Tis the season - the season for stressing over money and coming up with a game plan for keeping better track of spending in the new year, that is.
I'd received a couple of inquiries about Mint.com, the online personal finance tool of which I'm a big fan, over the past few weeks. Specifically, I've been asked if I'd heard anything about an app for Android devices or, at the very least, a version of the site optimized for the mobile Web.
The folks at Mint, which are now part of Intuit, were very receptive and said that an app for the Android OS is in the works, with a prototype being tested internally. The best guess for a release is end of Q1 - and the Android app will come out before a mobile Web version. That feels like a long time away - but the company stressed that, with the sensitive data it's accessing, it will not speed through app development and risk anything that would compromise the data.
I already use the full-browser version, as well as the iPhone app (on my iPod Touch), so I understand when the folks at Mint talk about how enhancing the service is priority No. 1, not that app development isn't a priority. The iPhone version (pictured here) is top-notch so I'm excited to see what the company will do with Android.
During a brief chat, Aaron Forth, director of Product at Intuit Personal Finance, filled me in on some other cool things to expect for 2010: The company, for example, is working on beefing up the number of financial institutions that allow banking data to be accessed by Mint. Forth said one of the biggest complaints is that customers can't access their specific bank information within the program.
The company is also working on a tool that would allow manual entry of transactions, instead of waiting for the bank to record it, upload it to its site and then allow Mint to pull it in. In this sense, Mint also acts as a checkbook register - a move that gets two thumbs-ups from me. I don't write a lot of checks these days but still have a few bills that have to be paid that way. This would help.
The Mint team is also working on a way to allow users to track and record the cash spent after it was withdrawn from the ATM. That's granular stuff - but that's also where all of my budgeting attempts break down. Sure, my budget accounts for cash withdrawls - but did I drop $20 into the gas tank and $10 on lunch? Those are expenses that should be tracked for budgeting purposes - but aren't.
There's nothing like blowing your Christmas budget to make you realize that you need a better system. We hit that realization in line at Costco on Monday evening. Another yeat, another blown holiday budget.
Next year, I swear we'll do better.