Budgeting is a necessary first step for taking control of your finances. However, it’s just a beginning to show your intention. Sticking to your budget is what really matters if you want to control your finances. That means you have to constantly monitor your earnings and spending to stay within your budget. But, how can one possibly do that?
It isn’t always possible to predict the market. Some budget categories may cost more than you expected. Another may cost less. How do you reconcile your budget? Are you on your budget, over budget, or under budget at a particular moment in time? Have you had any unexpected expanse? How will it impact your overall budget?
Before you start pondering over these overwhelming questions, take a step back.
Don’t scratch your head or scrap your plans! Best Budgeting tools (apps) are here to help! With the right budgeting tool like a suitable mobile app, you can easily make your budget, integrate your accounts and keep track of expenses. Plus, as you always have a smartphone in hand, you can monitor your finance anywhere, any time! Sound cool, right?
Let’s look at some of the best budgeting apps
7 Best Budgeting Apps Today
You Need A Budget (or simply YNAB) is, without a doubt, the top budgeting app today. The company’s reputation, budgeting philosophy, and comprehensive feature-set enable YNAB to bring a complete budget makeover to any business. It offers a 34-day free trial (no CC necessary). Once the honeymoon period is over, you can go for either the monthly option ($14.99) or a more cost-effective yearly ($98.99) solution.
The app is designed for users who plan their future financial decisions rather than tracking their past transactions. It’s a very hands-on zero-based budgeting solution, enabling you to make a plan for every dollar you spend or earn. With YNAB, you can sync your bank accounts, import personal data, or manually enter each of your transactions.
YNAB does require a learning curve, and beginners may have to struggle with the basics. Thankfully, their platform offers comprehensive video courses, a live learning workshop, and a reading guide. But, it’s all worth it because the app offers you the power to become more intentional with money as you can actively decide what you want to do with the app.
Mint is a top-rated free budgeting app. It has a 4.8 rating on Apple Store and 4.5 on Google Play Store. So, it’s an excellent app for anyone who wants to keep track of their spending habits without subscribing to a service. However, you may see in-app product ads while using its platform. That’s how the company makes money to sustain its services.
With Mint, you can sync all kinds of financial accounts – such as checking, savings, investments, CCs, loans, and other bills. You can also manually add transactions if you want. Therefore, Mint brings all of your accounts to one place, automatically organizes your spending into categories, and makes it easy for you to monitor your finances. It uses Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication, and touch ID access to secure your financial information.
Besides these features, the Mint helps you pay down debt, save money, check portfolio fees and track your goals. It also shows credit score and net worth. Not to mention, the app itself is straightforward to use. Anyone can just download Mint and start using its services without going through a tutorial. While the app is impressive in multiple ways, it’s not a good option for you if you want a more hands-on approach for your money organizer.
EveryDollar makes zero-based budgeting easy for beginners. It’s an excellent alternative to YNAB if you want a simpler and easy-to-manage app for budgeting. While this budgeting app is totally free to download and use, you need to be a Ramsey+ member to get the extras. These include premium features like account integration, transaction import option, audiobooks, Financial Peace University online access, and more.
The free version is very bare-bones and much simple to use. That’s because you don’t have to sync accounts. Instead, you must manually enter the income and spending throughout the month. Moreover, you can categorize your budget items, set reminders for upcoming bills, etc. And you can do all of this with very simple steps. So, your budget is up and ready within 10 minutes.
But, if you decide to pay extra ($55.99/ 3 months, $99.99/6 months, or $1299.99/year), you get access to more features. You can then connect your bank accounts to track each transaction, track debts, baby step monitoring, generate financial reports and print all of your transaction histories. Finally, EveryDollar works on multiple platforms and devices, including iOS, Android, and the web. If you are a fan of Dave Ramsey, EveryDollar is a must-try.
We have another very popular budget planner app on the fourth spot – Personal Capital. Personal Capital is mainly a wealth-building and investment tool. However, what makes it unique is its budgeting option. Its free app provides more than enough options to help anyone create a budget for their needs. For instance, with PC, you can calculate your net worth, plan for retirement or education and use the Fee Analyzer option to check for the portfolio fees if you want.
From savings accounts to mortgages, CCs, IRAs, 401(k)s, and loans, you can connect more than a dozen options to calculate your net worth. The app lists all of your recent transactions by category and provides a spending screenshot. If necessary, you can customize all of the categories to figure out the percentage of each category in the total spending. You can also add a budget and get a comparison chart with the previous month.
