According to H&R Block and Canada Revenue Agency last week, most Canadians filed their taxes by April 30 and now have their refunds, which averaged $1,600. Many will use it to save or pay off debt while others will blow it on fun and frivolous items or upcoming summer holidays.
Do you have a plan for your tax return? Have you written it down on Post-it notes, a spreadsheet, built a budget, or made mental notes?
Through Mint.com, tracking your money, including tax refunds, is about to get way easier; no more wading through piles of statements or sorting through overly complex budgeting templates.
After a quick five minute sign-up process, Mint.com securely pulls all your financial accounts, from multiple institutions, into one place. Using their proprietary software, your financial information is categorized into understandable buckets of data like savings, investments, mortgages, bills and more.
These categories can be analyzed and summarized so that you know what your total financial situation looks like at any given time; including your net worth.
Mint.com also makes budgeting a synch. It automatically calculates your average spending in any category which allows users to create a realistic budget that is based on historical spending.
Once your budget is established, you can set goals to reduce unnecessary spending and support your larger financial plans for retirement, family, career and education. The investment tracking piece of the website allows you to compare how your portfolio is performing relative to various benchmarks. Mint.com also offers free tips to help build your bottom line.
If there looks to be something suspicious happening in your account or if you’re dangerously close to blowing your budget in a particular category, you’ll be notified. You can set up customized notifications such as bill due date reminders or credit availability. These alerts allow you to avoid fees and protect your credit score.
One of my favourite parts about Mint.com is the summary of fees within your various accounts; ATM, account, brokerage, and investment fees. Fees can gobble up hundreds of dollars throughout the year and Mint.com can help you identify and reduce them.
If you’re scared to fork over so much personal information, rest easy. I, too, was a sceptic. But, I’m now convinced that Mint.com’s security system is as good as any major bank. Plus, it’s essentially a “read-only” service so no one can move money in or out of your accounts.
The best part about Mint.com is that it’s free. Plus, using your mobile app, you can track your money on the go.
Tracking your financial progress and having financial goals is powerful and financially lucrative.
Follow Lesley on Twitter @Lesleyscorgie