We like to think the Mint team has thought of pretty much everything when it comes to budgeting and spending money.
But occasionally a question comes up that needs clarification – like how to track spending that is unbudgeted.
By unbudgeted, I mean spending that doesn’t fall into a category you’ve designated, like your car payment, grocery bill, or health care spending.
Unbudgeted money is a free agent, and it blurs your true financial picture.
Here is how to track your unbudgeted spending:
If you are not already set up with Mint’s free budgeting tools, take five minutes to log in, click on the Budget tab, and create a budget.
Then meet me right…back…here!
Okay, so you’ve set up a budget in Mint and wow!
You’re showing a huge surplus, but you’re pretty sure that you don’t have all that money sitting around, just waiting to be spent on massages and fancy leather shoes.
Scroll down to the bottom of the Spending categories you’ve added and look for a line item called “Everything Else.”
That figure represents all the spending you haven’t put into a specific category.
You can create a line item in your budget for Everything Else and leave it amorphous, but it’s better to create additional Spending categories.
Mint does most of the work for you.
Click on the words Everything Else. A bunch of expenditures, already organized by category, will drop down.
Click on the little gray plus button next to the dollar amount.
A screen will pop up that allows you to customize how this category will be added to your budget.
Adjust the variables as you wish, then click Save to add this category to your budget. Repeat this process to whittle down the spending categories that fall into “Everything Else.”
This way, you’ll get a clearer overview of your spending.
Another way to see the big picture of your spending is to scroll to the top of the page and click on the Trends tab.
Then in the right column, click on Net Income, and then click on Over Time.
Green represents your income. Red is your spending. And the black line is your net income. Look for more data below the chart.
Now you have a clear picture of how much money you have, and where the money you spent went.
Was this helpful? Do you have more questions? Leave them in the comments!
Julia Scott curates freebies and spending tips at BargainBabe.com.