Personal Finance Software – Mint vs. Wave Accounting

December 1, 2011

No, this is not a sponsored post, I just like personal finance software. I’m a nerd like that.

There are tons of free personal finance software options to help you watch your spending habits, goals and your budget, and if you are like me, and have a side business it is even more important to keep everything organized and itemized. I love personal finance software, mostly because I can’t stand spreadsheet and anything excel makes me sick. I find personal finance software (especially free software) to be a life saver and have used different ones. My current favorite ones are Mint (recently acquired) and Wave Accounting. I have been using Mint for personal use for a about year now and recently switched over to Wave for my side business. Below you will find a break down of both options. I urge you to look at both closely and see which one fits your lifestyle best. Personal

Mint ?s loaded w?th budget tips ?nd it’s ? great monthly budget planner.

The best about Mint is that it  will warn (by email) wh?n ??u charge ?r spend amounts ?n excess ?f th?t ??u h?v? budgeted f?r th? month ?s well ?s warning ??u ?f ?n? unusual transactions,credit scores n?t updated,large credit card fees, ?nd unusual spending. ?f ??u us? Mint ??u ??n monitor spending limits ?n ?n? spending category (rent,groceries,vacations,etc.) ?nd Mint will automatically send ??u email alerts wh?n ??u exceed ?n? budgeted amount w?th?n ??ur monthly budget planner; ??u ??n ?ls? carry ?v?r balances month-to-month f?r unexpected expenses (such as those winters tires that you forgot to budget for).

Wh?t ? d?n’t l?k? ?b?ut Mint, ?s th?t ?t ?s obvious th?t th? website w?s created t? match products ?nd services offered b? companies selected b? Mint f?r ??u t? buy. ?h?r? ?r? t?? m?n? ads. ??w?v?r, ??u h?v? t? weigh th? good w?th th? bad, ?nd w? ?r? b?g?nn?ng t? accept ads f?r free sites ?s b??ng ?s ? matter ?f fact ?nd th?s free site ?s worth th? occasional disruptive ad. Also it is not the best tool for business expenses. Yes, you can categorize and itemize charges but it is a pain to make them make sense later. And forget about planning on invoicing directly clients directly from here.

Summary – Free budgeting software summarizes ?ll ?f ??ur family finances, including ??ur bank accounts, debt cards ?nd investments ?ll ?n ?n? location ?nd ?t works! Mint ?r?v?d?s ?n excellent graphical interface, s? ?f ??u d?n’t w?nt t? s?? th? wh?r? ??ur money ?s b??ng spend, ??u ??n easily observe ?nd realize ??ur investment trends ?nd spending habits b?f?r? it’s t?? late. It also teaches you about credit scores and what is considered “good”. ?s b? f?r ?n? ?f th? coolest web-2.0-ish personal finance  software/ applications w?th great budgeting tips ?nd ?ts ?ll ?v??l?bl? f?r free. Unfortunately because it was recently acquired the rate of growth and innovation has slowed down tremendously. f?r business

Those who’ve us?d ?nd h?v? ? business ?r? ?r?b?bl? wishing th?? h?d ?n accounting system ?s frictionless ?s th?t! ? ??rt??nl? ?m ?nd f?r ? wh?l? ?’v? k??t ?n eye ?n web-based billing ?nd accounting applications ?ut th?r?, ?f wh??h ? must s?? there’s n? shortage. ?? criteria h?s b??n t? find s?m?th?ng th?t w?uld replace Quickbooks (because I hate excel, you see) entirely wh?l? providing ? kind ?f experience, th?t w?uld offer effective cash flow management, ?nd w?uld b? integrated w?th CRM systems ?nd credit card terminals.

Problem w?th accounting, and personal finance software h?s ?lw??s b??n th?t ?t required dedicated time t? collect ?nd enter th? data ?nd th? m?r? data h?s t? b? entered, th? m?r? daunting th? task b???m?s, s? m?st business owners w?uld ?ust relegate th? job t? th? bookkeeper / accountant ?nd thus w?uld rarely us? ?t ?s ? business intelligence ?nd forecasting tool th?t ?t ??uld b?. I th?nk th?s ?s ?b?ut t? change h?w?v?r. ? th?nk we’re nearing ? point wh?r? business owners ?r? ??tu?ll? going t? start living inside ?f th??r finance systems mu?h th? s?m? w?? th?? currently live inside email/calendar.  I passed everything over to my accountant. He is a a great guy and I am sure he makes a lot money from me .

Why ??u ?sk? Du? t? ? n?w generation ?f online accounting solutions th?t d? m?r?, m?k? ?t mu?h m?r? th?n simple double entry accounting. ?h? n?w systems h?v? integrated invoicing, automated collection, multi-user access, reporting, ?nd m?st importantly – bank account sync! ?h?s l?st point ?s wh?t ? th?nk ?s wh?t ??uld t?? th? scales f?r th?s? solutions, ?nd ?s ? reason wh? ? w?nt t? highlight Wave accounting.

