When it was announced toward the end of last year that Mint, the popular budgeting app, would be shutting down, that was unwelcome news. We’ve been using Mint in our household for some 15 years and have become not just comfortable with it, but dependent on it.
The idea of finding a replacement and learning how to use it, especially in the midst of the busy year-end holidays, was a drag. So it came as a little bit of a relief to find out that Mint’s shut-down date has been pushed back from the end of 2023 to mid-March of this year. Still, I didn’t want to let too much time pass before figuring out which service we were going to use instead of Mint.
Connection is the key
Joseph’s helpful article about some of the main Mint alternatives pointed me to the FaithFi app. I gave it a try and found it to be very well designed. The interface is intuitive, and having accepted the fact that we would have to pay for whatever budget app we used next, I liked the idea of paying a Christian company. As I connected our bank and credit cards, all went smoothly. Until it didn’t. The app, which uses third-party aggregator Plaid to connect to user accounts, could not connect with one particular credit card that is co-branded with a retailer we like.
I asked the FaithFi team whether Plaid could add the card, but was told that they have no influence over such decisions and that even if Plaid agreed to add the card, it could take up to a year to make it happen. That, unfortunately, was a deal breaker.
(Depending on where you have accounts, FaithFi might work just fine for you, and I'd encourage you to start there.)
Next, I tried EveryDollar, which I quickly eliminated because it couldn’t connect with another one of our credit cards. This was surprising because it is a pretty prominent card. Again, a deal breaker.
I considered You Need a Budget since it has so many users singing its praises. However, they seem to have a particular way of budgeting and I wanted more flexibility. Tiller wasn’t an option since I like to check on various budget categories from my phone and that service doesn’t have a smartphone app.
Mission accomplished — I hope
As my search continued, I realized there are a lot of budgeting apps out there now! I also realized that the key to finding one that’ll work with our accounts was finding one that isn’t dependent on Plaid for its connections to bank and credit card accounts. I found what seems to be the solution with Quicken Simplifi, which uses an aggregation service from Intuit. After signing up, I had no problem connecting to all of our accounts.
Its interface differs from Mint, so there’s a bit of a learning curve, but that would be the case with any new app. In the short amount of time I have been using Simplifi, it is giving me everything I want out of a budgeting app. My needs are simple: I just want to be able to set budgeted amounts in a customized list of categories and then easily see how our actual spending compares with our plan. So far, so good.
However, having been a satisfied Mint user for so long, it’ll take several months of trouble-free use before I’m fully convinced that I have found what I’m looking for. As I get more accustomed to using Simplifi, I’ll post updates about my experience on SMI’s Facebook page.
If you were a Mint user, which alternative budgeting app have you decided to use and why?