Helps Main Street Americans Show Financial Savvy and Save Money

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Martha Shaughnessy
AtomicPR for Mint

Nine Months of User Data Show Users Anticipated Worsening US Economy and Adjusted Spending Research Shows Average Savings vs. Spend Across Major US Cities in Nine Categories


Mountain View, Calif., October 2, 2008 – ( the leading online personal finance service, today released findings from an analysis of its users’ spending from January through August 2008. While the headlines continue to be filled with news of Wall Street excesses and bad judgment, money-savvy Main Street Americans, as represented by’s nearly 500,000 users, are showing sound financial planning and clear indications that they anticipated and prepared for the economic downturn, based on’s month-over-month spending and saving analysis.

“My goal with from the very beginning was to help Americans save and do more with their money, and roughly half our users say they’ve changed their financial behavior as a result of using,” said Aaron Patzer, CEO and founder of “It makes me incredibly proud to see the financial discipline being shown by users, and to think our product is making a difference by delivering clarity, budgeting tools and actionable, personal finance and savings tips in such a difficult time.” users have been decreasing their spending by 2% on average each month in ten key categories since January, 2008. As a result, users spending in these areas spent 4% less, roughly $200, in August versus January. Specifically:

  • Users decreased spending in 6 of these 9 major spending categories
  • Monthly declines averaged 1-2% in Entertainment, Shopping, Home, and Travel.
  • users managed to hold their Food and Dining spending roughly flat each month – remarkable given the upward trend in US food prices during the same period.
  • The category most severely impacted by the worsening US economy was spending on Gifts and Donations, which decreased 4% on average each month

“The decline in gift giving and donations demonstrates a particular savvy among our users. By cutting back on this discretionary spending, they’re increasing their emergency savings in the face of an uncertain job market,” continued Patzer. “It also means that we’ve helped them see the impact of rising costs at the pump and other common areas, and have helped them to react accordingly.” user spending increased in two categories which have the shown greatest price increases this year: Gas/Fuel and Utilities. However, users’ average monthly increase appeared to be below US averages, at just 2%. The only other category in which users have increased their spending this year has been in Financial Advisors, where they are also spending roughly 2% more each month, likely in an effort to get expert advice on managing their savings and investments in this volatile environment.

Main Street across America

While’s user data is entirely anonymous, their aggregate spending data can be analyzed regionally, which surfaced some sharp contrasts in city-by-city trends*. Users in Major Cities:

  • New York City only decreased spending on Gifts and Donations by 1%, vs. the national average of 4%; meanwhile, the deepest cuts were in spending on the Home (down 7% vs. the average 3% decline).
  • Las Vegas cut spending on Gifts and Donations by 13%, but increased spending on Entertainment by 7%, while the national average decreased 2%. Their increase in Gas spending was double the national average (4% vs. 2%).
  • Chicago saw the highest increase in Bills and Utilities spending of all major cities, up 10% vs. the 2% national average.
  • Los Angeles led all major cities in their reduction in Shopping spending, down 7% on average monthly. In contrast, it was one of a few major cities to increase Travel spending over the period, up by 4% each month on average. Users in City Pairs in States or Regions:

  • Houston showed the greatest reduction in average monthly spend on Bills and Utilities (down 3%), bucking the national trend of a 2% increase, while San Antonio showed the greatest increase in the same category (+14%).
  • While San Francisco mirrored the national trend of holding flat in Food and Dining spending each month, San Jose and Oakland both increased their average monthly spend by 3%.
  • While San Diego reduced spending on Gas/Fuel, on average by 3% monthly, Los Angeles showed average monthly increases of 4% over the period.

*Averages for particular cities or region can be accessed by contacting, or by calling 415.402.0230 and asking for a member of the Mint team.

About ( is the leading online personal finance service, providing nearly 500,000 users a fresh, easy and intelligent approach to money management. And it’s free. Mint is tracking $50 billion in transactions, $15 billion in assets and has identified more than $100 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 7,000 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. Mint is rated top in its category by PC World and PC Magazine and has received two Webby awards, a Webware 100 award, an American Business Award and accolades from TechCrunch, Lifehacker, the Wall Street Journal, Time and BusinessWeek since its September, 2007 launch.

Mint’s management team includes experienced executives drawn from the ranks of Charles Schwab & Co., eBay, Expedia, Intuit, PGP and other leaders in the finance, security and software spaces. Investors include top venture capital firms and prominent individuals associated with companies including Blue Nile, Google, Intuit, PassMark Security, PayPal, Yahoo! and others.

For more information on’s free online personal finance service, please visit

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