Best Personal Budget Software Apps

YNAB has detailed budgeting tools and includes classes with a live instructor

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Budgeting apps help you track every dollar you spend so you know where your money’s going and that you’re not overspending. Using a budgeting app, you can set your own spending limits and the app automatically assigns each transaction to a category. You can log in with your phone or computer to see where you stand and if you can afford that next purchase.

Some even go further to help you track and manage bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and other financial accounts. Here’s a glimpse into our favorite budgeting software apps made to help you get the most from your money.

The 7 Best Personal Budget Software Apps of 2021

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget

 You Need a Budget 

  • Price: $84 per year
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: 34-days

Why We Chose It

YNAB earns our pick as best overall because it offers detailed budgeting to track every single dollar with excellent support.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Dollar-based budgeting helps you track every dollar

  • Works with most computers and smartphones

  • Valuable reports and reconciliation tools

Cons
  • Annual or monthly subscription required

Overview

Affectionately known as YNAB, You Need a Budget is an extremely popular personal finance app. 

The current version of YNAB packs in many features and improvements over earlier versions, and it intuitively teaches some solid budgeting practices. It runs on both Windows and Mac and it backs up data automatically. Budgets can be shared among multiple users because this app can connect to a huge range of devices like laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, and you can even connect it to an Amazon Echo for verbal budget reports from the app. 

It might be one of the easiest apps out there as it was designed for budgeting beginners. If you've tried to budget in the past and failed, this could be the app that you need.

If you need help, you can sign up for classes with a live instructor. Failure is less of an option because the a YNAB function that will alert you if you stray from the budget you've created. 

YNAB is a browser-based program, but it also offers Android and iPhone apps that sync data to your desktop. As of March 2021, it costs $11.99 a month or $84 for an annual plan.

Mvelopes

Mvelopes

 Mvelopes

  • Price: From $5.97 per month or $69 per year
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: 30-days

Why We Chose It

Mvelopes turns the traditional envelope budgeting technique into a digital app that helps you avoid overspending.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Follows easy-to-understand envelope budgeting technique

  • Works on the web or mobile

  • Multiple plans to choose from

Cons
  • Costs up to $19.97 per month or $99 per year

  • Have to pay more for all tools and resources

Overview

Mvelopes is a fully-featured online personal finance app that's based on the old "envelope budgeting" premise—put your cash in envelopes, mark the envelope as to what the cash is for, and when it is gone, it is gone, resetting during the start of your next pay period.

You're not supposed to borrow from the "grocery" envelope when your "clothing" envelope is depleted. Mvelopes just makes your envelopes digital.

Mvelopes includes mobile apps for Android and iPhone, and you can sync to all your bank and credit accounts. You can choose from three versions depending on your budgeting needs and expertise: Mvelopes Basic, Mvelopes Premiere, and Mvelopes Plus.

As of March 2021, the Basic package costs $5.97/month, Premiere costs $9.97/month, and Plus costs $19.97/month, although each come with 30 days free. Basic offers unlimited access to financial institution accounts, auto transaction importing and account balance monitoring, and interactive support. Premiere includes all of this plus access to the Mvelopes learning center and debt reduction resources. Plus package grants you quarterly consultations with a personal finance coach as well as a personalized financial plan.

Quicken

Quicken

 Quicken

  • Price: From $35.99 per year
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: No

Why We Chose It

Quicken is a long-time budgeting app that saves your financial details on your computer instead of the cloud.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Download financial transactions to your computer

  • Works on most Windows or Mac PCs

  • 30+ year history

Cons
  • Does not work in the cloud

  • Home & Business version is Windows only

  • Annual subscription required for updates and support

Overview

No list of personal finance and budgeting apps is complete without mention of Quicken, and with good reason. This app almost predates the computer age—it has been around in one version or another since 1983. 

That said, it is a bit old-fashioned in some ways. It set the standard so it does all the basic things you'd expect a budgeting app to do, and it does them well. Quicken provides an overview of your banking, investment, retirement, and credit card accounts in one place, and tracks your spending categories for you.

Depending on the version of Quicken that best meets your needs, you'll spend anywhere from about $51.99 to $77.99 per year if you are using a Mac and can select one of two plans, as of April 2021. If you are using Windows, the prices are just a bit steeper. The Windows version provides you with more services. You can expect to pay anywhere between $51.99 to $103.99 per year and can select your choice out of three plans. There are limited versions for Mac, and you will not be given the option to Quicken's most powerful version, Home and Business.

Mint

Intuit Mint

 Intuit Mint

  • Price: Free
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: N/A

Why We Chose It

Mint is free and supports a large number of banks and other financial institutions.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Completely free to use

  • Works on the web, iOS, and Android devices

  • Supports more than just budgeting

Cons
  • Advertising-supported

  • Poor customer support

  • Bugs and errors degrade the experience

Overview

Mint is a well-known and popular app, and it shares several similar features with Quicken. Intuit once owned Quicken, then it purchased Mint in 2009—thus the similarities. But Mint is different from Quicken in an important way: it is free.

This means you will have to deal with ads, but you will get almost all the same integral features you would get with any other app. It allows you to connect with your bank and lenders, sends you alerts when bills are due, and the interface is clean and easy to understand.

