Money, money, money, and more money! When I was in high school I would look at my parents paying bills and wonder how in the world do you pay a utilities bill? How do you schedule that to come out of your bank account? What is credit? Who came up with the idea of credit? What is leasing? So many questions that I thought would be answered in college but they only offer seminars in which they say "Come out and we will teach you how to budget!". While this is nice in theory it actually does not help because it is a 30 minute seminar in which you take notes but you cannot reference the source.
Mint is a site in which you can input bank account information, set budgeting limits, and set financial goals. This is by far one of the best finance applications I have come across. The setup is amazing and they offer a Credit Score! You can login via your computer or cell phone (where you can set an additional security feature). Lets talk about a couple of the features:
Account Information - the site allows you to set up multiple accounts. You can add multiple accounts so that the app can help you manage your spending habits.
Setting Budgeting Limits - the site allows you to set up different budgets from rent, fitness, shopping, and entertainment. The site takes what your estimated monthly income (for this purpose I will be using America's average household income of $50,500, while the average salary is$26,695) will be and subtract what you are budgeting, spending on bills, and your financial goals. This function lets you know if you are spending wayyyyy to much money on shopping or restaurants or going out to eat.
Financial Goals - the site allow you to set different financial goals such as emergency fund or vacation budgeting. Most financial sites tell you that your emergency fund should contain at minimum 6 months of expenses. Basically this entails rent, utilities, car note, student loans, cable/ internet (I personally do not feel as though cable is a necessary expense so I just have internet). This list only includes this that you need like a rough or things that can impact you credit score such as car note or student loans and will help in finding a new job/ career path.
While there are many apps in which you can create a budget for yourself this is by far the best one in my opinion - sometime companies get it right! Did I mention it is FREE! If you are in college or just finished college or an adult who is learning how to adult this is an amazing deal.
Now Mint Bills is even more amazing in comparison to Mint! Mint Bills allows you to add bills to the app so that you can receive a reminder and keep track of your bills (that was so many bills within one sentence). The site also allows you to keep track of your credit card balances. If you are bad with remembering due dates for your bills or credit card bills the app notifies you of all bills due each week and day. The app also notifies you if you have reached 30% of your credit card limit.
Important: Just in case you are wondering you should not go over 30% of your credit card limit. By doing this you make creditors or potential people to offer you credit see you as risky. While they look at the balance as a whole they also look at an individual cards balance. So try to keep the balance on each card below 30%.
Credit Karma is not a 100% accurate but it does allow for you to view things that might impact your credit score. I personally log in a couple times a week even though the site does not refresh that often.
Credit Report Factors:
Payment History - Missing payments can impact your credit for years
Amounts Owed - If you go over the 30% limit of your credit card balance
Length of Credit History - In order to be perfect you would need 9+ years but to be in the fair range about 5-6 years. This is a small impact item on your credit score but you should start building your credit versus holding it off.
New Credit - Opening accounts is good for your credit but opening to many at once is not wise nor beneficial.
Types of Credit - Different types of credit are extremely good. Bank account credit cards, department store credit cards, car loans, student loans, and gas cards are small examples of different types of account you can open.
I am personally not as familiar with Prism but this is a great alternate to Mint and Mint Bills. The site allows for you to track your bills to manage when they are due and if you have made a payment.
If you have money to spare you should look into sites that charge you money by the month to help manage your 3 credit reports. (True Credit is an option for $9.95 you can view all 3)