Budgeting is the financial b-word, but it’s the basis of your financial success. It allows you to track your income, watch your spending, and make sure nothing is being wasted. Your income is your biggest wealth-building tool, and how much income you make means nothing if you aren’t able to manage your spending.
Budgeting apps are everywhere and it’s difficult to tell which one will work best for you. You don’t want to go through the trouble of setting yourself up on an app just to hate it.
So whether you’re just starting or you have a complex financial picture, here’s how two of my favorite budgeting apps, Mint vs. EveryDollar, compare.
What is Mint?
Mint is a free personal finance and budgeting tool by Intuit, the same people who bring you TurboTax.
It’s one of the most popular budgeting apps around, with more than 20 million users taking advantage of its top-tier features like automated expense tracking, account synchronization, and financial insights and overviews.
Mint allows you to closely track your spending easily through linked accounts, set reminders for bills, see your credit score and your financial big picture, and create and optimize your budget. You get to do all of this completely free.
The downside though, is that Mint supports itself through the use of ads. However those ads are financial products that are targeted to you based on your finances, so at least they might be useful ads.
What’s nice about Mint is that it puts your complete financial life in a single spot. It simplifies your budget and gives you a complete overview of your financial picture. They also offer tips and advice on how to improve your credit score, which accounts might be useful to you, and allows you to set savings goals.
What is EveryDollar?
EveryDollar is the budgeting app associated with Dave Ramsey and Dave Ramsey Solutions. The idea is that you’re giving a purpose to every dollar that you earn. It teaches you to use zero-based budgeting, a type of budget that means you should have zero dollars left at the end of the month.
Dave Ramsey discusses a principle called paying yourself first, where you set money aside first for saving before dividing the rest of your income to your other expenses. This way you’re assigning all your dollars a job rather than waiting to see what you have left and hopefully putting that into savings instead of spending it. This is a pretty common way to budget, prioritizing taking care of your future financial health before you go spending on stuff you don’t need in the present.
EveryDollar offers a free version and a paid version, called EveryDollar Plus. The free version gives you access to basic budgeting features, keep track of your expenses and create your budget on one platform. With the free version, you do need to manually input all your transactions.
EveryDollar Plus allows you to link all your bank accounts, credit cards, and other expenses to automatically keep track of your expenses and income. It costs $129.99 per year, but it does include some of your Dave Ramsey favorites. An app to help you keep track of your Baby Steps, the major parts of Dave Ramsey’s financial plan. If you’re not familiar with the Baby Steps they are:
- $1,000 emergency fund
- Pay off all debt using the debt snowball
- Save 3-6 months' worth of expenses
- Save 15% for retirement
- College fund for the kids
- Pay off your house
- Build wealth and give
You’ll also get access to Financial Peace University, an in-depth learning tool for the Dave Ramsey plan, and access to their online community.
Related Content: How to Complete Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 1 in One Week
Features and Benefits: Mint
Mint offers a ton of features, which is surprising these days for a free app. You can do just about any financial checkup that you want.
Mint gives you the ability to tag all of your transactions which is especially handy if you’re a small business owner or self-employed, or if you want to track how much you’re spending on specific things.
They offer many ways to filter your transactions and see the data visually. They can even show you a pie chart with your spending for the month, all the categories you’ve spent in, and populate a list of merchants where you spent money that month.
You can set up your own categories for spending and set financial goals for yourself. Mint will track all of this and give you graphs to see a visual representation of your progress. There are times when it might miscategorize something since it’s all automated, but you can manually edit the category when you catch the mistake. It really allows you to get very specific with your budget.
Mint also helps you keep track of all your bills. Link your bill accounts and set up alerts and it will notify you of an approaching due date so they’re always paid on time. You can also set up alerts for big transactions, checks on your credit score, and even price alerts for things like ETFs.
One of my favorite features though is the subscription tracking. As someone who has a ton of different subscriptions, this one helps me the most by keeping track of them all in one place. And seeing them all in one place helps me decide which are important and which can go.
Holistic Financial Management
Mint has a ton of insights into your financial well-being, including cash flow, income, spending, and tracking and graphing your net worth over time. One of the best parts about Mint is the ability to link all your investments, savings, and property to get a clear picture of your overall financial health. Mint will update everything automatically, such as the actual value of your home or car, and add it to your total net worth.
Some other great features include notifying you when your bank account funds are low, free credit score from TransUnion as well as credit insights, and the ability to access it from your Apple watch.
Related Content: How to Create a Mint Budget in 10 Simple Steps (for Free)
Areas of Improvement: Mint
With all these features, what are the cons of the Mint app?
