Author Topic: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?  (Read 40404 times)

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Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« on: May 12, 2013, 04:38:55 PM »
Which do you use? Or do you use neither? Which is better?

Would be really interested in all comments and feedback.

Joet

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 04:49:20 PM »
I tried to use YNAB per the recommendation(s) here, but my spouse is 100% against it so not really much of a point [doesnt want to manually enter every single transaction]. Since she does like 80% of our spending it's dead in the water.

So I will just ocntinue to use mint retroactively. The "...hey hun our credit card is over 4k with 15 days left in the cycle..." trick seems to be of some use. But the supposed benefit of making spending 'painful' that is referenced here didnt work for us. Oh well. Back to the hall of shame.

Emily2651

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 04:57:10 PM »
I've used both (and MS Money and Quicken) and for my purposes YNAB is much, much better. YNAB nudges you toward good financial discipline. It's not required that you live on last month's income, but the software really encourages it. Especially if you have a variable income, this makes a zero based budget possible. And it makes tracking sinking funds easier than Mint, in my opinion. Downside of YNAB is that you do have to download your bank transactions (doesn't update automatically like Mint) but you don't have to enter them all in manually (as suggested by the PP) unless you're only spending cash. But since we use our debit card for pretty much everything, the downloading really only takes a couple of minutes, every couple of days. I find it useful to keep tabs on my spending at least that frequently anyway.

However, if you're a person with extreme financial disciple, it probably doesn't matter. In that case, you can probably use Excel. Or a pencil.

Joel

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 05:36:07 PM »
Ynab is forward looking and will change your life. Mint is backward looking and will only nag when you've overspent.

100% recommend Ynab
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Zaga

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 06:24:28 PM »
I tried Mint and hated it.  I very much prefer hand entering every transaction.  How are you supposed to catch fraud when you allow the bank to enter stuff for you?  Also, it never tracked the net worth properly, and one of our retirement accounts would not automatically update.  Basically it had far too many glitches for my way of life.

Just started using YNAB at the beginning of the year, and after an adjustment period I'm a convert.  I enter my transactions, which I like.  It tracks everything in my budget, and also tells me how much is left in each category.  The reconciliation is great, as is the reporting tools.

jamccain

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 11:22:21 PM »
First, I think YNAB is 100% better for me. 

Second, they do two different things.  So, it really depends on what you're looking for if you're looking for a recommendation. 

If you want a budgeting tool...you want YNAB all the way.  If you want a reporting tool with recommendations on stuff you want Mint.  I see them as different tools for different purposes so I don't like comparing them directly.  Figure out what you are looking to accomplish and make your decision based on that, not which tool people like more.

Will

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 12:04:24 AM »
First, I think YNAB is 100% better for me. 

Second, they do two different things.  So, it really depends on what you're looking for if you're looking for a recommendation. 

If you want a budgeting tool...you want YNAB all the way.  If you want a reporting tool with recommendations on stuff you want Mint.  I see them as different tools for different purposes so I don't like comparing them directly.  Figure out what you are looking to accomplish and make your decision based on that, not which tool people like more.

Good points!  They really are different tools.  I can't say one is a Philips head and the other Standard.  It is almost like comparing a sledgehammer to a hand saw.
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WD

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 12:12:27 AM »
I posted this in "Ask a Mustachian" but since it's a similar topic, here goes:

I have been using YNAB for a few months and I love it for the following reasons:

1. YNAB is more than a budgeting software... it's like a budgeting philosophy. They teach you about "credit card float" which is to say that most people who use credit cards are actually living off of next months income. Therefore you are always paying off the stuff spent from the month before. They encourage people to live off of last months income therefore you know exactly how much you have to spend/save next month.

2. It has a one time fee and they provide free upgrades for the version you are using and if they come up with a new version, they offer a discount to upgrade to the new version.

3. YNAB is actually about setting a budget vs. tracking spending. I find that most other software track your spending verses actually trying to set a budget.

4. They have cloud syncing which allows you to track your spending in real time. I no longer keep receipts to check for errors because I have entered the transaction while in line at Costco or filling up gasoline. I only keep receipts now if I foresee the need to exchange something.

