Mint vs. YNAB - Which budgeting app should you choose?

Compare Mint to YNAB (You Need A Budget) and see which one is the best budget app for you! Let’s look at their prices, features, and how they work.

When you need to set up a budget but want a really easy app that doesn’t take a lot of work, you’ve probably asked yourself: “Which app is the best ?”

Well, I’m here to help you narrow down the list.

The two most popular budget apps are Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB). This guide will show you the strengths and weaknesses of both of them and help you decide which one is the best one for your life.

What To Look For In A Budget App

What are the most important features that you should look for in a budgeting app? This largely depends on how you are going to use it. In general, there are a few things that are extremely necessary.

These are the features that you should have in a budgeting app:

  • Report Generation – It should be able to generate reports for where your money goes, how you spend it, how much you save, and other helpful information that can help you make changes to your habits.
  • Alerts – When you are close to overspending, getting alerts before you do is really helpful!
  • Budgeting and Goal Setting – At the most basic level, a good budget app will help you set financial goals and view where your money goes and plan where you want it to go in the future.
  • Two-Factor Authentication – Two-factor authentication is the safest way to protect your financial information.
  • Credit Score Tracking – You should be able to see your current credit score every time you log into your app.
  • Synchronization – The best budget app will be accessible from either a desktop, tablet, or phone. You should also be able to share accounts with your spouse or partner.

The Best Budget App For You

The very first step to getting your money and spending under control is to set up a budget. If you are going to be successful with a budget, you need an app that can synchronize across multiple devices and platforms so you can use it no matter where you are at. You also need something that is easy to use and has amazing customer service.

Since two of the most popular budgeting apps right now are Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB), those are the two I am going to compare right now. You honestly can’t go wrong with either one. They are both robust and will do everything you need them to.

The real question is, which one do you like more?

Let’s look closely at each one so that you can make this decision a little easier.

Mint Budgeting App

With more than 15 million users, is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there. It started out as a budgeting website and now works as both a website and an app. It is super easy to use and has a feature where it automatically syncs with your online baking transactions.

Strengths has one of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market. Even people who don’t like technology very much can use this without any problems. Plus, it’s completely free to use!

Setting up your budget is as easy as just syncing it with your online banking. It automatically downloads your transactions and puts your transactions into categories – all without any work from you! Talk about easy. You can customize subcategories and tell it the names of transactions that belong in them, but you cannot customize the main categories.

Another wonderful feature is that you can access your account both on a desktop computer and mobile app. All the information stays the same and it syncs whenever you log into it.

You can also monitor your credit score every time you log in. This will help you set and meet financial goals.

There are quite a few different types of alerts that you can sign up to receive as well. These alerts will either go to your email or are sent to your phone via SMS.

Some of the alerts include:

  • Late fees
  • When you go over budget in a category
  • Bill reminders
  • Notification of large purchases (helpful to prevent identity theft)

It’s also very secure! They have two-factor authentication set up. This means you cannot access your account until you validate your computer with something else you own, such as a phone or tablet.

Here are the strengths, summarized for you.

  • Free to Use
  • User-friendly interface
  • Alerts
  • Apps and Web Interface
  • Credit Score Monitoring
  • Budget Customization
  • Two-Factor Authentication


As wonderful as is, there are a few areas where they can still improve.

For one thing, you don’t have the option to pay bills from the app. If you are going to budget and view your finances, it would be nice to be able to pay some bills right from the website.

Another weak point is that you can’t adjust the main categories. When you sync your transactions, it places them in pre-made categories. While this is a helpful feature for anyone that isn’t tech-savvy, it would be nice to have the option to change it.

You also cannot manually reconcile transactions with your bank statement. The website automatically assumes that all the transactions it downloaded from your bank’s portal are completely accurate. If there is ever something incorrect, you can’t change it.

Mint also has ads placed within the app. You’ll receive ads for loans, credit cards, and more. This can be annoying and tempting all at the same time.

Finally, there isn’t a way to invest in retirement savings directly from the app. This would be a nice feature for those people that don’t want to leave the website or app to do other financial things like saving and investing.

In summary, these are the weakest parts of

  • No Bill Pay Option
  • Unable to Modify Main Categories
  • Won’t Reconcile Transactions
  • No Investment Options

You Need A Budget App (YNAB)

YNAB is an app dedicated entirely to budgeting and only to budgeting. If you want something that is specifically created to help you create and stick to a budget, then this is the app for you. It was created by a CPA named Jesse Macham to help him and his wife with their budget. His zoned-in focus on budgeting in YNAB will help you create goals and stick to them.

This one does cost a monthly subscription fee. Whether that is worth it to you or not entirely depends on how you use it and what you need your budget app to do for you.


The one thing that sets YNAB apart from the competition is the instructional support. You aren’t just getting access to a system that sorts your money. You also have access to educational tools that help you get to the root causes of your financial issues. They offer free workshops that help you learn how to handle debt and build savings, among other topics.

Another amazing thing about YNAB is that it works with any tech that you own. You can access it on your desktop, smartwatch, Alexa, and your phone. Everything you need is always just a tap away!

You can also customize your budget categories easily. After you sync the transactions with your bank, you can rename the categories so that you and your partner know exactly where the money is going.

As you create financial goals, YNAB actually makes budgeting recommendations based on your income and spending habits. This is such a helpful feature for beginning budgeters.

In summary, these are the strengths of YNAB:

  • Investment Tracking
  • Budgeting
  • Syncs Across Multiple Devices
  • Reconcile Transactions
  • Create Custom Categories
  • Budgeting Advice and Strategy


Since this is just a budgeting app, there are a few other features that aren’t included in it. These weaknesses are mainly for anyone that wants more from an app than just tracking their spending and meeting financial goals.

For one thing, you can’t pay bills from YNAB. You will have to pay bills like you normally do, there isn’t a way to do it in YNAB.

Another downside is that you can’t see your credit score from within YNAB. If your credit score is one of your financial goals, you’ll have to use another website to track it.

Depending on how you value the subscription fee, this could be a downside. The fee is about $11.99 a month or $84 per year. This is an incredibly low fee considering how much you can do with this app! However, if you were hoping for a free service you won’t find it in YNAB.

Finally, it has push notifications for smartphones, but you can’t sign up for SMS text alerts. If you don’t like push notification, this might be a downside. You still get the notifications, it’s just via push notifications.

Here are the main weaknesses of YNAB:

  • No Bill Pay
  • Can’t Track Credit Score
  • Subscription Fee
  • No SMS Alerts

The Cost of Each App

As mentioned earlier, YNAB does have a cost. You can choose between a monthly or annual cost. Mint is completely free, however there is a downside to this free app.

You’ll notice in the Mint app that you’ll see ads sporadically throughout the app. These ads are for loans, credit cards, and even mortgage loans. Mint makes money when anyone signs up for these services through their app.

If you’re looking for an ad-free experience, then Mint might not be fore you.

Mint vs YNAB: How To Pick The Best Budget App

How you pick the best budget app depends on your values and what you need it to do. Honestly, if you want something that was created to be the best budget app and is focused entirely on budgeting and learning how to manage money, YNAB is for you. It is continually evolving with a clear focus on money management and healthy financial habits.

If you want something free that helps you track what you spend so you can make wiser choices, then is the best option. You really can’t go wrong with either one!

Final Thoughts

No matter which one you ultimately choose in the battle of Mint vs YNAB, the important thing is that you set up a budget and stick to it. Just seeing where your money is going is the first step to preventing overspending and encouraging savings. Work on smart money habits and put more money away and spend less. It’s easier when you use one of these helpful budget apps.