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- Simple to set up and connect accounts
- Very secure (peace of mind)
- Slick mobile app that works well for daily tracking
- Alerts to help you stay on top of EVERYTHING
- Too many ads (limited to their sponsors)
- Budget based on monthly income only, cannot include starting balance from previous month
- Auto-categorization of transactions is inaccurate, requires manual updating regularly.
- Almost no support (but lots of "help" articles)
When it comes to budgeting apps, Mint has held the top spot for a long time. It started in 2006, boasts over 15 million users, and is owned by the tech giant Intuit.
But how does it stack up as a budgeting tool? Can it really help you save money and hit your goals?
I have used Mint on and off over the past 10 years, and recently jumped back in to give a complete review and see how it stacks up.
What Is Mint.com?
Mint.com is a FREE money management tool that helps you create a budget, track your spending, track your bills, set money goals and see a full snapshot of your finances. It is owned by Intuit, the same company that brought you Quicken and Turbotax. It is ad-supported, so there is no monthly cost to use it.
With over 20 million users, it is one of the most popular budgeting and money management tools on the planet!
It has a HUGE amount of features, especially for a FREE tool:
- Automatically pulls in a categorizes your financial accounts and transactions
- Customizable budgeting tool
- Mobile friendly (iOS and Android App)
- Your Money Trends (Charts & Graphs included!)
- Credit Score Tracking (TransUnion Vantage Score)
- Bill Tracking
- Goal Tracking
- Alerts for almost EVERYTHING! (Email and Push Notifications)
With all these features for FREE, it’s easy to see why it’s the leader in the industry.
But I want to know if it can ACTUALLY help you get on a budget that works, and improve your finances??
Let’s find out!
How Does It Work?
Mint.com connects securely to your financial accounts, and pulls in your account details and transactions. It aggregates all the data into their tool and helps give you a clear picture of where all your money is going.
It takes all your account transactions and shows you spending trends, suggested budgets, and even things like upcoming bills and investment performance.
It a one-stop-shop for all your money details, and though it’s not a perfect tool, it’s a great way to QUICKLY see what the heck is going on with your finances!
This is your Mint Homepage, and shows you an overview of your finances. I recommend customizing this page (in the settings) so you can see the most important details first. Seeing the Accounts, Trends, Budget, and Goals first will help you quickly see what’s going on with your money.
This is where you can see all your transactions across all accounts, or click into each account to see them individually. This is also a great place to edit your transactions in bulk.
I like taking a quick look at this to make sure nothing is out of place, and then updating any transactions that were categorized incorrectly.
A quick way to do this is to check all the boxes next to transactions that need to change, click “Edit Multiple” and then select the appropriate category.
For examples, the below transactions need to change to “Christmas”, so I checked all the boxes and updated the category. SIMPLE!
Keeping an eye on your credit score is a valuable tool, and Mint partners with Transunion Vantagescore to give you a great basic gauge on how you are doing. Note: This is not necessarily the number lenders use for housing, cars, etc.
To get your score, simply fill out the form with the required details. No, it will not ding your credit. Yes, it’s secure (see Is Mint Safe).
Mint used to have a “Bill Pay” feature, but with most bills allowing auto-pay and online bill pay, they did away with that feature. Instead, Mint can track your bills, and alert you when a bill is coming up. This is a great way to track your monthly bills in one place, and see what is coming up.
After adding all your financial accounts, Mint will looks for bills that are recurring.
If it doesn’t find any, you can add them in manually as well.
Simply add your billing account login info, and you will be able to see what’s coming up. You can even add “Offline Bills” to track things like Lawn service, or babysitting.
This feature is SUPER helpful to keep track of things like Cell phone, utilities, and credit card bills.
I will go into more detail on how I recommend setting up the budget later in this review, but here’s a quick overview of how it works.
Once you connect your accounts, Mint pulls previous transaction data (past 3-4 months). This is actually great for the “Past Spending” exercise that I recommend for setting up a proper budget. (note: categories may not be accurate, may need to update manually)
Then go to the “Budgets” tab, and you can start adding the details of your budget. Select “+ Create A Budget” and start with your income. Then add categories for each of your expenses.
