YNAB and Mint: What Are The Differences

Mint

Mint Is Now QuickenWhile there are similarities between YNAB (You Need A Budget) software and Mint, there are differences that will help you decide between the two. Of course, one of the similarities is that both are used for establishing budgets. They also offer availability to mobile devices and they both offer customer support. However, the differences are many.

Differences

v  The obvious difference is that Mint is offered online and YNAB is downloaded onto your computer.

v  Mint is offered free but does have all manner of ads for brokerages, life insurance, credit cards, and bank accounts…constantly bombarding the user. YNAB does run about $60 but provides a secure and safe way to budget you money without all the mumbo-gumbo of advertisers.

v  Mint offers budgeting while YNAB offers a flexible plan for breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle, getting out of debt, and saving more money.

v  Mint tells you where you have been and YNAB tells you where you are going as far as budgeting in concerned. YNAB users are paying off all their debt, building emergency funds, and investing for their future.

v  Mint connects directly to your bank and allows you to see real-time transactions and balances all in one place. YNAB does not directly connect to your bank on purpose.  Directly connecting to your bank kills awareness by encouraging a “set it and forget it” mentality that allows you to not revisit your budget for months, leaving you right back where you started. Instead, YNAB will import transactions you download from your bank to make sure you’ve captured every transaction in your budget.

v  Mint will track investments with easy to read charts and graphs. YNAB does not offer this feature because it is not necessary for good budgeting. YNAB knows if you handle your cash flow—the basic ins and outs—the rest of your money takes care of itself. When you follow the YNAB Method, you can accelerate your debt pay-down strategy, and have more to invest and save.

So there you have it. These are probably not the only differences but they are the major ones. So the decision is yours. If you want an online program that offers budgeting as well as all manner of reporting tools which you may or may not use, then Mint is for you. If you want budgeting software that provides a “living” budget where you plan ahead, pay off your debts, and eventually start living off last month’s income, then YNAB is for you. The choice is yours.

Personal Finance Software: Is Mint For You

Mint

budgeting softwareIf you have ever been hunting for budget software, you are aware of the vast amount of options for this topic. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Like human beings, they are not infallible. However, some are better used for accounting and others are perfect for budgeting. With that being said, one of these systems is called Mint.

About The Application

Mint.com is by far one of the flashiest, sleekest, most-web-2.0-ish personal finance applications to hit the market in quite some time. It was founded by Aaron Patzer in November of 2006. It was launched into the stratosphere of popularity after winning the TechCrunch50 conference. Mint is a free application and for a free one, this application boasts some very fine functionality.

There are a few things to know about Mint:

  • It is all about synchronizing with your bank and other financial institutions.
  • Mint tries its very best to do absolutely everything for you.
  • Mint’s revenue model is solely from two sources, the advertisers on their site and interested third parties that represent marketers from all types of industries.

The set-up with Mint is easy to use, does auto-categorization fairly well, and presents data very nicely. It also has a recommendation engine that can be very useful.

While it is a good program, there are some drawbacks. The actual “money management” with Mint is minimal. If you’re looking to really dig in and plan how to spend your money, Mint is not for you. Mint focuses you on your past spending analysis, not forward-thinking planning. Also, the support is lacking. They try to have forums but the members are extremely inactive.

Updates To The System

There are a number of good improvements that have been made to Mint, a couple of which drastically improves the overall appeal of the system.

  • One of the greatest improvements is in editing transactions. Mint has made editing completely keyboard friendly instead of having to use your mouse to edit.
  • Another essential improvement was adding a customizable category addition. Now you can add your own spending categories.
  •  Mint has added a new recommendation tool that deals with Rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA. This can be very beneficial for anyone.
  • Mint has added better filters which have improved the way in which you view your data.
  • Mint has improved their graphs and added two new ones showing your net worth and net income. They also added some good filters that can show the data according to category or merchant.
  • Mint has also made some great improvements to their budget planning tool.

With these added improvements, Mint is definitely worth a try.

Getting Started With Personal Finance Software

Mint, Mvelopes, Personal Finance Software, YNAB

personal finance softwareIt’s clear with the popularity of getting out of debt and radio shows like the Dave Ramsey show, debt-fueled “retail therapy” and keeping up with the Jones are losing popularity when compared with the freedom people are gaining by getting out of debt. Money is tighter than ever and people everywhere are looking for ways to maximize each dollar that finds it’s way into their checking account.  The most practical way to make that happen is still by creating and managing a personal budget.  While a basic spreadsheet will still work to accomplish this task, many are turning to technology to make the work easier, faster and more effective.

So what is the latest in personal finance software?  Which budgeting software tools are leading the others?  How much do they cost?  Below are listed three of the most popular money management software packages, one from each type of payment option.

One Time Cost Personal Finance Software

YNAB is considered by many as the best personal finance application currently available.  It uses the very effective envelope budgeting approach that is built into a 4 step “YNAB methodology” to focus users on the tasks that will actually make a difference in the way they manage their money.   Those who are concerned about security will like YNAB too because it goes against the grain by NOT connecting to your financial institution. YNAB comes with a one time $60 price, but you can try it out with a 34 day free trial.

Monthly Subscription Personal Finance Software

Mvelopes is an online, flash-based financial application that is based on the envelope method of money management (you place your money in envelopes such as ‘groceries’, ‘rent’, and ‘entertainment’ and then spend as appropriate from those envelopes. Mvelopes carries $7-12 monthly fee based on how long you sign up for after your initial 14 day free trial.

Free Personal Finance Software

Mint.com is one of the better money management software tools.  It gives a good snapshot of net worth and personal spending.  It is definitely the flashiest, sleekest, most web 2.0ish of the personal financial applications out there. Mint carries no up front fee or monthly subscription.

personal finance softwareIt is true these three receive most of the attention, but there are many more options out there to consider.  While most the personal accounting software tools are not free, many (like the two above) do offer free trials that will enable you to give them a test run before making a long term commitment.  Keep in mind that setting up your finances can be a pain, so it might just be worth it to read the reviews and educate yourself prior to dropping money and time on a solutions for yourself. Doing your homework is likely to get the result you desire.  These 3 personal finance software suggestions are by no means a comprehensive list. There are many more great options (I’ve reviewed over 20 so far) out there to choose from. If you are interested in seeing a larger list of available options for your home budget software, check out my reviews for the best Mac and Windows solutions.

 

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