Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today's Around the Net

Around the Net - March 3rd 2009Mint

Sumolounge - SumoSac Gigantor

Talk about the ultimate in gaming comfort... I'd just love to have one of these sitting in front of my plasma.  Or everywhere throughout my apartment.  The only thing holding me back?  The $400 price tag; a bit hefty for a bean bag if you ask me.

How NOT to Prepare for the LSAT

I myself hope to never have to take the LSAT, but I've got plenty of friends who will be taking it or have already taken it in the past.
1.[Do not] Focus on completing as many LSAT PrepTests as possible because you’ll get better with time.
Sure, it’s great to get through dozens of PrepTests. However, if you want to enjoy the full benefit of you must review each to determine your areas of strength and weakness. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy the full benefit of doing these exams.

This and ten more tips.  Some of which seem a bit duh and some being things which I wouldn't think would make that much of a difference.

Mint.com - Financial Management & Planning

I've been using Mint.com for my finances for over a year now.  It was the idea of tracking all of my transactions across all accounts that encouraged me to go with a credit card instead of a debit card for all my purchases, eventually to open up a new bank account going with one of the bigs guys instead of my old credit union, to open up a brokerage account with my new bank, and to even start following my student loans (I had no idea how much I'd actually racked up).  Mint is safe and works with most all major banks and credit cards.  You simply select the organization/type and input the required information for logging in (username, account#, password, security questions, etc.).  After that mint can run itself.  It will automatically update all of your accounts daily, or even more often if you like, and will show you how much you are spending in certain categories.  Like most similar systems the categories are only as good as they are programmed to be: meaning if you buy a soda at a gas station it will probably show up as a gas purchase unless you tell it otherwise, which can be done for future purchases as well.  There is also the ability to add in assests like houses and cars, and you can follow your stocks and 401ks in their invest folios.

Where Mint really shines is in its budgeting and alerts features.  Should you like, you can set monthly budgets for yourself in certain categories.  Say you don't want to spend more than $40 in a given month eating fast food, Mint will track these purchases and let you know when you're nearing the edge.  You can even get these alerts on your cell phone.  Similar alerts can be set if there is suspicious activity on an account like a larger than normal purchase or big deposit.  Mint likes to boast that by using their software they can actually save you money, which by budgeting alone is strictly true, but another neat feature is that they compare your bank and credit card accounts to other available offers.  If they have a credit card with a lower interest rate or higher rewards in their system than you are currently using, they'll be sure to tell you.

I've seen many changes in the time that I've been using Mint.com and most all of them have been for the better.  Mint helps me know where my moneys going without a lot of work on my part.  I just log in every 3-5 days and make sure my transactions are categorized right and that's all.  The only bad thing about Mint is there seem to be some types of banking security which they do not work with.  Many small branches or credit unions seem especially susceptible, but there are plenty of other banking options out there at no cost.  Overall I'm glad I found Mint and its been a great help in my financial life.

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