In this last edition of Budget Mania (mania…mania…), I’m going to talk about the apps I decided were the best of the bunch I tried and why I think so.
First up, EveryDollar – This is still the easiest tool I’ve used for keeping up with and sticking to my budget. Easy. Painless. Makes a happy camper. 🙂 Now, they did give out some free months of EveryDollarPlus last year – I was able to try it two different times. The first time I struggled not to input transactions manually because I hate waiting for crap to clear. Call me crazy, and I totally own that, but I like to know what is left in any given category immediately.
So, this first time, things pretty much worked until the last few weeks when I noticed that my transactions weren’t downloading anymore. I didn’t worry about because it was just three more weeks, and I wasn’t have using the feature anyway.
During the second round of free months, I tried really hard to not do anything manually. And I actually liked the feature a lot better this second go around, I just don’t have enough transactions coming in and out that downloading from the bank is going to save me much time – not $100 worth of time. Maybe $50. Again, like the first time, transactions stopped downloading a few weeks before the end of the trial. Again, I just did things manually and didn’t fuss over it, but I have to admit, if I was paying, I would have been mad. The good news about downloading from my bank, is that I didn’t have to wait more than a few seconds to see my transactions, and they were usually already waiting for me when I signed in or launched the app.
Since my comprehensive post, EveryDollar has gone through a lot of very positive changes. It’s no longer tethered to the desktop site, for one, allowing people to use the mobile app exclusively to build and manage their budgets. The Android App is out now, finally. I don’t have an Android, but still, finally. And they say graphs and charts and crap are coming, so that will be exciting. I don’t know what kind of charts and graphs, but if they’re available on the mobile app,
Now, onto Mint – I like Mint. It’s not annoying at all when everything is syncing, which is most of the time. I still wish I could see my Goal Progress on the mobile app, but maybe they’ll incorporate it one day. Or never, because I swear the software has changed very little in the last ten years. But in the meantime, sporadic connection issues aside, this requires very little interaction from me. They have a feature that allows you to auto-customize transactions. I talked about it a little in the LearnVest post, how I could set Mint to always rename Starbucks as “AllMyBucks” if I wanted and file it under “Things To Buy Less” instead of “Coffee Shops”…if I wanted. Haha. I do have to do this from the desktop site, but it saves me a lot of grief because Mint is terrible at categorizing stuff on its own.
That feature alone is the biggest reason why I still use Mint, because I certainly don’t use it for budgeting. If I had everything at one bank, I most likely wouldn’t bother either, but since I don’t, I use Mint to do a quick check up of my account. It’s still the fastest syncing app on the market in my opinion. The only thing that synced faster was Level Money, but since I couldn’t find a use for that, Mint takes the fast trophy.
My favorite Mint feature is the Goals tab. You can set any goal for any reason and any length of time. The progress is tracked by linking an account to your goal. LearnVest does this, too, and that is also my favorite feature on LearnVest and probably the main reason why I used it as long as I did. Plus, LearnVest goals could be accessed with the mobile app, and LearnVest still holds the trophy for best app design. It actually worked better than the desktop site in some cases! Mint’s mobile app is horribly simplistic. I actually wish they’d take some design cues from LearnVest and drag their mobile app out of last decade and into the present. They can’t blame it on the app being free because LearnVest is a free app, too.
On this note, the Budget Mania series comes to an end, for now. While I think one or both of these apps will be a great fit for just about everyone, mileage will vary, and it never hurts to multitask apps for a few months to find the perfect fit. Happy Budgeting to all! ^_^