How to Use Q&A With Tim Murphy, Author of the Mint Manual

Are you a long-time user like I am? Wouldn’t you like to really learn how to best use it to manage your personal finances? I’ve always been a pretty big fan of their online budgeting software, but never quite figured out all the little hacks and tabs.

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…

How to Use with The Mint Manual

How to use Enter The Mint Manual: A shortcut to mastering and saving money with by Tim Murphy!

Finally there’s a step-by-step guide that will show you how to use while saving you tons of time and headache. It also includes instructions for using different types of devices.

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

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).

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.

how to use

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.

Then it went to editing (Alexis Grant) and design (Justin Jurek). Design took longer because there is so much iterating. Beginning to end, it was 2-3 months.

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

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.

Sneak peak of what The Mint Manual looks like!

Sneak peak of what The Mint Manual looks like!

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!

[I was not paid to write this review, however, these links are affiliate links to help keep this site going. A huge thanks to Tim Murphy for creating such an awesome product!]
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About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and owner of Careful Cents, a site that helps creative freelancers discover the art of making a living. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. She recently launched her new course called, Solopreneur Finance: Managing Money On Your Own Terms. When she’s not writing about finance, and geeking out over numbers, she enjoys painting, sketching, and making food with her chef husband. You can connect with her in real time on Twitter or Instagram: @carefulcents.

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