In today’s hectic world, it can be difficult to keep a firm handle on all of our finances and manage our income and expenses in the most efficient way. Luckily, technology has brought us budgeting apps, which can assist us in this endeavor, bringing all of our financial information together in one place. These apps allow us not only to see account balances, but also to create budgets, track investments and help us reach our financial goals!
YNAB offers bank account synching, real-time access to your financial information, debt elimination tools, goal tracking, educational materials and even progress reporting. This app is free for the first 34 days, but then costs $50/year.
Similarly, Mint also has a personal finance tool, and brings all of your account balances together in one place, allowing it to show you your net worth at any given time. Mint can even show you your credit score periodically, and break that figure down to show you the most relevant factors affecting your credit score. Mint is currently a free app.
Although both apps can help you create a budget and stick to it, such as by sending notifications when you are overspending in a particular area, the overarching philosophies between these two apps is grossly different. Mint seems best for those who want some assistance with their finances, but are happy to have the app automate many of the tasks, such as importing and categorizing expenses. YNAB operates on the idea that to truly understand your budget, you need to live it and be immersed in the details. Here, there are no automated classifications, but rather transactions must be imported and classified manually each day. YNAB requires more discipline, but with the idea that this discipline will keep you focused and on track.
In the area of tracking long-term financial goals, Mint has more resources than YNAB. Mint can help you calculate the amount you should set aside in an emergency fund, can provide a detailed monthly plan to pay off debt, or a savings plan to meet a specific goal. It has interest calculators built in, and the credit score tracking ability, both of which YNAB lacks. Betterment, another financial app, can be used in conjunction with YNAB to provide the net worth calculation and long-term goal tools provided by Mint, with minimal overlap of services.
Thus, Mint may be better for those who like some automation and are not worried about tracking every penny, whereas YNAB may be better for more meticulous folks who like to have more control and want to account for each penny. Either way, both apps can be powerful tools to help with finances.
Mint and YNAB are certainly not the only apps out there designed to assist with finances and personal budgets. There are many others out there, too, for both the Android and iOS systems, including PocketGuard, GoodBudget, Mvelopes, HomeBudget, Wally, Level Money, and Spendee. Each offers its own spin on approach and varying tools to help manage your finances, all depending on your preferred approach and the level of assistance you are seeking.