Track Your Money (Part 4): Mint All Breakdown

Hidy Ho (Math) Campers!

As a result of the problems identified in my previous article with Mint.com’s annual “Net Savings Over Time” report, I decided to nerd out on money tracking again. Apologies to those of you who don’t enjoy these articles as much as some of my others. However, much like Darrow Kirkpatrick did with retirement calculators, I believe it’s important to understand the pluses and minuses associated with popular money tracking software. This is especially crucial considering the importance I place on tracking money, to begin with.

I spent several days prior to writing this article improving the fidelity of my data in my Mint.com account. I also rebuilt my entire 2017 financial year in Quicken. Doing so allowed me to total my net savings for the year in Quicken and verify if I made any mistakes with my Mint calculations.

Mint
The now infamous Net Income Over Time report display

To refresh everyone’s memory, when I initially ran Grumpus Familias’s net savings for 2017 through Mint as part of my annual end of year fiscal review, it reported we saved $70.5K. However, I didn’t trust that number due to my inability to verify whether or not Mint accounted for our annual Roth IRA transfer. The program, as far I could tell, didn’t allow for that determination. After spending a few days double checking entries, modifying several transaction labels, and re-displaying reports; Mint now shows an annual net savings of $69.5K. Obviously, I had approximately $1K of transactions mislabeled in my previous report. However, I still cannot verify exactly how Mint determines expenses and income for this report. As a result, I don’t trust this number any more than the previous one. Continue reading Track Your Money (Part 4): Mint All Breakdown

Track Your Money (Part 3): Passive Tracking

A Passive Tracking Experiment

Passive Tracking
I’m ready to blow up this lab whenever you are!

In case you can’t tell from my title, this article is a follow-on to my previous two “Tracking Your Money” posts. In the first article, I reviewed my historical use of various software applications to track my money over the past 20 years or so. In the second, my brother (Grumpus Brotherus the Younger) reviewed the software application called You Need A Budget (YNAB).

If you did not read the first post in this series, you probably should. I don’t just say that because my brother’s post sucked (it did), and I think mine is much better (it was), or I want the extra site traffic (I do). No, I say that because I actually made a few worthwhile points in the post … if I do say so myself. However, if you’re unwilling or unable to go to the post, let me provide you a re-cap. Continue reading Track Your Money (Part 3): Passive Tracking

Track Your Money (Part 2): YNAB

Remember how I said Grumpus Brotherus had used You Need A Budget (YNAB) for years?  Well, when I asked him to write a paragraph for my Track Your Money post, he sent an entire post’s worth of information back.  Instead of editing the material down to a paragraph to fit my article, I decided to give him his own post.  I present you here the first guest author for the Grumpus Maximus blog!  Now I must warn you that Grumpus Brotherus is a nerd … I mean N-E-R-D.   Which is ok these days since the nerds will apparently inherit the Earth.  But at points within the article, he does geeks out on software

I can’t believe Brother Grumpus does this since ..

interface and whatnot.   It is hard to believe he flies in fighter jets for a living.  Although I guess jets are more software than hardware these days, so maybe it makes sense.  In any case, I edited a little to de-nerd it for us ‘laypeople’, but otherwise all the themes are his own; completely unprompted by me …. you will see what I mean.  Enjoy.  — Grumpus Maximus Continue reading Track Your Money (Part 2): YNAB

Track Your Money (Part 1)

I’ve referred to building a retirement plan in several previous posts, and I will show you how I did it in future posts. But before we get to that I need to talk to you about an endemic problem afflicting most Americans…. the problem associated with tracking money. No, I am not talking about the need to track money that finances terrorism or organized crime. I am talking about the need to track your money.

In April 2014 Business Insider reported that 61% of US adults do not track their money. That was only six years after the financial meltdown of 2008! That is pretty damning, but not surprising … at least not to me. As someone who has tracked their money religiously for the past 18 years, I can attest it takes time and discipline. It is often undervalued and much maligned as a “man” activity in my family (just ask Mrs. Grumpus).  However, long before I taught myself anything about the investing world, Financial Independence (FI), or early retirement options I used to lock myself away with piles of receipts in my man cave every two or three months– just so I would know how our money was being spent.

Continue reading Track Your Money (Part 1)