You can choose if it’s a monthly expense, infrequent expense, or a one-time expense.
It will let you quickly build a budget, and show your bottom line on the right side.
Goals in Mint are pretty simple. Under the GOALS tab, you select “Add A Goal”, and you can choose from their list, or create your own.
Their pre-built goals have some great features built in, auto-calculating HOW much you need to save monthly, and automatically putting that into your budget.
For example, if I select “Emergency Fund”, it asks me what my Average Monthly Spending is, and how many months of expenses I want to save. If I put in $4,000, and want to save 3 months of expenses, is totals $12,000, and asks when I want to save this by. I select 12 months from now, so it adds the goal to my budget, requiring I save $1,000 per month to reach it in time.
This follows the SMART Goals principles I outline, and is a great way to see REAL numbers attached to your budget.
You can also create a custom goal, and add in your total amount needed, and a finish date, and it will calculate the monthly savings needed.
Mint did add in the ability to add Tasks to each goal as well, though I’m not sure I can find a real use for it.
After you plug in your investment accounts, Mint will show you some basic details on them. It does NOT retrieve your investment performance history, and only starts tracking once it is added.
I mostly use this section to see to total value of all my investment accounts, and how the market has been doing. But it’s very limited and doesn’t have many useful investment features. Things like 401k fee analysis, retirement planning and asset allocation are available in Personal Capital, and is my free tool of choice to get a more accurate picture of my investments (and make sure I’m all set for retirement).
Trends is an AWESOME feature (<- yes, all caps!), and allows you to QUICKLY see where all your money is going.
My personal favorite section is looking at the “Spending By Category” graph.
It’s a quick snapshot of you spending, and a GREAT way to take a look at where ALL your money is actually going.
If you’ve never looked at your spending before, this can be EYE OPENING. I recommend selecting “Last 3 Months” to get an accurate picture of where your money has been going.
And if you want a deeper dive into a category, simply click on the section of the pie chart, and it will break it down further.
For example, if I click on “Food & Dining”, it breaks down into more categories.
Use these trends to review your spending, and see areas you can cut out waste. It’s a MIGHTY budgeting tool, and will help you get your spending in line with your Goals.
Note: If you haven’t gone through your transactions and properly categorized everything, this graph won’t be entirely accurate.
Reminders, Alerts, and Advice
Mint has many alerts and reminders, and can keep you aware of what’s going on with your money. Setting them up can help you stay on top of things like going overbudget, unusual spending, and large purchases.
You can access them under “Settings > Notifications“. Here’s the notifications I recommend setting up.
Alert if your account balance drops below a certain amount (say, $500)
Will notify you if any category is massively overspent.
This one is important. Get an alert when you overspend in any category. This means you should move money from one budget category to the overspent category.
If any interest rate changes.
If you are charged trade commissions (keeps an eye on investment fees)
Let’s you know if you have any bank fees
Get notified when you spend over a single amount in one transaction. This one if good to keep an eye on your accounts.
Get notified when you get paid. Set this amount just below your typical paycheck amount.
Updates on the goals you set.
How Does The Mint App Work?
Mint has a mobile app for iOS and Android, and is how I recommend using this tool on the daily. You can bring your budget on the go, and always have a quick snapshot of your money in your pocket.
There are 4 sections to the mobile app:
- Offers (ads)
The app homepage shows a nice, concise overview of your money. The overview pages shows:
- A few of your most recent transactions
- A snapshot total of all your financial accounts (Cash, Credit Cards, Investments)
- Upcoming bills
- You credit score
- A graph of your budget (kinda worthless)
- A pie chart of your spending
- A bar graph of your Cash Flow (very useful)
You can customize this in the “Settings” section, so you only see what you want. There are a few things (suggested offers, blog, feedback) that you can’t remove, but here’s how I would set it up:
- Credit Score
I mostly take a quick look at the recent transactions, the financial snapshot, and then click on the budget bar to get the ACTUAL details of the budget.