5. They give you a free 34 day trial to see if you like it. I used the trial and I was hooked within a few days..

I have a referral link if you want a 10% discount on the software: http://ynab.refr.cc/4TH7HRG. For full disclosure, the referral link gives me a bonus for referring people though that is not why I recommend the program. I really do love the program and it has definitely allowed me to track and budget my spending in a very easy way. If you curious about other reviews of YNAB, check out the reviews on Amazon, there are people who love it and some people who don't. Once you check the reviews, don't buy it on amazon as they charge more for it than if you were to just go to YNAB's website...

MichaelR

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 02:55:22 AM »
Or you could save $60 and use excel, or numbers for mac. I am no wizz but I have set up a spreadsheet using the later and one of the financial templates it came with. I then copy and paste the transactions from my online accounts, label them with the categories I find useful and voila. Pretty pie charts and everything.

Mint is not available in my country.

GoStumpy

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 07:24:17 AM »
I've been using YNAB since October 2012, and I can honestly say it has been a key part of my success lately. 

I did use Mint.com a year or so ago, I really didn't like it. 

Like others have said, YNAB really is a change of mindset...  Use the money you have now, and decide what it needs to do.  If you want 50% to investments, budget 50% to your investments and then allocate the rest to your bills.

It has the ability to be as general, or as granular as you want... You can have 4 or 40 categories, it's up to you.  I laugh when people scoff at the $60 price tag, citing some other free way of doing it... It's not $60 per month, it's $60 one time, an *investment* in budgeting.  Plus, it's only $54 if you use a referral link (I bought the domain www.youneedynab.com as my referral code ).  I've spent $60 on a few different computer games over the past few years, and I felt that spending $60 on a program to help me saving and spending wisely was a great investment.

I literally went from being ignorant and always having no money left to invest (or pay off debt in my case), to putting nearly $1000 per month (20% of income) towards debt repayment.. I attribute quite a bit of this to the manual entry of spending, when I or my wife spends money on something, I know when we get home I am going to enter that into YNAB, and I better have enough $ in the category it belongs to!  Before I would have merely checked how much $ was in my account, thinking in my head "Ok, rent is due on the 1st, car insurance on the 4th, Cable bill is due sometime soon" forgetting about many many bills that would come out on the 1st (home insurance, bank fees, wife's student loan payment, etc etc...

The "budget in my head" failed me for so many years... I needed something better.

Thinking of it now, if I had YNAB 5 years ago, I would be debt free, and saving 25+% of my income. 

If I started YNAB 5 years from now, I'd probably be exactly where I am now.


Then again, YNAB or any other budgeting process will only do so much, the power comes from implementing the budget.  Nothing will help if you ignore it...




Having said that, I fully understand that a lot of people are naturally frugal, or naturally able to budget, once you hit your savings goal, the rest is free to spend.  I am both impressed and respectful of that, more power to you if you can.  One day I will likely be there too, and not need YNAB... But I'm still in the training phase :)

-edit-

What I have to say about Mint vs YNAB:

Quote
Mint looks backwards and tells you what you had.
YNAB looks forwards, and tells you what you have.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 07:26:23 AM by GoStumpy »
"Do the best you can until you know better, and once you know better, do better" - Maya Angelou
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Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 08:55:53 AM »
I've been using YNAB since December.  It has been great for me.  I am trying to ramp up the amount I am putting away into investments and it has been a great tool for this.

I know what each dollar I have is intended for.  If I have a bunch of money sitting in my accounts, I don't buy stupid shit because I think I have money to burn.  Instead I know that this money is for mortgage and bills, that money is for food for the month, this other pile of money is for auto insurance, that pile of money is for future home repairs, here's my entertainment money, here's my money for fuel, for auto maintenance/repair and this other pile is for a future replacement vehicle.  Each month I need to allocate 1/12 of my yearly costs for birthdays, Christmas, and Mother's Day.  Same for personal property taxes.  Same for vacation budget.  Health care costs.  And on and on.

Then I know from what's left over, I can dollar cost average the rest into my investments.  I have already accounted for all of my needs, wants and future savings goals.  My finances are a well oiled machine now.  I have no stress at all.

All I do now is work on learning strategies for reducing my expenses further to free up more money to invest.  5.5 months into using YNAB, it has been the best thing I have ever bought.

Nothlit

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 10:39:43 AM »
I used Mint for years. I was always annoyed with it because it had trouble importing the accounts from my credit union. It kinda halfway worked, but there were always problems and it would often duplicate transactions. After years of putting up with it and manually fixing things, I finally deleted my account.

