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Jenniffer's Journey:

Money Minder 101

When I started out on this Project Money journey, I was not a member of Summit Credit Union. Of course I am now, and I’ve learned a lot about the services that Summit offers its members. One of which is Money Minder. So, here is your intro lesson on Money Minder for those of you who are not Summit members – or for those of you who “don’t do online banking” because you still like to hand write your checks and snail mail them in one of those white rectangular paper things with a glossy edge that when moistened with your saliva turns to an adhesive. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Money Minder is a budget/cash flow/goals/net worth program within Summit’s online banking program. Getting started is pretty easy. All you need to do is download your transactions from all of your accounts (i.e. all those auto-reloads onto the Starbucks app from your Summit debit and credit cards), and tag your expenses with whatever your heart desires. For example, any transaction with the word Starbucks can be automatically tagged every time with the phrase “heaven in a cup”. Then, establish some spending targets/budgets - hypothetically: I promise myself that I will not spend any more than $80/month on heaven in a cup. If you are really ambitious, you can set up some goals as well. I like to feel ambitious, so my goals included saving for a trip to a beach somewhere and working on an emergency fund.

Money Minder also has a cool cash flow feature where you enter the amount of your paycheck, when you get it, and what bills you have every month; and then you can see how much money you have in all of your accounts on any given day of the month. You can also set up notifications in cash flow wherein you get a friendly, gently worded email reminder that your credit card bill is due, for example.

Lastly, you can find out your net worth by entering your assets (your home or any stocks in a coffee company that you might own) and your debts (your credit card bills, home equity loan, etc.).

Most of the Money Minder entries are either automated or pretty quick and easy to manually enter, and once you enter them for the first time, you don’t have to enter them anymore unless there is a change. The hardest part for me was putting a dollar amount to what I thought I could (SHOULD) spend on certain budget items per month. And learning that if I wanted to save $3000 for a tropical vacation, there’s no way I could do it by the time the snow flies and still pay the mortgage. Money Minder has forced me to take a hard look at what I spend each day and how I can do more with the money I have instead of always thinking, “If only I had more money, I could……..”.

There’s so many more cool features that Money Minder has to offer, but since this is a blog and not a thesis, I have to keep it fairly short. If you want to learn more, comment on my blog and I’ll have a Money Minder 201 blog next month with more in-depth features and how they can help you change your money mindset.

So, here’s this week’s financial fun fact: if you are a Summit Credit Union member, you have to check out Money Minder if you haven’t already. If you aren’t a Summit Credit Union member, check with your financial institution to see what tools they have available for you to track your transactions, set up a budget and establish some concrete savings goals. If for no other reason than to have some accountability for yourself on what you are spending your money on. And so you can finally see what your net worth is. You never know, you might be surprised to find out that while you are no CEO of a billion dollar beverage company, you have your own little nest egg with which to build your dreams upon. And THAT makes you a rock star!


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