People struggling with their finances can benefit from a good budgeting app. Today, there are many budgeting apps present in the market that helps in organizing and tracking the users’ spending and help them stay on top of the financial game. Most of these apps are available for free, while others charge a little for the unique features they offer. Hence, there are several great reasons to signup for a budgeting app.
What Is A Budgeting App?
Budgeting apps help users track their spending, group the spending into various categories, and highlight places where users can cut back the expenditure. This article picked up the best budgeting apps by thoroughly testing their tools and features. So, let’s explore them.
What Are The Best Budgeting Apps for Money Management?
1. YNAB (You Need A Budget)
YNAB follows a zero-based budgeting system that allows planning for every penny earned by the user. Once the user receives payment, they inform YNAB what part should go towards several categories like goals, expenses, savings. This way, the app allows its users to plan to make informed financial decisions instead of tracking past transactions. Hence, users get more intentional with their money as they are prompted to decide what to do with it actively.
Exciting features offered by YNAB:
- The app helps the users to trek up the learning curve.
- YNAB’s website provides many educational resources explaining exactly how to use the app to budget.
- It allows users to link their current and savings accounts and even credit cards and loans.
- It works on desktop, phone, iPad, Alexa, and Apple Watch.
The app offers a free trial of 34 days, but after that, users have the option to pay $14.99/month or $98.99/year. In the case of college students, they can use YNAB for free for a year.
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2. Mint: Track Expenses & Save
This app enjoys high ratings on both Google Play and App Store, grabbing more reviews than any other budgeting app reviewed for this list. Essentially, Mint puts user spending into unlimited budget categories and can personalize these categories further. Users can set limits for these categories, and the app notifies the users whenever they are approaching those limits.
Exciting features offered by Mint:
- This free app syncs many accounts, such as checking and savings, investments, bills, loans, and credit cards.
- Mint also helps users pay down debt, track goals, and save more money, and users can check their net worth and credit scores. Besides, it offers excellent support for using the app, including detailed FAQs and features a list of ‘known issues’.
Mint is not the right choice if the users desire to be actively hands-on in their budgeting despite all the good parts. YNAB and the other apps work better for planning for their money.
This App Is Free!
3. Simplifi: Budget, Savings, & Bill Tracker App
This app offers a personalized spending plan with real-time updates regarding how much money is left for the user to spend throughout the month. Simplifi by Quicken syncs the users’ bank accounts to see where they stand financially and their progress on financial goals. The app also tracks spending, recurring bills, and subscriptions, even those not in use. It offers a free 30-day trial, and after that, it costs $2.99/month (annually billed at $35.99) or pays $3.99/month if the users choose not to pay upfront.
- The app’s best part is its custom watchlists that offer spending limits by category/payee.
- There is a custom spending plan to monitor cash flow, ensuring the users never spend more money than they make.
- It offers tips while using the app, and there is also a blog featuring educational content.
- Quicken, the app’s parent firm, prioritizes user security and privacy, and the company has been trusted since 1984 to securely keep sensitive financial data and constantly works on new security measures. The app uses 256-bit encryption that transmits banking data-keeping information confidential.
4. PocketGuard: Budget Planner
The app doesn’t feature the most robust features, but that’s what is charming about this app. This app focuses on simplifying the concept of budgeting and not complicating it. It allows users to easily connect bank accounts, loans, investments, credit cards, and track bills. This way, users get to know how much money they are left with to spend once they settle aside funds for goals, bills, and necessities.
- The app tracks the net worth of the users and allows them to choose not to link their accounts and instead manually track their finances.
- PocketGuard’s paid version PocketGuard Plus also offers the option to export transactions, a debt payoff plan, and other valuable features.
Basic PocketGuard is free, and PocketGuard Plus costs $7.99/month, $79.99/year, or $99.99 for a one-time lifetime purchase.
5. Personal Capital: Retirement
Primarily an investment tool, Personal Capital is a free app that consists of features useful for budgeters interested in tracking their spending. Here the users can connect & monitor their checking, savings, and even credit cards accounts and IRA, loans, mortgages, 401(k)s.
- The Personal Capital app provides users a spending snapshot listing the recent transactions by category.
- Users can customize these categories and view the percentage of total monthly spending each category represents.
- Users can access the app through phone as well as desktop.
- The app also serves as a net worth tracker and portfolio breakdown.
This App Is Free!
6. Sodexo-Zeta (Previously Zeta For Employees)
This is one among the few budget apps crafted especially for couples, whether they share joint finances or not. Zeta serves all types of couples, whether they are married, engaged, new parents, or living together. Users can sync various accounts tracking spending, see their net worth, and manage the bills together.