In comparison with other options on this list, its budgeting features are a bit lacking. You cannot manually add budget transactions or plan out your finances in advance. However, if you are looking for the best free tools to help you build wealth, you will surely love Personal Capital. It’s a free wealth-building app, and you can also add investment management services for 0.89% if you have accounts under one million USD.
5. Pocket Guard
Pocket guard – as the name implies – helps guard your pocket by cutting down on spending. The app’s “In My Pocket” feature utilizes a unique algorithm to monitor your income, expenditure, and goals to calculate how much you can spend in a day. So, when you know concrete spending limits, you can stop overspending and take back control of your budget to achieve your financial objectives.
With its smart bill reminder, you can track all the due dates. Not just that, it highlights all the opportunities you can utilize to negotiate lower bills and cut back on expenses. Moreover, the autosave feature lets you set an objective and start saving for it. If that’s not enough, the app also moves all the savings to your FDIC-insured bank account automatically. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
If you are not content with the value-free version offers, you can go for PocketGuard Plus. For $7.99/monthly, $79.99/Yearly, or $99.99/lifetime subscription, you get access to a number of additional features. These include creating categories, changing transaction dates, exporting data, monitoring cash, and managing ATM transactions. Overall, Pocket Guard does a lot of your budget work, ideal for those who want more of a hands-off approach.
Ever heard of the envelope system to save money? Or ancient Japanese budgeting method, Kakeibo? It’s a fantastic method to save money, especially if you are saving for a big purchase in the future. Goodbudget offers you the same budgeting strategy, but it’s digital, so there’s no need to label all envelopes physically. You can do so easily now with just a few taps.
Furthermore, you can play around with envelopes, adjust allowances, create a budget, and share it with more than one individual to synchronize the finances. Accessing one account on multiple devices also comes in handy for managing a shared household budget. However, the free version is a bit limiting and may be too basic for some users. The paid version provides a more all-encompassing picture of your overall finances, including unlimited accounts, five devices, and unlimited envelopes.
While the app is easy to use for most users, you may have to poke around a bit to utilize all the features thoroughly if you are not familiar with budgeting apps. We recommend looking into the user guide, tutorials, and instruction videos on their website to get familiar with the services. It’s free and easy to use, whether on mobile, tablet, or desktop.
Honeydue is the best budgeting app for couples. Explicitly designed to manage finances for two people, it’s a very intuitive and interactive app that makes money conversations less stressful. It gives them the power to monitor and collaborate on each financial transaction. Unfortunately, there’s no desktop version of the app, limiting its usability to smartphones only.
For starters, the app has three parts. Two are reserved for each individual’s expenses, while the third “all” section shows the combined transactions. Each individual can label their expenses as an individual expense or a shared expanse. What’s more, there’s also a shared calendar section that offers input for bill reminders and spending against each. When a bill due date approaches, the calendar alerts both users.
Hence, it gives couples a much better understanding of their finances. They can utilize the chat function to discuss any issues – if the physical meetup isn’t possible, track bank accounts, manage loans, and coordinate bill payments. While it’s unnecessary, they can also select an option to the bank together in an FDIC insured account. The joint checking account comes with a free debit card and no additional charges.
How to Choose the Best Budgeting App
As there are countless budgeting apps on the play store, downloading one can be overwhelming. To help make the decision easier, we have outlined what features you should consider. Take a look!
Is the app available on your device? Double-check the app’s compatibility. Sometimes you want to access the app on your smartphone as well as desktop, but not all budgeting apps are available on PCs (Yes! We’re looking at you, Honeydue). Therefore, it’s best to consider all the compatibility aspects before signing up for a service.
Is the service free to use, or do you need the premium version to access all of its features? Luckily most of the budgeting apps out there are free to use. While some free apps show in-app ads, others provide limited access. You have to subscribe to their monthly or yearly subscription to get better options. Free apps are a great way to know whether you really need an app’s premium version to help with your situation.
Is the app capable of synching all of your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial wallets? An app that lets you link your financial details and automatically track your income and spending is your best friend. However, others require you to input your transaction details manually, which can get a bit hectic. Ideally, look for apps that offer both features so that you can change it up if you want.
Does the budgeting app allow you to customize your spending categories? A basic budgeting app will come with built-in categories. You just have to use the categories to monitor your budget, and that’s all. On the other hand, look for apps that let you make your categories. If nothing else, a budgeting app should let you customize the names of each category so that you can title them as per your unique requirements.
This concludes our roundup of the best budgeting apps. We hope now you know the top options to consider for your budgeting needs. All of our picks are free to use or offer a free trial version. Therefore, you can download the app and use its services before committing your money to a service that you don’t need in the long run. Good luck, and thank you for reading!