I spent several hours messing with both YNAB and Mint, and want to share my comparison/experience:
Please read and let me know what you think? Or if I missed anything, or misunderstood anything?
I don't have any personal attachment to either,
I just want to find the best/most useful one
Overall it seems like both YNAB and Mint "can" do the same thing.
Most threads I read on Mint vs. YNAB, said that Mint is back-looking (spending), and YNAB is forward-looking (Budget). I found that both (Mint/YNAB) are both (back/forward).
YNAB: The main power of YNAB is the Budget. We tell it our account balances, and it tell us how much we have to budget.
Mint: Does the same thing. It knows the balances of our account, so we know how much we have to budget
YNAB: We can setup up categories and assign them how much we can spend on them this month. e.g. Groceries $200, Utilities $100
Mint: Can do the same thing in it's budget section.
YNAB: If we over spend, we can see the -ve number and can compensate. e.g. Spent $110 on Utilities (we can see the -ve/extra $10). To fix it, we can reduce the Grocery budget to $190, and increase Utilities to $110.
Mint: Can do same thing. It will show we went over, then we can adjust in other categories, in the same way.
YNAB: If we under spend in one category, it will carry over the balance. e.g. spent $30 out of the budgeted $50 for car maintenance. Next month we know we can afford $70 for car work
Mint: will do the same thing. It will carry forward the unused balance (if we set it up to do that)
In my personal experiments/research, I "felt" the following benefits of Mint over YNAB:
Mint: Many of my transactions are automatic. So when I log into Mint, I get an up-to-date view of how much I've spent so far.
YNAB: I will have to log into my CC/bank(s), look at posted transactions. Then enter them in YNAB, and ONLY then I get the up-to-date picture
Mint: Works automatically in the background.
e.g. If I'm sleeping, and there is an automatic charge posted in a category overnight. And it cause me to go over budget in a category, Mint can send me an email. When I wake up I automatically know I've overspent. I can take action. e.g. Let's say, I've queued up another purchase in the same category, I can cancel/post-pone it to not go further over-budget.
YNAB: If I review my spending once or twice a week...I will not know what happened till that day, so a few days would have past till I find out about the over-spending
Mint: Less work, less time. My bank/CC already keeping detailed log of what I'm spending. Mint is also automatically copying those transactions and categorizing them. I only need to make occasionally tweaks….so most of the time, I just have to scroll down and review
YNAB: More work, more time. I am basically duplicating my statements of checking and CC accounts. The same merchants, I have to categorize again manually for every transaction.
These are just the notes/experiences from my usage of both tools. Curious to see what you think??