The 5 Basic Financial Categories – Part 2
Before I came across the tool we now use [Mint], I tried a few other solutions. Allow me to share with you a few of my frustrations. Managing your money can be difficult and quite involved, without the help of sophisticated software programs to make it more complex.
Years ago, I used a tool called Quickbooks. Quickbooks is more for small businesses and at the time I had started a small business. The problem I faced was I spent more time involved with operating and learning Quickbooks than I did with making my own business successful. Needless to say, I failed and so did my business.
Next I tried Quicken, it was becoming very popular, but again it too was more involved than I had time to commit. After Quicken, there was Microsoft Money and I thought I’d hit the jackpot. Being a huge Microsoft fan at the time, I knew this would be the best solution to managing my finances. Once again, it was a failure. I spent more time figuring out how to get all my transactions from various accounts and places into the software. I spent more time reconciling accounts that were already reconciled.
There wasn’t a breakthrough for me until I went back to the tool I knew best, Excel. I figured I could do what I needed to do using Excel. Since I am an Excel ninja, this shouldn’t be a huge task. So for many years, I used Excel and what I learned through many failures was this. It was never the tools, but my lack of knowing what it was I needed to see. So instead of applying tools to my life for the tool’s sake, I found tools that could provide exactly what I needed.
To demonstrate let’s begin with the first of the five Mint categories.
Cash. I needed a way to see what was happening with my bank accounts [all of them] without spending the time checking each and downloading transactions so that I could categorize our spending. Mint does this very simply and called it “cash”. No fancy terminology needed.
Mint highlights your cash and denotes it as an asset [what you own]. In this category lives my numerous bank accounts. It doesn’t matter how many; Mint connects your banking institution’s transactions from as many sources as you have.
For us, those accounts include a number of banks and credit unions. Not only does it include the banks, but the accounts within each bank. This allows us to track transactions for typical house spending, savings, support, giving, education, auto, the mortgage and much much more. There would be no way today to keep track of all these moving parts if it wasn’t for a tool like Mint. Keep in mind the goal is how we can better make our life our business. We don’t need tools to get in the way, but rather use technology to make what we do easier and more efficient.
Today is Friday!
How much attention are you giving to your own personal finances? Do you give more time and energy to what you’re asked to do on your job or are you giving your own well-being more attention? You might not realize this, but when you care for yourself, it places you in a better position to care for others. This is why having the right tools are so important.
Question: what could having a way to see your cash in one place make possible for you? Leave a comment.