Personal Finance

Can You Use Mint Without Linking Accounts

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 12 minute read

Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of America and the University of Kansas discovered that 46% of respondents utilized a spending plan or budget in 2003, before cloud-based budgeting was commonplace and most budgeting software still arrived in a box. 

Almost a decade later, in December 2014, 82% of Americans responded to a Bankrate survey and said they followed a household budget.

Weird things are happening. To sum it up: Absolutely Pristine. Mint, now a part of Intuit with TurboTax and QuickBooks, was the first popular cloud-based budgeting program, and its success served as a blueprint for many other similar services.

Though it remains a popular option for serious home budgeters, Mint is no longer the only game in town, and it has plenty of room for improvement. For starters, it’s not especially user-friendly and it contains a lot of unnecessary features that casual budgeters don’t need. Several other websites exist that are both more lightweight and more intuitive than

Budgeting Apps Other Than

It would appear that each month there are more and more viable alternatives to Mint. Check out these great alternatives to Mint before committing to it or any other digital budgeting software. There is no cost to use any of them, or they come at a little cost. Some use the “freemium” model, which provides a free basic product with a paid premium one.

If you can’t make due with the no-cost alternative, you’ll have to weigh the savings potential of a detailed personal budget against the cost of creating one.

  1. Personal Capital

Personal Capital’s main business is asset management, not budgeting. Among the most highly rated human-assisted robo-advisors, Personal Capital is a hybrid financial advice platform.

However, in a mobile-friendly packaging, Personal Capital offers a helpful set of financial management tools. Such things consist of:

  • Management Control Panel. The core of Personal Capital’s financial planning tools.
  • Cash flow, savings rate, debt, and net worth are just a few of the major financial health measures that may be gleaned by linking your external bank accounts.
  • Constructing a strategy for retirement. This calculator can help you determine how much money you’ll need for retirement under different economic conditions so that you can make a strategy to achieve your goals.
  • Examining Your Investments. To see if you need to make any changes to your investment portfolio, compare the current allocations to the optimal allocations based on your age and risk tolerance.
  • Analyzer of Fees. You should add up all the expenses associated with managing your assets, both obvious and not so obvious.

Due to its focus on portfolio management, Personal Capital’s budgeting suite isn’t a goal in itself. Some services, such as the Fee Analyzer and the Investment Checkup, are meant to highlight Personal Capital’s advantages over its rivals and direct potential investors along the sales funnel.

If you don’t have $100,000 in investable assets, you can’t use Personal Capital as an investing client and will instead have to use the free budgeting tools the site offers.

  1. YNAB

You Need a Budget, or YNAB for short, is a paid budgeting app with a 34-day free trial and a money-back guarantee with no questions asked. YNAB is known for its powerful set of features and easy-to-use interface.

Even though it’s one of the most expensive things on this list, it’s worth the price. If you spend a few minutes with it, you might get excited about making a budget. There are different versions of the YNAB app:

  • YNAB for Web (best for desktops and laptops)
  • YNAB for Android and iPhone
  • YNAB for iPad
  • YNAB for Apple Watch
  • YNAB for Alexa
  1. Tiller

Tiller, commonly known as Tiller Money, is a spreadsheet-based tool that automatically syncs with more than 18,000 different types of financial accounts, such as checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans, credit cards, and mortgages. You may link most or all of your financial accounts with Tiller if you bank, invest, or borrow with a U.S.-based financial institution.

Tiller begins working after synchronization is complete. Automatically classified transactions from your linked accounts are used to update bespoke Google or Excel spreadsheets on a regular basis. For instance, if you spend ten dollars at the sandwich shop today, that transaction will show up in the “Dining” or “Food” section of your budgeting document the next day.

You may fine-tune your spending at any moment by manually classifying or recategorizing synced transactions, and your spreadsheets will be easy to understand because you pick the category criteria and color palette.

If you’re not the type to check spreadsheets everyday, Tiller’s optional email notifications will provide you a digest without being intrusive. Your spouse or financial planner can also access your Tiller spreadsheets.

  1. MoneyPatrol

With MoneyPatrol, you can see your full financial picture on one individualized dashboard. It works with a bewildering variety of bank and credit card systems, as well as investment and retirement funds, gift cards, and more.

Although it lacks complex spreadsheets and rules-based budgets, MoneyPatrol does provide a robust budgeting tool that gives users the ability to track and modify their spending as they see fit. The app’s Alerts & Insights section, which sends users concise summaries of their financial situations through text message or email, is a major selling point.

Examine MoneyPatrol’s clean visualizations, such as charts, tables, and panel views, to get a better sense of your financial situation.

