Battle of the Budgets: YNAB or Mint?

There are YNAB people and Mint people, and then there are people who are like, “Oh golly, you want me to organize my spending? That’s so terrifying I need to buy another two handbags right now.” The basic difference seems to be proactive (YNAB) vs reactive (Mint), whether you’re into planning with a tinge of self-improvement (YNAB) or simply tracking what’s happened over the course of the recent past and making order out of chaos (Mint). Hope or facts, January resolutions or December summaries.

This battle has gone on for some years now. Lifehacker’s audience preferred YNAB all the way back in 2011 (although they acknowledge that the results might have been somewhat skewed):

Newcomer You Need A Budget (YNAB) topped the poll with 50.84% of the vote. Mint came in second after leading early-on, with 28.63%. In third, the simple spreadsheet turned out to be the budgeting tool of choice for almost 10% of you, and in fourth was Quicken, with 7.4% of the votes cast. Bringing up the rear is the now-discontinued (but still free) Microsoft Money, with 3.3% of the vote.

It’s worth noting that the founder of YNAB reached out to us to let us know that he let fans, users, and the community around YNAB know about our poll and advised them to vote, so that may have influenced the final results. Regardless, it’s clear there are a lot of YNAB fans here in our community as well, so the app is well worth a look.

Now that YNAB is no longer the well-groomed, bright-eyed newcomer, and Mint is still the wise old lady who’s been on the block forever, whose door do you go to for advice? Do you aspire to be a budgeter or are you content to be a tracker? Or, in a Know Thyself kind of way, do you realize you’ll never really be either — and in that case, what’s your fix?