(p.s. the reason I HATE the budget bar is that is show your current spending vs. today’s date……but spending is NOT linear…..just because it’s the 15th of the month does not mean you still have half your money left…..that’s not how bills and spending work. So the graph is worthless to me)
The Budget section is nicely laid out, and even color-coded, to quickly let you know if you are on track or overspending.
You can do some basic editing to your budget here, but I recommend getting your first budget setup using the website on your computer first.
The “Alerts” section shows you alerts based on how you set up your account alerts. It will show if there are any account sync issues, and for me, I set it up to see when I go “Overbudget” or have “High Spending” in any specific category.
This is a way to get quick updates on anything you may want to take action on.
You can’t change any of the Alert settings in the App, but need to use the web version.
This is where Mint places the ads in the app. It’s actually nice that it doesn’t clutter up the rest of the app, as it does on the web version.
They offer Credit Cards, Loans, and Investment options. Once nice thing is that they use your REAL money data to customize the offers, so at least most of the offers are relevant.
The last section allows you to customize your App experience. I recommend customizing your “Overview Settings” to make your homepage look how you want, and setup your Notifications to ping your phone (turn on “push notifications”).
You can also add or remove accounts, and update the App security. I recommend setting up a Pin Code for access, for en extra layer of security.
The phone app is limited in some sections, but overall, it’s a quick way to see how things are going with your money, which is NEVER a bad thing!
The ability to automatically see where all your money is going, and having the app sync you and your spouse will go a LONG way to getting your money right!
How To Budget With Mint – 6 Easy Steps
STEP 1: CREATE A MINT ACCOUNT
First things first, you need to sign up for a Mint.com account. Use your email address, create a password, and you’re connected!
Once you are signed in, Mint will walk you through a basic user profile setup.
Fill in the details to get the most accurate recommendations from Mint, and it will even show how your spending compares to others in your same demographic. And if you’re competitive like me, that’s some quick motivation to get your spending below the national average!
STEP 2: ADD YOUR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS
Once you fill out the profile, it’s time to start adding accounts. Mint partners with thousands of banks, bills and other financial accounts, so if your account has an online login option, Mint mostly likely has it.
To connect your accounts, select the “+ ADD ACCOUNT” option in the top menu, and then you simply find your financial institutions in their search bar.
Mint will then walk you through signing in to your online account. Different institutions connect in different ways, so just follow the on-screen prompts to connect.
Once the accounts are connected, Mint will pull in the transaction history and account balance, and will even pull that data into your “Budget” section as well.
And possibly my favorite feature of Mint, it totals all your assets minus your debts, and will show you your Net Worth!
This is why I recommend connecting EVERY money account you have for the clearest picture of where you stand financially. Connect your banks accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, loans, mortgage, house, cars, etc. to make sure you are 100% IN THE KNOW about your money.
STEP 3: START WITH INCOME
Navigate over to the “Budgets” tab. This is where you will start building your Mint.com budget.
Related -> If you haven’t already, read through my Ultimate Guide on How To Budget. It walks through the EXACT process I use when coach people to get on a budget.
Click on “+ Create A Budget” to add your income first.
Mint will show you your AVERAGE income for the past few months, which is especially helpful if you have a variable income.
Input the total amount you will be earning this month, as Mint only allows you to budget for money earned in the current month.
STEP 4: ADD YOUR BILLS
Now it’s time to add in your expenses. I recommend starting with your Bills first, as those are usually the same month-to-month.
Click on “+ Create A Budget” and start by adding in your housing, utilities, and transportation. Then add in any subscriptions or monthly bills (internet, cell phone) next. Don’t forget to add in any debt payments, such as car payment, student loans, and credit cards.
Make sure to select “Every Month” for your monthly bills, or “Every Few Months” for infrequent bills. When selecting “Every Few Months“, you can tell Mint exactly how often, and how much. Mint will then set aside those dollars in the budget so you have the money available when the bill arrives.
Now your budget might look something like this:
Note: You can add/edit your categories. Simply select “Add/Edit Categories” when looking in the drop-down of categories, and add whatever you want. For example, I added the category “Netflix” to the Entertainment budget section.
