Tracking every dime you spend:

I have been using for nearly a year now and have found it to be a very good tool for keeping track of my budget and in part my goals. I admit it is not a perfect fit but neither was quicken (classic) or quicken online. I currently use a mix of Excel and to do my budgeting and tracking and that works for me.

Manually entering transactions into quicken was too mundane for me. I had a grasp on where my money went but would lose receipts, forget to ask for them, etc. It was too sporadic. Downloading transactions via newer versions of quicken classic worked but was still sketchy for my accounts. Once I tried quicken online (defunct) and now (owned by the makers of quicken) I was finally using a tool that fit my style for the most part.

I now log into Mint everyday Monday to Friday. Most institutions don't update over the weekend so I take time off from staring at my accounts on Saturday and Sunday. I have pretty well "trained" on how to categorize my transactions. It is usually 80% right on "guessing" the category a transaction belongs too. I still have to watch it as some get misplaced but looking daily not only keeps it's budget categories straight but also keeps me in tune with my spending. I can see where I need to pare back and where I have more room.

The issue with tools like is that it is difficult to budget for every dime you spend (and earn). They do a pretty decent job with the "Everything Else" category and tells you if you are living within your means or not. I have a budget for my salary but not my side income. I have to mark all of my business travel expenses as "reimbursable" so it doesn't throw my budget out of sorts. No big deal as I like to be sure my reimbursements are correct anyway!

Other than that my "real" budget is in excel. It accounts for my salary income versus my budget limits for all of my expenses. I can easily play with the numbers and see my bottom line and then make adjustments to if need be. Any time I have an item that is not in my budget I track it against my "leftover" unallocated money each month. As a safety net I have a $100 misc. category to cover some incidentals but I still have leftover income each month (on purpose). I track this portion in excel and whatever money is left by the 1st of the next month is then added to savings/investments how I see fit. is the best tool I have found for my financial situation. I have realized that in my financial life there are too many variables and it is impossible to account for every dime spent ahead of time. I cannot predict house repairs, car repairs, funeral travel, etc. 100% of the time. The emergency fund exists to offset those but I cannot say for sure what it will cost me this year (or ever!). For some this may seem like too much work but it is the only way I can stay on track to reach my dream of not working as much and traveling a lot more!