If you need help reining in your spending and getting your personal finances under control, a budgeting app may be just what you need. There are many budgeting apps to choose from, each fighting to distinguish itself from the others.
Many applications are designed for general personal budgeting, but each has something unique to offer. One app specializes in personal budgeting tools, while another offers bill tracking. One is unique in offering the ability to assign each dollar you have a job, creating a complete money management system. Another offers warnings when you are close to overspending.
The number of money management, personal finance, and budgeting apps is large, so it helps to know which ones are designed with the most users in mind while offering exclusive tools for those with unique needs. We’ve done the hard work for you, creating a list of the best budgeting apps out there.
The 8 Best Budgeting Apps of 2020
Best Overall: Mint
Mint is one of the oldest and best-known budgeting apps. Owned by Intuit, the same company that makes Quickbooks and TurboTax, Mint offers an array of features to help you track and manage your money from a giant list of banks, credit card issuers, brokerages, lenders, and other financial institutions.
It comes with a wide range of features, the most useful being its budgeting tools, which lie front and center when you log in. Mint automatically categorizes transactions from linked credit and debit cards and tracks them against a budget you can tweak and customize to your needs.
Get alerts when you go over budget, track spending by category, or look at your overall cash flow to get a well-rounded picture of where your money goes each month.
Best to Keep From Overspending: PocketGuard
As the name implies, PocketGuard can help guard you against spending too much. This budgeting app links to all of your financial accounts and helps you track your spending compared to your budget throughout the month.
This app is one of the easiest to set up and connect to your bank accounts. It tracks how much you're earning, follows what you're spending on recurring bills and everyday expenses, and tracks deposits into your savings account throughout a period.
This budgeting app even has a feature to help you track each individual bill and find opportunities to save. PocketGuard looks out for recurring bills from phone, TV, and Internet companies, for example, and helps you find a better deal on your monthly service costs. Not only does it help you track your budget, it helps you lower your spending.
Best for Type-A Personalities: You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget has a cult-like following of die-hard fans who lovingly refer to the app as YNAB. You Need a Budget has a unique approach compared to other budgeting apps. Rather than relying on traditional budgeting buckets, you build your budget based on your income, giving every dollar a job in your budget.
These jobs include everything from living expenses to debt payments, savings, or investments. Leaving no dollar unaccounted for forces you to think about every dollar you acquire and spend.
The app is great for individuals or couples working together on their budget. It offers both desktop and mobile interfaces, options to sync your bank accounts automatically or enter expenses manually, and includes debt payoff and goal tracking features to help motivate you to reach your money goals.
Best for Just Budgeting: Wally
Wally isn’t the easiest app to navigate compared to some others on this list, but it works well for one thing: budgeting. This app helps you track your income and expenses while offering you a snapshot of your remaining budget to help you avoid overspending.
More popular with Millennials, this app is free to use and has both iPhone and Android versions (the Android version is called Wally+). One major benefit of Wally is its built-in support for virtually all foreign currencies, which makes it a better option for those who live outside of the United States.
Best for Cash Style Budgeting: Mvelopes
Cash budgeting lends itself well to envelope budgeting, a style of budgeting where you put cash in envelopes for different spending categories, and, when each envelope is empty, your budget for that category is all spent for the month. This is a bit more challenging with credit and debit cards, but Mvelopes makes it easy to follow cash style budgets in a digital budgeting world.
While it isn’t free, Mvelopes offers the ability to connect to unlimited financial accounts and put classic envelope budgeting to use to track your regular spending. With real-time budget matching, you will know whether you can buy that cappuccino or need to wait for your budget to reset next month.
Best for Couples: Goodbudget
Formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid or EEBA, Goodbudget is a perfect option for couples that want to share their budgeting process together. It uses the familiar envelope budgeting philosophy to power your proactive budget for all of your bills and spending.
Because you can share and sync budgets with budgeting partners across the iPhone and Android spectrum, it is great for couples with shared finances, while working great for solo budgeters also.
When you add new transactions, you have the option to add a number of details, breaking up your expenses into multiple envelopes. Budget by category (called envelopes in the app) with up to 10 envelopes for free. Add to your envelopes from your income every payday and you’ll know just how much you have leftover for non-essential purchases.
Best App Tied to a Bank Account: Simple
Simple is more than a budgeting app, it is an online bank account that replaces your old checking account and has tons of useful budgeting features built-in. When your budget and your bank live in the same app, it is much easier to manage and keep everything under control because you only have one place to visit to view and manage your money.
Simple tracks your income and spending automatically, and has a goal feature to motivate your savings. It’s trademarked Safe-to-Spend® feature tells you if you are on your budgeting track, or if extra spending might derail your plans. With no fees, this is a very cool all-in-one banking and budgeting app.
Best for Investors: Personal Capital
Personal Capital offers a complete investment advising solution, a hybrid robo-advisor, and human advisor service in one. Without paying a cent, you can access Personal Capital’s free money tracking dashboard, which includes some handy budgeting features.
Personal Capital put the majority of emphasis on investments, with free and automated analysis of your investment fees, asset classes and other important investment details.
The cash flow and budgeting tools are not quite as extensive as other apps on this list, but they work just similarly using the same automated tracking of purchases from linked accounts.
What Does a Budgeting App Do?
Budgeting apps can help track your personal finances on the go to give you an overall picture of what you’re earning, what you’re spending, and what you may need to change. They’re typically designed for general personal budgeting, and each app offers basic features and possibly unique features to help you stay on track. Some budgeting apps also can help you track credit card balances and money in banks and brokerages.
How Much Does a Budgeting App Cost?
Some apps with limited features are free, and others with more robust tools and features have a small cost associated with them. Monthly fees are around $10 to $15 with discounts if you pay yearly.
What’s the Difference Between a Budgeting App and Accounting Software?
Budgeting apps are downloaded on your mobile phone or tablet to be used on the go, but not all accounting software has this option. Such programs often offer more robust features designed to be used on a computer. Accounting software typically costs more and has a steeper learning curve while basic budgeting apps can be mastered in minutes.
How We Chose the Best Budgeting Apps
We chose these apps based on the unique features they offer, how easy they are to set up and use, and their prices.
Mint.com. "What Is Mint, and How Does It Work?" Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
Pocketguard.com. "Personal Finance Simplified." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
YouNeedABudget.com. "The Tools of Our Trade." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
Wally.me. "Wally FAQ." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
Mvelopes.com. "Mvelopes." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
Goodbudget.com. "How It Works." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
Simple.com. "Simple." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
PersonalCapital.com. "Personal Capital." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.