When managing your personal finance, you want to be able to see both the bigger picture (like your net worth) and fine details (such as your credit card transaction records). You also need to make a budget for your money in order to use it more responsibly. There are several personal finance software applications designed to help you accomplish these things, and two of the most popular options are Mvelopes and Mint. Which one is better for you? As a matter of fact, Mvelopes vs Mint take very different approaches, so the answer depends on your needs and preferences.
Mvelopes is an online budgeting app designed to help people manage their money in a more organized and efficient way. It adopts a tried-and-true budgeting method which uses envelopes. You are probably familiar with how the method is traditionally done; you divide your money into several envelopes that have different labels for different purposes. This way, you will not use your rent money for dinner, or your credit card money for groceries.
Mvelopes is available in three tiers, which are Free, Premium ($19.95 per month / $95 per year), and Coaching ($59.95 per month). While the official website does provide a comparison chart to show the differences between the three tiers, unfortunately it does not show the prices until you have signed up. This is quite annoying. (Read also : Mvelopes vs YNAB)
The Free version allows you to connect up to 4 financial accounts and use up to 25 envelopes for your financial accounts. On the Premium and Coaching accounts, these limitations are removed, and additionally you get email notifications for transactions, email support, and various financial literacy resources like budgeting e-books and video content. The Coaching account further adds monthly one-on-one financial coaching sessions about how to create and analyze your budget and maximize your retirement savings.
Mvelopes: The Pros
The first advantage of Mvelopes vs Mint is that Mvelopes is focused greatly on budgeting. When you get it to work, it is truly amazing. The envelope method is indeed simple yet effective, and adapting the method into a digital app is a smart approach. It really helps you to manage and organize your money. You start by putting your money into the spending categories, then you reduce the numbers as you spend the allocated money. If you don’t spend all the money in an envelope for the current month, the balance will carry over to the next month.
Mvelopes allows you to connect your bank accounts and credit cards so that it can track your transactions. To ease the pain of classifying each and every transaction, you can create rules for routine expenses and let the app classify them automatically.
In addition to the web-based app, Mvelopes also provides free mobile apps for Android and iOS. You don’t need to spend more money in order to get these mobile apps. These mobile apps have contemporary and simple interfaces that are much easier to navigate; you probably will feel more comfortable using one of these mobile apps than the web-based app.
Mvelopes: The Cons
The first disadvantage of Mvelopes vs Mint is the clunky and outdated interface. Seriously, it takes a lot of time to set up and maintain. The manual transaction classification is tedious, and setting up the rules for automatic transaction classification also requires a lot of manual inputs. You have to have a lot of patience to use this product.
The second disadvantage is that the pricing is not transparent. You can’t see the actual cost for upgrading before you have signed up. The prices are also quite expensive compared to some competitors.
Unlike Mvelopes, Mint focuses more on tracking your financial transactions. However, it has also added budgeting features with some advanced capabilities. It can check your credit score, help you create a budget, remind you about upcoming bills, and even pay those bills automatically for you by using your bank account or credit card.
Don’t worry, Mint can’t do anything to your money, except for bill payments. This functionality is optional and requires additional information to activate, so you can just leave it alone if you feel more comfortable paying the bills yourself. Mint only has the permission to see where and when your money goes in real-time. As the effect, Mint can pick up any transaction right after the transaction is performed.
Mint: The Pros
Mint is very easy and simple to set up. The app guides you through the process step by step, so it is quite difficult to make a mistake. To complete the process, you will need to connect your financial accounts including investments, loans, and mortgages. There are tools to hide some financial information if there are some things that you’d like to exclude from the assessment. Once the process is done, you can immediately see the trends and habits of your spending. This is possible because Mint can pull data from the past few months to analyze.
When comparing Mvelopes vs Mint, it is easy to point out that Mint comes with a broader range of functionality. This app is not only for budgeting. This app is also a powerful tracker that can help you analyze your transactions and plan investing strategies. Unlike Mvelopes, which creates budgets based on some guesswork on how much you need for the following month, Mint uses your transaction history to help you make budgets. The automatic bill payment feature can be very handy and practical.
Furthermore, Mint comes with a more modern and intuitive interface. It is much easier to navigate. You can do many things more quickly here than on Mvelopes. And don’t forget that Mint is free!
Mint: The Cons
Mint is free, which is good, but it is ad-supported. It has a lot of ads. Fortunately, though, the placement of these ads isn’t too disturbing. You may sometimes come across useful ads. But you still need to be careful when dealing with ads.
Mint does not have percentage-based savings goals. This is not a big deal, but it would be nice to have the feature. Many people collect their savings based on the percentages of their incomes rather than fixed values.
|- Focuses on budgeting||- Focuses on financial tracking, but it has been updated with great budgeting features as well|
|- Envelope budgeting method||- Budgeting based on past transaction history|
|- Clunky interface||- More modern and intuitive interface|
|- Has a limited free version and two premium versions||- Free, ad-supported|
All in all, Mint is the winner of this comparison. It is a broader app with more features and capabilities. It has good budgeting features and great tracking tools. And, it is free.