Tracking finances is the surest way to manage inflows and outflows, and these days, it is especially critical to watch those outflows (and then wonder how to boost the inflows). It's not an exciting activity, and it's not something you would choose to do on a Saturday night, but it's necessary nonetheless because you do not want a situation where you have an emergency (urgent medical crisis, car breaks down, last minute airplane tickets, etc) but no funds.
If you've heard of Quicken, then you will understand the mint.com concept. Similar to Quicken, mint.com syncs up with all of your checking and savings accounts, your investments accounts, your credit cards and continuously updates your financial picture. The difference here is:
1. It's free (you have to pay for Quicken).
2. Because mint.com is a website, it automatically updates for you (as opposed to in Quicken where you have to initiate the update).
3. The entire layout of the site, the reports, the transactions are all easy to understand, which in turn makes it easy to understand where your money goes.
4. The site emails you with alerts, such as when a fee was assessed, when you have reached your budget limit, etc.
It takes a few minutes to set up (depending on how many accounts you have), but once you've set it up, it is almost fun to visit the site daily for updates to see what you can do immediately to change your financial picture.
And the mint.com logo makes me think of mouthwash every time I see it. Very refreshing indeed.