Do you use Mint to track your expenses? Find out how to take a good look at your Mint data in Vizable with these easy steps. (And see this recipe in action on the Vizable blog!)
Have I Really Cut Back on Fast Food? Following the Money with My Mint Data
by Olivia Xu, Software Engineer
I am a big fan of Mint. To me, understanding my personal financial data is the first step toward spending money wisely.
Having used Mint for years, I wanted to dig deeper into my data. More specifically, I wanted to see just how much I spent on fast food. You see, one of my 2015 resolutions was to cut back on unhealthy food.
Mint does provide some pre-made visualizations, but it doesn’t let users ask and answer their own questions of the data. Without interactivity, I can’t gain useful insights into smaller expenses like dining if it’s blended with huge expenses like rent. I’m sure I’m not alone.
So I decided to use Vizable to explore my Mint data.
How to Connect to Your Mint Data
In the above picture, there’s a blue link that reads “export to CSV.” You don’t want that. That’s the aggregated data I was talking about, the one that only lends preset insights.
Instead, log in to Mint.com and choose Transactions up top. You will see a whole page of recent transactions.
If you want, filter your transactions based on category or download all your data at once. Find the Export link at the bottom of the Transactions page.
The best part? No formatting required. Just open the exported CSV in Vizable and watch your finances look and behave prettier than they ever have.
Getting your data into Vizable depends on the device you used to log in to Mint.com:
iPad using Safari: Once you tap Export all transactions, just tap Open in… > Copy to Vizable.
Computer: I like using AirDrop to send CSV files to my iPad because it’s speedy. But if you don’t have a Mac, email the file to yourself and open it on your iPad that way.
For even more options for opening your data in Vizable, check out this guide on importing your data.
In my case, I used AirDrop from my Mac to my iPad since it’s so convenient. Choose Open with Vizable after you accept the AirDrop request.
What My Mint Data Shows
Back to my resolution to cut down on fast food. To see how it went, I followed the money.
I went to Time World and included only “fast food” under Category. I filtered out 2016 data so as not to skew the data.
Wow, look at that jump between 2014 and 2015. It seems like making food at home or in the office did help me cut down on fast food expenses in 2015. That’s encouraging.
But not all numbers are down. When I switched to Category World and looked at the average amount spent, I realized I actually spent a little more on average on each fast food meal in 2015.
Once I added “number of records” as a second measure, it became clear that I paid fewer visits to fast food places. That’s probably why I could cut down so much on my fast-food expenses. Now my next challenge is to spend less on each visit.
Seeing my progress toward my goals really helps motivate me. I’m glad Vizable made it so easy for me to see the trends in my fast-food habits. Hopefully I can stay on course, eating healthy and spending wisely, too.
Photo credit: Flickr user r. nial bradshaw
- Mint account
- Log in to mint.com.
- Choose Transactions.
- Scroll down and choose Export All # Transactions.
- Open in Vizable.
This document was generated from the following discussion: Mint Vizable Recipe