Wave Accounting

Wave ?s by far the closest online software that I have found that resembles Mint. What makes it different is the ability to make the end user feel like they are in control of their personal and business accounting. The basic features such as: g?tt?ng th? bank transactions ?nt? th? system (wh??h ?s d?n? v?? ?n automated sync) t? auto-categorization are identical to Mint. Even the promoted ad space resembles Mint.

While the ability to downloading transactions ?nt? financial applications ?sn’t n?w;  Mint users h?v? enjoyed th?s perk f?r years, the merger between personal finance software and small business accounting software is the thing to write home about. Wave Accounting  has the ability to allow each business owner to completely customize, and  create invoices, add vendors and meticuliously track every order, invoice (run reports, add sales taxes etc) and client. What’s unusual ?s th?t Wave Accounting ?ls? l?ts ??u track ??ur personal finances.

Easy to set up preferences

Pretty much all accounting software system, particularly online ones, have a setting sections online to allow you to setup the basis of your preferences. It is rather intuitive and you can jump right in and start using the software to produce invoices right away. I would recommend setting your fiscal year, currency, adding your logo, and other team members first. You also have the ability to add a sales tax.

Easy to Invoice

The core systems are the same as its competitors when it comes to producing invoices. And you have to go the normal steps . The more robust competitors give you more options.

The fact that you  h?v? t? g? b??k t? ??ur invoice list, select ?n?, ?nd click PDF t? s?? ? preview is a bit tedious and could use a few design upgrades. You can, however, see the status of every transaction; wh?th?r it’s b??n paid (?nd h?w mu?h), viewed, ?r ?s ?n draft form, s?m?l?r t? FreshBooks (but w?th fewer options). Its very easy to record payments. ??u simply open th? invoice ?nd click Add Payment, wh??h opens th? payment details dialog box. ?nd Wave Accounting offers ? feature ?ts competitors d??sn’t: Quick Entry. ??u ??n us? ?t t? record payments ??u’v? received w?th?ut ?n invoice (th?ugh ??u ??n st?ll create ?n invoice ?f ??u want).

Very minimal data entry

One of the primary reasons why I believe this is a fantastic product for personal and business account is that this is allows you to download your transactions from your bank. Wave Accounting is very similar to min in that regard. I recommend adding your bank accounts first as it allows you to fully use all the robust transaction features of the site.

The process of adding your bank accounts, credits card etc in Wave Accounting is rather intuitive. And if you’ve ever used Mint, you will instinctively know how to proceed.

One of the best features after downloading transactions is the ability to categorize them. As a small business owner, sometimes business transactions are processed on a personal credit card and vice versa. Wave Accounting allows you to sort all of the transaction, in a given month manually, should you choose to do so. This is the best checks and balance system around.

 Room f?r Improvement

Wave Accounting ?s v?r? young and although I wouldn’t expect it to have all of the functionally of  paid software, such as Quick Books nad Freshbooks, it is a major competitor. I like to think of it as hybrid of  Mint, Freshbooks, and QuickBooks Online, only with a better user interface and experience, and while it does not have all of the robust features that the others have, what it does have going for it that it is uncomplicated, and allows the end user to feel in control of their business.  It is by far one of my of my favourites and the only I recommend.


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  • Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter December 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    We looked into Mint but we found that Quicken still better meets our needs. The one advantage of Mint though is that it is portable and accessible online which Quicken isn’t. This would be really handy for travelling.

    • Marissa December 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      I have had a few people say that about Mint. Personally, I don’t find the mint interface very customizable.

  • KC @ PsychoMoney December 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I have never heard of Wave, checking it out for sure. Right now I use mint all the time and outright for all my different businesses.

  • Rafiki December 12, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I love post like these and really wish I could give these services a try. Mint seems really cool but being from the Caribbean I know full well that just like purchasing mp3’s, This won’t be available to my part of the world as yet. One of the few sucky things about being from my part of the world.

    • Marissa December 12, 2011 at 5:43 am

      Im pretty sure Mint is free and so is Wave. Wave is available thru the Chrome store. Check to see. i think Mint will really help!

  • Sara December 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for reviewing Wave, I’m glad that it’s the right tool for you! As you mentioned, Wave is new (we recently celebrated our one year anniversary) and constantly improving, so hopefully we’ll continue to be a better and better tool for you and your small business. Good luck with your journey to financial freedom! 🙂
    Sara Rosenfeld
    Community Manager
    Wave Accounting

    • Marissa December 13, 2011 at 3:02 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Sara!

  • Ryan @ Trusted Site Seller October 1, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I have been using for my personal and business accounting and although it isn’t perfect for business it has worked fairly well so far. More customization was my primary suggestion for improvement for Mint, so I will check out wave and see if does what I need. thanks

  • Dasha Gaian November 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for this great review! We were looking for an accounting system that would also track our small business as well as our personal finances, and it looks like we found it!

  • John March 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Like this post and amazing information about wave accounting and finance software. I never heard about wave accounting but now I got it about wave accounting.

  • John Mclane May 21, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Here is the information is provided about personal finance software and wave accounting and really it is great topic to discuss and it is nice to comment here.

  • Jost July 12, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Every organization needs proper accountancy to make business authentic & loyal for their customers.

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