Budgeting apps can be a great way to keep your spending in check and help you to save. They let you organize your personal finances and create a budget for yourself based on your incomes and expenses.
There are many options on the market, so to find the best budgeting app, you will want to look for some unique aspect that stands out. It should provide you with everything you need to control your finances.
We've found five of the best budgeting app options to fit a variety of needs. Here's a look at each of them and the features they offer.
5 Best Budgeting App Picks
The following five budget apps are some of the most popular available. If you search for these apps, you'll find there are countless numbers of them, so it should help you to narrow down your options by having a look at five of the best ones.
Mint is one of the most established apps. It is also incredibly popular and well used. It comes from a trusted name in the financial industry, Intuit. This is the same company that brings you Turbo Tax and Quickbooks, so you know it knows a lot about personal finances.
Mint provides you with various features to manage your finances and track your money. It has budgeting tools at the center of everything, which makes it super easy to use.
You can link your credit and debit cards to the app to automatically track your spending. The app is compatible with a large list of financial institutions, so you should be able to do this quickly.
The app even sends out alerts for various things, such as going over your budget or receiving charges from ATM fees. It gives you a clear picture of where you spend your money and ensures you stay on track by holding you accountable.
It also lets you track your bills. You get reminders to ensure you never miss a payment date, which can help you to avoid money-sucking fees.
The app also provides credit monitoring, which can be incredibly helpful in monitoring your credit for fraud or simply watching as you increase your score. You can receive alerts for anything suspicious on your file.
The best thing about Mint is that you get all of these features for free. If you have a tight budget or your spending is out of control, it helps to not have to pay a dime to get assistance getting your finances back in order.
- Free credit monitoring
- Alert system
- Best free budgeting app
- The app doesn't include all of the features of the desktop version
- Automatic categorization is lacking in accuracy
PocketGuard gets points for being easy to set up and use. This app tracks how much you earn and how much you spend once you connect it to your bank accounts. You can also use the app to monitor your savings account.
A nice feature of the app is that it will monitor your bills and try to offer you ways to save money on them. It searches for deals and options that will help you pay less.
PocketGuard also gives you a running balance that factors in upcoming bills and other expenses so that you always know how much money you have available to spend. In addition, it will categorize your expenses, which enables you to see areas in which you are spending too much and need to but down. You can take this information and export it into a spreadsheet if you want.
Like Mint, PocketGuard is completely free, so you won't have to spend money to monitor your finances and get them back on track.
- Easy to use
- Free app
- Running balance is helpful
- Syncing issues with some accounts
- Time-consuming to set up accounts
3. You Need a Budget
Incredibly popular, You Need a Budget, or YNAB as fans call it, provides a unique way of managing your personal budget. It works using the zero-based budgeting philosophy.
The philosophy requires building your budget according to your income so you account for every dollar made. There is never extra money because you assign each dollar to a category of spending.
You can sync the app to your bank accounts and it will provide automatic updates. You can also enter your information manually if you like.
You can set spending goals, customize the spending categories to suit your needs, and manage your savings. The app has a debt payoff feature also.
In addition, YNAB provides you with free workshops, user guides, and budgeting advice to ensure that you get yourself on the right track and learn as you do it.
YNAB is free for only the initial 34 days. After that, you have to pay a monthly fee of $11.99 or an annual fee of $84. If you are a student and can provide proof of your status, you can get 12 months of YNAB access for free.
- Debt payoff feature
- Free budgeting and financial education
- Goal setting feature
- Not offered for free
- Account syncing issues
Goodbudget may be a name with which you are not familiar. This app used to call itself Easy Envelope Budget Aid or EEBA. The name is the only difference you will see though.
There are two unique features of this app. First, it focuses on envelope budgeting, which has you decide on your monthly expenses and assign money from your income to each envelope or category of spending.
The second feature is the design of the app is for couples or people who share one budget. It allows access by multiple people to one account and will sync across all users so that you can both know the information in real-time.
The app also has many user-friendly features. It lets you add details to each transaction and gives you ten envelopes to use each month. You can see at-a-glance how much money you have leftover each month after putting money in each envelope. It helps curb overspending while also ensuring you pay bills on time.
Goodbudget does have a free plan. It provides you with one account accessible by two devices and the ten-envelope limit. The paid plan is either $7 monthly or $60 annually. You get unlimited envelopes and up to five devices.
- Shows instant balance of free money
- Best budgeting app for couples
- Free option
- No automatic syncing with bank accounts
- Free version has many limits
5. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is more of an investment app than a personal finance app, but it is ideal if you want to manage your budget and have investment accounts. Other budgeting apps do not offer investment tracking options.
The dashboard lets you track your money and has some budgeting features to allow you to develop and manage your monthly spending. You'll get a free analysis of your investment fees as well, which occurs automatically. You also have access to other important investment information, such as a portfolio breakdown and net worth tracking.
For budgeting, you can link your accounts for automatic tracking. The app works with savings, credit cards, and checking accounts You can also connect loans and retirement accounts.
Plus, the app provides a snapshot of your spending so you can see in which areas you're spending the most. You also can customize your spending categories and see monthly percentages of where your money goes.
Personal Capital is a completely free service. You get all the different finance and budget features at no cost, which means you keep your money in your pocket where it belongs.
- Provides investment tools
- Can monitor loans and retirement accounts
- No charge for app
- Budgeting tools not very extensive
- Security features are glitchy
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have an idea of what types of personal finance and budgeting apps are out there, you may still have a few questions about how they work. Here is a look at some frequently asked questions people have about these apps.
What Is the Purpose of a Budgeting App?
The whole point of a budgeting app is to make it simple for you to manage your monthly finances. It should make it easy for you to track your spending so that you can find ways to save and learn to develop better spending habits.
Any app you use should be user-friendly and provide you with tools that let you easily manage your income and expenses to keep an up-to-date account of your overall financial picture. You should find that the app encourages you to be more mindful of how you spend your money so that you can save more and get the most out of every dollar you earn.
Are Budgeting Apps Effective?
It's not surprising that you may think a budget app might not work, but if you use them as intended, they are amazing tools that can help you with your personal finances. Of course, you have to put in the effort.
For most apps, setting things up will be the most time-consuming part of the process. Once you do that, you should be able to pop in and out of the app with ease to update your budget and manage the information. However, you will have to use the app regularly to see any benefits.
Are These Apps Safe?
Since most budgeting apps will have you link to your financial accounts, safety has to be the top priority. The five best budgeting app options on our list all have an excellent reputation for security.
These types of apps typically use layered security to keep your information safe from hackers. You should always check an app's reputation, though, to ensure it is safe before using it.
This look at the five best budgeting app options gives you an idea of what is out there. We feel these are the best of the best, and if you choose any of them, you won't go wrong.