June 8, 2011

Let's Talk About Free Stuff, Baby (Yes. Again. And yes. Finally.)

Yup. I'm still loving the free stuff. If you recall my last post about f-f-free stuff, you'll remember the Chapters gift card that Aeroplan so kindly send to me for doing really difficult and complicated things like buying gas and having a mortgage. These gems - for Saturday Night at the Movies, chez Mrs - came in the mail yesterday a week ago:

We might have watched Mary Poppins sixteen times already. Possibly.

Swagbucks still rocks my little world on a daily basis - $20 in amazon.com gift cards later, and it's still worth it to wade through the first six or seven search results (that link there is a referral link through me, just so's you know).

What else? These:

Kindly left behind by some previous owner of my once-lovely (so I hear) backyard.

So were these mysterious things:

As were, of course, the peonies (picture Mr wiping imaginary sweat from his brow and loosening his collar in an exaggerated manner). The ants were free, too, and Mom tells me that they're somehow beneficial.

Maybe I shouldn't have flicked this one off after I took the picture then, huh?

But how about the most useful free thing I've come across yet, which would be Mint?

No, not mint. Mint. Wait. Let me back up.

Once upon a time, I made a budget with a spreadsheet. As long as we were paying down and saving and the bank account looked balanced at the end of the month, I was happy.

Then I realized that we were gradually going over budget it major ways (like, the grocery bill). And looked around for something to track my transactions by category so I didn't have to go over bank statements with a green visor on and a pencil between my teeth.

So I - wait for it - spent money on Quicken.


On Quicken.

The least intuitive, hardest to sync with real life program ever invented and sold to chumps like me.

And then - just as I'd stopped even looking at the little red icon staring at me from my desktop because I was scared of how much updating I'd have to do - Mint.com arrived in Canada.

[sound of angels singing]

Free. Intuitive. Pretty.

And so, so useful to money nerds like me.

The best part is that Mint automatically updates all of my banking, investments and lending in one spot, even at different institutions in different countries. And because you can't do any transactions, no one's going to hack in and steal all $47 dollars. Because they can't.

Holy cow, that was long.

But hey - it was free.