When it comes to budgeting, there can be two difficult parts. First, you have to make the budget, and then you have to stick with it! Using budgeting apps can make the difference between staying on track with your finances even when you’re on the go.
Two of the most prominent front runners in the budgeting app world are Mint and You Need a Budget, or YNAB. On the surface, it may seem that they do the same thing, which is helping you make and stick to a budget. How can you choose between them? Here’s what you need to look at when it comes to YNAB vs Mint.
Mint comes with a very affordable price tag of zero dollars. That’s right; it costs nothing to use Mint! However, this freedom has a different kind of price: advertising. Mint makes its money by referring users to other companies, such as investment firms, insurance companies, and banks. While the advertising is not necessarily invasive, it is always there and can get annoying.
YNAB is free for the first 34 days, but after that, users pay an annual fee of $83.99 per year, or about $7 per month if you pay annually. If you’d like to pay monthly, the cost is $11.99 per month. But don’t let the price deter you, YNAB has a lot to offer.
By linking all of your accounts to Mint, each transaction is downloaded, and you can categorize it and easily see where your money has gone for the month. It doesn’t take much time to upload each transaction, and many transactions Mint can even label for you. In this way, it’s more reactive than proactive. While it doesn’t take much time to use, it can be a nearly hands-off approach that might not help you save any money or change your spending habits.
On the other hand, YNAB makes you give every dollar a job. It asks you to budget how you will spend every cent of your paycheck, whether that’s toward bills, living expenses, debt, or savings. You will go through your transactions and label each one to truly balance your budget. This hands-on experience keeps your budget in the forefront of your mind and helps you catch any overspending. If you overspend in one category, you’ll have to reduce your spending in another.
YNAB also has categories to help you save for significant future expenses, like a vacation or Christmas gifts. Once you’ve set a goal, you can save toward it each month and easily see how far you are from your goal and if you’re on track.
Because of the nearly hands-off approach, Mint is easy to understand and use. This can save you time when you’re working on your budget since Mint can automatically categorize and label your transactions.
YNAB has a bit of a learning curve, and because you need to deal with each transaction, it does take some time each month to use. However, once you understand how it works, you should be able to quickly move through your budget.
Customer Support: YNAB vs Mint
Mint’s customer service is essentially a set of articles that you can browse to try to find the answer to your questions.
YNAB has podcasts, articles, YouTube videos, a user forum, and free workshops available to help users with their questions. They put out a weekly newsletter and have a blog as well. And, as if all of those options weren’t enough, they also offer personal customer support.
Both Mint and YNAB’s user interfaces are clean and easy to use. While Mint does have ads, they are easy to ignore. If you link all of your accounts with Mint, it can give you a big picture idea of your financial picture. It can even tell you your net worth and your credit score. You’ll see your big picture financial status when you log in and a list of upcoming bills, so you don’t miss them!
YNAB, on the other hand, spends more time focusing on your actual budget. When you log into your account, you’re immediately met with your budget situation, including an overview of how much money you have left to budget.
Conclusion: YNAB or Mint?
Both of these apps are fantastic tools that you can use to help you control your spending. Mint may be a better choice if you’ve already nailed down a budget and have experience sticking with it over the long term. YNAB might be the best choice for you if you really want to tame your spending habits and get into the nitty-gritty of budgeting consistently.
You can’t go wrong in the fight of YNAB vs Mint. Budgeting is a life-long learning process, and the important thing is doing it consistently. Using either one of these apps is a great step towards living on a budget and making good financial decisions.