I’m a long-time Mint.com user and pretty big fan of their online budgeting software. It works great for creating a monthly game plan of how I’ll spend my personal income as well as creating long-term goals for investing and saving.
But the only thing I found annoying was that there’s no comprehensive guide on how to use it and maximize it to manage my finances. Until now…
The Mint Manual
Enter The Mint Manual: A shortcut to mastering and saving money with Mint.com by Tim Murphy!
Finally there’s a step-by-step guide that will save you (and me) tons of time and headache trying to figure out how Mint.com works, with instructions for using different types of devices.
Tim doesn’t just do the cut and dry tips either, he includes screenshots, secret tips and even a cheat sheet. He uses his own finances as examples and even displays a few super nerd sections (that you can skip if you’re not a financial nerd).
The design and format is beautiful, clean and easy to understand. The Mint Manual is made up of 5 stand alone sections, in case you don’t use the other types of devices:
- The Mint Website
- iPad App
- iPhone App
- Android Tablet App
- Android Phone App
Q&A with Tim Murphy
1. As a long time Mint user, what gave you the (genius) idea to create a Mint Manual? Does Mint have anything close to this for it’s users already?
I’ve been a Mint user for about 4 years. The idea for the book actually came from Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100 Startup. He told the story about Brett Kelly doing a detailed user guide for Evernote called, Evernote Essentials. Brett was extremely successful with that book, which made me think about other programs that had a lot of users who might not be getting the most out of said program.
Mint stood out because 1) it’s got a ton of users — 10 million or so 2) it’s really easy to learn the basics, but the fine points take time, so most people just stop at the basics (that’s what I heard from every Mint user I talked to). I wanted to provide a short-cut to all the good stuff.
Mint does have some tutorials, but they usually just cover the basics and don’t really drill down. I haven’t seen anything that’s nearly as comprehensive and easy as The Mint Manual.
2. Yes, I agree. Your guide is full of simple instructions and helpful screenshots. How long did it take you to compile everything into this epic guide?
It was a lot of time and effort, especially the screenshots. One of the barriers to entry in making a Mint guide is that obscurring all of one’s financial information (while keeping the guide pretty) is really time consuming. As for the writing itself, I really put my head down and cranked out a workable version in about a month.
Slightly embarrassing note: I actually hate techno music but I heard that a lot of programmers use it when writing code. I tried and found it really helped me focus by drowning out any other distraction. Because I don’t own any techno songs, I used http://www.getworkdonemusic.com/.
3. How did you learn about all the little tips and tricks? (I especially like the part where you suggest opening multiple tabs — so smart!)
Yes! The tabs part is a huge time-saver. Most of the tricks I learned by my own trial and error over the years. That’s a very inefficient way to learn, and will turn off a lot of people, which is why I wanted to create the The Mint Manual as a short-cut.
I also contacted Mint Help from time to time and spent a good amount of time on the Mint forums. That gave me an idea of what was causing users confusion and where people needed help.
4. Between the full version website, the iPad/tablet apps and the smartphone apps, which Mint version do you use the most (or find most user-friendly) and why?
Which do I use the most? I still use the web version the most, mainly because it has every feature I need and I can work very quickly. After that, definitely the iPhone app.
Searching all transactions is a lot easier on iOS than Android, and I also love being able to split transactions when organizing on the go (something you can’t currently do with an Android device).
5. What’s your favorite feature about Mint? Why do you like it?
Macro-level: I like Mint because it makes managing your money easier and so much more enjoyable. I’m convinced it was made for people who hate doing their finances. Between budgets, goals, bill reminders, alerts, and instant access to your financial history – it doesn’t get easier. And it’s FREE.
Micro-level: I LOVE that you can look up transactions from years back and see exactly how much you spent, at what vendor, and when – all in like 5 seconds from a mobile device. I’ve used this during negotiations (to compare what I’ve spent on comparable services in the past), when reviewing bills (to see if my bill went up from last time), and just to review overall spending.
6. Are you hoping to be an official Mint consultant or enter into a collaboration with Mint? You never know!
Am I hoping to be a Mint consultant? Ha — with all my cheer leading it probably sounds like I already am! (I’m not Obviously I think Mint is the best personal finance software out there.
I’d love to collaborate with them, if nothing else to get The Mint Manual to more of their users – that’s definitely win-win-win. There is so much more to Mint than most people realize, and The Mint Manual fixes that by showing short-cuts to all the good stuff.
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions, Tim. And thank you for creating this super helpful and time-saving guide for all of us to benefit from!