I think you'll agree with me when I say this:
Mint was a great personal finance tool when it was released but now many competitors have it outclassed.
When Mint.com first arrived on the scene, it was a revelation.
Here's a free service that would aggregate all of your credit card spending and take away one of the biggest time sucks in responsible money management. In one fell swoop, you had yourself a budget just by linking up your financial accounts.
Sure, there were initial hiccups. Categorization was a pain, the tools around managing your budget were raw, but Mint.com grew itself from a disruptor of Quicken to a full-fledged competitor. So much so that Intuit would buy Mint.com in 2009 for $170 million, shut down Quicken Online, and sell Quicken to another company.
It's been nearly eleven years since Mint.com's launch in March 2006. In that time a lot has changed. A new crop of startups, Mint alternatives if you will, built on fresh new technology and an eye to disrupt the once-disruptor.
If you're looking to move on, you might find your next favorite from this list!
Best of the Best
Now for more in-depth looks at these and more…
- Personal Capital
- You Need a Budget
- Status Money
- Banktivity 6
Our Personal Capital review explains the service in greater detail, including how it fits in our financial workflow, but this post on why I switched from Mint to Personal Capital highlights the big reasons why I personally made the switch.
The tl;dr on why I switched was that Personal Capital has a suite of investing related tools that Mint simply doesn't. I was less interested in the expense tracking features and more interested in getting a better handle on where my investments were, whether I was doing it right, and Mint wasn't cutting it anymore. With Mint, I feel like you're looking backwards. With PC, I feel like I have a better idea of where I'm going; if that makes any sense.
Like Mint, and many of the alternatives on this page, Personal Capital is free.
Here's a brief over view video of Personal Capital's cash flow and budgeting tools:
Mint is a powerful tracker but if you want to really get a handle on your budget, you need to be looking forwards and not backwards. You Need a Budget, also known as YNAB, is great for budgeting for this very reason because it relies on zero-based budgeting and projecting your budget forward.
YNAB focuses on four rules – Give Every Dollar a Job (ie. zero-based budgeting), Embrace Your True Expenses, Roll With The Punches, and Age Your Money – which helps you take what you're doing now and put it in a framework that sets you up for financial and budgeting success into the future.
YNAB has a $5 monthly fee ($50 if you pay annually) after an initial 34-day free trial.
Here's a great video (produced by YNAB) about the latest version of the software plus a discussion of the philosophy behind YNAB:
Status Money is relatively newer cloud-based budgeting tool that introduces a bit of the social element – you can compare almost every aspect of your finances against your peers. You connect your accounts, just as you would with many of the alternatives on this list, but then you can pick different cohorts to compare yourself against. You get to pick whatever demographic characteristics you want from your age range, income range, location, credit score, housing status and more. They can take a guess but you can fine tune.
It offers all of the tracking functionality of these other tools, is free, and the comparison adds another layer that can help inform you and your decision making.
If putting your data into the cloud worries you and you thought Quicken might be the answer, I have bad news – Quicken puts your data in the cloud now too. But like everyone else, they have bank level security so it shouldn't be too much of a worry.
One thing that Quicken does offer that these other services don't is the ability to set up bill pay, which works well for some of those smaller banks that don't offer it though it comes with a fee. It also pulls your home value information via Zillow, if that is important to you.
Quicken is a software application you purchase (starts around $30 for the Starter Edition but quickly goes up) and downloads to your computer (or mobile device).
PocketSmith is a fully featured budgeting tool that leans on calendards and the idea of “event-based budgeting.” Rather than viewing your transactions strictly as a ledger, the approach uses a calendar and tracks recurring expenses alongside one-time transactions to give you a better understand of your spending. It's a novel approach to budgeting and could be helpful for those who are more visual.
PocketSmith has a free option that makes you manually import transactions, 12 budgets, 2 accounts, and projections for 6 months out. Premium ($9.95/mo) will get you automatic transaction importing, unlimited budgets, 10 accounts and 10 years of projections. Super ($19.95/mo) gives you unlimited accounts and 30 years of projections.
EveryDollar is a budgeting tool affiliated with Dave Ramsey (Lampo Group) and works off the principle of zero-based budgeting. It's a very beautiful looking app, available on iPhone and Android, and you have the option of using the free version of the paid Plus version ($99/year).
The big difference between the free version and the paid version is that the paid version has phone support and automated transaction imports/downloads (this is a huge difference). So unless you pay, you have to manually enter transactions.
Here's a look at how you create a budget in EveryDollar:
You may be surprised to know that MoneyDance is one of the very few personal finance tools that does not upload your data to the cloud. They offer the ability to link accounts online for automatic transaction updates or you can do everything manually.
It was lauded by the Washington Post as being a solid contender to Quicken (and thus Mint) and they offer a free trial plus a 90 day money back guarantee.
PowerWallet is an online money management tool that has been around since 2008 and is very similar to Mint. One of the big differences with PowerWallet is that rather than just being a budgeting tool or expense tracker, it does a little bit more to help you save.
First, there are Groupon-like offers and deals tailored to your spending. So at least the advertisements are tailored and maybe you can save a few bucks. They also award you points for good behavior, like adding accounts or logging in every day. These points are used in sweepstakes where you can win prizes. No one else offers rewards for good behavior!
One big negative – no mobile app. PowerWallet is free.
CountAbout was built to solve the headaches of Quicken users and was founded in July of 2012. It is one of the few personal finance apps that can import data from Quicken and mint, which makes a transition to this app much less painful if you're a data junkie. Unlike Mint, it's not free but the price point is very affordable – $9.99 per year for the Basic product and $39.99 per year for the Premium. (the main difference is that Premium supports automatic downloading of transactions, Basic does not)
Banktivity 6 is a personal finance management tool, similar to Quicken, that's available only on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Created by IGG Software, it offers a lot of the same functionality as Quicken including bill pay, transaction tracking, and budget maintenance. It updates data in the cloud so you can view your budget on a Mac and your iPhone/iPads without having to move files around.
Banktivity 6 offers a free 30-day trial but the software costs $64.99. There is also a separate fee for “Direct Access,” which is automatic downloading of your transactions. That fee is $4.99 a month, $12.99 quarterly, or $39.99 annually. It is also not available for all banks.
What do you think of these Mint alternatives?