*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure
Review Summary: YNAB is for those who want complete control of their budget, and the ability to manage their finances to the penny. It’s probably best for anyone trying to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and looking to pay off their consumer debt.
Review Summary: Mint is a great FREE budgeting app that helps you get started quickly, syncs your accounts, and lets you start setting budget goals right away. It's a great starter budget option, plus, it's FREE.
YNAB vs. Mint Review Summary
- YNAB is a powerful budgeting tool that costs $7/mo, but gives you complete control over your money
- Mint is a FREE budgeting tool that gives you insights into your spending and organizes all your financial accounts
- YNAB is better for helping you control your spending and pay off debt
- Mint is better for simple tracking and organizing of your bank accounts and credit cards
- Mint has great reporting tools to see where you are spending, YNAB has great educational videos and workshops to help you learn more about how to manage your money
- Overall, Mint is the best FREE app available, while YNAB is the best paid-for budgeting app on the market
If you’ve spent any amount of time researching budgeting apps or talking to people about their faves, you’ve no doubt heard of both YNAB and Mint. So how do you know which app is right for you?
In this YNAB vs Mint comparison, we’ll break down the ins and outs of both apps to help you see which one can help you budget better and save more money.
A lot of people steer clear from budgeting because they think budgets are going to hold them back. The truth is, budgeting is the key to unlocking the life you want to live. YNAB is here to help anyone get started with a budget that works for them.
The idea behind You Need a Budget (YNAB) is to help users stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. YNAB software makes sure that every dollar has a purpose.
That means that you can use your income to cancel debt and start saving. If you feel like you finally want to be in control of your financial future, let YNAB put you in the driver’s seat to get there.
To get started with YNAB, you will create an electronic version of the envelope system. That means that you allocate money toward categories that are necessary in your life. You can also create categories of things you want to spend your money on, such as eating out.
Throughout the month, YNAB monitors your spending. It provides alerts to let you know if you are on track with your budget or not. Thanks to their color-coding system and powerful display graphs, it’s easy to see and celebrate your progress.
YNAB is available in a variety of formats. Users can access YNAB via desktop and on iOS and Android.
If you want more details about YNAB and why we love it, explore our full YNAB review here.
Are you ready to get started with budgeting but unsure of your next steps? Mint.com might be the perfect tool for you. Why? Mint is designed to automate as much of the budgeting process as possible.
Of course, users still retain control of their budget and their money. But Mint offers a continuous bird’s eye view of where your money goes each month. That means that you can use Mint to pay down debt and work toward your other financial goals.
Their free budget tracker can help you build a brighter future. It does this by syncing all of your spending, saving, and other financial information in one place. Then, it offers insight and feedback on incoming and outgoing money.
If you want a better pulse on your financial picture, Mint can do that! It can also help you stay on top of bills by sending reminders and alerts.
Mint is available at mint.com and through iOs and Android.
Explore more of what Mint has to offer in our full Mint.com review here.
YNAB Setup: How To Get Started
There’s nothing worse than being ready to dive into something only to realize it’s a complicated setup process. Fortunately, the YNAB app setup is quick and painless.
In fact, YNAB is designed to be up and running in about 20 minutes.
To get started, determine if you want to track your expenses manually or automatically. Whichever method you choose, you can expedite the process by tallying up your expenses and gathering your account login information. That way, if you want to connect YNAB to your primary spending accounts, it’s a smooth process.
Scratching your head already? Don’t worry. You don’t actually need to know your current spending to the penny. An approximation is more than enough to get started.
After the quick setup process, you should also know that you can add accounts at any time. Users can add accounts from the site or by using the YNAB app.
To see more about the YNAB set up process, take a peek at their ultimate guide here.
Mint.com: Is It Easy To Set Up?
The set up for Mint.com is designed to be simple. To create your free account, you provide an email address and a password. Mint also asks for your country of residence and zip code. Then, you have an account.
After that, you will connect and sync your other financial accounts. By having all of your account information available before you start this process, you can save time. Once your accounts are linked, you are ready to start budgeting.
Mint uses a budgeting wizard to prompt you through the different aspects of setting up a budget. It’s not a problem if you miss a category or need to adjust your budget either. You can make revisions as you go, finetuning your budget over the next few weeks or months.
To learn more about setting up your budget with Mint, check out the details here.
How Much Do These Apps Cost?
Mint has nearly 20 million users, and it’s easy to see the appeal. It’s a free budgeting tool with no hidden fees.
If you are wondering how Mint can provide their service to millions of users at no cost, there are different ways that Mint.com makes money:
- You will notice ads on the interface
- They sell aggregate data -- don’t worry, though, nothing is tied to you personally!
- You might also receive recommendations for different financial services
Still, if you are looking for a tool that fits the free price tag, Mint.com can’t be beat.
The YNAB app provides users two different pricing options. You can save some money by paying an upfront cost of $84 for the entire year. If money is tight, you also have the option of paying $11.99 per month.
Both pricing models allow you to cancel at any time.
If you are worried that you won’t get enough bang for your buck from YNAB, you can give the app a free test drive for 34 days. They also offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
Mint vs. YNAB: Feature Comparison
When it comes to YNAB vs Mint, it’s hard to know which tool to pick. Both tools are beloved by millions of users. So which do you choose?
Seeing a side-by-side feature comparison is one way to determine which budgeting tool will fit your needs.
Let’s explore everything how Mint.com and the YNAB app address different features, from budgeting and goal setting to customer service and security.
