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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.
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 tops the list as a free app with ample features.
Free to use
Free TransUnion credit score updates
Users complain about technical issues
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
We chose PocketGuard because it helps you curb the tendency to overspend.
Easy to see cash flow
Cost to use for pro version
Some users complain about technical issues
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 offers a different approach to budgeting by giving every dollar a job.
34-day free trial
Unique method of budgeting
Strong educational tools
Intensive system that takes time to learn
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.
Read the full You Need A Budget review.
Best for Just Budgeting : Wally
We chose Wally because of its streamlined budgeting features and support in most foreign countries.
Budgeting features are easy to use
Graphics to showcase your finances
Additional features can add up
Limited personal finance tools beyond budgeting
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 has free and paid versions. You can also individually purchase features from the paid version. 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
If you are looking for a digital version of the cash envelope system, Mvelopes is a great fit.
30-day free trial
Unlimited digital envelopes all pricing tiers
Not all banks and credit unions sync
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
We chose Goodbudget because the software makes it easy to budget as a couple.
10 free digital envelopes or unlimited with paid version
Sync across multiple devices
Track your progress towards paying off debt
Free version has limitations
Doesn’t sync to bank accounts
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.
You can share and sync budgets with budgeting partners across formats (web, iPhone, and Android), making 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 for Investors : Personal Capital
- Price: Budgeting tool is free for Personal Capital investors, 0.89% on investment accounts under $1,000,000
- Bank Sync: Yes
- Free Trial: No
Personal Capital allows you to track your budget and investments in one place.
Extensive educational resources
Free wealth management tools
Net worth tracking tools
Cannot manually add in transactions to budget
Less emphasis on budgeting tools
Personal Capital offers a complete investment advising solution, a hybrid robo-advisor, and a human advisor service in one. The first one million dollars invested is charged a management fee of 0.89%. However, without paying a cent, you can access Personal Capital’s free money tracking dashboard, which includes some handy budgeting features.
Personal Capital puts 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.
The number of budgeting apps out there can seem endless. Each offers its own set of tools and features that can help you manage your money more efficiently. But only one will stand out as the best for you.
Mint is a great place to start. Not only is it a free app that won’t put a dent in your budget, but it also provides ample budgeting tools to help you succeed.
Compare the Best Budgeting Apps
|App||Free Trial||Price||Bank Sync||Security|
|Mint Best Overall||N/A||Free||Yes||128-bit SSL encryption|
|PocketGuard Best to Keep From Overspending||Yes||Basic version is free. $7.99 per month for PocketGuard Pro||Yes||256-bit SSL encryption|
|You Need a Budget Best for Type-A Personalities||Yes, 34 days||$98.99 per year or $14.99 per month||Yes||128-bit SSL encryption|
|Wally Best for Just Budgeting||Yes||Free version or Gold version $24.99 per year. Can also purchase individual features||Yes||Bank-level encryption|
|Mvelopes Best for Cash Style Budgeting||Yes||$5.97 to $19.97 per month||Yes||Encryption|
|Goodbudget Best for Couples||No||$0 to $7 per month||No||256-bit encryption|
|Personal Capital Best for Investors||No||Budgeting tool is free Investing is 0.89% on investment accounts under $1,000,000||Yes||256-bit encryption|
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 build strong financial habits. 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. A few apps cost more though.
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.
To find the best budgeting apps, we started by creating a list of the numerous apps out there. With a list in place, we sought out the information to evaluate these budgeting apps based on their unique features, user-friendliness, and cost.
After careful consideration, we arrived at these top budgeting apps that will help you succeed. Finally, we matched each budgeting app with a category of users with specific needs.