I've been using YNAB since January and really like it. I was never in debt or living on float, and I never really had an overspending problem, but I did the whole "keep the budget in my head" thing for years which worked okay but not great. Now that I have YNAB, it's much easier to see the areas where I'm spending too much to the detriment of other things like saving for investments or a down payment on a house, and adjust accordingly.

MommaMary

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 10:44:47 AM »
I've used YNAB consistently since December.  I agree with the other comments that (1) YNAB is a philosophy/strategy rather than a recording what you've done and (2) has major benefits over Mint.  That said, it's really good for honing down where money is leaking out of your budget (cable, insurance, fuel, eating out) so you can tackle each thing one by one.  We've made changes to the tune of $11k/yr, moving forward, by examining each of the categories.  Plan on spending a good 3 months just learning the ropes, and figuring out what you really need to budget.

Since I've started reading MMM, I have explicitly created a MMM "Category" and am budgeting 10% take-home pay to it now, and plan to ramp it up gradually (say 5% a month) until I get a real handle on what we (a family of 5)  need to live comfortably. (This is in a month where those savings of $11k/yr don't really show up yet.)

rugorak

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 12:40:41 PM »
I'll chime in for the other side of the coin since everyone seems to be for YNAB so far. I use mint and a spreadsheet. I probably could just ditch the spreadsheet but force of habit. For me mint is great because I don't have a spending issue. I just never documented exactly how much I spent on certain things like gas and food. When I started using mint I found out my estimates were higher than what I was really spending. For me it just allows me to be lazy about recording things from my various accounts and pulls up the information in one place. Especially things like growth in my investments which I can see elsewhere but since my Roth and taxable investments are elsewhere from my work retirement account it is nice to have it in one view.

I think in the end if you are naturally frugal but a little lazy on keeping track of extreme detail and just care about the past then go with mint. If you are not naturally frugal and really need to mentally be aware of where all your money is disappearing and feel some pain then YNAB may be better for you.

Emily2651

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2013, 01:03:15 PM »
^^^That sounds right.

If you're surprised by how much you spend, use YNAB.

If you're surprised by how little you spend (or not surprised!), use Mint.

Will

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2013, 02:04:05 PM »
^^^That sounds right.

If you're surprised by how much you spend, use YNAB.

If you're surprised by how little you spend (or not surprised!), use Mint.

I am not surprised by how much or how little I spend.  Should I use neither?
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Starstuff

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2013, 02:18:29 PM »
I'm putting in a YNAB vote. Mint was way to granular for me... I had to go through and re-categorize everything repeatedly just to get a feel for what I was spending. I didn't need eating out broken down between a coffee shop and fast food. The budgeting tool was even worse. I felt like I was struggling to get by, and using credit cards to make ends meet.

But with YNAB, I know exactly what I've got, and what I need it to do. The first time I entered everything, I literally had $500 I had no idea what to do with. Without seeing everything like I can in YNAB, I would be way too scared to drop $1,500 in debt payments on the first of every month. And it's nice to be able to play with things. I can play out "what if" scenarios, or bump money from groceries to gas if I need to. Honestly, it's probably more of a beginner's tool, as far as Mustachianism is concerned. Just be careful not to use it to give yourself permission to spend more; the goal is always to have the largest balance you can in each category every month. I recently cut down my categories to help eliminate wasteful spending. But, as far as I'm concerned, YNAB is my financial savior.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2013, 02:26:29 PM »
I commented in the other thread already, but here again:  I've been an Excel spreadsheet budgeter forever.  When I found this blog and the forums, I signed up for Mint and love it for the snapshot of net worth.  The budgeting part is pretty clunky and limiting.  I also admit to trying out pretty much every free/low cost budgeting app I can find, and they all pretty much disappoint.

Four days ago I signed up for the free month of YNAB, with low expectations even though many people here seem to be a fan and the folks in their forums are enthusiastic.  I jumped right in and really liked the interface, but I found myself trying to use it like Excel and budget all in one "picture" and try to move on to the next month, which was great but not ideal.  Then I went and watched the videos and learned how to ACTUALLY use the program.  I was like, no.  I like to budget ahead and I am a stubborn person and already good at budgeting and harumph, etc.   