Really, there aren’t many, but the most common one is the ads. When it comes to Mint vs. EveryDollar, you're getting a bunch of ads with one and only a few ads with the other.
However, I will say that I support the way the platform does business. It makes sense to me that an app for budgeting should be free. And the ads that it shows you are generally meant to improve upon some financial metric that it finds within your account, so they’re likely beneficial.
Mint doesn’t connect with Robinhood, who blocks all third-party access to its service, or Webull. And sometimes your transactions get duplicated, meaning you do have to keep an eye on what’s happening. So, while Mint is extremely intuitive, it’s not infallible.
Features and Benefits: EveryDollar (Free Version)
EveryDollar has tiered benefits, based on whether you’re accessing the free version or the paid version.
This is your basic budgeting app, and it will allow you to import all of your income and expenses yourself. This can be a pro and a con.
For some, inputting everything manually forces them to actually look at all their spending, and it can be really powerful to have to confront every bit of spending you do. For others, it’s a pain and something like Mint with connected accounts is not only easier, but much more accurate. Sometimes people leave out some spending thinking it’s not important.
Everything inside the app will be categorized into different items, and you have the ability to add different categories that are specific to your life. You can also track the first 3 Baby Steps in the Dave Ramsey plan, so if you’re already participating in this, EveryDollar would be really helpful for that.
One really nice feature is the ability to share an account with your spouse. If you sign up for an account together, you can both use the app on your phone (or use the desktop version) but everything is synced together, allowing you to pursue financial goals together.
If you’re married or have a family and your finances are combined, this feature is a huge advantage over other apps that are designed for individual finances.
Features and Benefits: EveryDollar Plus
If you decide to upgrade to EveryDollar Plus it will open up more features, most notably the ability to automatically link your bank accounts and credit cards. But you’ll also be able to track all the Baby Steps, and get access to Financial Peace University and the Dave Ramsey online community.
EveryDollar Plus offers an insights tool. Here’s where you can get into the analytics of your spending, the total, the yearly and monthly breakdown, and your monthly income and income spent. The point of all the data is to help you build a better monthly budget.
Support for Multiple Income Streams
While EveryDollar is typically better and easier for people who have a predictable, steady income, people with multiple income streams will do well with EveryDollar Plus. It will help you see which months you earned more and which you earned less, and help you create a budget that will have you living within your means.
Areas of Improvement: EveryDollar
The software is used primarily for budgeting, so it doesn’t track investments, which is a disadvantage once you’re beyond debt repayment and into saving and investing steps.
One of the biggest downsides of EveryDollar is the fact that you have to pay for features that you can get for free using Mint. It seems counterintuitive to pay for a budgeting app.
For some people, especially those that are finding success with the Dave Ramsey program, the ease of the language, and not having to learn a new system, are reasons you might pay. Another reason is that investing in a platform may make you more likely to use it to its fullest advantages.
What’s nice is that it offers a 15-day free trial so you can test drive it and see if you like it before paying for the year.
Related Content: We Completed All of Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps! Now What?
Mint vs. EveryDollar: The Ultimate Showdown
How does Mint vs. EveryDollar compare side-by-side? Is EveryDollar worth it, or is Mint still the best? We compared the two in 8 key categories to see how they stack up.
Mint is fantastic for budgeting for a few reasons.
First, you can link all your accounts, which means hands-off tracking. You can create as many different and unique categories as you need to delegate your money to. And being able to use tagging to track spending allows you to get even more precise with your budget.
Mint also works hard to show you different representations of your budget, including graphs and charts, and helps you with automated insights on ways you can improve.
EveryDollar is meant specifically for budgeting the Dave Ramsey way. With the ability to create categories, and the tools to zero out your budget, you can give every dollar you earn a job.
EveryDollar Plus will show you insights into your spending habits, where your income is strongest, and offer you feedback on how to tweak your budget to make it the best it can be. You will also be getting access to a lot of education on how to stick to a budget to help you learn and grow as a better steward of your money.
Who's the Winner?
This one’s a tie!
Both of these apps have fantastic budgeting tools. While Mint has more to offer, EveryDollar has features that align with Dave Ramsey fans, and a focus on budget education.
Paying off Debt
Mint has a built-in debt payoff tool. It gathers your credit card and loan debt and helps you create a goal to pay it down. In fact, if you enter the minimum payment and interest rate on the debt, Mint will automatically set a realistic goal to pay down the debt. It also tracks how you’re doing, and can offer improvement insights along the way.
EveryDollar will help you track your debt balances, interest, minimum payments, and due dates. You can see your debt decreasing which can be really motivating. This isn’t automated though, so you will have to handle inputting all the data yourself, and creating your own debt repayment plan.
Who's the Winner?
