Not using the countless money-tracking apps available to you in this tech age may be putting you at a severe disadvantage, but fear not! This guide of the best budgeting apps will give you the know-how to choose which one will benefit you most.
With so many top budgeting apps out there, it can be difficult to differentiate between them all! Whether you plan on using the app by yourself, as a couple, or even as an entire family, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Many of the better budgeting apps are available with desktop and mobile versions to keep synchronization across your iPhone and Android devices seamless.
Some of the best personal budgeting apps are free while others have paid subscriptions. Personal finance is not one size fits all and that is why we are here to help you choose the app that fits you best.
List of the Best Budgeting Apps:
- Personal Capital
At a Glance:
- Cost: Free
- Synchronization across banks, credit cards, and investment accounts
- Free Credit Monitoring
Mint is brought to you by Intuit, the same owners of TurboTax. It has been a top-notch free budgeting app for quite some time and they continue to improve their platform regularly.
The app synchs with your banking, credit cards, and investment accounts to give you a great financial health snapshot.
Although the app allows manual transaction entry, Mint really shines with its credit card integration. It automatically classifies purchases into categories which allows you to set budget alerts on spending and creates an easy visual for tracking.
One very important feature that Mint offers is Free Credit Score and Credit Monitoring services. Theres a lot of value in this app for the right price of FREE!
You Need A Budget aka YNAB
At a Glance:
- Cost: $84 per year or $11.99 per month (12 Months free for students)
- Centers around Zero-based Budgeting
- Tremendous value with their educational content offered
You Need A Budget or YNAB, which it is commonly referred to as, is a paid budgeting platform.
It has an almost a cult-like following with a Facebook fanbase! One reason for this type of enthusiasm is because the YNAB approach is almost guaranteed to work if you stick with their strict method.
YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting system which gives a job to every dollar you make.
Their system creates dollar assignments based on the money you currently have and not predicted monthly income. This method eliminates the possibility of budgeting for expenses with money that is not guaranteed.
The app also lets you harmonize all your financial accounts for a more automated approach much like Mint. If you feel more comfortable with manual translation entries this option is also available.
The appeal about YNAB is that the budgeting app is more of a learning platform with an integrated budget tracker. If you are looking for a little more guidance on your journey to financial improvement this is probably the app for you.
YNAB hosts workshops and has gigantic database of learning material on many financial topics that is sure to put your budget on the fast track to success. Their website even boasts, “On average, new budgeters save $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 their first year.”
Im not normally a fan of paid budgeting apps due to the irony about them, but with testimony like that who wouldn’t want to give it a shot! They offer a free 34 day trial before the paid service takes affect. That should give you enough time to determine if You Need A Budget is worth the fees they charge.
At A Glance:
- Cost: Free or $129.99 per year for EveryDollar Plus
- Guidance from the personal finance guru Dave Ramsey
- Centers around Zero-based Budgeting
Ever hear of Dave Ramsey? Well if not, he is basically the King of Personal Finance. He’s written books and has his famous Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps! If your finances are in deep trouble his resources can most likely pull you back out.
His app, EveryDollar, was introduced to help his audience track their monthly budgets. EveryDollar, much like YNAB, is an app set up for the Zero-based budgeting method. You will be assigning every dollar you make a specific job to fulfill. This technique ensures you are focusing on directing your dollars to important expenses and creates a very in-tune relationship with your spending habits. You will know every dollar coming in and where every dollar going out is headed!
Unfortunately, the free version of EveryDollar does not allow automatic synchronization of your accounts. Instead you must make manual entries for each expense transaction. One benefit of this is you become very in-tune with your purchases throughout the month and it basically eliminates any concerns about financial security.
In order to get banking and credit/debit card account integration perks you must upgrade to EveryDollar Plus. EveryDollar has the strict purpose of monthly budgeting. Investment accounts and net-worth tracking is not available.
Dave Ramsey material is so well known because his methods have been proven by so many successful cases of people following his instruction.
Read his blog to get great financial tips and download EveryDollar to get your budget on track like the millions that already have.
At A Glance:
- Cost: Free or $7 per month / $60 annually for Plus Version
- Centers around Envelope Budgeting System
- Account Synchronization with multiple users
Goodbudget uses the envelope budgeting method. This is a system where expenses are grouped together in categories. Each separate category gets its own envelope and a designated portion of your income for the month. Once the money for that “envelope” is gone, no more purchases can be made in that particular category.
