Balanced Lifestyle: Mint.com

So I am planning on writing a series of posts about living a balanced and healthy lifestyle and I firmly believe part of that is being able to manage your finances and saving. If you are like me, you like to spend money and moving to New York City did not help me at all. I love shoes, good food, nice clothes (even though I need some major help in the style department, that is entirely another post) and fitness classes so I was in big trouble. I started trying to budget my money on my own and I was having a hard time. Then a friend told me about Mint.com. Yesterday I was surprised to find out a lot of people still don’t know about it! So I felt it was my job to inform you and if you already use Mint.com, I am so proud of you!

“Mint is fresh, intelligent online money management program. Not only is Mint free, it saves you money. While existing personal finance software packages require hours to set up, a passion for accounting (is that possible?) and hours of weekly maintenance, Mint is virtually effortless. It automatically pulls together your bank, credit union and credit card data, and provides up–to–date and amazingly accurate views of your financial—life from the big picture to specific details, in a friendly and intuitive way. In addition, Mint goes beyond visibility and analysis providing personalized money–saving and money–making suggestions. Plus, Mint is proactive—alerting you when you are exceeding your personal budget, have a low balance, need to pay a bill, and more. Mint is safe and secure online money management: we never know your identity and we provide bank–level data security.

How Mint works is you sign up to make a free account, you can connect all your financial accounts in one place (your credit cards, checking/savings account, investments, loans, ect) and they pull all of your information and transactions into one place. You can go through every transaction and categorize it anyway you like. For example I have tags like: work lunch, Company expenses, blog expenses, gym, boyfriend, ect. You can mark what is reimburseable, what is tax related, and the possibilities are endless. You can create budgets and see how much you are spending on what each month.

Mint has been a live saver for me and I could not be happier that there is a program like this out there. If you are worried about privacy you can check out all of the terms and conditions here. But trust me if you need some help getting your finances in order or you want to see how much you are spending on something per month Mint.com is your answer.

Review: New York Health and Racquet Club Cooper Square

So my overall goal is to visit most of the gyms in New York City so you have a good idea of what to expect before you decide which gym would be the best fit for you. Two days ago I visited the Cooper Square location of the New York Health and Racquet Club (NYHRC) and I loved it. NYHRC is by far my favorite health club I have visited thus far, I know I still have a 9 locations to visit after this but they have not disappointed me yet. The Cooper Square location is located right off the 6 train at Astor Place on Cooper Square in between 6th and 7th Streets.

NYHRC is located in the Carl Fischer Building building, that was erected in 1926. It is a beautiful historic building. NYHRC occupies three floors. The first floor holds: free weights, weight machines, the rock climbing wall (which is two stories, it’s  a little small but it gets the job done), the spin studio and their juice bar. The second floor which is more like half a floor holds all of their cardio equipment (all of their cardio equipment is brand new with individual TVS and iPod hook ups) and a few punching bags. The bottom floor has their dance studio, locker rooms and whirl pool with a waterfall.

One of the best things about this club is their staff, everyone was extremely helpful and made sure I was taken care of. I am not even a member and I felt right at home at this club. I went around 6pm and it was not too crowded which was great. The clientele at this location is mixed not too old and not super young but I am sure there are many Cooper Union Students that go here, it’s so close to their school. I think they said this location was 7 years old and it looks great! It was extremely clean and all the machines were up to date. The only thing I would improve is the showers and locker rooms, they were not bad but not the best. They have a great variety of classes at this location which I love and they are the only location with a rock wall and juice bar.

If you are interested in joining NYHRC (and if you don’t have a gym yet, I highly recommend you check it out) go see Joe Oginski, membership consultant, at Cooper Square. He has been the most helpful and nicest membership consultant I have dealt with. He did not jump down my throat about joining, he answered every question and concern I had, and was up front about everything. It was one of the most pleasant experiences I have had with a membership consultant. He even gave me a smoothie at their juice bar!

As for prices until Sunday, February 28th, you can join with no commitment for $99 a month with an initiation fee of $49. If you sign a year contract it will be $99 a month with an initiation fee of $9. All 11 locations are included in this price (most locations have a pool and two of them have sun decks) and that also includes their beach club, yacht, and discounts at their partner Tennis and Golf locations. I heard the price will be going up after February 28th so this is a great time to join. I didn’t want to join another health club but I think I may have to reconsider now.

Images from NYHRC.