Mint. It has the ability to track your debt and your payment towards your debt automatically and helps you set plans so you don’t make mistakes.
Mint has a ton of insights into almost every aspect of your personal finances. It helps you budget more precisely, creates debt repayment plans, offers tips on improving your credit score, and which credit cards or bank accounts might be best for you based on your financial activity.
Mint will also show you insights into your income and spending habits, like where and when you make your most money, and where and how much you spend. You get a preview of your net worth over time including things like property, which gives you insight into your total financial picture.
EveryDollar offers insights only with its Plus membership. This will show you insights into how you’re spending, where you’re assigning your money and how that’s compared to what you’re actually spending on, as well as yearly and monthly breakdowns of spending and income. The insights offered at EveryDollar are focused on helping you build a better budget, so they don’t offer a huge variety.
Who's the Winner?
Mint. They have such a wide variety of analytics and insights, as well as multiple different ways they present the data to you.
Collaboration with Spouse
Mint is meant for individual people to track their budget, savings, and investments, and pay off debt. Of course, spouses can both sign up to their own Mint accounts, and any joint accounts they add would show up for both of them. But it might not give the most accurate big picture of your financial life together if you share your money.
Dave Ramsey is a more family-focused program, and his app reflects that. You’re able to sign up for the app together, which means that all the transactions you report or sync will show up for both of you.
Who's the Winner?
EveryDollar. If you’re looking for collaboration with your spouse, EveryDollar is already set up to share accounts.
Mint offers pre-set reports that show you how you’re doing with spending, income, debt balances, and net worth.
EveryDollar also has pre-set reports only available for its Plus customers. It shows you income vs. spent income (making sure you’re using every dollar), monthly income, and your top spending categories.
Who's the Winner?
Mint. They offer more reporting, simply because they track more and show more data.
Mint offers the most comprehensive picture of your net worth, showing it both where it is today and over time. You’re able to sync all your investment and savings accounts, and add in property. For example, if you add your car, Mint will automatically show the Kelly Blue Book value, and track it as it depreciates. It will show the value of your home and adds it into your total net worth package. You can even add heirlooms, sports memorabilia, anything that you own that has value.
Does not offer the ability to show or track your net worth.
Who's the Winner?
Mint. EveryDollar doesn’t offer the service, and Mint paints a very thorough picture for you.
Mint uses multi-factor authentication and bank-level security measures like 256-bit encryption. They store your data as read-only, which means in the event of a data breach a hacker can’t transfer money from your account or view your full credit card numbers, usernames, or passwords. They hire hackers on a regular basis to test and improve their security measures. Mint does, however, sell and distribute customer data to third parties through data aggregation, which removes your individual information so you can’t be identified.
EveryDollar uses firewall barriers, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, along with other hardware, software, and procedural methods. Furthermore their infrastructure is in a world-class, highly secure data center using electronic surveillance. These centers are staffed 24/7 with security and authorized access.
Who's the Winner?
Tie. They both have excellent methods to keep their users safe.
Mint offers email support that is known to not be the best. I think this is one of Mint’s only major flaws, however, I try to keep in mind that the app is free.
The free version of EveryDollar offers email support, while EveryDollar Plus actually offers phone support where you can talk to real people. Even though most of us aren’t fans of making phone calls anymore, the ability to solve a problem quickly is great.
Who's the Winner?
EveryDollar Plus, where we can have people who actually work there help solve our technical problems.
Final Verdict on Mint vs. EveryDollar
The decision on Mint vs. EveryDollar definitely depends on what you’re looking for in your budget app.
Do you want something that’s focused on budgeting and learning how to handle your money? EveryDollar is more about taking responsibility for your finances. To use it, you need to be aware of what’s happening with every dollar, create your budget, use your budget, track everything, and give every dollar a job. It’s more hands-on and forces you to confront your income and spending.
Maybe what you’re really looking for is a comprehensive financial tool that tracks everything you have going on. This includes your income or multiple income streams, your debt, investments and savings, and your net worth. Mint is about having the big picture. It's about having information and insights on how to improve all aspects of your financial health. It’s hands-off, tracking everything for you and letting you sit back and see where things are going right and where they could be going better.
If you’re simply looking for the best free budgeting tool, Mint has my vote.
The free version of EveryDollar has far fewer features than Mint, and I like that everything you can do with the free version of EveryDollar, you can do with Mint, and more.
But consider your behavior and how you are with money. Maybe something that is really simple and straightforward is better if you want to employ the Dave Ramsey “gazelle-like focus” to paying down your debt and budgeting.
What do you think of this Mint vs. EveryDollar review? Which budget app is your favorite?
Please let us know in the comments below.