  1. Quicken

As personal finance management applications go, Quicken may be the most well-known alternative to Mint.

Quicken is a great option for serious home budgeters and small company owners who want to keep track of their finances without breaking the bank on an expensive CPA. But it doesn’t mean you can expect to spend little on Quicken; the Home & Business version is really very pricey.

This package comes with a plethora of useful tax and cost tools, such as Schedule C and E projections, as well as other business necessities, such as the ability to create personalized invoices and estimates that include embedded payment links.

Quicken can be an effective business management tool for small-scale landlords because of its ability to store rental documentation immediately within the program.

  1. Simplifi
  • Pricing: All features and functionality are included in a single package with a free 30-day trial.
  • Features include the ability to set savings goals, have transactions automatically categorized, connect to more than 10,000 financial institutions, manage bills, and stay on budget using a variety of tools.

Simplifi is an all-in-one financial management platform that securely connects to over 10,000 financial institutions and is powered by Quicken, a market leader in personal and corporate budgeting.

It also offers a (financial) bill management function that can save your life by keeping you from forgetting about the payments you pay automatically each month.

It gets better. The fully-customizable spending plan tool in Simplifi adds up your income and expenses using data from your connected accounts and any other facts you might provide and displays a safe spending limit.

The savings goal function in Simplifi lets you prioritize your spending and save for the things that matter most, whether that’s a lovely night out on the town or an early payoff of your student debts.

  1. Empower

Empower is a simple software for opening a deposit account that has several helpful tools for financial planning and saving.

There are automatic alerts that let you know when you’re about to go over your budget (or when you come in well under your self-imposed limits), monthly spending reports that can help you spend better in the future, and an infinite number of customizable budgeting categories with custom spending limits or suggested limits based on your monthly income.

Empower’s built-in savings suite monitors subscriptions that may be draining your finances and provides the option of bill negotiation (with Empower keeping a portion of any savings) for any subscriptions or invoices you don’t wish to cancel.

It’s one of the better alternatives to Mint, especially when combined with Empower’s suggestions for improving your credit score.

  1. PocketSmith
  • Structure: The plans range from the free basic to the premium super (fairly expensive)
  • Abundant features include limitless budgets and accounts, automated and manual transaction import, and forecasts of financial data up to 30 years into the future.

One of PocketSmith’s three plans is free.

  • Basic. Even though you can’t sync your transactions with the free plan, you may still import them manually. A maximum of two accounts, twelve budgets, and six months of cash flow forecasts are allowed (which include projected statement balances). If your financial needs are straightforward, then Basic is the way to go.
  • Premium. This is the most popular PocketSmith membership and includes limitless budgets, 10 accounts, and 10-year cash flow estimates. In addition, it has built-in support for both automated and manual bank feeds (syncs) and transaction imports (and thus, transaction categorization).
  • Super. You may make predictions for an infinite number of accounts and cash flows for up to 30 years with this plan. Super’s 30-year horizon might replace a human financial adviser for careful, assured users at a tenth of the expense.

Particular types of customers may find PocketSmith’s benefits appealing. This program is perfect for American expats whose finances have gone native since, for example, its bank feed function supports accounts in 36 countries and the software itself supports several currencies other than U.S. dollars.

If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll like the budget calendar’s calendar view for scheduling payments. Those who don’t like having their life divided up by billing cycles may appreciate the ability to choose their own budget cycles (weekly, monthly, or even daily).

A great advantage for small company owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers with significant self-employment revenue is the smooth integration between PocketSmith and Xero, a popular small business accounting software.

It also includes an interaction with Mint, albeit it appears like an attempt to steal away existing Mint users by importing their connected accounts and transaction history.

  1. EveryDollar

Budgeting and personal finance made simple with EveryDollar, a tool from Dave Ramsey.
The stripped-down free edition is best suited for people and families with simple household budgets (regular income and spending, regular bills, and minimal extravagances), as it does not allow for external account synchronization or automated transaction imports.

EveryDollar Plus is recommended for those with more complex finances, as it can sync with most external accounts and automatically feed transactions into the platform’s bespoke spreadsheets.

The EveryDollar team does not include qualified financial advisors, and the company is not in the business of providing practical financial advice, but EveryDollar Plus does feature priority customer assistance. You must decide for yourself if the premium version of EveryDollar is worthwhile.

