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My Cashless Envelope System


If I ever try to keep up with an exercising regimen, it'll last 3 months max. Why? I'm a lazy person. If I have a goal, but it's entirely inconvenient - that is, gets between me and my couch - there's no chance I will ever reach it.

And that is why I stopped using cash and envelope system. Do I see myself keeping every little receipt from every little purchase I make? How about consistently inputting my purchases into a neat spreadsheet? Nope and nope. Do I see myself regularly going to the bank for cash, separating them into labeled envelopes and placing them into my Louis Vuitton wallet? Ha! I'm not cramping my style.

However, I have a system that works for me. It's Mint.com.

Mint.com is great for creating and tracking my budget. All my accounts - credit cards, loan and bank accounts - are linked to one account. I can see how much I've spent. Each purchase is automatically categorized under labels like gas & fuel, groceries, and charity. If you are unique, because everyone is, you can make your own categories as well.

Not my account! 

They have neat charts and graphs that show you whatever you want to see about your spending habits. Want to see how much you spent on groceries for the last three months? Here's a chart! How about - for some reason - you want to see how much you spent at Petro Canada compared to Chevron? Mint'll show it to you.

Most importantly, they have a feature that functions very similar to the envelope system. You can create a budget with Mint and it'll keep you on track. For example, tell them that every month you only want to spend $60 on fuel. If you go over budget? They'll email you and/or send you a text to let you know there's no more money in the budget for fuel. You keep going over budget? Mint will let you know.

And it's free! And it has an iPhone app! And it reminds me to pay my bills! Ever since I returned to Canada I've been using Mint to handle my finances - and as long as it continues to be free, this will be my primary budgeting tool. Props to the designers of the user interface - it's really easy...even my technologically challenged mother can use this.



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