Goodbye to 3 Alternative Budgeting Apps to Consider

Person using budgeting app on laptop

Please note the publish date of this blog. Financial information, market conditions, and other data mentioned in this post may no longer be accurate or relevant.

In 2009, this doe eyed financial planner fell in love. And no, I don’t mean with my husband. I’m referring to, one of the first budgeting apps. 

Mint offered everything I never knew I was looking for – data aggregation, categorization, rules-based budgeting, spending tags, spending trends, you name it. For the last fourteen years, has been my trusty companion as my financial life changed and adapted to marriage, home ownership, job changes, kids, partnership at Abacus, you name it. Like a good friend, it’s been there through thick and thin.

Sadly, and its over three and a half million users got some bad news in late 2023: our beloved app has gone away, as of January 1, 2024.

After going through several stages of grief, I’ve hit acceptance and have gotten to work in replacing my trusty friend. Through extensive research and personal trial and error, I want to highlight my three finalists for a replacement, and ultimately, where I landed.

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Bronze Medalist: You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Who it’s great for: YNAB is a cult favorite for those who want to take a very hands on approach to budgeting. The program has four tenets, but the fourth is the one that stands out. What they coin their “age your money” approach gets users from being a month behind on their expenses to being a month ahead with giving every dollar a job. This is where YNAB can be a game changer for those earlier in their career, getting started with budgeting, or with simple finances.

Why it didn’t work for me: With three kids, two working spouses and a small business, YNAB was too tactical for my family. I have too many moving parts that make it too cumbersome to get the most benefit.

Silver Medalist: Monarch Money

Who it’s great for: Upon using Monarch Money, I immediately loved the interface. It’s clearly the most beautiful app on the market, and I think best for those who are more visual learners (the icons that they use for different expense categories are cute but it’s the Sankey diagram that really steals the show). 

Monarch Money also does a good job of breaking down expenses and income in a great net income visual that captures trends over time. It also seems like the most innovative finance tool on the market, and unlike Mint, they seem committed to improving the user experience.

Why it didn’t work for me: I really liked Monarch Money overall, and almost made it to my top choice. It has lots of neat features that many users should love but were perhaps wasted on me. At the end of the day, my favorite feature from Mint was the spending trends and tags feature, which allowed me to dial in on categorical trends and cleanly separate work expenses from personal expenses for tax reporting purposes. Monarch Money didn’t quite have the reporting nimbleness I was looking for here. They have a reporting feature currently in beta, so I could see this getting better and better.

Gold Medalist: Quicken Simplifi

Why I chose it: Once I stopped trying to make Quicken Simplifi be Mint, I got a taste for where Quicken Simplifi can really be powerful and (gasp) better. Their reports feature is fantastic for categorization, trends, and maintaining tax records. This is the feature I use the most and was most worried about losing with Mint, and yet Quicken Simplifi’s reports seem better. 

Secondly, the “Spending Plan” feature is a novel new tab that helps me plan ahead for my monthly spend in both fixed and variable categories. It’s not as beautiful as Monarch is, but for this data nerd, it’s what I need.

Bringing It All Home

Mint will always hold a special place in my heart. It had so much potential, I’m still sad that Intuit didn’t seem to invest in it from their initial acquisition. As a user, I would have paid more than the $0.99 a month I was paying to avoid the constant barrage of ads (especially if they had fixed their investing portal, which was lacking, to say the least).

The good news is that data aggregation and digital tracking has come a long way since 2009, and users have a lot of compelling options (most of which facilitate the data transfer from, some of whom parlay that into a longer discount). 

When deciding which system makes sense for you, ask yourself what you want to get out of software. Are you looking to see where your money is going or are you looking to get ahead of monthly expenses and rethink budgeting? Do you primarily maintain your records on an app or through a web browser, and which system is easier to use for you? Do you share finances with anyone else? All of these questions will help you land on an option that works for you.

One more thing to add – when you pick an option, I highly recommend paying for a service that protects your data vs. opting for a free one that sells it. Because remember – if you aren’t paying for a product, that means you and your data are likely the product being sold to someone else.


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