- Evaluate your spending in 2015
- Monitor your spending in 2016
I am a big user and supporter of Mint.com. They connect all your financial accounts (you need to log in with your credentials) so you can see almost ALL your transactions in one place.
I suggest you export all your 2015 transactions and evaluate how you were spending to see where you can spend less (or just be shocked at how much you spend in a certain category). Since Mint currently does not offer transaction exports with Top Category (just subcategories), head over to my Mint support response thread here for the default list and how to pivot everything. From this I learned: I spend way too much on “Food & Dining > Restaurants” and “Misc > Family (my custom subcategory)”.
Most people are afraid to link up financial accounts for fear of being hacked. I’m not a technology security expert, but in the four years I have been using Mint, there has been zero problems with security. Mint pulls the transaction info from each of your accounts and does not display any login usernames or passwords.
I have connected all my possible financial accounts so I can view everything in one place. I know my “net asset” balance at any given point.