Mint vs. YNAB – Which Budgeting App Is Better?

Daniel Penzing
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About Mint

Mint has been around for many years and is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there and let’s face it, it’s free.

Mint is a web-based service that essentially sits in your browser and tracks your finances as you add transactions.

Mint is incredibly easy to use, and you can add transactions either by manually typing the information or using your smartphone to take a picture of the check or electronic transfer of funds.

The transfer information is then entered into your account.

You can set up all your alerts, goals and budgeting options directly from your computer.

The best thing about Mint is that it is accessible anywhere any time, so you can check and monitor your finances from any computer anywhere.

Mint is a great tool for keeping you on track and helping you to get your financial life under control.

About YNAB

With its focus on eliminating debt, YNAB is part of a subclass of personal finance apps that emphasize finding ways to stop spending money, which leads to greater financial security and freedom. It considers human behavior in the context of budgeting. There are four ways in which your spending is reflected in its system:

{1}. Buffer: This is a set amount that you allocate for needs in each area. These may include clothing, transportation, food, or housing.
{2}. Goals: Goals are smaller, measurable categories to help you reach your bigger financial goals. You might want to get a new credit card or pay off a loan. These can be measured in terms of months or years.
{3}. Allowances: These give you a way to allocate funds for various areas like going out to eat or getting your hair done.
{4}. Your Budget. This is the big picture view of your entire financial situation.

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A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about how I use the budgeting app YNAB to slice and dice my money. A lot of people who read that post were interested in learning more about YNAB, and I found myself replying to a lot of the same questions. To help everyone get a bird’s-eye view of how to use YNAB, I’ve compiled a lot of the more common questions I received into this post.

I’ve been a YNAB user for about 6 years. I’ve used it while saving for house down payments and while saving for my wedding. I’ve used it while paying off student loans and credit cards. I’ve used it to pay for trips and home improvement projects and Christmas gifts and long weekends away. And while I don’t use it anymore, my current husband and I use YNAB to keep track of our joint funds.

Screenshots

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about how I use the budgeting app YNAB to slice and dice my money. A lot of people who read that post were interested in learning more about YNAB, and I found myself replying to a lot of the same questions. To help everyone get a bird’s-eye view of how to use YNAB, I’ve compiled a lot of the more common questions I received into this post.

I’ve been a YNAB user for about 6 years. I’ve used it while saving for house down payments and while saving for my wedding. I’ve used it while paying off student loans and credit cards. I’ve used it to pay for trips and home improvement projects and Christmas gifts and long weekends away. And while I don’t use it anymore, my current husband and I use YNAB to keep track of our joint funds.

Features Both YNAB and Mint Offer

Both YNAB and Mint have lengthy lists of features that set them apart from other budgeting apps. They both offer convenient and easy-to-use budgeting options. Your budget is created and organized and it’s a breeze to add transactions. Both apps also have integrated reports to give you a clear picture of your spending habits.

Most importantly, both YNAB and Mint will give you suggestions for the best ways to attack your debt and help you finally get out from under it.

These two budgeting tools will also help you track your financial progress – whether you’re looking to save more money or you’re trying to pay off more debt. And both apps allow you to earn money back when you shop. You get cash back, rewards points, miles or other incentives. They’re basically pay you to shop!

As for the specific features they both offer, here’s a list of the most important ones:

Where Mint and YNAB Differ

While both of these programs have an emphasis on tracking your money’s time in your pocket, Mint’s interface is much more financially-focused. In addition to basic budgeting functionality, it gives you more information about your portfolio, retirement, other investments, and how much you can expect to access each month, as well as more than 40 types of charts and reports. The focus on data-driven and goal-oriented money management is appealing to goal-oriented business owners, but less so to those who just want to keep on top of their deposits.

YNAB, on the other hand, is more concerned with daily use. It might be helpful in the short-term, but over time, you may find that you need more advanced features, like an in-depth financial report, that aren’t offered in the free version.

The Comparison of Mint and YNAB

Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there. It has several calculators, good security, and a simplistic design. However, the free version is also a bit limited, and some people find that monthly tracking can be challenging. YNAB is the other option. They offer the app for desktop and mobile, and they claim that one of the reasons for their popularity is because of their four rules.

Budgeting

App Comparison: Mint vs YNAB

Synchronization

Cost

S of Mint vs. YNAB

Mint and YNAB are both great budgeting systems that have plenty of similarities. If you’re interested in either one, I’ll give a few reasons why they’re both popular budgeting systems, and why I think Mint is the best budgeting program available.

Let’s start with the similarities. Both have apps that allow you to use your phone or tablet as a wallet to quickly check your balances. Both apps allow you to set budgets and even specify the exact amount you’re spending on various categories. As far as budgeting apps go, they seem about the same.

So why choose one over the other? In this post, I’ll be looking at a few different reasons why Mint could be the perfect budgeting program for you.

Organization

Mint allows you to add your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, loans and mortgages to help keep you on track financially. On top of that, you can sync your existing accounts and you can even import bank statements if you want. You can also add additional information to help you track your spending.

This feature is especially useful when you have different types of accounts that make it difficult to keep track of how much cash you have.

Customer Service and Education

One of the key perks of using the YNAB software is their unparalleled customer service and educational resources. Both YNAB and Mint have customer support and provide information about budgeting and money management via their websites and blogs. YNAB has additional budgeting courses you can take online.

Security

“Security is the sense that no one can hurt you.” This quotation sums up how one of the popular budgeting tool, You Need a Budget (YNAB), differentiates itself from Moneydance, its nearest competitor.

While the two applications offer similar features, the main difference is in their financial statement and budgeting software.

Moneydance is a desktop application, while YNAB feels like a mobile application, enabling users to sync their financial information with a phone or tablet through Dropbox and online.

If desktop applications are more your style, Moneydance is a better choice. After all, they’re more secure when you accidentally close a window. Also, if you’re working from a laptop, you need to be plugged into a power supply. And though YNAB comes with mobile applications, it has tremendous limitations compared to Moneydance.

Mobile Access

The YNAB (You Need a Budget) app allows you to access your budget from anywhere on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. This will help keep your finances close whether you are at the computer, chilling with your significant other or just relaxing at home.

Summary

First, some background on YNAB. YNAB stands for “You Need A Budget” and the company has a great reputation online. The app is free and easy to use if you are willing to put in a little work. In fact, YNAB was my first budget app.

YNAB (and even more so, a planner system like Mint) gives you accuracy in your spending because you are required to categorize your purchases if you want to reconcile them correctly. You also need to have a long-term plan for your spending for it to count towards your overall goals. This is the biggest benefit of YNAB.

YNAB is flexible, so you can either use the online or mobile app to budget and make the adjustments (the same applies to Mint). If you are using a mobile device, You Need A Budget includes support so you can add transactions on the go. You can use the YNAB data file to download your transactions directly from your bank, or you can add a YNAB account and budget from your bank account.

Which Is Better?

Mint or YNAB?

Everyone needs their budgeting software to work a little differently. The better it works for you, the more likely you are to keep using it.

This is why so many different software options exist. Most of them offer multiple features and ways to set them up. This list compares two of the more popular budgeting apps: Mint and YNAB.

The best way to choose the app that’s best for you is to decide which features are most important to you. So let’s start by taking a look at what each one offers.