When you’re committed to getting your finances on track, one of the best places to start is with your budget. Having the right budgeting tool in your toolbox can help you proactively plan your spending, track your expenses throughout the month, and stay on track to reach your goals.
There’s just one problem, though: a quick internet search of budgeting apps will yield hundreds of options. And with so many to choose from, how do you know which is best?
Simplifi and Mint are two of the most popular budgeting apps on the market. While each offers just about everything you might need to reach your financial goals, there are some important differences between the two. In this guide, we’ll provide a quick summary of each budgeting app, as well as discuss the differences so you can decide which is right for you.
What is Simplifi?
Simplifi is a budgeting app created by Quicken. While Quicken has been a popular budgeting app for decades, it didn’t necessarily compete with Mint and other digital budgeting tools. For that reason, the company introduced Simplifi to provide a more seamless digital budgeting experience and to appeal to younger consumers.
Simplifi makes it easy to link your financial accounts, create your personalized spending plan, and track your spending throughout the month to ensure you’re staying on track. You can set and track savings goals and get powerful insights into your financial habits.
Some of Simplifi’s top features include:
Financial dashboard: Simplifi’s dashboard allows you to get a complete view of your finances, including your account balances, transactions, upcoming bills, and top spending categories.
Spending plan: When creating your spending plan, Simplifi starts with your monthly income, subtracts your monthly bills, and helps you customize your spending plan.
Savings goals: Simplifi allows you to set savings goals, calculate how much you want to save each month, and track your progress along the way.
Reports and insights: Simplifi’s reports feature allows you to see anything you want about your finances, including filtered and customized reports.
Investment tracking: You can connect all your investment accounts to see all of your assets in one place and track their growth.
Projected cash flows: Simplifi can show you what the upcoming month will look like based on your current account balances and upcoming bills.
Watchlists: You can choose specific spending categories within Simplifi to keep an eye on outside of your normal spending plan.
What is Mint?
If you’ve done any research into budgeting apps in the past or have tested the waters with them before, then you’ve almost certainly heard of Mint. Owned by the company Intuit, Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps on the market. In fact, according to its website, it has more than 30 million users and is the number one most downloaded personal finance app.
Like Simplifi, Mint makes it easy to connect your bank accounts, create a customized budget, and track your spending each month. Mint has plenty of other features that help it to stand out, including subscription management, credit score tracking, and more.
Here are some of Mint’s top features:
Customized budget: Like Simplifi, Mint allows you to create a customized budget plan and then track your spending throughout the month to make sure you’re on track.
Financial goals: Mint allows you to set financial goals, designate how much you want to save each month, and track your progress along the way.
Bill tracker: With Mint’s bill tracker, you’ll get notified before your bills are due, if the price increases, and if there have been added fees.
Subscription management: Mint makes it easy to see all of your subscriptions in one place and catch unwanted ones so you can cancel and remove them from your budget.
Bill negotiation: Through Mint’s partnership with Billshark, you can have your bills negotiated down without doing any of the work yourself.
Credit score tracking: Mint shows you your credit score right in the app, as well as alerts you if there are any changes to your credit score or report.
Investment tracking: You can connect your Mint account to all of your investment accounts and track their growth, as well as identify hidden fees.
Net worth tracking: If you connect your financial accounts and debt accounts, you’ll be able to track your net worth and see how it changes over time.
Mint vs. Simplifi: Which is Right For You?
It’s clear above that Mint and Simplifi have plenty in common. In the sections below, we’ll break down their differences a bit more so you can decide which is right for you.
One of the things that makes Mint so popular is the fact that it’s free to use. While you can upgrade to a premium plan, just about every feature is available with the free plan. Upgrading to premium will cost $4.99 per month and will include ad removal, subscription cancellation, advanced data visualization, advanced spending graphs, and Mint Premium Arcade games.