- The app allows users to signup for joint no-fee banking accounts & cards with functionalities such as digital checks, no account fees, bill pay, and contactless payments. This way, couples can manage to spend and pay bills together.
- Zeta can create track spending, manage bills and set up joint goals.
- The app allows users to sync accounts or add the data manually for a shared view of finances.
- It is a free app.
- Even its Money Manager app & Joint Cards are free-of-cost.
- The app is for all types of couples.
- Zeta Joint Cards offer bank account access with FDIC insurance via LendingClub Bank, with no minimums or monthly fees and 0.10% APY.
- Zeta app uses encrypted databases and two-factor authentication to keep the data safe.
This App Is Free!
7. Goodbudget: Budget & Finance
Users who are more interested in planning their finances instead of tracking past transactions can benefit from the Goodbudget app. This app uses an envelope budgeting system, where the users can devote a part of their monthly income towards particular spending categories, known as envelopes. This app doesn’t connect to the users’ bank accounts. Instead, the users can manually add account balances they pull from the bank’s website and their income, debts, and cash amounts. Then the users assign money towards envelopes.
- Users get access to the Goodbudget app from their phone & web.
- The platform also offers valuable articles & videos helpful to using the app.
- This app provides a free version that enables one account on two devices and limited envelopes.
- In contrast, the paid version Goodbudget Plus allows unlimited envelopes and accounts for up to five devices and several other advantages.
- Everything is great about this app, but users often find it quite a task to enter every expense, as the app can’t sync financial accounts.
It’s a free app. Goodbudget Plus is $7/month or $60/year.
8. EveryDollar: Budget Tracker
This is a free app with a zero-based budgeting framework that is simpler than YNAB. Despite the app being a free budgeting app, users need to become a Ramsey+ member that comes with its perks to get the extra features. This membership also consists of off-app features, like courses and audiobooks.
Best Features of the App:
- EveryDollar’s free version is simple to use as it doesn’t sync accounts, so the users can manually enter their income and expenses throughout the month.
- Users can even categorize the line items in the budget and set reminders for bill payments.
- Meanwhile, with Ramsey+, users can connect their bank accounts, so tracking transactions is more straightforward. At the same time, users can track their debts, view reports on their spending patterns, and print their previous transactions.
Cost of the App: It’s a free app. To access more features, users should join Ramsey+, a free trial for 14 days. Once the trial is over, users can continue using the app, paying $59.99 for 3 months, $99.99 for 6 months, or $129.99 for 12 months.
9. Honeydue: Budget, Bills & Money For Couples
This is an app designed for couples so both partners can have a detailed outlook of their financial picture under one platform. The app allows both partners to sync their bank accounts, loans, investments, and credit cards. However, the users can choose how much they want to share with their partners.
The best features:
- It is a free app with many great features.
- The app automatically categorizes the expenses, but the users can also create custom categories.
- Couples can set monthly limits on these categories, and the app alerts the users whenever any of the partners is nearing that limit.
- Honeydue sends reminders for the upcoming bills and allows to chat and send emojis.
- This app works great for users to reflect and learn about previous transactions instead of planning for expenses.
This App Is Free!
10. Fudget: Budget & Expense Tracking App
The users looking for an app that doesn’t require them to sync their financial accounts can go with the Fudget app, which offers a simple, straightforward interface. The app’s super simple design makes it likable to many users.
- The app is has a straightforward, calculator-esque interface.
- The app users can create lists of incoming and outgoing money and track their balances using its simple interface.
- The app doesn’t have any budget categories; however, the Pro account lets users export their budget and offers many other perks.
- Budget enjoys high Google Play ratings compared to most other Budgeting apps reviewed for this article.
It is a free app. To upgrade to Fudget Pro, users can make a one-time purchase of $3.99
11. Stash: Invest & Build Wealth
This budgeting app is best suited for investment beginners looking for an easy way to purchase stocks and other investments. The Stash app users can access banking and budgeting tools as well. The app offers excellent tools to track the budget and manage investments. Stash charges zero commission on stock trades performed within the app; however, from time-to-time users might charge account maintenance fees outside of monthly payments by Stash’s custodian Apex Clearing.
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- The app offers fractional shares
- It provides automatic savings & investment tools.
- Allows users to earn bonus stocks via debit card purchases
- Stash has a low minimum investment requirement
- The app provides educational content
This App Is Free!
12. Digit – Save, Budget, & Invest
Users with particular saving goals in their minds can go with the Digit app to quickly reach their goals. The app allows users to set numerous savings goals, including the amount they want to save and the period they wish to reach that target. These saving targets can be an emergency fund, a rainy day fund or travel fund, an entertainment fund, and more.