Once all your bills are added, it’s time to input your Daily Spending categories.
STEP 5: ADD DAILY SPENDING
Now that you’re bills are added, it’s time to add in your daily spending categories. These are the day-to-day expenses of living. This includes things like:
- Spending Cash
Again, when you start adding these, it will show you your average spending in previous months. Ever better; Mint will show how your compare with the US Average in that category as well. SCARY!
Your budget should now start looking like this:
STEP 6: ADD SAVINGS BUCKETS AND GOALS
You will notice a running total of your budget on the right side of the screen.
This show you what you still have available to budget. After funding your bills and daily expenses, I recommend using the rest to fund your Savings Buckets and your Goals.
Related -> learn more about Savings Buckets HERE
Savings Buckets are a way to save up for infrequent expenses, such as Christmas, Birthdays, Vacations and Maintenance. You save a small amount each month, so when the expense arrives, you have the money available.
Goals are similar, but are LARGER purchases and achievements, suchs as debt payoff, buying a replacement car, or saving a down payment.
They function the same in Mint, so we’ll walk through adding an example Goal below.
Let’s use Christmas as an example. It happens the last month of the year, and if you start in February, you have 11 months to save for it.
Go to the “GOALS” tab at the top, and select “Custom Goal“
Then input your Goal details.
Step 1: For Christmas, enter the total amount you want to save ($1,200, for example).
Step 2: Then select WHERE you want to save to save that money. Mint will NOT track your goal unless it’s attached to an account. I personally have a different savings account for EVERY Goal and Savings Bucket, all using CapitalOne 360 savings.
Step 3: Once you have an account selected where you will be saving the money, then select your “planned date”, which is when you NEED the money. For Christmas, it’s December of this year.
As you can see, Mint will automatically calculate HOW MUCH you need to save per month to reach your goal on time. Once you save this Goal, Mint will then add it to your budget.
Continue adding in Savings Buckets and Goals until you have assigned all “Left over” money in the budget.
HOW TO USE THE BUDGET DAY TO DAY
Once the budget is all set up, now it’s time to use it to track your spending and stay on track.
I like to break your budget down into 5 categories:
- Daily Spending
- Savings Buckets
With Mint, here’s how you can use the budget to stay on top of each of these.
Mint will track your transactions in all account, and if you set up your alerts as I recommend in this post, you will be alerted when your paycheck hits your account.
You can also take a look at your account balances under the “Accounts” section to make sure you have the funds needed until the next paycheck (similar to the Paycheck Budgeting Method).
You should have all of your bills listed in the budget, and as they come through, Mint will show those transactions. If one bill is higher than budgeted, make sure to edit that category and increase that budget to match.
If there’s not enough money to cover the overage, make sure to LOWER another category to compensate. You cannot spend money you don’t have!
These are the categories that you will be tracking the most. Things like Groceries, Restaurants, Entertainment, Spending Cash, Gas, Clothing, Shopping, etc. Here’s how I recommend using Mint on the daily in these categories.
Before you go shopping at the grocery store (or online!), open up the Mint app and see how much you have available.
For example, if it’s the 10th of the month, and you only have $300 left of the $800 grocery budget, you should probably see how you can meal plan from food you already have in the pantry.
Or if you REALLY want that new sweater, but your “Target” budget category is at $0…..you’ll need to (GASP!) wait until next month.
But that’s the magic of Mint, it tracks ALL your spending for you, and shows you REALITY, which helps you make better money decisions, and stick to your budget. This helps you ACTUALLY reach your goals of getting out of debt, saving more money, or investing in your future.
SAVINGS BUCKETS & GOALS
Mint will keep you on track using the GOALS feature (see details above). As you spend money throughout the month, make sure you DON’T compromise on hitting the goals you have set.
If happen upon a few extra dollars (extra paycheck, tax return, side hustle), make sure you don’t let those dollars sit idle in your accounts! Assign them to a goal until your “Left over” amount in the budget is $0.
OTHER BUDGETING NOTES
- Use the Mint App on your phone to stay the most connected to your budget. If you’re just getting started, keep an eye on your spending for the first 30 days to make sure Mint is categorizing things correctly. You may have to do a decent amount of editing for a month or so to get things right.
