Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: money

Is Mint by Intuit Right for You?

The word finances makes many newly-married couples cringe in fear. While everyone recommends budgeting, saving, watching credit scores, and tracking financial growth, these tasks bring with them extra time and energy demands that are often unrelenting. New and old families alike know they are supposed to do those things, but often do not know how to get started. And that is where the age of technology comes in! Over the past few months I have been using a very popular mobile app called Mint by Intuit to help me wrangle in those pesky tasks and hopefully plot a course of financial security. I will be going through some pros and cons of this service and hopefully allow those looking for a way to budget efficiently decide if this product is the right choice for them.

Pros:
  1. The user base is huge! To be honest, the reason that I am reviewing Mint is that it was one of the first apps that showed up when I searched for budgeting tools on the iOS app store. The good news is when an app has a large active user base, the company that manages that platform is more likely to keep the app up-to-date and to respond to suggestions and emerging technologies. This puts users in a good spot since they know that they are syncing their personal financial information with a widely used and respected service and not some shady back-alley app.
  2. It is free! This has to be on this list. An app gets put in many people’s good graces, including mine, when it can be downloaded for free. And the free train doesn’t stop there; the service does not have any premium or “pro” features that require a subscription service, meaning it is a truly free app—not one of those sneaky mostly-free ones.
  3. Automated! Using technology is supposed to make life easier, right? Well in this case, the answer is yes! Once you sync your bank account to this secure application, Mint does the rest! It creates charts and tracks spending patterns automatically and religiously. Before using this app I did not know to the exact percentage point what I was spending on entertainment, but now I do. With the information that is ready at your fingertips immediately after signing up, it is simple to start making plans and adjusting habits to align better with your financial goals. My wife and I were able to see that we were doing super well on some categories (food, clothes, and movies) but could use some work on others (eating out).
Cons:
  1. Ads. While the service is completely free, we do live in a world where money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. As such, Intuit has decided to display banner style ads throughout the app and saturate the “Suggested Investment Products” feature of the app with its own systems. So while I revel in the app’s freeness, I do note that purchasing any other services strictly from the in-app recommendations without any third party advice is probably not the most recommended course of action.
  2. Automated. I know this appears on both lists, but for good reason. The automation does wonders on productivity, but I kept feeling like I was missing out on truly learning how to budget and plan the family’s finances. When the system was doing everything for me I realized that while I had great information now, I hadn’t learned anything. For those that want to learn budgeting, and not have it done for them, there may be better options explored in the future.


All in all Mint is a great product. It looks clean, it is easy to set up and use, and it has provided me with wonderful information that my wife and I have begun to use to our advantage. It truly is important for every family to budget and work toward financial security. With that being said, Mint just may be the right app for you to get on that road to financial success.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

BY JOSHUA HANSEN

Wedding Wednesday: To Register or Not to Register?

The time just keeps flying by. I can’t believe it, but only a month from today I will be getting married! We have gotten a lot more wedding things done which is a huge relief. Just last week my fiancée and I sent out a majority of our invitations. Along with our invitations we had an insert card that said that we were registered at Target.

target couple

Image from here

So, last week we also went and registered at Target. I feel like today, registering at places like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or Kohl’s has become common for bridal showers or weddings. Way back when (your parents can probably remember) no one registered and often times just asked for money. In a way I wish it were more like that today, because really all a new married couple needs is money, but it is seen as tacky asking for it nowadays. I would like to share my experience registering for Target and the pros and cons that happened and it might help you decide whether or not registering is for you.

To begin, registering was tiring. It might sound like a lot of fun running around a department store with a scanner gun, pointing at things on the shelves. I won’t lie; it was fun at the beginning, but eventually all our energy got sucked out of us. Walking around a big store like Target can get tiring and annoying, especially when you can’t find the aisle you need. Eventually it became a chore trying to find the barcode on each item to scan.

By the end, my body was tired from walking around so much and my scrawny pathetic arms were sore from holding the scanning gun, I just wanted to go home. It was fun at the beginning, but the phrase “shop till you drop” became more literal to me at that moment than ever before.

Secondly, we will most likely not get half of the things we registered for that night. I think I have only ever used a registry to buy someone a gift once in my life. It’s sad but true; probably more than half your guests won’t use your registry to find you a gift. Thankfully, you will still get things you need and there will be those people who will get you a gift card or just give you money. At this point in your life when you don’t have much, any gift is going to be of help. My dilemma was, however, if I probably won’t get 75% of the things I asked for on my registry was it even worth it? I would have been easier not to make one at all.

 

The last thing I learned on my registering adventure was actually a positive thing that might trump all the negativity of the situation. Going and registering made me more excited to be married to my best friend and it gave me a dose of reality. Making the list before the trip and deciding what we needed for our new lives together made me excited to have my own “home” (if you can call a college apartment home). I’m so excited to share a living space with my new companion and be able to decorate it how I want and have the items that I want. It also opened my eyes to what two people require to live comfortably and what may not necessarily be needed for a comfortable and humble beginning. It was an enlightening experience that will most definitely help us in the future.

Image from here

Image from here


I still haven’t decided whether or not having a registry was worth it. Maybe I will make up my mind after opening the presents and seeing what we got and what we still need. It still was an interesting experience and something I’m not sure I would want to pass up, but I leave it to you to decide.

By Bryn Adams