It does not nail your budget down to every precious dime, so you have some flexibility. An oft-heard complaint is that Mint "decides" some aspects of your budget for you, such as how much you can/should spend on entertainment based on your income. But you can override these entries and create your own limits and categories. 

CountAbout

CountAbout

 CountAbout

  • Price: From $9.99 per year
  • Bank Sync: Yes (Premium plan only)
  • Free Trial: 15-days

Why We Chose It

CountAbout earns a spot because it offers an easy-to-use and ad-free budgeting interface.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ad-free online budgeting

  • Imports from Quicken and Mint

  • Easy-to-use

Cons
  • Not free

  • Premium $39.99 subscription for bank sync

  • Additional fees for all features

Overview

CountAbout is browser-based and offers two versions: Basic, which is most appropriate for budgeting novices, and Premium, which has more in-depth features. As of March 2021, Basic costs $9.99 a year and Premium will run you $39.99 a year.

If you want an app that automatically connects to your financial institutions and downloads your transactions, go with the Premium version. It provides connections to over 12,000 financial institutions. The basic version allows you to import your transactions from other sites, but you'll have to update it manually.

Moneydance

Money Dance

 Money Dance

  • Price: $49.99
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: Limited functionality

Why We Chose It

MoneyDance includes banking features and account management all from a convenient desktop app.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Desktop app for Mac, Windows, or Linux

  • Mobile support for Android and iOS

  • Online bill pay and investment tracking included

Cons
  • Costs $49.99 per household

  • Free trial limited to 100 manual transactions

Overview

This app is essentially a Quicken app for Mac users. It does everything that Quicken and many other apps do, helping you to set up a budget and sounding alarms when bills are coming due. It lets you make charts and graphs to help track your spending. The homepage is a comprehensive snapshot of your current financial situation, and it is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. 

It also does a few things that not all personal finance budgeting apps offer. Moneydance keeps track of your investments, and it alerts you to monthly changes in your net worth. It may not be appropriate for budgeting beginners, but it has a lot to offer for more experienced personal money managers. The price as of March 2021 is $49.99.

Personal Capital

Personal Capital

 Personal Capital

  • Price: Free
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: N/A

Why We Chose It

Personal Capital helps with high-level cash flow tracking for those who don’t prefer a detailed budget.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Free online budgeting and investment tools

  • Focused features help you improve investments

  • High-level cash flow tracking

Cons
  • Upsell to paid investing service

Overview

Software app Personal Capital is pretty popular and offers a lot of free tools that make it a good choice for just about anyone. 

It is a budgeting tool that lets you import transactions from your various accounts, just like most others. Unfortunately, it doesn't let you create your own budget categories. You're stuck with the list the app provides.

After you understand how to navigate the site, you can create numerous charts for both spending and savings, comparing your budget from one week or one month to the next. 

This app is very well suited to those who want to grow their wealth. It keeps track of your net worth and it includes free investing tools that will allow you to monitor the Dow Jones and S&P 500, as well as related fluctuations in your personal holdings. It even tracks fees you pay to brokers and will alert you if it begins to look like that you might want to bail on a particular investment and think about putting your money elsewhere. 

Final Verdict

Budgeting apps are beneficial in tracking your income and expenses, no matter how complex your financial setup may be. From our top pick YNAB, with detailed budgeting tools, to higher-level Personal Capital, there’s a great budgeting app out there for anyone’s needs.

While YNAB isn’t free, its zero-based budgeting technique, included classes, and world-class support makes it our top choice for those looking to gain better control over their money. Here’s a summary of how it compares to other top budgeting apps we reviewed:

Compare the Best Personal Budget Software Apps

App Free Trial Price Bank Sync Security 
You Need a Budget
Best Overall
34 days $84 per year Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption
Mvelopes 30 days From $69 per year Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption
Quicken No From $35.99 per year Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption
Mint N/A Free  Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption
CountAbout 15 days From $9.99 per year Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption
MoneyDance Limited Functionality $49.99 Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption 
Personal Capital N/A Free Yes Bank-Level Security and Encryption

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does a Personal Budget Software App Do?

Personal budget software apps can help you manage your budget, spending habits, and saving habits on the go. They provide a budget template so you don’t have to create one from scratch. 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 Personal Budget Software App Cost?

Personal budget software apps generally aren’t very expensive. Some cost as little as $1 per month and have just one or two features like rounding up your spare change and investing it for you. Apps with more features, such as built-in budgeting tools and helpful tips, may cost around $6 to $12 per month.

Is a Personal Budget Software App Worth the Cost?

Personal budget software apps are worth the cost if you have tried and failed to budget on your own. Such apps can help build positive habits if you commit to inputting your data and following the budget you create. It’s probably not worth the cost for people who already successfully follow a budget, pay bills on time, and have an investment plan.

Methodology

We chose these best apps based on the features, pricing, ease of use, and compatibility with a wide range of devices. We closely looked at features and the type of budgeting method used to ensure the app would work well for a broad set of budgeting needs and goals. Finally, we checked the cost to make sure you’re not paying too much for help managing your budget.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. University of Pennsylvania. "How Intuit Found Fame and Fortune, and Beat Out Microsoft." Accessed March 8, 2021.

  2. Mint.com. "Tried and True Combines With Fresh and New." Accessed March 8, 2021.