January 2013- It’s that time again, the start of a new fiscal year, a point when we usually resolve to improve our financial standings. We work hard for our money and we should know how we spend it, especial if you ever wish to balance your budget. To gain real wealth or get yourself out of debt, you will be forced to rethink your budget. When it comes to my personal finances, I use Mint to track my spending habits and manage my money on a weekly basis.

It’s a free app, available on iPhone and android, that gives you great insight into where and how you spend your money. Connect all of your bank accounts and credit accounts to Mint, and it will categorize all of your income and expenses, and give you an easy to understand overview of your finances.

Mint does a good job categorizing transactions, however, there are instances of transactions being attributed to the wrong categories. In these cases, you will have to manually change the category that the transaction is filed. The process is very smooth, but if you have multiple transactions from the same merchant, you will have to change each manually. Through Mint.com on the web, you can create rules so that all transactions are categorized accordingly.

Creating a budget is easy; Mint will initially create a budget based on the average over several months, but you can easily change that via a slide bar. Pick a category, set your budget, and you are done. There are dozens of budgeting options to choose from: Clothing, parking, the cinema, and baby supplies are just a few of the available options.