Over the past couple of months, I’ve been focusing on writing about some of the most popular budgeting tools on the market today, from Personal Capital, YNAB, and now EveryDollar. If you’ve read them all, then you’ll notice I’m comparing them all to Mint, and that’s because Mint has been the OG personal finance tool since 2006.
The next one up… ding, ding, ding is EveryDollar vs. Mint.
I decided to add EveryDollar vs. Mint to my lineup because I have a lot of Dave Ramsey fans in my Facebook group, and EveryDollar is the brainchild of the Ramsey brand. EveryDollar is full of Dave Ramsey stuff, and if you’re a fan of his, then you’ll probably really like EveryDollar.
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First, a little refresher on Mint
Like I said, Mint has been the go-to personal finance tool for over 12 years, and because it’s owned by Inuit (you know them from TurboTax) it has a pretty strong foundation in financial technology. Mint has over 10 million users, and I know that many of my readers use Mint for tracking their spending.
Mint functions around the premise that to see where you stand financially, you need to see everything in one place. This means to get the most out of Mint, you need to link all of your accounts, like checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgage, loans, investments, etc.
You can track your spending, set reminders for bills, build a budget, see your credit score, and see what’s happening with your investments. Big plus– it’s completely free!
When you sign up for Mint and start linking things, you are brought to your homepage, and on the left-hand side you can see an overview of the following things:
- Cash (what’s linked in your bank accounts, like checking and savings)
- Credit cards
- Property (home, auto, etc.)
- Trends (cash vs. credit card debt, monthly net income, etc.)
As you scroll down and look at the main part of the page, you can see any linked bills, a spending graph, budgets, goals, and investments.
Started by Dave Ramsey in 2015, EveryDollar describes it as “10 minutes to a better budget.”
EveryDollar has two different versions, free and paid ($99 for the year). And for the purpose of my EveryDollar vs. Mint comparison, I’m going to be talking about the free version.
If you’ve used Mint before, then EveryDollar is going to feel much different, and that’s because you have to manually enter all of your transactions, for the free version at least. I don’t know why exactly it has you set everything up manually, but I’m going to guess it’s one of two reasons, maybe both:
- Entering things manually forces you to be aware of everything… leave anything out and… well, you’re just not going to get a clear picture of what’s happening.
- Because entering things manually can be tedious, maybe even hard to get in the habit of, it makes that paid version look really nice, especially if you already love Dave Ramsey.
The other big difference with EveryDollar vs. Mint is that EveryDollar’s primary focus is zero-based budgeting, and your budget is the first thing you are brought to when logging in.
If you aren’t familiar with a zero-based budget, it works like this: You take your income and divvy it up into any number of spending categories, which include things like savings, housing, transportation, food, lifestyle, giving, insurance, debt, etc. You spread your income out until there is nothing left.
The idea is that you know exactly how much can and should go to a category, and not a penny gets left behind. It also forces you to prioritize things like debt and savings, instead of deciding what to put towards those at the end of the month.
Using EveryDollar vs. Mint
Both of these personal finance apps start the same way. You enter an email address and secure password, and you’re set.
To get the most out of Mint, you will need to link all of your accounts, I mean everything. You can play around with your budget, see your investments, but I really believe it’s best for giving you a financial snapshot.
After you register your email and sign up for EveryDollar, you will go through a series of questions that ask you about your financial goals and your current financial situation, like:
- Want to pay off debt?
- Save up for a home?
- Get ready for retirement?
- Have kids?
- Own a home or rent?
That’s not the exact wording, but you get the point.
Then, it’s up to you to start really using EveryDollar. It’s basically a blank template until you start inputting information. You input your income, budget totals, and every transaction.
One of the biggest differences between EveryDollar vs. Mint is that EveryDollar is about taking an active role in your finances.
You are responsible for knowing your income.
You are responsible for knowing how much debt you have.
You are responsible for entering every transaction.
Ultimately, that means YOU are responsible and in charge of your financial well-being, and I like that mentality.
Is EveryDollar more than just a budgeting tool?
With EveryDollar’s heavy focus on your budget, you might be wondering if it gives you anything more than just that, and well… kind of… but not really.
If you know much about Dave Ramsey, then you may have heard of something called Baby Steps. It’s a seven-step program that helps lead you towards financial freedom, and I know that many of my readers have or are using his Baby Steps program to get there.