- Mint will allow you to SPLIT transactions. Meaning you can assign more than one category to a single transaction. If you go to Walmart and buy Groceries and Clothing, you can split that into those two categories.
- Select the transaction and click “Edit Details”. Then split up the transaction. A quick shortcut; Clicking the “I’m Done” button will help you with the math if you don’t split the numbers correctly.
- Transactions don’t post immediately. So your budget is not going to be 100% on point until all transactions are posted.
- Mint can (and will) lose connection to your accounts. Some are worse than others (CapitalOne, I’m looking at you), but make sure to reconnect if this happens, or NOTHING is going to be up to date.
Is It Really FREE? How Does Mint Make Money?
Mint.com is FREE, which means there is no monthly cost to use their tool. Mint makes their revenue by placing ads throughout the tool (often TOO MANY), but you are not obligated to click on any of them.
This is how they offer the tool at no cost, which is great for users. Just make sure you stay focused on the budget, and not get distracted by all the credit card offers….
Is Mint Safe?
Mint.com is owned by the same company as Turbotax. If you have ever filed your taxes online, just know you have the same attention to security here.
Specifically, they use Verisign and MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) to make sure it always, only YOU who access the data. Also, you can’t find account numbers, passwords, or any other data even if someone happens to log into your Mint.com account.
They also require verification via SMS on any new device trying to access your account. As someone who travels a lot, every time my IP address changes, it requires a text message code to access the account online, which is reassuring.
The mobile app has additional layers of security as well. You can enable Fingerprint authentication, and even add a 4-digit pin number as well.
You also cannot screenshot the App, which I had never thought about, but is a fantastic security feature.
Overall, I lose ZERO sleep giving Mint access to my login info for my financial accounts, and am happy they care about security…..probably more than most!
- Simple to set up and connect accounts
- Very secure (peace of mind)
- Slick mobile app that works well for daily tracking
- Alerts to help you stay on top of EVERYTHING
- Money trends show you EXACTLY where you money is being spent
- Powerful goal-setting feature to keep you moving forward
- Too many ads (limited to their sponsors)
- Budget based on monthly income only, cannot include starting balance from previous month
- Auto-categorization of transactions is inaccurate, requires manual updating regularly.
- Almost no support (but lots of “help” articles)
Mint.com isn’t the only Budgeting App on the block! And if Mint just isn’t your style, here are a few alternatives that may fit the bill.
This app is the most detailed budgeting app I’ve used, and is currently my favorite for Zero-based budgeting. YNAB allows you to customize to your heart’s content, but also keeps it simple by syncing with your financial accounts to help you track all your financial transactions.
It is an amazing software that overcomes a lot of Mint’s budgeting limitations, and has an amazing support team and community as well (Mint has basically none).
It’s a paid service, at either $11.99 per month, or $84 if you pay the full year up front ($7 per month average). They do offer a 34 Day free trial if you want to test it out.
This is Dave Ramsey’s brain-child for his budgeting system based on the 7 Baby Steps. It’s a straight-forward budgeting app, that allows you to give “Every Dollar” an assignment. It also incorporates his 7 Baby Steps into the app, allowing you to track your Financial Progress, which is kind of cool!
You can manually track using the FREE version, or sync your accounts for $99 per year.
Personal Capital is a free app that tracks your spending and helps you stay on top of your finances. Personal Capital doesn’t have the budgeting chops of the other apps, but it is VERY similar to Mint in that it will sync with your accounts, and auto-categorize your spending. It allows you to set a TOTAL budget limit for the month (not individual categories), and will track your spending along the way.
For those who want a more “hands-off” approach to budgeting, Personal Capital is a great resource with a slick app. But it’s also my favorite way to track your investments and make sure you’re not paying out the NOSE in investment fees. It will also help you plan your retirement and make sure you’re on track…..so it’s like 2 tools in 1!
Is Mint Worth It?
Mint.com has been around for a LONG time (compared to most apps), and has really incorporated a LOT of great features to help you track your money and stay on top of your monthly budget.