Simplifi, on the other hand, requires a subscription to use. You can choose to either pay $5.99 per month or $47.88 per year. The annual plan saves you 33%. The good news is both the monthly and annual plans come with a free 30-day trial.
Budgeting is the primary function of both Mint and Simplifi, and both services do it really well. Both apps have a similar process — you connect your bank accounts, create your customized budget, and then track your spending throughout the month.
However, the two apps have slightly different approaches. First, Mint has you look at your budget overall. It shows you how you’re staying on track both for individual spending categories as well as for your entire budget. If you have money left in any budget category, you can roll it over to the next month. This feature is particularly helpful if your spending varies from month to month.
Like Mint, Simplifi shows you how much you have left in your spending plan. You can also add planned spending. For example, if you know you’re going grocery shopping next week, you can set that money aside in your budget, so you don’t spend it on something else.
Another unique feature of Simplifi is that you can choose to watch only certain categories of your budget rather than all of your categories. If there are certain spending categories that you tend to go over budget in, you can simply add those to your watch list and ignore the rest.
Both Mint and Simplifi allow you to connect your investment accounts to track their growth, as well as track your net worth (assuming you’ve also connected your debt accounts).
In Mint’s investment tracking tool, you’ll be able to see all of your investments in one place, see their current value, and see how they’ve changed over a certain period of time. Mint also looks out for hidden fees that can take away from your investment returns.
Simplifi’s app also allows you to connect your investment accounts and watch their growth over time. You can connect third-party accounts, as well as manually add private investments. You’ll get updated prices and a personalized news feed related to your specific investments. Finally, Simplifi will show you key indicators and calculations to help you monitor your performance.
Both Mint and Simplifi have reporting tools that allow you to see various aspects of your personal finances.
Mint’s reports can show you line graphs that track your money over time, including your net worth, spending, investments, and more. And with Mint Premium, you’ll get more robust reporting tools, including predictive spending projections and spending graphs that compare your spending habits to other users.
Simplifi definitely has the edge when it comes to reporting, simply because of the multitude of options available. You can see different report categories such as spending, income, net income, savings, net worth, and your monthly summary. In each category, you can create custom reports using different breakdowns, date ranges, and other filters.
Mobile User Experience
Both Mint and Simplifi are tailor-made to use in a mobile app. As a result, it’s no surprise that both have robust and visually appealing apps to help you manage your money.
Mint definitely has the edge when it comes to its mobile app. It has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store, with more than 745,600 reviews. It also has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars in the Google Play Store, with more than 202,000 reviews.
Simplifi, on the other hand, has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store, with about 1,300 ratings. In the Google Play Store, Simplifi has a rating of just 3.2 out of 5 stars with only 962 ratings.
Anytime you’re giving a third-party service access to your financial accounts, it’s important that it’s fully secure. Both Mint and Simplifi are owned by large companies that have a long history in the financial world. As a result, customers expect top-notch security features from them both.
Mint uses security scanning, multi-factor authentication, and more to keep your account safe. The app participates in security scanning with VeriSign to ensure security for sensitive data transfers. Mint also encourages its customers to use strong passwords and set up multi-factor authentication to keep their accounts safe. Finally, Mint uses bank-level encryption for read-only access to your accounts.
You can trust that Simplifi also takes security seriously. The company securely transmits data from your bank servers using robust 256-bit encryption, which is one of the most secure methods. Like Mint, it also encourages multi-factor authentication on your account (and many financial institutions require it when you link your financial accounts).
Mint and Simplifi are two of the most popular budgeting apps on the market. While Mint may have a longer history and be more popular, Simplifi also has plenty to offer. If you’re still unsure which is right for you after reading this comparison, consider taking advantage of Simplifi’s free 30-day trial to test out both apps and see which is right for you.
Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.
The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. Compensation not to exceed $500. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC. Analysis is conducted at the time of publication and may change over time, please see each company’s website for updated information. As of August 2022.