It’s the day before your car payment is due. Several other bill stubs and envelopes are scattered across your bedroom floor. Your heart starts to beat fast as you read your bank statement. Account balance: $10.87.
Where did all your money go?
Behold, a simple and free way to keep track of your bank accounts, savings, loans, bills and more.
A reward winning website, Mint.com, is just one example of how easy organizing finances can be. Web sites similar to Mint.com are revolutionizing the way money inflow and outflow is tracked, and is all delivered daily to your e-mail.
Business and entrepreneurship major Michael Tellez said he uses different types of financial websites to track his spending. Mint.com and CNNmoney.com are two sites that he visits weekly.
“These websites have helped save me so much money,” Tellez said. “I budget everything from my car payments to my next vacation trip, and they are very easy to use.”
Tellez said he recommends Mint.com to all his friends for basic budgeting, along with monitoring credit cards and bank accounts.
“Being a college student is busy and stressful as it is,” Tellez said. “I don’t have time to worry about my finances now.”
Mint.com features new and innovative budgeting software each year. Most recently, the site has developed a new “budget goals” feature. Other features on the site include student loan payoff, information about credit cards, types of savings accounts and paying off debts.
The website also features a budget plan that gives weekly updates as to how well, or not well, you are following it. The user can input any type of budget, whether it is for shopping or rent, and the site does the rest of the work.
Over one million people use Mint.com, and this number is growing significantly every day.
Elizabeth Steinke, a lecturer in the department of Finance and Business Law, recommends CNNmoney.com and Bankrate.com to help give students an accessible way to get financial information.
Steinke said she notices two common mistakes made by students: They don’t realize the cost of credit cards and they don’t know their general level of debt.
“Student loans do need to be paid back, and at some point it will impact your lifestyle,” Steinke said. “It is important to get on track now with planning for the repayment of these student loans or for other purchases.”
Steinke tells her students to “live within their means as much as possible.” She teaches her students that credit cards should be used sparingly and for correct purposes.
Steinke also suggests putting away small amounts of money in a savings account whenever possible and to not borrow.
Budget cuts within the CSU system are forcing many students to take out loans and to refer to new methods to pay for higher education.
Psychology major Samantha Carmichael has taken out loans to pay for her college education.
Carmichael said she was recently introduced to Mint.com and she’s planning on using the website beyond the end of her college career.
“I like things to be organized,” Carmichael said.
Calculating your expenses can be a challenge at any age, especially during college when the rise of tuition is booming and hundred dollar books are essential to getting a good grade in class.
“People with busier lives tend to not keep track of money, and don’t realize where it’s going,” Carmichael said. “I know more people who don’t plan out finances than I know people who do.”
Carmichael said she believes technology is helping her become more organized, and is hoping that this trend catches on with other students.
“You don’t have to be an accounting or finance major to get a hold of your personal finances while in college,” said Tellez. “Financial planning today is probably the single most important thing I can do to prepare for my future.”