When Mint 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 eventually Mint grew itself from a disruptor of Quicken to a full fledged competitor. So much so that Intuit would buy Mint in 2009 for $170 million, shut down Quicken Online, and sell Quicken to another company.
It’s been nearly eleven years since Mint’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!
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 little informational video from Bill Harris, Personal Capital’s CEO:
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 monthly fee after an initial 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:
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 and download to your computer (or mobile device).
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.
Learnvest is a little like Personal Capital in that they offer a suite of budgeting tools with an eye towards more – with Learnvest you can do nearly everything Mint does with respect to budgeting but it also adds a financial planning practice layer on top. You can upgrade to a Premium plan that gives you access to a financial plan, an advisor 24/7, plus financial tools (Premium costs $299 up front with and a $19/mo subscription).
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 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)
What do you think of these alternatives?