Make no mistake about it. Both Mint.com and the YNAB app are designed to make budgeting painless and effective. While the purpose of the tools is similar, there are some differences in terms of how they tackle budgeting.
Mint prides itself on making money make sense with minimal effort. To do that, users give Mint access to their different saving and spending accounts--think banks and credit cards--and Mint syncs all of your information.
Then, Mint allows users to create a budget based on different categories and spending information. Additionally, Mint offers users suggestions based on their spending.
As users move through the month, Mint sends notifications and reminders so you never miss a payment. Mint also offers warnings when funds are low. This way, you can reflect and redirect some of your spending to make sure that you stay on course.
As an added perk, you can also access your credit score for free without impacting your credit.
The purpose of YNAB is to allow users to give every dollar a purpose. Since every user will need their money to work for them in different ways, YNAB offers robust features within their budgeting tool.
YNAB is designed to help you address both your current and future budgets. Plus, it can also help you set up a plan to deal with variable incomes.
Have a partner that you’re now combining finances with? YNAB accounts for that as well.
Regardless of how you set up your budget, YNAB will code it using colors and icons to make your budget make sense. Their crystal-clear coding allows users to know if they are on track or not with one quick look.
Red means that you are already overspending, and yellow is a sign that a category is underfunded. Gray indicates that category is at a zero balance, but it isn’t underfunded because your budget shouldn’t pull any additional funds from that category.
Green is the goal. When a category in YNAB is green, that means that you can cover your future expenses and are likely to hit your goals.
Goal setting is a key part of financial success.
If you already have an account with Mint, you might have noticed that they have an entire section dedicated to goals. By clicking on the Goal tab, you have the option to set up your goal.
Your goal might include:
- Getting out of debt
- Saving for a vacation
- Saving for retirement
- Building a downpayment for a house
It is worth noting that currently you can only link one goal to your account.
YNAB also gets goal setting. You can use the app to set goals related to spending and credit card payments. Though you don’t have to set all five goal types, it is a nice option for users to have, especially as your financial journey evolves.
Users have three YNAB savings goals: weekly, monthly, or by a specific date. The date-specific goals are particularly helpful for milestones, holidays, and vacations.
The credit card goals mean that you can set up goals related to paying your balance by the due date--or another date you choose--and paying a certain amount each month. We said YNAB wants you to slash consumer debt, and these goals help you do just that!
When it comes to YNAB vs. Mint, the way the tools handle investment tracking might help you choose the tool that’s better suited for your needs.
Mint offers investment and portfolio tracking tools. This is definitely one place where you notice their affiliation with TurboTax. When you use these tools, you will get reminders, such as what you can typically contribute toward a Roth IRA.
With Mint’s investment tracking, you can also monitor and compare fees. If Mint notices an unusually high fee, they will recommend alternatives to help you keep more money moving toward your retirement goals.
Finally, you can also compare your investment portfolio with other benchmarks.
Budgeting is the bread and butter of YNAB, but it also allows you to monitor your investments. This is especially helpful if you are someone who also likes to track your overall net worth.
You have two different YNAB options for tracking your investments.
- Keep it simple - The easiest way to do this is to create an investment category in your budget and make your contribution. Afterward, you transfer money from savings to your actual investment account, leaving the YNAB app out of it.
- Get more advanced - The second option requires you to link your investment accounts to the YNAB app. This requires more set up, but it also provides a more accurate Net Worth Report.
If something has you stumped on Mint.com, you can access their support page. In addition to offering a list of commonly asked questions, there is a search bar that allows users to type in their own questions.
While their question database is thorough, there is a chance that your question won’t be answered. Should that happen, you can also click the Chat option to be connected to a Mint pro.
The Chat option is available every day of the week from 5AM to 9PM Pacific Time. If the Chat option is grayed out, that means that you are trying to connect after hours or chat representatives are all busy.
When it comes to customer service, YNAB doesn’t cut corners. They have a comprehensive library of content aimed at explaining the app and mobile site. Plus, there is also content to help users untangle financial concepts. YNAB fans say that one of the best parts of the support they provide is how user-friendly it is.
Are you looking for more support? The YNAB site and YouTube channel offer videos and podcasts for more insight. Plus, there’s a Support Forum filled with members from the YNAB community, so you can learn other tips and tricks.
To get in touch with customer support, you can connect from their site in just a few mouse clicks.
When it comes to keeping customers safe, Mint knows a thing or two. In fact, Mint.com is run by the makers of TurboTax and QuickBooks, so they have decades of experience protecting user information.
Multi-factor authentication keeps your account safe, starting with a 4-digit code that only you know. Plus, Mint.com also uses VeriSign to transfer data safely. If you use Mint on your phone and your device is stolen or lost, you can also disable your account remotely.
Security is also important to the folks at YNAB. They use 128-bit traffic encryption, which means that their security is bank-grade or better.
Your password is also virtually undiscoverable thanks to one-way salting and hashing. If YNAB doesn’t work out, you can also request to have your account data destroyed.
Which App Is Best?
Which app is the best budgeting app?
If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of accuracy, Mint.com will do all the budgeting work for you. That means that this tool might be the right choice for you if you are looking for a FREE budgeting app that can help you get started managing your money.
YNAB is an excellent choice for users who are trying to escape the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle by clearing your consumer debt. It is also a great fit for anyone who wants to be able to manage their finances to the penny for complete control of their budget.