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"This Is Uncomfortable" Newsletter

This is how our listeners budget without Mint

Tony Wagner and Marika Proctor Mar 15, 2024
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The OG budgeting app, Mint, is officially shutting down next week.

Its parent company Intuit (you might know it from TurboTax) has been directing users to CreditKarma for a while, but the last holdouts will lose access March 23.

Many users have found CreditKarma lacking, so we tapped into the Marketplace braintrust. Our newsletter about how business journalists budget got a lot of great feedback from our listeners. We’ve collected some of the best responses and tips below. Check ‘em out!

@mindmoneybalance on Instagram: I’d been using Mint since … forever. I’m playing with Empower (formerly Personal Capital), I tried YNAB but couldn’t keep up with it.

Carolyn: I like what Bridget wrote about the Etsy spreadsheet — I actually made my own version of this spreadsheet in Excel. I even have pie charts and graphs, which I love. I still manage to go over my budget every month, but it’s really helped me see my spending and how/where I can cut. For example, I essentially never take Ubers/Lyft anymore. Instead, I carry a book with me and take the metro. Sometimes 30 minutes longer and less convenient, but it’s great to not have to log a $25 charge.

Chuck: I am a prior Mint user who really appreciated what that provided and was really disappointed when Intuit acquired them and transitioned to whatever. I started using Mint almost 10 years ago at my techie son’s recommendation and followed his advice in moving to Monarch. I am slowly learning how to best use it, but have not managed to get back to the best of what Mint used to offer. 

@Evc_ginger: I switched to Monarch Money after years on Mint. I’ve been very happy with how comparable it is (other than price) -— and much more user-friendly than the dying Mint app.

@stone_kutis: how did no one include @monarch_money? It’s better than Mint bc it finally supports multiple users under a household subscription and it is much more flexible for things like reimbursable business expenses, one-time budget changes, etc.

Harold: I went on that same journey to evaluate budget app options and tried Simplifi, Rocket Money, Monarch, and YNAB. In the end, I found Monarch to be a far superior app than the rest. I love its user interface (problems navigating with Simplifi), the connections are seamless (I had connection issues with accounts in Rocket Money), and overall new features they continue to roll out (YNAB felt draconian). Not sure if that helps with perspective, but I disconnected from the others and haven’t looked back!

Chris: Former Mint user here. I used Mint for the last 12 years to consolidate my transactions to one point then export them to my spreadsheet. This allowed me to track my spend over the years for comparisons or how much I spent for Christmas, vacations, etc. The funny thing is it encouraged me to track other things on my own. My family and I have lived at this house for 15 years. I’ve tracked all the water, electric, and propane usage for 15 years. I’m able to estimate my monthly spends to maximize my monthly savings. Going forward, I’ve decided to manually export my transactions from my bank. Instead of doing one export each month via Mint, I now have six exports to perform via the bank. I’ll spend a Friday or Saturday night, create all the exports, and dump the data into my spreadsheet. From there I’ll categorize my spend for the previous month. Review my receipts. Forecast future spends, like how much can I spend for vacation this year, etc.

@lissabella47: I use an app called Spending to, uh, track my spending. It’s worked out well, and I’ve built up my savings since starting with it. I chose it because it had good reviews in the app store and was closest to what I was trying to get.

Jamie: Thanks for sharing! There is also a Ramsey budgeting app called Every Dollar that your staff and readers might find helpful 🙂

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with tips! There were a few I hadn’t heard of, but overall Monarch and DIY spreadsheets got the most recommendations. As always, feel free to reply or reach out at with your thoughts — they might make it into a future newsletter.

Defend your splurge with writer Nicolette Polek

Money messes with all our lives, but sometimes the right purchase at the right time can make things a little better. Tell us how you’ve treated yourself lately, and we’ll include the best stories in our newsletter!

This week’s splurge comes from Nicolette Polek, author of “Imaginary Museums.” Her new novel, “Bitter Water Opera,” is out April 16. 

The box described below sits on the ground next to real walnuts.
Courtesy: Nicolette Polek

Like everyone else, I love 16th century boxwood carvings. I linger around the prayer bead at the Met Cloisters, 2 inches in diameter, the size of a walnut, which, when opened, reveals a three-dimensional scene of the crucifixion. St. Anthony once built himself a shelter in a walnut tree. My mother and I inherited a walnut grove in Slovakia when my grandfather passed away. We last visited as the walnuts fell. Now I live somewhere else, in an old grove of black walnuts, which stain my shoes and my dog’s paws. 

My proclivity for walnuts is why — despite sternly deciding to no longer look at estate liquidation auction sites — I broke my promise, bid on, and won, a Limoges box. $13! A steal, despite the slow bidding also stealing my attention and conscience all afternoon. But I’ve always loved walnuts, I justified. 

When it came in the mail I was surprised to find that it was not actually the facsimile of a walnut, but in fact an almond, as indicated by a small porcelain almond nut inside. What else can I do with the box, except regard the realistic, hinged nut? Perhaps store a single Advil Liqui-Gel, two to three dissolvable melatonin, or a folded up message. Perhaps I could put it in a bowl of actual nuts for someone to encounter with delight. Or it will remain a relic to mark the beginning of something that I have yet to find out, like how the English mystic Julian of Norwich looked upon a hazelnut in her hand and saw the whole world. For now, it rests on my desk like a token from the yard, and I gleefully fiddle with it whenever I work. 

The comfort zone

What our team is into this week.

Correction (3/29/2023): This newsletter contained some outdated and incorrect information about the budget app iSaveMoney. The app doesn’t connect to bank accounts, and recent Google Play Store reviews indicate it’s added more advertising and raised prices far beyond what’s advertised online. We’ve asked the app’s owner about this, but haven’t heard back. We’ve removed the recommendation for now.

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