Best budgeting apps

The 10 Best Budgeting Apps You Should Check Out

If budgeting is a word you avoid, it’s time to explore the best budgeting apps available today. More than an app that tells you what to do, the apps on our list help you stay on track, reach your goals, and reach financial freedom – something we all want.

A top debate we often hear about is YNAB vs Mint, which both made our list, but so did many others. Let’s check out the 10 best budgeting apps below.

The Best Budgeting Apps

1. Personal Capital

Personal Capital may be a robo-advisor, but don’t ignore its free budgeting tools available to anyone. Personal Capital combines budgeting, investment management, and a net worth tracker all in one app.

Why we love it:

  • Connect any accounts including checking, savings, retirement (personal and employer-sponsored), loans, and even your mortgage
  • Available on both iOS and Android
  • Includes a fee analyzer that helps you see your retirement account costs and how you can lower them
  • You can customize your spending categories and see a high-level overview of how much you spend

2. YNAB

If you’ve thought about budgeting a month ahead but can’t get a grasp on it, consider You Need a Budget (YNAB). It’s one of the best budgeting apps on the market.

Based on the zero-based budget principal, YNAB helps you ‘age your money’ or use money you’ve had longer than your most recent paycheck, leaving your most recent paychecks for next month’s bills.

It’s like a built-in emergency fund and helps avoid that feeling of ‘I need money now.’

Why we love it:

  • You can sync your bank accounts so you don’t have to worry about manual updates, mistakes, or procrastination
  • You’ll quickly see where you overspend and changes you must make to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck
  • You can create goals for current and upcoming expenses
  • Available on both iOS and Android

3. Mint

Mint is one of the best budgeting apps that don’t cost a cent. You don’t even need to give your credit card number, but you get many features (and a lot of ads, so prepare yourself).

Link as many bank accounts as you need and Mint analyzes your spending, forecasts expenses, and provides tips to improve your finances.

Why we love it:

  • It’s great for those who love the zero-based budgeting theory
  • You don’t have to manually input your transactions, Mint updates everything in real-time
  • You can even sync your investment accounts to catch hidden fees and monitor your asset allocation based on Mint’s recommendations
  • Available on iOS and Android

4. EveryDollar

Are you sensing a trend here? EveryDollar is Dave Ramsey’s creation for the zero-based budget concept. Fortunately, even those who don’t follow that budget can use EveryDollar’s features. It is one of the best budgeting apps available.

Use the app for free and manually enter your transactions or pay for the premium version and it syncs your financial information automatically.

Why we love it:

  • Its sole focus is budgeting
  • It’s great for those who are using Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and want a little more support
  • The free version doesn’t use ads
  • Available on iOS and Android

Best budgeting apps

5. Goodbudget

If you prefer the cash envelope method, GoodBudget helps keep you organized without the hassle of paper envelopes and cash. You create categories based on your normal spending and track your spending. Goodbudget doesn’t automatically update your transactions, though, that’s up to you.

Why we love it:

  • You can access the platform from any device, so it’s easier to keep couples or families on the same page
  • It helps you plan how you spend rather than track what you spend and find yourself behind
  • Create categories to save for big items (cars, vacation) or to pay off debt
  • Available on iOS and Android

6. Money Patrol

Of the best budgeting apps, Money Patrol is among the top.

Do you often wonder where your money went each month? Money Patrol can tell you. You sync your bank and credit card accounts and the app starts patrolling your finances. See where you spend and notice where you should cut back. Receive bill alerts to stop paying bills late and generate reports to see the information most important to your spending decisions.

Why we love it:

  • It’s great for those that have disorganized finances and don’t know where to start. Just sync all of your accounts and let Money Patrol show you where you stand.
  • See your money ‘in-flow’ and money ‘out-flow’ across several timeframes
  • Create weekly or monthly budgets depending on how often you get paid
  • Sign up for text alerts so you never miss a due date or overdraft your account

7. PocketSmith

Do you know what your spending today does to your future finances? PocketSmith clarifies it for you. Play with different scenarios and see how they affect your future finances.

For example, if you cut $50 in spending today and instead invested it, where would that put your finances 1 year or 5 years from now?

PocketSmith has a free version, which is plenty good but requires manual transaction input or a paid version with automatic transaction updates.

Why we love it:

  • You see how your financial decisions today affect your finances in the future.
  • You can track multiple income streams, there’s no limit
  • Get advanced notice of financial issues by looking at the calendar view
  • Available on iOS and Android

8. Trim

Trim is a personal finance assistant rather than a budgeting app, but its features help you budget and/or save money, which is why it’s in our best budgeting apps list.

Trim negotiates certain bills for you including cable, internet, and phone bills. They’ll even negotiate better terms or lower payments on medical bills and check your account for old subscriptions or memberships you can cancel.

We love to pair Trim with a Google Sheets budget template for the best of both worlds.

Why we love it:

  • Trim will negotiate lower credit card APRs to help you get out of debt faster
  • You may get refunds from unnecessary/unfair bank charges
  • Set up an automated savings account and earn a 4% annualized APY on the first $2,000
  • You only pay if Trim negotiates your bills lower (charge is 33% of the annual savings)

9. Mvelopes

Mvelopes is a digital version of envelope budgeting. Assign every dollar a ‘job’ and category and Mvelopes tracks your spending. Managing your money digitally helps you see where your money goes and which categories you may overspend or under budget, helping you see where to make changes.

Why we love it:

  • You can manage your budget on-the-go
  • Envelope budgeting helps you plan for future expenses not just today’s expenses
  • Envelope budgeting helps you avoid debt
  • Available on iOS and Android

10. PocketGuard

PocketGuard helps you know how much you can spend. Stop the guessing game and hoping you have enough for your bills – with PocketGuard you always know.

It tracks where you spend your money, how much you can save, and reminds you when to pay your credit card bills.

Why we love it:

  • You can link all your accounts (bank, investment, and loan) and see them on one dashboard
  • PocketGuard negotiates your bills to help you save money
  • You can set up autosave to pay yourself first each month
  • Available on iOS and Android

Which of the Best Budgeting Apps Should you Use?

Choosing from the best budgeting apps for your needs is a personal decision.

Decide if you want a free app or are willing to spend a little bit for more services. Also, determine which budgeting method you prefer – envelope or zero-based budget. Then decide if you want automated updates or if you’ll enter transactions yourself. Narrow down your options and see which of the apps will help you reach your goals.

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