The app mandatorily requires its users to link their bank account to Digit, and accordingly, it analyses their income and saving patterns. Based on its algorithm, the app transfers a small amount of money from the user’s linked current account into their Digit account. Users can withdraw this money at any time, but the idea is to help users save for their particular goals. The users’ money in the Digit account is redirected to a partner savings account (FDIC insured) and earns 0.10% APY.
- Digit has a simple user-interface
- This budgeting app also allows investing the money.
- The app allows to set up goals for investment accounts and adds money directly from users’ current accounts.
- The savings account is FDIC insured.
The app costs $9.99/month and offers a free trial of 30 days. It also provides its users a’ “refer-a-friend” option to offset the app fee.
13. Wally: Smart Personal Finance
Wally is an excellent tool for budgeting. This app helps its users track their income & expenses and provides a picture of their remaining budget so they don’t overspend. Loved by the Millennials, the app has both free and paid versions, and where users can purchase individual features from the paid app version.
- The app offers built-in support for almost all foreign currencies, making it an excellent app for those living in other countries.
- Wally offers streamlined budgeting features & support in most foreign countries.
- It provides graphics to showcase the users’ finances.
It is a free app, and users can purchase its paid Gold version at $24.99/year.
14. Mvelopes Budget App
This app offers envelope budgeting, a style of budgeting where the users can put cash in envelopes for various spending categories. When each envelope is empty, the user set-budget sets for that category are entirely spent for that month. This approach could be slightly challenging with debit and credit cards, but it is easy with Mvelopes to follow cash-style budgets in the digital budgeting world.
Though the app is not free, Mvelopes allows its users to connect to unlimited financial accounts while using traditional envelope budgeting to track their constant spending. The real-time budget matching lets users know whether they can make that purchase or wait for next month for their budget reset.
Best features of the app:
- The app offers a 30-day free trial.
- Mvelopes is a digital version of the Cash envelope system, and the app offers unlimited digital envelopes for all pricing tiers.
$5.97 to $19.97 per month. Annual payment options are also available.
15. Albert: Banking On You
This app is excellent for giving users a clear picture of how well they are meeting their budgeting goals by calculating an “Albert Score.” Albert Score is a financial checkup score on a scale from 0 to 100. Users can sort their transactions into customized categories within the app, and this will help them manage their budget better and track their spending.
- Even though Albert has almost the same features as offered by other budgeting apps, there is one unique feature. i.e., savings component.
- The algorithm used by Albert Savings looks at the whole financial picture to calculate the amount of money to transfer out automatically of users’ current account into a savings account.
- Though the amount transferred by the app to a savings account is small, it is ultimately designed to add up over time.
The app’s basic version is free. It offers Genius membership, where users choose what to pay; however, the minimum amount is $6/month.
Compare The Budgeting Apps
|App||Free Trial||Price||Bank Sync||Security||Platform||Ratings||Published By||Downloads|
|You Need A Budget (YNAB)||34-day||$84/year||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption||Web,|
|4.8/5||You Need A Budget LLC||1 million+|
|Mint||N/A||Free||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|3.9/5||Intuit Inc||10 million+|
|Simplifi by Quicken||30 days||$35.99/year||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.2/5||Quicken Inc.||100 Thousand+|
|PocketGuard||Free version available||$79.99/year||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||PocketGuard, Inc.||100 Thousand+|
|Personal Capital||N/A||Free||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||Personal Capital Corporation||500 Thousand+|
|Zeta||N/A||Free||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.1/5||Sodexo SVC India Pvt Ltd||1 million+|
|Goodbudget||Free version available||$7/month, $60/year||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||Dayspring Technologies||1 million+|
|EveryDollar||14 days||$59.99/3 months|
$129.99 for 12 months
|Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.8/5||The Lampo Group Incorporated||1 million+|
|Honeydue||Free||Free||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.5/5||WalletIQ, Inc.||100 Thousand+|
|Fudget||Free version available||$3.99||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.8/5||Danny Connell||100 Thousand+|
|Stash||Free||Free||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||Stash Financial, Inc.||10 million+|
|Digit||30 days||$9.99/month||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||Hello Digit, Inc||1 million+|
|Wally||Free version available||$24.99/year||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|3.9/5||Wally Global Inc.||100 Thousand+|
|Albert||Free version available||$6/month||Yes||Bank-Level Security & Encryption|| Web,|
|4.7/5||Albert Corporation||1 million+|
What Features Should A User Look For?
Most of the budgeting apps allow their users to sync their bank accounts with the app, which makes things quite simple and easy to manage for the app users, as then they are not required to add every transaction they make manually.