But I decided to give a real try anyway.  There is something really powerful and basic about taking what you have available and putting it to work.  This program allows for snapshot after snapshot of the REALITY of your spending.  It's a plan in action, and quite fun to use.  It's been three days and I already know that I'll be paying for it, and that I will probably have more left over this month to invest than ever before.

I totally recommend watching the first few how-to videos, and trying it out for the free month.  Also, their welcome e-mail series is a hoot.

Emily2651

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2013, 03:17:57 PM »
I am not surprised by how much or how little I spend.  Should I use neither?

Heh. You shouldn't waste time tracking your spending at all, if it's all in your head. Why bother?

Joel

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2013, 07:26:40 PM »
I commented in the other thread already, but here again:  I've been an Excel spreadsheet budgeter forever.  When I found this blog and the forums, I signed up for Mint and love it for the snapshot of net worth.  The budgeting part is pretty clunky and limiting.  I also admit to trying out pretty much every free/low cost budgeting app I can find, and they all pretty much disappoint.

Four days ago I signed up for the free month of YNAB, with low expectations even though many people here seem to be a fan and the folks in their forums are enthusiastic.  I jumped right in and really liked the interface, but I found myself trying to use it like Excel and budget all in one "picture" and try to move on to the next month, which was great but not ideal.  Then I went and watched the videos and learned how to ACTUALLY use the program.  I was like, no.  I like to budget ahead and I am a stubborn person and already good at budgeting and harumph, etc.   

But I decided to give a real try anyway.  There is something really powerful and basic about taking what you have available and putting it to work.  This program allows for snapshot after snapshot of the REALITY of your spending.  It's a plan in action, and quite fun to use.  It's been three days and I already know that I'll be paying for it, and that I will probably have more left over this month to invest than ever before.

I totally recommend watching the first few how-to videos, and trying it out for the free month.  Also, their welcome e-mail series is a hoot.

This is very true.

I was an excel budgeter who thought I was doing great. Boy, was I pissed off when YNAB made me realize I was living off of NEXT month's income by using my credit cards in anticipation of paychecks I will receive next month. 5 years later, I am still using YNAB, and have amassed a great amount of savings and a 50% savings rate without even knowing about MMM and ever evaluating what my savings rate in that way. I was just budgeting for my categories that I wanted to fund!
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adam

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 08:40:01 AM »
So if you are more interested in tracking spending than setting an actual budget, YNAB is not the right tool?  That's what I'm getting from this conversation.

I might still go see this video someone mentioned about how to use it, but I'm not really interested in a granular budget.  We're more of a "Here's $250 for the week, spend it on whatever but thats all there is" kind of house.  Bills first, debt repayment / savings second, whatever is left is what we live on.

I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.

Zaga

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 09:34:52 AM »
So if you are more interested in tracking spending than setting an actual budget, YNAB is not the right tool?  That's what I'm getting from this conversation.

I might still go see this video someone mentioned about how to use it, but I'm not really interested in a granular budget.  We're more of a "Here's $250 for the week, spend it on whatever but thats all there is" kind of house.  Bills first, debt repayment / savings second, whatever is left is what we live on.

I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.
That's actually how we use YNAB for weekly stuff like groceries and gas, just set a weekly limit.  I honestly don't care if I spent $100 or $150 a month on gas, just that my overall spending is contained.

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 09:47:37 AM »
So if you are more interested in tracking spending than setting an actual budget, YNAB is not the right tool?  That's what I'm getting from this conversation.

I might still go see this video someone mentioned about how to use it, but I'm not really interested in a granular budget.  We're more of a "Here's $250 for the week, spend it on whatever but thats all there is" kind of house.  Bills first, debt repayment / savings second, whatever is left is what we live on.

I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.

yes, you can make it as granular or non-granular as you like. and you can add all your accounts, which is helpful to me because i keep my household's emergency fund in a high interest checking account, which also holds my allowance and some of our loan payments. ynab helps me keep all the different buckets (all in that one account) straight.
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Insanity

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2013, 09:54:00 AM »
It is really interesting to hear the issues with mint.com. It is like people don't expect to have any configuration or management - yet with the other they are ok with doing itemized entry.  Even in an itemized entry there is potential to have to go back.  Mint does a best guess, but I have updated it various times.  I still find I am spending less time doing my glance throughs (since we have basically been using the same categories now for a year or so).