It does have some limitations that don’t allow you TOTAL flexibility within your budget, but for those who want a simple way to budget and automatically track your spending, Mint is a fantastic tool!
And the fact that is costs NOTHING makes it one of my favorite ways to build a budget that works.
Want to build your own budget in Mint?
63 thoughts on “Mint Review 2020: The Best Free Budgeting App?”
I have never used Mint!
I started to…but then it asked me to import my bank info and I got turned off. Do you really think it’s worth it?
Mint is owned by Intuit. if you’ve ever given personal information to Turbo Tax…..same company. Never had an issue. Also, even if someone hacked your Mint.com account, you can’t retrieve any personal info from it. It doesn’t display or store it anywhere accessible, and makes you confirm passwords and usernames all the time.
I used Mint back in the day, but it just seemed weird to give them all my bank information, so I deleted my account (also, I remember having similar frusterations as you). I don’t understand the concept of how it would be free for me for all that I’d use it for, but maybe I’ll give it another shot? I’ll have to read through how its security works. Thanks for planting the seed in my head!
It’s free because they have ads built in. And they don’t have you put in bank info, just usernames and passwords now. It’s VERY safe, and they are owned by the same people that do Turbo Tax, so they know a thing or two about security 🙂
Brilliant! I love Mint, but like you, have used it only for tracking, not an actual budget (though I do use the alert tools to let me know when I’m close to the max I should spend in a category).
I’ve been pleased with the budget so far, especially being able to immediately pull it up and show my wife where we’re at in each category. My spreadsheet could do that too, but only after I manually enter everything, and it didn’t have fancy graphs and all that.
I’ve been using Mint.com for the past 6 months, and I’m pleased with it. I mostly use the tracking features and not for budgeting, but you’ve inspired me to look at the budgeting features again. It definitely has its quirks (creating spending categories and making credit card payments), but they are pretty receptive to feedback.
Yea, I think I’d give it a few months to settle into using their budget features, and I think it’ll save a LOT of time. I expect to com each category for a few months until it “learns” me a bit better. I update transactions a few times a week right now.
I used to use it but got annoyed at some of your same issues and also did not like the account management portion.
What I ran into is for my kid’s college accounts, I had opened one through a brokerage and then opened for the second child directly. The first account was held in my brokerage’s shell account AND at the 529 company, but if I wanted to see both of the girls accounts I needed to link the 529 company account. I then had duplicate items showing up. Drove me crazy!!!
I started working on it again a short time ago and had some time out issues, BUT they fixed the account duplication thing, where I was able to delete the shel brokerage account! It kept hanging up when I was trying to enter my car data!
Yeah, duplicate info is annoying, but glad they worked it out. Have you tried using the budget feature yet? I’m really diggin’ it’s simplicity and the fancy graphs and such 🙂
I sort of use it. I don’t like the budgeting and goals function. I can’t divide up money within one account for different savings goals. I can’t break up budgets for weekly or 4 week period instead of a month. If there is a way to do that, I don’t know how.
You can set up goals and have budget categories that roll over each month (that’s how I’m doing my savings buckets), but you’re right, no bi-weekly or 4-week income tracking. But that’s why you should get a month ahead. Best thing I’ve ever done with my money. Read how to do it here:
They’ve had the split transactions features and the rollover budget features forever! Mint is pretty much the only tool we use to keep track of our budget and for us it requires almost no manual intervention. Super easy and I think the best way for couples to stay synced all the time!
How did I miss this?! Good to know that I’m just ignorant 🙂 . I’m really digging jumping back into it, hoping it improves our budget meetings and helps keep us more up to date instead of waiting for me to fill out our spreadsheet.
So I have recently jumped aboard the Mint.com train and it has helped me a great deal with seeing the big picture of expenses and how much debt we really have.
Do you recommend for couples who have joint finances to have one shared login to Mint?
