Budgeting Shit

Discussion in 'Free Range' started by Vespidae, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    I know some of you use Mint (looking at you, K) and I need some help. I think there may be differences for Canadian users, but hopefully that won't affect the issues I'm having. I hope I'm just stupid and can't find how to do these things on the site and not that the site doesn't do them, but I figured one of you might know.

    1) I tend to save in cash (literal cash, not liquid "cash" in my bank account), but I can't find a way to keep track of cash on Mint. So of course Mint thinks I'm not keeping up with my savings (I'm not, my goals are totally unrealistic lol) but actually I am putting a little bit into my stash every week.

    2) I don't pay 100% of my rent, since my rooster pays some of it. But the chequing account is joint, so of course when the rent comes out Mint subtracts the entire amount from my total (you know the little box where it says how much your income is vs your budgeted spending and the remainder). I added a separate income line to account for my rooster's contribution, but for whatever reason Mint doesn't add this to my total income for the month, so that little box is hundreds of dollars short every month. I guess I could just remove that line and up my personal income line by the difference, but I don't really love that idea.

    So I've been keeping track of my spending and cash savings on a literal calendar that I write in by hand, PLUS using Mint and I don't know why I'm bothering with both. If I could fix these issues I might be better off. Does anyone have an idea of how to fix them? Or recs for a better site/app that will work better for me?

    Thanks, chickens!
  2. android

    android Founding Messiah

    I have Thoughts on this but am at work so no time for an in depth post. I'll follow up later.
  3. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    Awesome, thank you!
  4. Erie

    Erie Florida AF

    Two thoughts:

    I have my own excel spreadsheet that is on google drive shared with my rooster. I use that to track all bills and spending. I don't like mint, like not at all, I like keeping track of it all myself. I'm happy to share them with you if you want.

    Also, please put your savings into a savings account or something. You're giving up free money in the form of interest. (I don't mean to lecture but free money!!!)
  5. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    I know the whole interest thing, but my "savings" are very small, especially since I dumped like 99% of it into my car's down payment last month and am now starting over. With rates what they are, there is no way I'm losing more than a couple dollars in interest for the year. Contrasted to that, if I have money in the bank, I spend it. I pay for everything with debit and if the money is there, it goes. Cash, on the other hand, I cringe at spending. It's a mental thing, I guess. Cash is "real" money? I have no idea. Some people are the other way around and carry cash so they don't spend more than the cash and never touch their plastic, but I'm 100% the opposite. I even opened a special savings account that I can't debit from thinking that would help, but no - I just ended up transferring the funds on my phone over to the debit account whenever I wanted to spend more. So any cash I get (friends reimbursing me for tickets, birthday cash, money I take out every week, odd jobs, etc.) just collects. Putting it in the bank would end up costing me way more than the $3 in annual interest I'm losing by maintaining a piggy bank instead.

    I did have a couple of Excel budget templates I tried but I didn't like them. What I like about Mint is that my transactions are ALL there and I don't have to remember to put everything in (or spend an hour catching up every week). I just wish I had more control over it than I do. But thank you for the offer!
  6. user4290

    user4290 North of the Boarder

    V, do you bank with RBC? I love the budgeting tool on their website and use that over any other system. I have the app on my phone as well, which is good for on the go but I don't like as much as the non-mobile site.
  7. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    BMO. They're kind of bugging me lately. The fees are really nitpicky, they don't have photo cheque-cashing like literally everyone else, and they can't seem to manage to apply their own student discount correctly. But I can't be bothered to switch right now. RBC is probably where I'd go if I did. Do you like them?
  8. user4290

    user4290 North of the Boarder

    I do. I've been with them since I was about 6 years old though, so I can't really compare them to anyone else. They haven't done anything that has made me want to jump ship though, so that is good. I did my student loans through them, I have my RRSP and my TSFA's through them and am now working with a mortgage consultant there. They also have online chat for customer service which I really like. Any time I have needed to see a specialist I got appointments without a wait (usually the next day) and my mortgage lady is easily reachable.

    My only complaint is that there aren't enough ATM's around. There seem to be TD branches and ATM's everything, but I often get stuck looking for an RBC one so I don't get hit with a fee. That isn't that big of a deal now that I have a car and that there is an RBC in the same building as my work though.
  9. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    I do get appointments pretty easily when I want them. And they've given me a couple of breaks on big expenditures (like not holding the several thousand dollars I came in with to put into my down payment, typically there'd be a 5-day hold for a deposit that large). And lots of ATMs, at least around here. That's why I haven't left - I don't hate them, and I kind of feel like I'll have the same issues anywhere. Like phone companies, you know? They just all suck. Maybe I'm wrong, I've just been assuming haha.
  10. user4290

    user4290 North of the Boarder

    You are correct there. I don't know a lot about the banking industry, but they are probably all the same. You probably can't find one that offers something really great that the others do not.
  11. Erie

    Erie Florida AF

    I feel you on the spending if it's there thing. I'm the same way haha. I just always think of losing out on even that few dollars and it makes me sad lol.
  12. android

    android Founding Messiah


    1) You can manually enter cash as a transaction (on the main website at least, not sure about mobile) go to "Transactions" at the top of the page and then select the "Add a Transaction" button. You can enter cash as either an expense or an income.

    2) No idea about this one. That's super annoying though. Have you tried contacting Mint Support about it? They may have some ideas.