Yes, there is a set up.  Yes, it isn't perfect.  But I hate having to enter in each and every transaction.  I am a big proponent of using credit cards and then paying off the cards every month and limit cash transactions as this provides a level of accountability (now if I could only get my wife to believe the same and use the same cards!).



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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2013, 10:41:14 AM »
For me the problem with mint isn't that you have to re-categorize a few things here and there, that's to be expected.

The problem is it seems to completely miss some transactions.  Double counts others, doesn't always connect to all your accounts, loses history, etc..

ajh1983

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2013, 11:07:28 AM »
argh, and YNAB was on sale for 20 bucks last month.  GDI.  angry i missed that.

rugorak

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2013, 11:48:41 AM »
I haven't had many issues with mint. I had a bunch of double transactions show up once but mint tech support was able to resolve the issue for me. Not the best support in the world but considering I don't pay them a cent it was pretty good actually. They didn't let the issue go until I was happy with the result. Better than some places I pay for.

Zaga

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2013, 12:15:51 PM »
It is really interesting to hear the issues with mint.com. It is like people don't expect to have any configuration or management - yet with the other they are ok with doing itemized entry.  Even in an itemized entry there is potential to have to go back.  Mint does a best guess, but I have updated it various times.  I still find I am spending less time doing my glance throughs (since we have basically been using the same categories now for a year or so).

Yes, there is a set up.  Yes, it isn't perfect.  But I hate having to enter in each and every transaction.  I am a big proponent of using credit cards and then paying off the cards every month and limit cash transactions as this provides a level of accountability (now if I could only get my wife to believe the same and use the same cards!).
That wasn't my issue with Mint.  My biggest problem is that it didn't keep ANY net worth history!  Considering that I really wanted to be able to track that and I thought Mint would be a good way of doing that, I was very frustrated.  I have no idea why Mint would not keep any of my history.

mic575

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2013, 12:37:01 PM »
I may be the odd person on this thread, wait, I may always be the odd person, but I have found that Mint transformed my spending habits.  I really don't use the budgeting tools in Mint, I have entered them but don't pay much attention.  For me though, it has made a huge difference seeing what I spend and where, and seeing what my investments are doing on a daily basis.  I check daily, probably not cool I know.

On the budgeting side, I pay all my bills at the beginning of the month including my savings investment.  Over the next few days I watch the bills hit Mint then I challenge myself to not spend whats left or spend as little as possible of whats left. Then towards the end of the month I dump that leftover in savings also.  I then keep track over time in excel.

If I had to enter transactions I wouldn't do it.  There have been a few times when I've seen things hit one of my Mint accounts and said WTF is that?!, then been able to trace it back and realize I actually did spend that - stupid!.  The way I use Mint may cause me to not gain as much ground as YNAB is doing for many but I can't imagine not using Mint right now. 

It does have a few glitches but they generally self correct in about 12-24 hours.  I have used Mint since November and said dozens of times that I would not be saving as well as I am without it, its an absolutely critical tool for me and its free.   

I have wondered about Personal Capital also.  I am certainly willing to learn something in this regard though.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 07:37:43 PM by mic575 »

madgeylou

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2013, 12:43:28 PM »
If I had to enter transactions I wouldn't do it.  There have been a few times when I've seen things hit one of my Mint accounts and said WTF is that?!, then been able to trace it back and realize I actually did spend that - stupid!.  The way I use Mint may cause me to not gain as much ground as YNAB is doing for many but I can't imagine not using Mint right now.

i use both -- YNAB for forward planning and mint for historical info. they work really well together, i think.
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Hamster

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2013, 12:43:44 PM »
... i keep my household's emergency fund in a high interest checking account...
In today's world, that's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one
:-)

madgeylou

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2013, 12:54:28 PM »
... i keep my household's emergency fund in a high interest checking account...
In today's world, that's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one
:-)

haha, well it's a relative statement. 1.78% :)
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catmustache

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2013, 01:34:18 PM »
I'll put in a vote for Mint and echo what other people have said about it being good for tracking primarily and looking for historical spending. It's also helpful for me to keep up with current balances in various accounts. YNAB wasn't useful for me when I tried the free trial because I pay everything automatically, so budgeting's never really been my problem.



I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.

