records, scroll over the category, then click on the small magnifying glass to the right of the category.

That gives you a detailed look at every transactions within that category. Click on “Add a Transaction” to add cash expenditures.

Viola! You’ve got a fancy pants budget that is totally free, giving you an enlightening overview of your financial transactions.

If you’re hungry for more, explore Mint’s tools to track Goals, discover your spending Trends, look at your Investments, and find new Ways to Save.

Happy budgeting!

Julia Scott founded, a place to save money with freebies, coupons, and inspiration!

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further