Mint vs YNAB 2024: Which budgeting app should you choose?

Jeremy Biberdorf
By: Jeremy Biberdorf
 

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Managing budgets and keeping track of income and expenses are fundamental financial skills. By keeping a record of your spending, you get a clear picture of your financial habits, identifying areas to increase savings.

Thankfully, there are popular budgeting apps like Mint and You Need a Budget (YNAB) that make this task a breeze. Let’s break down the two platforms individually, compare them, and come to a decision on which one is the better option.

For starters:

Mint  is Better for: YNAB is Better for:
Credit score monitoringZero-based budgeting approach
Investment trackingGoal tracking for financial goals
Managing multiple financial accountsSimplified budget categories and spending categories

Both Mint and YNAB provide a detailed breakdown of your spending habits and enable you to set financial goals. They offer invaluable tools to gain control over your money goals in a user-friendly way.

Mint Logo YNAB Logo
Annual Subscription Fees Basic Service Free with ads, $16.99/month for premium access $11.99/month or $84/year
Best Use Budgeting, Credit Score Monitoring, Investment Tracking Budgeting & Financial Planning
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Modest Money Overall Rating
4.0 rating based on 5 ratings
4.5 rating based on 5 ratings

Mint vs YNAB: Determining Factors

In assessing the overall effectiveness and suitability of these platforms –– it’s crucial to consider a variety of factors. These determining factors encompass the core functionality of these apps and how well they align with your financial goals and budgeting style.

As such, we’ll be delving into key aspects such as the budgeting approach, the ease of use, and the cost of subscription to provide a comprehensive comparison.

Factor 1: Budgeting Approach and Features

The approach to budgeting and the features offered by budgeting tools are key factors in managing personal finances effectively.

YNAB is Preferable to Mint:

  • YNAB uses a zero-based budgeting strategy that assigns every dollar a job.
  • It offers goal tracking tools to keep you on track for your savings goals.
  • It helps you prepare for future expenses with its ‘True Expenses’ feature.

Mint: Budgeting Approach and Features

Mint provides an overall view of your financial picture, tracking bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. Mint also offers free credit score monitoring –– allowing users to understand how their spending habits affect their credit scores.

However, the budgeting method may not be as focused or intuitive as YNAB’s approach, especially for beginners.

YNAB: Budgeting Approach and Features

YNAB, with its zero-based budgeting approach, ensures every dollar has a purpose in your budget. This approach keeps you in constant touch with your budget, making you more aware of your spending habits. The ‘True Expenses’ feature prepares you for future expenses, smoothing out your cash flow. You can set up budgeting goals and see your progress over time, providing a sense of control and clarity in your personal finances.

For a deeper dive into YNAB, check out our full review.

Factor 2: Ease of Use and Interface

A user-friendly interface that allows seamless navigation and efficient operation is a vital factor in choosing a budgeting app.

YNAB is Preferable to Mint:

  • YNAB’s interface is clean, intuitive, and straightforward to use.
  • YNAB offers excellent customer support, including live webinars, help docs, and a responsive support team.

Mint: Complex Interface

Mint offers a comprehensive interface displaying your financial accounts, budgets, credit score, and even potential offers from financial institutions.

While this can be helpful for some, others may find it overwhelming and cluttered. The sheer amount of information might detract from focusing on budgeting goals.

YNAB: Ease of Use and Interface

YNAB shines with its simple and intuitive interface. Its main focus is on budgeting, ensuring a distraction-free experience. This focus makes it easy for users to quickly familiarize themselves with the app’s features and tools.

YNAB’s customer support is commendable, providing helpful resources and responsive assistance for a smooth user experience.

Factor 3: Subscription Cost

The cost of a budgeting tool is a significant factor as it needs to fit within your budget while meeting your budgeting needs.

YNAB is Preferable to Mint:

  • YNAB offers a 34-day free trial, allowing users to fully explore its features before committing.
  • Although YNAB has an annual subscription fee, its robust features justify the cost for many users.

Mint: Subscription Cost

While Mint does offer a free version, it comes with ads that can be intrusive. The ad-free experience comes with a premium version, which costs $16.99/month.

However, the budgeting features it offers might not be as comprehensive as those found in YNAB.

YNAB: Subscription Cost

YNAB offers a monthly subscription at $11.99 or an annual subscription at $84. That equates to just $7/month. They also offer a generous 34-day free trial –– giving users ample time to explore the features and functionalities.

While Mint does have a free version with ads –– many users find the comprehensive budgeting features and supportive customer service of YNAB to be worth the cost.

Bottom Line: Mint vs YNAB

Choosing between Mint and YNAB largely depends on your budgeting needs and financial goals.

Mint’s broad overview of financial accounts and its free base version can be beneficial for users looking to track their finances across multiple platforms. The ability to monitor credit scores and investments in one place might be particularly helpful for those with diverse financial portfolios.

However, if your primary goal is to implement a robust and hands-on budgeting system, YNAB’s focused zero-based budgeting approach could provide more value. Despite its subscription cost, YNAB offers a streamlined interface, excellent customer support, and goal-tracking features that can contribute significantly to improving your financial health.

Therefore, if budgeting and financial planning are your priorities, YNAB may be the better choice. Ultimately, it’s essential to identify your personal financial needs and goals to make the best decision. Consider taking advantage of YNAB’s free trial now –– click here to get started.

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Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He’s a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.