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When it comes to Mint vs Personal Capital vs EveryDollar which is best for managing your budget?
Why is Budgeting so Important?
Not properly managing a budget can drastically affect your short-term and long-term wealth. In good times, budgeting is a powerful tool that maximizes every dollar you earn. And in bad times, it is essential to keep you afloat and ensure you won’t come up short financially.
Why is not having a budget a mistake?
Just like you wouldn’t start a long journey in your car without a plan of where you’re going and a map of how to get there, you shouldn’t spend your money without first having a plan on how to do so properly.
Managing a budget forces you to get real clear on how your expenses compare to your income. It is a litmus test, of sorts, to determine if your spending makes sense.
The old cliché of ‘hindsight is 20/20’ does not have to apply to your financial situation. With a little budgeting you can have the foresight to make the best possible financial decisions. Take the guesswork out of spending!
Managing a budget is also not just another task you need to cross-off your to-do list. Nor something you do just because it is the responsible thing to do. Budgeting can have positive effects in more areas of your life than just the financial area. By creating a plan and executing on it budgeting will reduce stress by clearing up uncertainties about your spending. This eliminates any second guessing you might do when making purchases. The results of having a budget and spending precisely may also free up more disposable income. Income you can spend on pursuing a hobby or growing your investment portfolio.
Whether you’ve budgeted in the past or are completely new to it there are some apps that keep the barrier of entry low and make it easy to jump in and improve your financial situation.
Like most things worth learning, budgeting is a skill that takes time and focus to master. But these apps drastically reduce the learning curve and help you organize your financials. The endgame is to produce actionable results that unlocks extra money you never knew you had.
Mint by Intuit
Intuit is the maker of a variety of some of the most useful consumer financial tools available. The most popular of these tools is QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Mint.
The ecosystem of products Intuit offers extends far beyond just managing a budget. Intuit also provides financial solutions for Small Businesses and accountants. While all the financial products available to the consumer are helpful in their own way, Mint is designed specifically to help its user in managing a budget.
In addition to purely providing a budgeting tool – Mint also displays your total account balance from your bank and your up to date credit score. This integration with your bank accounts and credit score sets Mint apart from other budgeting apps. Mint adds value by taking budgeting one step further with its ease of use. These integrations mean Mint more seamlessly aligns with your spending and savings. It also reduces your financial management workload by automatically handling many of the tedious budgeting tasks for you.
Mint learns about you while you use the app. It tracks your spending to offer personalized suggestions on how to maximize your budget or tweaks you can make to better meet your financial goals.
Part of managing a budget is responsibly paying bills on time. Equally important is tracking where exactly all your money is going. Mint will send you alerts if it notices anything out of the ordinary with your accounts or spending.
Many bills can be scheduled through Mint itself. saving you from having to manage multiple accounts and apps just to pay bills.
Many people neglect consistently check up on the well being of their credit score, even if they are budgeting responsibly. With Mint, your credit score is accessible directly in the app. Mint will send you suggestions and tips on how you can improve it.
While some budgeting apps provide a platform for you to build a budget on, Mint expands on this concept by actively working for you to help improve your financial situation.
With Mint, everything is one place, so your budgeting stays organized. There is also no one “right way” to use this app. Everyone has different budgeting needs and financial goals so this app accommodates those different needs.
Mint provides tools for its users to manage their investment portfolios as well. Regardless of your portfolio type Mint has tools in place that can help you maximize those investments and track where your money is. This is so you don’t lose track of any of your investments, regardless of how diversified your portfolio is.
Within your investments you can also track how they are comparing to market benchmarks across all your different accounts. Ranging anywhere from brokerage funds to retirement funds.
Most people who are familiar with investing are also familiar with the fees that come along with doing so. Many of these fees are straight forward and easy to understand while others may be more hidden or more difficult to gauge what the cost over time will be. Mint helps you track these fees and identify any that may be unnecessary.
Some key features of Mint:
- Automatically categorizes spending into the proper category in real time
- Manually add categories and expenses/income
- Custom offers and recommendations based on your spending habits and credit score
- Credit score displayed within the app
- Bill tracking to remind you when bills are due and the ability to schedule payments from within the app
- Investment tracking and management
Personal Capital is a budgeting app with an added emphasis on planning for retirement.
Like Mint, Personal Capital goes one step beyond just being a standard budgeting app and provides smart ways to manage your entire financial strategy.
The financial tools Personal Capital offers are some of the best available which has gained it a dedicated following and widespread attention in the financial world. In addition to the clever software that powers the app, Personal Capital has real life financial advisers to give its users one on one attention and advice.
Personal Capital will sync your financial accounts to its app so you can always have a big picture view on your financial standing and be in the loop with how your money is flowing.
When it comes to investing, the app tracks not only your savings but also the performance of all your investment accounts. With the integration of your different financial accounts and investment holdings, Personal Capital will generate your net worth to help you visualize how your financial goals are progressing.
The Fee Analyzer within Personal Capital analyzes the different investment fees you are paying – some you might not even be aware of. The Fee analyzer exposes hidden fees you might be paying on mutual funds to help streamline your portfolio and reduce the overall cost of investing, saving you thousands in the long run.
The retirement planner within Personal Capital helps you develop a plan and build towards retirement. Your progress along the way can be tracked and the app will even forecast your retirement with the Retirement Planner.
Some Key features of Personal Capital:
- Link your different bank and investment accounts all in one place
- Obtain proper retirement planning and advice
- One-on-one coaching with Personal Strategy service
- Optimize your investments and uncover hidden mutual funds fees
EveryDollar is a budgeting app from Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey is the host of the Dave Ramsey show, a popular podcast where he chats with guests about their debt, savings, purchasing decisions, and other financial topics. Dave Ramsey has also created Financial Peace University which is an online subscription based course that teaches people how to overcome debt, budget money properly, and overall master their financial situation.
Like Dave’s other financial tools EveryDollar exists to help people gain control over the financial aspect of their lives through managing a budget, overcoming debt, and building wealth. Like the other apps in this guide, EveryDollar’s primary function is to make budgeting simple and useful to the user.
Some features of EveryDollar:
- Track transactions to make sure you stay on budget
- Unlimited budget creation
- Connect bank accounts within the app to track expenses in real time (subscription version)
- View bank account balances within EveryDollar (subscription version)
- Email support with free version and phone support with subscription version
- Coaching calls (subscription services)
Ease of Setup
The process of setting up and using and EveryDollar account is simple. The app is available on android and iphone and can be used on your computer as well. Your account also syncs across different devices so you can jump back and forth to different platforms and still maintain up to date information.
To help the user budget money and get out of debt, EveryDollar uses Dave Ramsey’s “baby steps” which has been proven to help people get out of debt and establish the foundations for building wealth.
When you first open the app, you start your EveryDollar journey by adding your income for the month. Next, you make a plan of action on how you are going to spend your money and take care of expenses. EveryDollar keeps this simple by starting the user out with an expenses template that can be customized for the individual. After you’ve added both your income and planned expenses you can keep track of your spending by creating transactions when you spend money. If you pay for a subscription to EveryDollar Plus, you can add your bank account to make tracking outgoing money easier and more intuitive.
The days of using spread sheets or a pen and paper are in the past when it comes to budgeting. These apps provide great functionality and reduce the complication of setting up and sticking to a budget. While they certainly do have some significant similarities in their functions, each app feels a bit different to use so will appeal to different users. In times of uncertainty not properly budgeting is not a good game plan to get to the other side with your financials in check. These budgeting apps will provide you with financial clarity and empower you with the tools you need for high spending efficiency.