Personal finance site Mint launched a new feature Tuesday, a tool inspired by the gaming world. Mint’s “Financial Fitness,” released in private Beta, tracks users’ budgeting efforts, rewarding them with points and achievements, as in Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. The five main categories are “Know your Money,” “Spend Less than you Earn,” “Use Debt Wisely,” “Invest Your Savings,” and “Prepare for the Unexpected.” Within these main categories are subcategories like getting a high yield bank account or avoiding bank


Each task has a specific point total. You get 1000 points for saving money each month and 100 for reviewing your transactions, for example.

The goal is to earn enough points to become 100 percent “Financially Fit.” Certain goals unlock achievements like a gold star or smiley face, and users can see where they stand against other savers like on a “Top Scores” list.

Mint automatically aggregates info from your banking and investment accounts, and home loans, as well as track purchases made through your credit cards, and feeds the results into your score.

For a lot of people, any combination of numbers and gaming is fun, so Mint’s ludic spin on saving should have broad appeal, and the addition of point-driven milestones should make personal finance easier.

“We not only make it easier to understand how to get financially fit, but add a little fun,” said Aaron Patzer, Mint’s founder and CEO.

“Like any goal - from weight loss, to video game domination, or getting a promotion -specific, actionable plans help people stay on track in the short term, and achieve more in the long term,” Patzer added.

Mint was named the “Best Budgeting Site” by Kiplinger’s Magazine, “Editors’ Choice Award” by PC Magazine, a “Top Pick” by Money Magazine and was the winner of 2007’s Techcrunch40.

The personal finance site reached one million users in March, only 18 months after launching.

By Mark Alvarez