    My pet peeve with Mint is that I can't link my 401k account because they don't link accounts with my particular payroll/retirement services provider (huge national company, so no excuse not to link) I keep getting "suggestions" from Mint on how I should start a 401k. Goddammit I have one already! People on their community forums are really mad about it too, apparently it's been an ongoing issue for like 6 or 7 years now.
  13. Honey

    Honey Historian Staff Member

    One of our banks won't link with Mint either. The bank is the one blocking Mint, because they say Mint has "competitive practices." I guess because Mint tells people to stop wasting money on credit card interest?
  14. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    Cash is tricky. You can manually enter savings as a cash transaction but it will not keep track of how much is in your cash "account". So you'd probably have to get a spreadsheet to do that. I've used mint for like 6 years and a cash account has been requested about 1 zillion times and no luck

    With rent you could do a split transaction and exclude the part that is his. I used to just check the box and mark P's part as a duplicate transaction. That way you don't have to add M's income.
  15. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    Ohhh, I'm an idiot. I don't do a lot of cash spending, though, and I can't see a way to add a cash transaction to my savings goal, which is why I really need it. I'll look again. Or email them and suggest they add it as a feature.

    I have no idea what you just said. :lol: I'll look through the software and see if I can figure out how to do that. That would be perfect, if I can get it to work - I didn't love having to add the separate income line in the first place, so if Mint has a way to only count my PORTION of the rent expenditure, that would be exactly what I need. Thanks!

    I didn't used to keep track of my cash, because I was worried that if I knew how much was in there, I'd start to mentally count on it and end up spending it. But sometimes when the wad gets big, I count it up and then get greedy and REFUSE to spend it, so I think keeping track of it is going to work to my advantage. A spreadsheet might be the way to go if Mint can't/won't do it.
  16. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    I don't even use the goals feature because it has to be linked to an account. I think that's what the problem is for you since the savings is in cash and there's no "account" for it.

    For the split transaction, if you hit edit details on a transaction you should see a Y with arrows on the ends to split the transaction.
  17. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    Yep, that's exactly the problem I'm having. There IS that savings account I set up, but it's basically empty, and Mint won't allow me to increase the balance by adding my cash manually. And there's no separate option to keep a record of cash. Ugh.

    For the split transaction, I'd have to correct the actual cheque-cashing transaction, not my budget? Wouldn't I have to do that every month then? Because I can't have it automatically splitting every cheque that gets cashed, and I don't see how it would know which cheques were rent and which were something else. I'll play with it this month and see what it does.
  18. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    Oh yeah it would be manual to split the check
  19. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    That's mildly annoying too. Gawd, Mint, why can't you just read my mind and do everything the way I want to do it? :lol:

    EDIT: This transaction splitting thing is awesome, though. Getting cashback at the grocery store was KILLING my grocery budget, but now I can separate that out! Thanks, K!
  20. Vespidae

    Vespidae Antagonist Staff Member

    I just realized another issue. I pay my credit card by transfer, and Mint has learned that transfers to mastercard are payments (it labels the transactions this way automatically now), but it does NOT apply these transactions to my "pay off credit card" GOAL. So my goal looks like I haven't paid toward the debt, when in fact I have. I assumed the transaction labels and budgets/goals were linked, but evidently they aren't? What's up with that?
  21. user3695

    user3695 Chicken

    So I have a budgeting question thats not related to mint.com

    In general how do you guys decide what % of your budget to spend on discretionary stuff (so anything besides bills/gas/groceries) per month? Do you follow the 50/30/20 rule? I am trying to ask in a very general way so as not to pry into peoples personal finances like specific #s. I guess I am just trying to figure out how to adjust as A and I finally both have real full time jobs for the first time ever now that I am out of school. Reading the bee and other online sites you would seriously think everyone saves 50% of their income monthly and that you need at least an extra 2000k per month for any hope of having a kid. Of course I know its the internet and people lie ect. but its hard to find realistic ideas of what rule to follow.

    My instinct is to just do nothing ever and save every penny and that stresses me out so much my response is to not look at a budget at all. Blah blah blah basically Tl;dr Do you have a budgeting rule or guidelines you follow like a set percentage for savings/fun or a guide online you have found helpful in making those decisions?
  22. DaleBrennan

    DaleBrennan Chicken

    Whatchya, I'm super curious of this too. When we first moved to DC we tried to live off of one income and bank B's--LOL. No. Not feasible. I'm trying to get better with money, but I'm definitely curious how other people's spending/savings habits work. I've basically stopped clothes/makeup shopping, but our grocery budget is what kills us.
  23. Erie

    Erie Florida AF

    We aren't really great at this. We contribute 6% to our 401ks and put away $100/month to savings because we're focusing on paying off cards. Once credit cards are paid off then everything we had been putting towards them will go into savings. Half of all bonuses automatically go into savings too. Anything left over at the end of the month goes to pay off cards right now too.

    Basically, we were a lot worse about paying down debt and adding to our savings when we set a specific amount per month. Once we gave that up, it became easer to be like "well we could just stay in this weekend and put that $200 we'd spend on dinners and drinks for two nights to [X] card". Obviously that doesn't work for everyone though. We just found it more motivating to pick and choose things to give up or opt for cheaper things.
  24. android

    android Founding Messiah

    I basically have 10% of my monthly budget as discretionary spending. I have it split into 2 sections in Mint, "Misc Expenses Want" and "Misc Expenses Need" though I use them pretty interchangeably.
  25. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    If I give myself a set amount I start to think "well I didn't buy anything frivolous, I can get these shoes.". So we just set a budget based on what we normally spend, and try to minimize it. Would I rather have these shoes or work part time?

    Eta - we have money automatically go to savings and investments every month, so we only get to spend what's left.