Also, I have been listening to great podcasts by the YNAB folks that really strike home for me. But the automation of Mint is really what makes it work so far for me, as I have tried Quicken and Microsoft Money in the past, and we have way too many little transactions happening all the time to manually enter each one every time, or even each night. Way too data-entry-intensive. Are people having success with using Mint for budgeting? It seems like it would be way more difficult to maintain YNAB with a spouse spending on the same accounts.
I love Mint, and it really has helped with getting and staying on the same page with my wife. She likes the graphs and charts that show where were are in every category, as well as looking a spending trends to help us be aware of where we may be wasting money. I have been budgeting with it since July of last year, and really enjoy it.
I love budgeting (obviously), but the automation helps now that we have a few little ones around and time is MUCH more scarce. I know YNAB is a great product (still need to test it myself), but mint is a great place to start if time is a very valued commodity.
I have never used Mint.com or any other tool, mainly because the spreadsheet that I’ve built for myself has 12 years of personalization and customizations built in that I simply can’t bear to let go and try to fit in with something else. I’m really glad to see that it’s working for you.
I hear you. I’ve got 5 years into mine, but it wasn’t the best for our budget meetings. Will probably do more high-level planning on it using the Master page that shows our whole year, but Mint.com for the tracking and details during the month.
So, do you prefer Mint or YNAB? Or is that not a fair question? 🙂 I used Mint until I got fed up with their crappy budgeting, but also made the switch because I don’t trust automatic categorization. It makes me lazy about tracking where my money actually goes. So I prefer manual transaction entry for now, although I’m definitely curious and tempted to go waste time duplicating my budget in Mint just to never actually use it. 🙂
I prefer Mint because I’m cheap 😉 Seriously, the $50 barrier to entry has kept me from trying YNAB so far. I know it’s lame, but I just can’t pull the trigger.
I hear you on the manually budgeting, and I am still very much involved in looking at the categories and each transaction to make sure they ar ein the right spot. But the best part is that Mint.com will learn my spending and get “smarter” the more I use it. I would say spend 15 minutes getting setup and give it a shot for fun. 🙂
YNAB is on sale until the 22nd for $39.99 🙂
I much prefer YNAB for budgeting, and then use Personal Capital for watching all my accounts. Mint just doesn’t have enough flexibility in the budgeting for me.
Ah, I see. I thought you’d used it. Actually, I just saw on the blog WordsofWilliams.com that you can get it for even more of a discount through them for a limited time. Not to try to change your mind, but it is a good deal! 🙂
I will try out Mint as soon as I have some extra time and am in a budget-nerdy mood…
Hmmm….tempting. We will see. I want to do this Mint experiment for a few months before trying anything else.
I tried Personal Capital, but I like Mint’s layout. YNAB may be in the near future….but $40….ugh… 😉
I tried Mint a couple years ago and wasn’t impressed. Since Mint is owned by Intuit, a company that has cheated me in the past, I won’t be using the new version either.
Sorry to hear about that. I’ve enjoyed Mint since before Intuit owned it, and hoping this new budget can help me save some time and headache 🙂
I’ve been using mint for years now and while it definitely isn’t perfect, it’s plenty good enough for my needs. Though I do go through my transactions once per week and recategorize things that are wrong, I’m honestly not too concerned about tracking everything to the exact penny. If I was, mint would be a much bigger pain in the ass. As it is, I will happily sacrifice a little precision in the name of huge convenience.
You know, I do track things down to the penny, and it hasn’t been too bad. And I really do enjoy the time saving convenience of their auto-tracking.
It’s cool they made changes to make it better. I know for me I’ve tired the fancy website versions and for some reason I always end up going back to my simple excel spreadsheet. But maybe I’ll give it a try!
Might be worth 15 minutes just for fun. If anything you can just delete it later 🙂
I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and really connected with it.
We are almost the same age and have the same size family, as well as stay-at-home wives that work much harder than we do.
I’m a big Minter as well. I love seeing trends in Net Worth build over time.
Up and to the right is preferred!
Digging your site as well! And yes, I love watching the net worth tracker. Was depressing until I got above $0 in the past year. Now we’re up over $40k, feelin’ good 🙂
I tried Mint and still use it to track a few things, but I have issues with it recording some transactions twice. Not sure why. It also automatically includes my business credit cards so it looks like I have a larger balance than I do. I know that’s mental, but I have a mini freak out when I first get in there and see the balance.