It is also suitable for budget apps to collect users’ income and consumer spending data. Many apps can track user spending and organize their expenses into categories that allow them to view trends over some time. This allows the users to easily understand their spending habits and make more mindful choices accordingly.
Some apps offer features like automated savings, bill alerts, suggestions for money-saving, investment, and access to credit scores. The apps with a savings component should ensure that the account is FDIC-insured. Users can consider an account’s APY and see how it compares to high-interest online savings accounts that might also offer free budgeting tools. With the amount of money saved by the users, they can consider switching to an online, tech-focused bank that provides a higher APY.
Methodology Used To Create This List Best Personal Financial Management Apps
We installed each app discussed above to bring you the best budgeting apps. Next, we entered the personal information into the app to get a real-life user experience by linking the bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and other necessary financial information (for all the apps that allowed linking). This way, we tested the functionalities of each app. Initially, the basic version of apps was tested, and the upgraded or paid versions were also experimented with. The main criteria based on which we evaluated the app includes:
Different aspects of the apps were examined while determining how easy each app was to use, like app usability, setting up an account, options to upload information from several financial institutions, reporting availability, and other unique capabilities.
Another criterion was tracking & goals. This consisted of tracking updates in real-time, the number of categories users can budget for, and the option for setting goals.
Availability of the apps is a crucial aspect, and the apps available on both Android and Apple scored higher in the testing and the same with the apps that offered a desktop version. The cost of each app was also compared and any fees to upgrade the in-app features.
After thoughtfully considering these aspects, we decided on the top budgeting apps that performed the budgeting best.
There are several budgeting apps available in the app store arena. Each of these apps offers a variety of tools and features that help the app users manage their money efficiently and effectively. The users can find the best app from the apps mentioned above as per their requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Budgeting Apps
- What Is The Difference Between A Budgeting App And Accounting Software?
Users can install budgeting apps on their mobile devices and tablets; however, accounting software seldom offers this option. The accounting software usually offers more robust functionalities that are best used on a computer. Typically, accounting software costs are higher, and it takes some time for the users to get used to the software. In comparison, budgeting apps are easy-to-use and simple, and straightforward.
- Should I Pay For An App Or Use A Free App?
Few of the Budgeting apps that offer limited functionalities are free, whereas the other apps with more robust tools and features might charge a little for the provided services.
- How To Choose A Budgeting App?
Choosing the right budgeting app can make a huge difference in your personal financial life. So while selecting a budgeting app, it is advised to be mindful of individual financial needs and goals.
These apps can offer helpful insights and data into your savings and expenses. However, for that to happen, it is crucial to identify your financial goals as that helps decide the right app for your financial situation and objectives. Besides goals, consider aspects like app fee, app features, security, and customer service.
- What Are The Best Free Budgeting Apps?
The best free budgeting apps are the ones that can support the users and meet their budgeting requirements. The financial goals differ for every individual; hence the users must pick a budgeting app working well for their particular objectives. Two of the popular free budgeting apps are Mint and Personal Capital.
- Do Budgeting Apps Work?
Budgeting apps are a great way to help app users ensure that they meet their budgeting requirements and not just plan one. These apps can offer remarkable insights into the users' spending habits and help them understand where their money goes and improve.
- What Is The Easiest Budgeting App?
Many budgeting apps claim they have user-friendly interfaces however each user's likes and preferences can differ; hence it can be challenging to say which app is easiest to use. However, all of these budgeting apps mentioned above offer a positive user experience.
- What Is The Best Monthly Budget App?
The best budgeting app is the one that best suits the users' finances, so that could differ for each user. The above-recommended apps have features that help users avoid the usual mistakes made while budgeting.
- What Makes For A Successful Budget?
Budgeting is a procedure that starts with recognizing personal financial goals and priorities in terms of savings and spending. Once we know the amount of money that is going out and coming in, it gets easier to handle both expected and unexpected financial challenges.
Also, budgeting habits make a huge change. When the money mindset, saving, and spending habits are clear, it gets easier to meet budgeting and investment goals. The right budgeting app can help to combat poor money habits.
- What Does A Budgeting App Do?
Budgeting apps help in tracking day-to-day personal finances, thus offering a better picture of overall earnings, spending, and what is to be changed to achieve the financial goals. These above-recommended apps are designed for general personal budgeting. These apps offer basic functionalities and some possible unique functionalities, helping users build strong financial habits. Few of these budgeting apps even help track bank balances, brokerages, and credit card balances.
- How Much Do Budgeting Apps Cost?
Some of these budgeting apps coming with limited functionalities are free-of-cost, while others come with robust tools and charge a little for that. Most of these apps come with a monthly fee of $10-$15 and offer discounts if an annual payment is made.