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Mint Lays Bare Local Spending Patterns

Personal finance platform Mint.com just launched a new feature that might be as useful to marketers as consumers. Dubbed Mint Data, the feature aggregates anonymous spending data from Mint's more than 4 million users to deliver what it calls "an unprecedented real-time economic index." Mint Data breaks down spending habits across more than 300 U.S. cities by category, specific business and as an overview of the city itself. "Now, we have enough users in enough cities across America to give a distinct, anonymous look at the country's economy down to the city level," Mint Founder Aaron Patzer tells ReadWriteWeb.

"What do we spend on restaurants? Which stores are a particular town's favorites? How has the downturn affected things like coffee or bars?" According to ReadWriteWeb's Mike Melanson, the new feature is far superior to those cost averages so popular among local business directories -- usually written as "$," "$$," "$$$," and so forth. "Never mind $ or $$, I want to know that the average charge at Bouldin Creek Café ... is going to be $11.69," Melanson writes.

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