Learnvest.com is another free site that combines all accounts. It's not great at giving past reports, but I've found the expense tracking to be more accurate than Mint.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:14:14 PM by catmustache »

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2013, 01:40:25 PM »
So if you are more interested in tracking spending than setting an actual budget, YNAB is not the right tool?  That's what I'm getting from this conversation.

I might still go see this video someone mentioned about how to use it, but I'm not really interested in a granular budget.  We're more of a "Here's $250 for the week, spend it on whatever but thats all there is" kind of house.  Bills first, debt repayment / savings second, whatever is left is what we live on.

I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.

Not at all.

YNAB is great for showing a history of your spending. For what you want to do, you would setup a category for Everything Else, and budget $250 towards it. When their is no category balance left, you can't spend anymore. Your budget can be as simple or as complex as you would like.
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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2013, 01:59:18 PM »
That wasn't my issue with Mint.  My biggest problem is that it didn't keep ANY net worth history!  Considering that I really wanted to be able to track that and I thought Mint would be a good way of doing that, I was very frustrated.  I have no idea why Mint would not keep any of my history.

I'm really annoyed that I had to delete my investment and student loan accounts and re-add them in January.  It deleted all the history of those two accounts, so my net worth prior to January is worthless.  I moved apartments in January, and started reading MMM back in October.  I was really looking forward to seeing what my net worth trend was from those two points, but now it's basically useless. 

I can still look at net income, but even that is a bit screwy.  I just don't understand why they would delete historical transactions.

adam

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2013, 02:06:36 PM »
So if you are more interested in tracking spending than setting an actual budget, YNAB is not the right tool?  That's what I'm getting from this conversation.

I might still go see this video someone mentioned about how to use it, but I'm not really interested in a granular budget.  We're more of a "Here's $250 for the week, spend it on whatever but thats all there is" kind of house.  Bills first, debt repayment / savings second, whatever is left is what we live on.

I wouldn't really mind having to manually enter stuff so much, given mint IS glitchy and tends to miss stuff. I just haven't seen anything yet that combines all my accounts in one place like mint.  I just want it for reporting at the end of the month to see the trends.

Not at all.

YNAB is great for showing a history of your spending. For what you want to do, you would setup a category for Everything Else, and budget $250 towards it. When their is no category balance left, you can't spend anymore. Your budget can be as simple or as complex as you would like.

I've downloaded the trial and have been playing around with it.  I'm still not sure if it will really be worth it to me, but I figured I should give it a shot and see what happens.  It seems from the videos I've been watching that the most important thing is that process, and not trying to budget money until you actually have that money in hand.  I get that, but when I've got 3 bills left this month and only enough money to budget for one of those (BUT I have two more paychecks coming), what am I supposed to do?  Not put them in and risk forgetting about them?  Go ahead and put them in and make my numbers all red? 

I don't like red numbers :(

madgeylou

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2013, 02:30:45 PM »
I get that, but when I've got 3 bills left this month and only enough money to budget for one of those (BUT I have two more paychecks coming), what am I supposed to do?  Not put them in and risk forgetting about them?  Go ahead and put them in and make my numbers all red? 

I don't like red numbers :(

i have a google calendar that lists all my monthly bills on the dates they're due. when money comes into my account, i refer to the calendar and budget for the bills that are due between now and my next paycheck. on the next payday, i budget for the following 2 weeks of bills.

eventually, i guess the idea is to use last month's pay to pay this month's bills, in which case you can budget for the whole month at once. but i prefer to go in and budget money as it arrives, sending any excess directly into savings or debt repayment.
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Hamster

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2013, 03:20:29 PM »
eventually, i guess the idea is to use last month's pay to pay this month's bills, in which case you can budget for the whole month at once...

I don't mean this as criticism in any way, but I've never understood the concept of using last month's money to pay this month's bills, unless you are living paycheck to paycheck and need to make sure you aren't going to overdraft. Once you have your expenses below your income, and have a stache to draw from, why does it matter which paycheck is going to which bills?

For example, if I bring in $6k per month,  and my average monthly expenses are $3.5k, why do I care if I am spending money from last paycheck, this paycheck, or whatever. It's all money that is already there, and sitting in the same pot. Just keep a buffer of a few thousand in the checking, put the rest into whatever your preferred investment is, and never worry about whether your money comes in on the 1st and 15th, or the 14th and 28th, no? If you have unexpected expenses, pull it out of one of the other accounts.

