16 Nov 2023 Mint Alternatives: Making Cents of the Options
By now you have likely heard the news that Mint, the well-known budgeting app, is discontinuing at the end of the year. Part of it will be rolled into Credit Karma (owned by Intuit), but most of the budgeting features will cease to exist. It has been around since 2006 and we know of many clients that have been using it for over a decade at this point.
It is unfortunate that this is happening, but it provides a good opportunity to revisit the budgeting options. I will explore them in depth below but will give a quick TLDR (too long; didn’t read) before. Please note if you have long used Mint, you can still go in and download your entire history to Excel. See here.
TLDR: Monarch will be the option most similar to Mint from a user interface and features perspective, but it does cost $99.99 / year instead of being free like Mint. If you want an envelope-based budget system (or zero-based budgeting) that several people in the Beacon office utilize, check out You Need a Budget ($99 / year). A free option, if you are a Beacon client, is to utilize our financial planning software RightCapital. I will briefly touch on the plethora of other options at the end.
While there are a lot of options and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, the important part is picking one and sticking with it. Being aware of your budget over time will benefit you and your long-term financial plan. It can not only make you aware of categories you are overspending, but can also free you up to spend more on the areas you really value.
- Pricing: $99.99 / year or $14.99 / month (50% off with code MINT50 and also 30-day free trial)
- Account Linking: Multiple sources (Plaid, Finicity, and MX)
- Founded: 2018
- App and Desktop
- Monarch will seem the most similar to Mint because of its founding – it was founded by Val Agostino, the first product manager at Mint. It offers an easy import of transaction history from Mint. You will need to link or manually add accounts for it to begin tracking transactions and your net worth over time. It has a simple interface that makes clear the different sections that you can choose from. You will create your customized budget in the app and then as transactions pull through you will be alerted as you go over categories. It gives a customizable dashboard so you can add/remove the sections you want to see most. For the data nerds out there, they also have the option to see a Sankey diagram of your cash flows. If you want the option that feels familiar and you don’t mind the cost, go with Monarch.
- Pricing: $99 / year or $14.99 / month (34-day free trial)
- Account Linking: Plaid
- Founded: 2004
- App and Desktop
- If you are coming from Mint and have never experienced an envelope-based budget system, YNAB will certainly take some getting used to. You can learn more about how it works here, but the gist of their philosophy is that every dollar has a job. It only allows you to budget dollars that are actually in your accounts, think of having to stuff envelopes with money (you cannot put an IOU in there). Compared to Mint and Monarch, with YNAB you have to actively assign new money as it comes in vs setting a budget and letting the software track it for you. As previously mentioned, a few of us in the Beacon office actively use and enjoy YNAB. The last part of the Beacon mission statement is “so money can be a blessing” and tracking every dollar will certainly help you know if money is that for you in your life. For the right people that don’t mind learning the zero-based budgeting approach, YNAB is a great option.
- Pricing: No cost to Beacon clients (you must work with an Advisor to access this site)
- Account Linking: Yodlee
- Founded: 2015
- App and Desktop
- RightCapital is mainly a financial planning platform for advisors to work with clients, but it does provide budget options similar to Mint. Unlike Monarch and YNAB though, you cannot manually enter transactions and must link at least one account to access these features. Some of the features are a little more basic in comparison, but it does a great job of giving an overall budget picture. Besides being free, another benefit to RightCapital is that it can be a central hub for all things personal finances for you and your family. We are working through all of our clients having access to this program.
If you begin to search for budgeting options, you will likely be quickly overwhelmed with paralysis by analysis. Here is a quick rundown of the others out there. EveryDollar (from Dave Ramsey) and Goodbudget are both envelope-based budgeting, but not as seamless or intuitive as YNAB in my opinion. Tiller is likely the most customizable if you are interested in that, but is more equivalent to a fancy Excel spreadsheet. Copilot Money is probably the newest option (launched in 2020) and has a sleek interface but is mostly app based and does not have a long track record yet. Simplifi by Quicken, Rocket Money, and Empower have similar functionality to Mint, but could potentially suffer the same fate since they are also not the main product for their company.
There will always be new and fancy options, but at the end of the day a budget is a budget. Whichever of these options helps you understand your spending better is the ideal option.
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