Kim, that was my issue too…I would have to play with it again, but if your business card is showing up because it’s connected to your overall online banking, there is a way to remove pecific accounts…it annoyed me too! But I was able to remove the accounts I did not want showing up…not sure about duplicate transactions though…that is weird!
I found if you go into edit details you can check a box that says remove this from my mint on individual transactions.
Honestly, I have never even looked at mint to see what they have to offer. I think we are happy with the budget we created because it’s simple and gives us what we need. There are so many free budgets out there as long as you find the right one, that’s all that matters.
Simple is the key. Mine has gotten a bit complicated, so moving to Mint might help simplify it again. Still gunna use the master sheet with my yearly planning, though.
I used Mint for years and still recommend it, but I am planning on moving over to Personal Capital because of how they deal with investments which is where my financial pathway is heading. Mint is good, but I want more investment flexibility.
I didn’t see much difference in investments than Mint, and I actually preferred Mint’s investment layout. Maybe I’m just a newb to investing and wasn’t looking at it right?
I signed up for Mint last year but then never really used it since I use Quickbooks and there were a lot of mistakes in Mint. Maybe I’ll give it another shot. Thanks for sharing!
I’d say give it 15-30 minutes a month and see how it works out. 🙂
I adore Mint. I have a tip: instead of making a “groceries” budget, I make a “Food & Dining” budget (a level above Groceries, Fast Food, etc.). This will easily include all my fast food spending and my grocery spending within one budget, while still allowing me to look an compare how much I’m actually eating out vs buying groceries.
Done and done! Thanks Rikki!
Thanks for this update on Mint. I used to love them, but they did need to do some updating. Now, if they would only improve their investing interface, we’d be golden.
What is lacking on that interface? I actually prefer it vs. Personal Capital so far…
I admit it, I am a little “old” school! I use a spreadsheet for budgeting. I have been doing budgets for 40+ years before spreadsheets and I do not rely it that much. I made savings a priority by setting up a payroll deduction and live on what is left. I can get away qith this because I have very little debt and I am constantly watching what I spend.
Automation is a SUPER AWESOME way to save money, and I just started this year with my savings buckets. Been great to have the money already there when I need it.
I’ve been on the fence about Mint for quite a while. Should I do? Is it worth it? Are they really that good? (I’m an excel lover myself) Well you convinced me to try them out. I’m glad you took screen shots, I’m very visual so that helps. And like you said, easy peasy. Definitely going to look it over with my husband this weekend. He, like your wife, is not crazy about keeping up with my excel sheets. He’s good with money just not the files and paperwork and all the nerdy stuff. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Look forward to trying them out.
Report back here! I want to hear how it goes. I’ve been diggin’ it so far this month, and it has been much easier to chat with my wife about where we are, with visuals and all.
First of all- holy moses super long post.
Second of all- I also love mint. Its the lazy person’s way of doing their finances.
PS. have you tried wave accounting?
I have not tried it yet, but should probably get on it soon for business accounting. I’ve been using a simple spreadsheet, but things are getting more complicated every year.
Well, all I can say right now Jacob is thank you for introducing mint.com to me. If I didn’t come across this post, I’d have not found out about it. Cheers!
Awesome, glad to hear it! you’ll enjoy it, and once you have it dialed in, you’ll really have a good snapshot of your finances! 🙂
I LOVE Mint! Mainly for the consolidated view of all our accounts, but the budgeting tool also helps for expenses that vary a lot like food and gas.
Variable expenses are the hardest to track down, Mint makes it a piece of cake!
I tried Mint back in 2006 when it was a newborn, the Sync feature did not update properly and I would stare at an old budget for ten minutes while trying to fix things. Because of that I gave up and just use my own spreadsheets.
I’ve never tried it, but will definitely check it out. Thank you guys for sharing about it.
It’s worth a 15-minute investment of time. I love using it, and it makes our financial snapshot reviews much easier 🙂
What does it mean to roll over a budget every month?