As for what other people have said about credit card float and spending next month's money, isn't credit card float a good thing? I get cashback on my purchases, I float the money at 0% for up to 30 days, and that allows me to have a little more money in an interest-bearing account. Sounds like win-win to me.

madgeylou

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2013, 04:26:48 PM »
Hamster, that is why I use YNAB as I do. We are not living paycheck to paycheck, I just like the YNAB interface for deciding where each of my employees is going as soon as I get them.

And credit card float is a great thing if used responsibly. I think that a lot of people probably don't use it responsibly, so they need the "live on last month's money" direction. Probably not needed for most mustachians.
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GoStumpy

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2013, 07:38:42 PM »
I get that, but when I've got 3 bills left this month and only enough money to budget for one of those (BUT I have two more paychecks coming), what am I supposed to do?  Not put them in and risk forgetting about them? 

This is the epitome of what living paycheck to paycheck is.... you NEED that next paycheck to cover the bills, or else they are NSF.

Building a buffer in your checking account to cover all monthly bills is what YNAB considers "living on last month's income".  At the 1st of the month, you'll have all of your income budgeted, you don't have to worry about paychecks, and just budget all your bills.  To do this, you need to have one month's expenses saved in your checking/savings account that is easily accessed.

It makes sense to have at least one month's expenses readily available, no??

Anyway, if you don't have one month's savings yet, we're in trouble!   Or in debt!  LOL.  That's actually exactly where I am.  I could save 1 month's expenses and budget an entire month's bills on the 1st, but that would delay me paying off debt, and I prefer to pay off debt.  Personal choice.


If you have sufficient savings to cover a month's expenses, use that to get you through this month, and budget your paychecks as "Income for (June)" or whatever the next month is.  This way, the income shows 'Available to budget' for June, and come June 1st, you'll have an entire month's pay to budget with. 

Until then, work on building a month's buffer as a category, I would use a category called "Buffer category" and just plunk extra $ into that monthly until you have saved up a month's income.



Am I rambling?  Probably.... Carry on!

-edit-

An answer to the quote, perhaps, is to add a Note to the category that needs to be budgeted once you get paid again... if you click on the "Click to add note here" icon inside a category, you can put in what the $ will be needed off your next paycheck.  Whenever you get paid, ALWAYS check the notes first!!  Allocate that $ first, then you can distribute the rest as necessary.  That's what I do and it seems to work!  As long as you/I remember to budget the noted categories first!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 07:40:53 PM by GoStumpy »
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smalllife

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2013, 07:43:24 PM »
eventually, i guess the idea is to use last month's pay to pay this month's bills, in which case you can budget for the whole month at once...

I don't mean this as criticism in any way, but I've never understood the concept of using last month's money to pay this month's bills, unless you are living paycheck to paycheck and need to make sure you aren't going to overdraft. Once you have your expenses below your income, and have a stache to draw from, why does it matter which paycheck is going to which bills?

If you are hourly, wages can very quite a bit from month to month.  If you're salaried and have a system going for you that works, great.  Personally, the beauty of YNAB for me is the ability to set aside money for different things before you need it (and preventing double counting that checking account float).   I'm not living paycheck to paycheck but knowing exactly how much I have at the beginning of the month is way less stressful than worrying about how big that last paycheck is going to be.  You are also assuming that everyone has a stache outside of tax advantaged accounts - at medium income levels (~30k in my city) maxing out a Roth IRA takes about 15-20% of net income.  Add 401k contributions and having a month's float in cash (this month's income as you wait for next month) vs. paying via credit card float (next month's income pays off the cards) can make a big difference.
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adam

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2013, 07:20:42 AM »
Well I suppose that I am living paycheck to paycheck in the sense that I don't have $8,000 sitting in my checking account right now.  I'd rather send that money to a credit card balance than leave it 'waiting' for a bill to pay.  1 month's expenses in cash would pay off two of the lowest credit card balances I have.  After that 1 months' expenses would pay off my student loan.  After that.... etc.  In other words, debt is the priority.

I also use google calendar for all my bill scheduling, which is why I'm trying to figure out if YNAB will actually be useful to me.

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2013, 07:40:09 AM »
eventually, i guess the idea is to use last month's pay to pay this month's bills, in which case you can budget for the whole month at once...