Traditionally envelope budgeting has been carried out with actual envelopes and cash Goodbudget adapts to the 21st century and makes use of virtual envelopes through the app.
You no longer have to worry about carry around envelopes full of cash. Phew!
The free version of the envelope budgeting app limits you to 10 envelopes and two devices making this a great budgeting app for couples.
If you pay to upgrade to Plus, you get unlimited envelope assigning and will be able to use the app with up to 5 devices. Logging into the desktop website does not count as a device. Goodbudget is a way to keep the whole family on the same page with expenses throughout the month.
Unfortunately, Goodbudget doesn’t synch with your bank accounts or cards which can make budgeting a little more time consuming than some of the other budgeting apps. However, you are guaranteed to be more aware with your spending by being forced to manually input all transactions.
Goodbudget is very comparable to your old-school pencil and paper budget where income and expenses are manually tracked and compared, but with the added benefit of family
At A Glance
- Cost: $6 Basic, $10 Premier, $19 Plus
- Virtual Envelope Budgeting System
- Up to Six Members for family budget sharing
- Bank and Credit Card Synchronization
Mvelopes is once again another Zero based budgeting system that uses virtual envelope budgeting method much like Goodbudget.
The difference with Mvelopes and GoodBudget is that Mvelopes has synchronization abilities with all your accounts and cards.
Also, paying the Premier or Plus tier levels get you tools and support for budgeting and can even allow you opportunity to to speak with a “budget coach” on a quarterly basis.
Mvelopes works on the principle of 4 Step to Financial Freedom
- Give Your Money a Purpose
- Avoid Debt
- Plan for Tomorrow
Mvelopes is more of a learning platform with an included envelope budget tracker similar to what YNAB offers. You’ll get more direction than Goodbudget, but will be paying a monthly fee for the advice.
At A Glance
- Cost: Free or $1.99 for Wally Gold or $39.99 for Wally Gold Lifetime
- One of the more simple Budgeting Apps
- Synchronization of all Accounts and Credit Cards
- Wally Gold Offers:
- Ability to assign groups to shared budgets with co-workers
- Foreign Currencies Accounts Available for International work
Wally is a great traditional budgeting app. It lets you set budget limits, track income and spending, and set financial goals.
The layout is fun with great icons and visuals for easy to understand tracking.
The app’s free version of Wally only offers manual transaction entry. Paying for Wally Gold will get you automatic synchronization of your accounts and credit cards. Wally Gold will also give you the ability to share budgets and use foreign currency in your tracking.
Wally has in-app purchases for the above items, but if you’re really looking to use them, consider getting the Wally Gold Lifetime account. It makes a lot of sense!
Wally is a very underrated budgeting app! Check it out you won’t be disappointed.
At A Glance:
- Cost: Free or Fee based for investment advice.
- Synchronizations of all cards, accounts, and investments
- Detailed analysis tools for net-worth tracking
- Investment advice available for a fee if needed
Personal Capital is a little different than the previous apps. Instead of having a mission of budgeting, Personal Capital, is used for an overall net-worth tracker.
Although the free app is meant to track net-worth, you can seek investment advice for a fee which is where they make their money.
Personal Capital is all around tracker that can show Net Worth, Transactions, Cash Flow, Budgeting, and Investment analysis.
The free app can synch with all your accounts and cards to give you a great up to date look at your finances. The budgeting portion isn’t quite as user or option friendly like the apps above, but with all the Free features offered I didn’t want to leave it off the list.
At A Glance
- Cost: Free or PocketGuard Plus $3.99/month or $34.99/year
- “In My Pocket” feature shows money that you have left to spend
- Hashtag classifying is a cool feature to group expenses
PocketGuard is a little different from the budgeting apps mentioned already, but definitely in a good way.
The app lets you link bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and debts/loans. PocketGuard will automatically classify any transactions into categories.
PocketGuard will then make a budget for you based on your monthly income and expenses. The budget also takes into account goals that you set for savings and spending limits.
The feature “In My Pocket” analyzes your spending and bills throughout the month to calculate how much spending money you have left over. Its an easy way to highlight if you can afford impulse purchases.
Another neat feature is the hashtag function. You can assign #’s to any expense in order to group them all the purchases together. This can be great if you want to know how much you spent event like #TriptoVegas.
Overall, PocketGuard has a slick design and some pretty cool features. It should definitely be considered a contender.