Here are the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps:
- $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.
Whether you agree with the steps or the order they’re in, Dave is on to something. By that, I mean he does a good job of breaking down that much larger and incredibly nebulous idea of FINANCIAL FREEDOM and turns it into something that seems a little more approachable.
I bring all of this up because that’s the other part of EveryDollar– the ability to see how you are progressing with each of those steps.
The downside about this is that you are only shown your progress on steps 1-3. You can’t even click on one of the other steps to insert more info, but you can click on links to read articles about how to complete each step.
Wait, does Everydollar let you use credit cards?
Surprisingly, yes. The paid version of the app allows you to track credit card transactions, and you can also pay for the app via...wait for it...credit cards.
Now, as a credit card user myself, I think that this is a totally reasonable option. I want an app that can track my credit card transactions.
I do find it to be a little strange, however, because Dave Ramsey is adamantly against credit card use.
Now before you get mad at me in the comments - I just want to say that I feel that they made the right move with EveryDollar allowing credit card tracking.
Just because Dave doesn't believe in something, doesn't mean that everyone who uses the product agrees. This was a smart move in my opinion.
Is Mint more than just a financial overview?
In EveryDollar vs. Mint, Mint is just going to give you more options when it comes to seeing your total financial picture, and it actually has several tools that help you with your finances, like:
- Free credit score. You can see your credit score and rationale behind that number.
- Bill Tracking. You can list your bills, when they are due, and the amount. They did recently get rid of their bill pay function though.
- Budgets. With EveryDollar vs. Mint the budget part of Mint feels like an afterthought, but it is there.
- Goal setting. You can set goals for debt payoff, savings goals, large purchases, etc. You set the goal, the amount, and Mint helps you calculate how to make that happen.
- Investment tracking. Mint can give you a brief overview of your investments, but Personal Capital will always be my favorite when it comes to investment tracking and retirement planning.
I’m actually really curious how many people use Mint for more than just a broad overview of their finances. If you use any of Mint’s planning and tracking tools, more than just seeing your accounts, let me know in the comments.
The free version of EveryDollar gives you email support, while the paid version ($99 per year) gives you the ability to talk to a real person via phone.
Mint has email support, but it is notorious for being, well...meh. The support element for Mint is one of the biggest downfalls of an otherwise very well-done product. But, you do have to remember that it is free, so your expectations can't be too high.
Honestly, both apps do well in the looks department. Mint recently came out with an updated look that brought mixed reviews, but it's still good enough.
EveryDollar has a clean layout, and I actually prefer the mobile version of EveryDollar over Mint's mobile design.
Clearly, both financial tools have some great functions that will help you get a better idea of your financial picture, and if you are using either one, that’s awesome. Even if you are just using Excel spreadsheets, that’s great too.
But, the appeal of financial tools like EveryDollar and Mint is that they make it all easier. And, if you’re like me, you like having the technology to help you along the way.
But, both tools do have some downsides, and for me, that’s the ads.
With Mint, the ads are right in your face, from the beginning, and those ads make the whole website feel kind of fussy. I have credit card ads on the top of my overview page, and when you click on the “Ways to Save” tab, those helpful tips are actually just ads for other financial tools. That’s where Mint makes its money.
The ads on EveryDollar aren’t as obvious, but they are still there.
On the left side of the page, under your budget and Baby Steps, you’ll see two things: Local Providers and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
The “Local Providers” tab opens a page where you can get quotes for insurance, tax services, retirement and investing planning, etc. While I don’t know for sure, I’m going to guess EveryDollar does make some money when you sign up for one of their affiliates.
Financial Peace University is another Ramsey product that teaches you how to gain control of your finances. I don’t have any personal experience with it, but I know some of my readers do and it has worked well for them.
Then there is EveryDollar Plus, which links your transactions for you, at a cost of $99 per year.
Who is the winner in the EveryDollar vs. Mint battle?
Like I’ve already said, if you are using either one of these tools, you’re already winning.
I honestly don’t have a clear winner here because both tools are so different. Mint is great because it gives you an overall picture, while EveryDollar wins for how it puts you in control of your finances. The budgeting function alone on the free version of EveryDollar is a great way to be proactive with your finances, and learning to take an active role in your budget is one of the best ways to start getting ahead.