If you’ve been using Intuit’s Mint app to help you budget, automatically collect your expenses, put them into useful categories, and remind you to pay them, then you were probably a little surprised to discover that Intuit is adding Mint to its other financial service, Credit Karma, starting January 1, 2024.
Credit Karma’s core service is offering advice on financial products based on your credit score, which means it may be a good fit depending on how many of Mint’s features will be moved to Credit Karma. But it’s too early to say. (According to intuition“some of the most popular Mint-like features are available in Intuit Credit Karma,” which isn’t the most encouraging phrase I’ve ever seen.)
So this could be a problem for many current Mint users. The service, which became part of Intuit’s financial software library in 2009, has been popular as an app for people who don’t know much about finances and don’t really want to. It tracks expenses, helps you create a budget, and alerts you if you run into problems. (It also, like many free business financial apps, maintains a constant pace of promoting various credit cards, bank accounts, and other products.)
Fortunately, there are now other applications that can also offer similar services. None of them are free and none of them are like Mint, but they could be useful if you need something to help you stay on a budget or save toward a goal. Here are four worth checking out.
Quicken is, of course, one of the most well-known financial app companies and has a lot of different products. Quicken Simplifi is the most basic and obviously the company hopes to gain some users with the departure of Mint. How can I know? Because Simplifi originally did not allow a trial period (it is the only product listed here that did not), you can now have a three month trial period (the longest of the applications covered here) before you have to start paying its annual fee.
Like Mint (and most of these products), Simplifi pulls information from your various accounts to help you keep track of your finances. (You can also import the CSV file from Mint, although you will lose your categories.) The top page dashboard gives you a summary of various aspects of your finances, including how much you’ve spent recently; upcoming automatic payments; a spending plan that you can use to see if your outgoing finances exceed your incoming finances; an expense tracking list, which you can use to look at specific categories, tags, or payees; and investment or savings goal trackers. You can select each one for more details, but they can also all be accessed separately through a side panel.
I found Simplifi quite easy to get used to. Its interface isn’t as user-friendly as Mint’s, but it offers a great deal for just under $50 a year, especially if you’re looking for a way to easily track your finances.
Cost: Three-month free trial (with credit card), then $47.88 billed annually.
Tiller is also looking to hire some former Minters; At the time I wrote this, the front page announced that it was time for Mint users to “graduate” to Tiller. The question is, of course, whether they want to do it: while Tiller has many advantages, it also has a fairly steep learning curve.
Unlike most apps, which give you the option to associate with another account or create an email and password, Tiller only lets you sign in with a Google or Microsoft account. A credit card is required to register.
Once you’ve entered your first account information, you’ll be invited to set up your first spreadsheet, which will be in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. (A pop-up quiz tests your skill level with spreadsheets.) Once you’ve added all your accounts, you’ll be able to install the Tiller Money Feeds plugin, which is basically a template attached to your spreadsheet.
Tiller moved my accounts to a Sheets spreadsheet with no issues. This is actually a plus, especially for those of us who have experienced too many app disappearances; Even if Tiller disappeared tomorrow, all of his data would already be there and available.
Once you’ve installed the template, Tiller will take you through a step-by-step lesson on how to use it. Each tab in the spreadsheet handles a different feature, such as spending trends, transactions, annual budget, etc. Every time you launch the extension, it will automatically update your accounts (although there was a warning that there are some accounts that will need to be updated manually).
In short, if you’re comfortable (or even prefer) managing your finances through a spreadsheet, then Tiller’s template should make things a lot easier for you. However, if you’re an ex-Minter who wants something simple and automated, Tiller may not be for you.
Cost: Free 30-day trial (with credit card), then $79/year.
YNAB (for You Need A Budget), like Mint, is for people who want to create a budget and track their spending as easily as possible. When you start it for the first time, you follow three steps. First, you set your budget goals by filling out a form that covers a variety of possible outlays, including rent, utilities, grocery expenses, vacation money, entertainment, etc. Then you add your various checking or savings accounts; to those accounts or complete them manually. Finally, you allocate that money to your various expenses, and if you’re in a hurry, there’s an auto-allocate button that does it for you. You can then review them and modify any of the assigned expenses, categories, or payments that are there.
Once this is done, you will have your main budget page, which gives a clear indication of where you are financially. Below each expense, a green line means it is covered or on track to be covered, while an expense not covered receives a gray line and any expense that is only partially covered receives a yellow line. The amount of money you have left is shown at the top.
If you’ve allocated more money than you have (either manually or through automatic loads), that extra amount becomes negative and bright red, so you can’t miss it. A button called “Fix This” allows you to “deallocate” money from one of the categories, for example, from your entertainment budget.
YNAB imports QFX, OFX, QIF or CSV files and will export your data in CSV format if desired.
I was very impressed by the user-friendly interface and flexibility of YNAB. It costs more than the other apps listed here, but if you’re looking for an easy way to try to stay within your budget, it may be worth a few extra dollars.
Cost: Free 34-day trial (no credit card needed), then $14.99/month or $99/year.
Copilot is definitely pushing for the new Mint crown: the front page says it’s working on a direct transfer of Mint data and has a waiting list for those who don’t want to switch until then. One warning: this is only for macOS and iOS systems. Once you download the app, you can sign up with your Apple account or email.
Like YNAB, you can connect to your accounts or fill in your details manually. Well, there is also a demo account to practice if you are still not sure if you want to complete your own.
Copilot divides its transactions into three types: regular (such as rent, subscriptions or groceries); internal (money you move between two accounts, like when you pay a credit card bill); and income.
Your dashboard is where you’ll see a summary of all your transactions: how much you spent that month versus how much you budgeted, your recent transactions, your top spending categories, and what you’re expected to pay. during the next few weeks, among others. You are invited to review each transaction and flag it or, if necessary, change its category, type or delete it. According to Copilot, he uses an artificial intelligence system that will allow you to become familiar with how your expenses are classified after a while. Additionally, he can mark a transaction as recurring and (via the side menu) see how many of his recurring transactions still need to be paid that month.
If your expenses exceed that month’s budget, the monthly spending line graph on your dashboard will turn red; you can also be notified. (Copilot offers a variety of notifications, including when you’re paid, if you’re approaching an overdraft fee, or when a major purchase has been made, among others.)
Copilot is an interesting financial application. It wasn’t as easy to set up and understand as YNAB, but others have found its AI features to be very useful over time. If your devices are in the Apple ecosystem and you’re willing to spend a little time “teaching” Copilot how to deal with your finances, it could be a rewarding experience.
Cost: Free one-month trial (credit card required), then $13/month or $95/year.