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Need a Mint alternative? Four budgeting apps to try

Bank teller Mrs. Joe Melton holding amount of money that the average San Fernando Valley, Calif., family made in 1963. Intuit acquired personal finance app Mint in 2009. This week the company announced it plans to shut down Mint on Jan. 1.  (Los Angeles Times)
By Carly Olson Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times

Mint, a free, highly popular personal finance app, is shutting down, its parent company Intuit announced this week.

Mint is known for its features that help users with their budgeting, including tracking expenses, setting specific savings goals and portfolio tracking. It also reminds users when to pay bills.

Intuit is aiming to bring Mint users over to Credit Karma, which the company acquired in 2020. Intuit plans to phase out Mint by Jan. 1.

“We know the most active Minters use Mint to monitor their cash flow and track their spending, and not only does Credit Karma offer these capabilities, but we’re able to take things even further for our members,” Intuit said in a statement on Tuesday.

Although Credit Karma offers a similar service and is also a free app, some users are concerned about the shift. Credit Karma doesn’t match Mint’s exact suite of features, such as its popular budgeting tracker that allows users to set monthly category-specific budgets. It’s not clear whether Credit Karma will develop a comparable replacement.

For Mint loyalists looking for a new budgeting app, here are some other suggestions:

1. Simplifi

Simplifi users can sync their bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts and loans for a comprehensive picture of their finances in one place. The interface is especially useful for those with multiple investment accounts – 401(k), IRAs and brokerage – because the app displays a user’s complete balance across all accounts.

On a more granular level, the app’s personalized spending plan shows users what they have left to spend each month after accounting for savings goals and necessary expenses. This figure is constantly being updated down to the dollar.

Pricing: After a free trial, $5.99 per month or $35.88 annually.

2. PocketGuard

PocketGuard allows users to create monthly spending limits in the app and utilizes a simple pie-chart visual to show users which expenses dominate their budgets. The app also has an Insights tool to reveal users’ spending habits. The findings will, hopefully, illuminate areas for reductions in spending.

Another popular feature: PocketGuard can help users negotiate their recurring monthly bills, such as cellphone charges. The service carries no additional charge unless a bill is lowered.

Pricing: Four options – free version; $7.99 per month; $34.99 annually; $79.99 for a lifetime.

3. You Need a Budget (YNAB)

This app is for those who thrive under strict directives. YNAB users assign a spending (or saving) category for every dollar in their bank account at the beginning of every month.

The app prevents users from budgeting dollars they don’t yet have (when waiting for payday, for example), instead forcing users to allocate what’s already in their bank accounts to pay bills when they are due. And account balances, monthly bills and debt are displayed on one dashboard for straightforward tracking.

Pricing: After a free trial, $14.99 per month or $99 annually.

4. Goodbudget

Users might gravitate toward Goodbudget for household expense management or saving for a large purchase. The app uses the “envelope system,” in which users portion out their monthly income into spending categories, also known as envelopes. Every expense must be taken out of its designated envelope – no double-dipping.

The app is rated highly by couples and households that share a budget, since users can sync with others. But it does not sync with users’ bank accounts, so account balances must be added manually, as well as debt and income.

Pricing: Three options – free version; $8 per month; $70 annually.