Continued to Cut Spending in Q1 vs. Q4, Spent 17% Less in Q1 2009 vs. Q1 2008

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Martha Shaughnessy
Atomic PR for Mint
O: 415.402.0230

Continued to Cut Spending in Q1 vs. Q4, Spent 17% Less in Q1 2009 vs. Q1 2008

Mountain View, Calif., June 25, 2009 – (, the leading online personal finance service, today released an analysis of spending by its million-plus user base showing that Americans continued to tighten their belts through Q1 of this year. 2008 data shows users cutting spending by an average of 4% each quarter, and by another 4% in Q1 2009. Overall Q1 2009 spending was down 17% versus Q1 2008 across eight key categories. This indicates that, at a national level, the leading money management and budgeting service’s users remain concerned about the length and depth of the US recession and its potential impact on family job loss and economic security. City and Regional spending data is also available.*

“This continuing trend of regular expense reductions tells me that consumer confidence is not yet on the rise,” said Aaron Patzer, CEO and founder of “Our users are looking for more concrete evidence that the US economy is truly bottoming out before they’ll be returning to prior spending levels…if in fact they do. While it’s tough to know that 17% of last year’s spend has fallen out of the American economy, it’s satisfying to know that our financial management and budgeting software appears to be helping our growing user base weather one of the longest downturns in our nation’s history.”

These indices and statistics are compiled from anonymous transactional data tracked by’s award-winning personal finance service, now used by over 1 million Americans to manage and save money. Since its launch in September, 2007, has tracked over $175 billion in transactions across user’s checking, saving, credit card accounts, and over $47 billion in assets across users’ investment accounts. Using its patent-pending Ways to Save feature, has identified more that $300 million in potential money-saving ideas for its users.

Where Users Have Cut Back

As outlined in his Three Principles of Personal Finance, Patzer recommends people first create a simple budget across just 2-3 problem categories to get started toward saving. automates the process by setting budget targets based on historical user spending, and by sending emails and text message alerts if those budgets are exceeded.

Patzer recommends people initially decrease spending incrementally, to make cutting back sustainable. The data released today indicates that users are following this advice.
The most dramatic decrease is in Shopping, where user spending has dropped by more than 40%, which is significant savings in aggregate, but was accomplished by a steady, gradual 3-5% cut each month in a discretionary category where that type of control is possible. Users have also cut spending quarter over quarter in Entertainment (by 24%) and Bills & Utilities (by 16%)

Other categories have fluctuated quarter over quarter based on seasonal shifts, but still show a net decline:
Spending on Gifts and Donations was down 1%, in spite of a 25% spike in Q3 and Q4 with election donations and the holiday season.
Automotive spending has seen the broadest swing in spending, with the extreme variance in gas prices in the same time period, but still nets at a 24% decline over the examined quarters

The Exception

The only category that has completely recovered is Food & Dining, where spending in Q109 was actually higher than it was a year prior – but just by 2%

“This data suggests that Mint’s current tools and guidance are working well for our users today,” said Patzer, “But there’s much more opportunity to make budgeting and planning easier and more effective for more Americans. We’ll be introducing new and improved product features and educational content in Q3 and Q4 designed to do just that.”

About ( is the nation’s leading online personal finance service, providing 1 million users a fresh, easy and intelligent approach to money management. And it’s free. Mint is tracking over $175 billion in transactions, $47 billion in assets and has identified $300 million in potential savings for its users.

Designed to be effortless, takes less than five minutes to set up. Users register anonymously using only a valid email address. Mint then does the rest, securely downloading transaction data from more than 7,500 bank, credit card and investment accounts on a daily basis. Users never need to import or synch their data. Mint applies patent-pending technology and proprietary algorithms to categorize transactions; provide a unified view of all account activity; alert users to low balances, bank fees, upcoming bills, and even potentially suspicious account activity; and give users personalized suggestions for significant savings opportunities. Each user can monitor their total net worth, virtually real time, at, from any mobile phone (by texting short code MyMint [696468]), or by using’s iPhone application – rated #1 in the Finance category in iTunes on the day of its launch. is rated top in its category by Kiplinger, Money, PC World and PC magazines, was named one of the 50 Best Websites of 2008 by TIME magazine, and has received four Webby awards, a Thomas Edison award, an American Business Award and accolades from the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, TechCrunch, and Lifehacker, since its September, 2007 launch. The company was named one of 34 international Technology Pioneers by the World Economic Forum in 2008 and publishes an award-winning personal finance blog at

Mint’s management team includes seasoned industry veterans drawn from the ranks of Charles Schwab, eBay, Expedia, Intuit, PGP and other leaders in the finance, security and software industries. Investors include top venture capital firms and prominent individuals whose past investments have included Google, Intuit, eBay, PassMark Security, PayPal, Yahoo! and others.

For more information on’s free online personal finance service, please visit and follow on Twitter:

Average user spending for January 2008 – March 2009 and for specific US cities and regions can be accessed by contacting, or by calling 415.402.0230 and asking for a member of the Mint team.


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