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I have student loans and an auto loan that is set up as as a "pay off my debt" goal in Mint. I also have a "pay off my credit cards" goal. And finally, I have a savings goal as well.

I like the Goals feature as it helps me keep track of how I'm doing on those things, and it considers those goals as part of the budget.

However, I realized that in my budget within Mint, I already have money regularly budgeted towards the actual "Student Loan", "Auto Payment" and "Credit Card Payment" categories, effectively budgeting that money twice (the Goals and the regular budget line items). This skews my budget, saying I have less funds available to work with than I actually do.

If I remove the regular budget items (and leave the goals in place), I see that I now have un-budgeted money, but when the payment transactions for those items get imported (ie. when I make a credit card or loan payment), it counts it against the budget as "Everything Else" instead of toward the goals.

What would be the proper way to fix this? I know that I can make certain transactions hidden from budgets and trends, but I'm not sure if that's the best solution, because now I won't get a complete picture of my spending in those places if those transactions are hidden. And I don't want to turn off the goals feature because it's really helpful staying on track of our debt reduction, and it makes complete sense for our goals to be a part of our budget.

How can I properly budget those items while still using the "Goals" feature in Mint?


Here's an example with round numbers, if my explanation wasn't clear:

  • I have Goals set up in Mint for credit cards, auto loan and student loans. The monthly payments towards those goals total $1000.
  • I also have regular category budget items set up for the above items, totaling $1000.
  • Since the goals are already considered part of the budget as well as the category-based budget items, Mint thinks I've budgeted $2000 towards those items, when in fact the real number is $1000.
  • If I remove the regular budget items and just leave the goal, transactions that are categorized as "Credit Card Payment", "Auto Payment", etc. get paced in the "Everything Else" category, instead of towards the goal.
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I'm unclear on your exact setup.

  1. If you have a student loan that is both budgeted and a goal in Mint, you don't need it as a budget. Delete the budget item.

  2. If you want some student loan money to apply to a goal, and some to apply to a budget (eg, you have two different student loans, and one of them is a goal, etc), then that's problematic -- I don't believe that Mint gets any more detailed than the transaction categorization, which would be "Student Loan."

In this case, you may get what you want by excluding the goal from the budget: see https://help.mint.com/Goals/888961391/How-do-I-exclude-goal-contributions-from-my-budget.htm

  • It wouldn't make sense to remove the goals from the budget, as they are in fact part of my budget. I guess my real problem is what I added to my question: if I remove the regular budget items instead of the goals, when the transactions get imported, they count against the budget in "Everything Else" instead of being counted towards the goal they pertain to. – Moses Feb 14 '18 at 14:33
  • Thank you for the edited information. It sounds like you want to exclude the goal from your budget: You have $1000 in goals and $1000 in transactions. You want your overall budget to be reduced by $1000, not $2000. So what is the problem with excluding the goals from the budget? – Magua Feb 14 '18 at 15:51
  • I went ahead and did that and I guess it does make sense. The goals still appear, but they aren't counted towards the budget, and I just matched the category budgets to the amounts budgeted in the goals, as appropriate and it looks balanced. That works, I suppose. – Moses Feb 14 '18 at 15:52
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I think what you need to do is to break these up into minimum payments in the budget and extra payments as your goal.

Based on your example:

These would be budget items: CC min payment: 100 SL min payment: 250 Car min payment: 300

This would be a goal item: Debt Pay down Goal: 350

Although most would agree to do a fresh budget each and every month none of the budget items would change drastically. The CC min payment should go down, but not by terribly much.

Also it is normally best to focus on one debt at a time so you can rename that debt pay down goal to the current debt you are working on. Both the debt snowball method and debt avalanche method advocates paying on one debt until it is done. I've not heard of one that advocates paying a little bit extra on each. That, it would seem to me, would not be very effective.

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I had the same problem and found this KB was helpful!

https://help.mint.com/Goals/888961391/How-do-I-exclude-goal-contributions-from-my-budget.htm

  1. Click the Budgets tab.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, hover your mouse over the goal and click on Edit Details.
  3. Click "My contribution includes income from other sources"
  4. From here you can choose to exclude the goal (all, or a specific amount) from your budget calculations.
  • We discourage link-only answers as links tend to rot, (break over time). Please offer a small citation from the site to summarize its best points. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Apr 17 '18 at 9:46
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I have a similar problem related to saving and investing. As with loan payments, setting up a budget and a Goal will double-pull from your budget.

I also like using and tracking against the Goals feature, so I exclude my savings and Roth IRA "purchases" from my budget by categorizing them as transfers. Through some mental loopholes, this works for me. I'm effectively "transferring" my money to myself in another bucket. I believe this would work just fine for student loans as well.

Long story short:

  1. Delete the budget line for student loans
  2. Keep the Goal, and adjust your monthly contribution from the Goals page as needed (I change mine almost every month, as my budget allows - yes, this sometimes shifts the Goal timeline, but I don't find it problematic)
  3. Categorize your loan payments as transfers

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