The 8 Best Budgeting Apps of 2020

Personal finance tools that make it easy to see how much you're spending

image shows three different hands holding smartphones with budgeting apps on the display page. The table is covered with receipts and calculators and pencils.
Image by Brooke Pelczynski © The Balance 2019

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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 over-spending.

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.

Best Overall: Mint

Mint
Courtesy of 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, but it's most useful has always been 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

PocketGuard
Courtesy of 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, 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

YNAB
Courtesy of YNAB

You Need a Budget has a cult-like following of die-hard fans who lovingly refer to the app as YNAB. YNAB 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
Courtesy of 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 an iPhone and Android version (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

Mvelopes
Courtesy of 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

Goodbudget
Courtesy of Goodbudget

Formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid, 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
Courtesy of Simple

Simple is more than a budgeting app, it is an entire 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
Courtesy of 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.