  1. MoneyStrands

MoneyStrands is a no-cost, cross-platform mobile budgeting solution. It may not look as nice or have as many bells and whistles as its premium counterparts, but it does include useful budgeting features such as:

  • Syncing in real-time with your external bank, brokerage, or money transfer app
  • A budget based on your long-term and intermediate savings goals.
  • Individualized spending plans that help you control your money by category and always spend less than you make
  • The OK to Spend function is an algorithm-driven tool that monitors your cash flow and alerts you when it’s safe to make a monetary splurge (and when you really should buckle down)

We can’t guarantee that using MoneyStrands will help you avoid financial trouble. But it’s a good option for those who want to create and maintain long-term savings goals and who want insight into their household’s spending and saving patterns that may seem opaque or out of control.

  1. Buxfer

Buxfer has five different pricing categories, so there’s certain to be one that works for your budget. Among the options are:

  • Basic. Free and with a cap of five linked accounts and five budgets, this plan is best for those with very simple financial needs.
  • Pilot. The transaction labeling and account synchronization features in this strategy are fully automated. For those on a tight budget who don’t want to spend the time entering transactions manually, this is the ideal option.
  • Plus. With this package, you may connect as many accounts and budgets as you like.
  • Pro. When compared to cheaper plans, this one’s higher price tag is justified by the superior forecasting and cash flow tracking features it provides.
  • Prime. Pricing for this plan is higher than the rest, but you’ll get what amounts to a complete financial planning suite right out of the box.
  1. CountAbout

If you take your budgeting seriously, you should check out CountAbout, a flexible tool that may help you do just that. Automatic downloading of bank account transactions from any of the hundreds of financial institutions with which CountAbout is compatible is the flagship feature of the Premium plan, which you are instantly enrolled in when you join up for the 15-day free trial.

Assuming you don’t downgrade to Basic before the trial ends, your Premium membership will be automatically renewed. As a result, CountAbout is taking a risk by betting that you won’t want to disable automatic downloading.

  1. Moneydance

In contrast to Mint, which didn’t debut until 2012, Moneydance was first released in 1998. Moneydance hasn’t become a household brand since the Y2K scare, but the tiny team responsible for it has learnt a lot in that time, including the fact that monthly recurring income isn’t everything, much to the joy of thrifty budgeters.

You simply have to buy Moneydance once, and then you have access to both the desktop and mobile versions forever.

Moneydance stands out because it can process not only U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies, but nearly any sort of cash. When combined with its top-tier security, it’s an obvious pick for crypto enthusiasts, who are mostly ignored by conventional budgeting applications.

Moneydance provides an unusually extended free trial of 90 days, during which time dissatisfied consumers can ask for a full refund. In keeping with its vintage feel, Moneydance issues a unique license key to each user; losing yours isn’t the end of the world, but you’ll need to get in touch with Moneydance to get a new one.

  1. NeoBudget

Another software that has been mostly unnoticed for years is NeoBudget, a budgeting tool. It’s like a modern take on the tried-and-true envelope method of budgeting, in which a certain amount of money is set aside every month for a certain area of expenditure.

The free edition of NeoBudget only allows for one user, one account, and 10 envelopes, therefore it’s best suited for individuals or small households with simple budgets. In the Standard plan, you may have an infinite number of users, accounts, and envelopes, making it suitable for more situations.

When using NeoBudget, you may expect to be actively involved. You can import a batch of transactions from your bank account, but you’ll have to assign them individually to envelopes or divide up more complex ones.

You may not have the time or energy to evaluate each transaction on a regular basis, or you may find the opportunity to do so exciting.

  1. Goodbudget

Goodbudget is an alternative envelope-based budgeting solution comparable to NeoBudget. Its Free edition is somewhat more feature-rich than NeoBudget’s, allowing for up to 20 envelopes, one account, and two devices.

The average thrifty couple can probably handle their money just fine without paying for the more advanced features of Plus.

Plus is precisely what the financial doctor prescribed for families with more intricate budgets. An excellent tool for educating children about money, Plus allows for an infinite number of envelopes and accounts as well as use on five different devices.

Don’t forget to use Goodbudget’s specialized Debt Accounts function if you’re struggling under the weight of a lot of high-interest debt.

Bottom Line

Sorry to disappoint the good people at YNAB, but it’s not quite obvious that you need to create a budget. There are many prosperous people who refuse to use a budget at all, let alone financial management software.

As a matter of course, these folks nonetheless adhere to the first rule of personal finance: spending less money than one brings in. However, they don’t stress over things like saving percentages, cash flow projections, or spending caps based on certain categories.

Simply put, they do what must be done to live within their means, establish financial objectives, and save for the future. You might call it self-discipline when it comes to your money.

However, not everyone naturally exhibits fiscal restraint, at least not without the help of a budget. It’s up to the individual to determine whether their budget is kept in the form of a specialized Google Sheets spreadsheet, a strongbox with envelopes of cash, or a free or cheap digital budgeting tool.

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