I don't mean this as criticism in any way, but I've never understood the concept of using last month's money to pay this month's bills, unless you are living paycheck to paycheck and need to make sure you aren't going to overdraft. Once you have your expenses below your income, and have a stache to draw from, why does it matter which paycheck is going to which bills?

For example, if I bring in $6k per month,  and my average monthly expenses are $3.5k, why do I care if I am spending money from last paycheck, this paycheck, or whatever. It's all money that is already there, and sitting in the same pot. Just keep a buffer of a few thousand in the checking, put the rest into whatever your preferred investment is, and never worry about whether your money comes in on the 1st and 15th, or the 14th and 28th, no? If you have unexpected expenses, pull it out of one of the other accounts.

As for what other people have said about credit card float and spending next month's money, isn't credit card float a good thing? I get cashback on my purchases, I float the money at 0% for up to 30 days, and that allows me to have a little more money in an interest-bearing account. Sounds like win-win to me.

Depending on your level of self-control and person financial awareness, you don't really need to. A more advanced Mustachian really doesn't have to care where money comes from or when, and doesn't really need a budget. But for someone like me, with only a few thousand in savings, variable income, and debt, living on last month's income changed everything. Now that I know exactly how much I have, I'm totally comfortable dropping $1,700 into debt and savings on the first of the month. If I didn't have this assurance, there's no way I could do this. Besides, if you already have a checking account buffer, you are essentially living on last months (or several months) income, you just don't call it that. Essentially, you're not waiting on a paycheck to make a purchase, you just using money you already have. Same concept.

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2013, 07:47:13 AM »
One of the things I found lacking in both Mint and YNAB is the ability to forecast well.  So, I made my own cash forecasting tool, and you can use it for free :)

http://forecast.calcitout.com

let me know what you think, it's still in beta.

Joel

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2013, 10:24:19 AM »
Well I suppose that I am living paycheck to paycheck in the sense that I don't have $8,000 sitting in my checking account right now.  I'd rather send that money to a credit card balance than leave it 'waiting' for a bill to pay.  1 month's expenses in cash would pay off two of the lowest credit card balances I have.  After that 1 months' expenses would pay off my student loan.  After that.... etc.  In other words, debt is the priority.

I also use google calendar for all my bill scheduling, which is why I'm trying to figure out if YNAB will actually be useful to me.

All you have to do is make sure your overbudgeted amount is less than or equal to your anticipated income for the month.

It's not designed to be used that way, but an advanced user certainly could use the software in that way to minimize the interest paid on their debt.
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rubybeth

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2013, 01:15:40 PM »
I have used Mint.com for a really long time, and since it works with almost all of our accounts, it's good for getting an overall picture of how investments, net worth, and account balances are doing, all at once, minimal entering of info. needed. Handy for monitoring 10+ accounts and checking for fraud. I have taken a brief look at YNAB, and I think I already do essentially the same thing with a massive series of Google spreadsheets that link together and project numbers out 10+ years.

We are not living paycheck to paycheck, never have. We keep about one month's expenses in the brokerage (checking) account at the end of each month, so if a paycheck is less than expected (husband is hourly) or delayed for some weird reason, or if an unexpected bill occurs (like new tires or something) we basically have our emergency fund at hand and don't have to pull anything out of savings. In fact, we have never (touch wood) had to touch our 'emergency fund' savings because of this buffer of funds.
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adam

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #46 on: May 22, 2013, 06:56:31 AM »
I couldn't find the value in it for me, so I deleted YNAB.

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #47 on: May 23, 2013, 07:19:15 AM »
I've been using Mint since late 2010.  I like being able to see everything in one place, with all transactions automatically input, and for the most part, categorized appropriately.  I find it particularly helpful for tracking spending history and net worth, as well as keeping an eye on my credit card usage.  When I first used it, having never calculated it before, I was dismayed to discover that my net worth was negative.  Watching my net worth grow through Mint has been a great motivator for me.

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #48 on: May 24, 2013, 07:23:48 PM »
YNAB seems like a useful program, but I like Mint's automatic transaction download and categorization. My main complaint with Mint is that budgets cannot be made for future months. If your expenses and income are fairly regular, that is not a major issue.

Will

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Re: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?
« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2013, 07:52:16 PM »
I couldn't find the value in it for me, so I deleted mint.
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