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Budgeting as a process is often associated with something tedious and complicated – despite the fact how necessary it is for a lot of people. It does not even have to be tedious anymore, since there is an entire market of budgeting apps with a variety of purposes, goals and unique capabilities, so that every person has the solution that fits them the best. This article presents 15 different budgeting apps that can be considered the best in their field.
Understanding and controlling your finances has always been a rather important topic, and it is the only way to afford something luxurious for a lot of people. Budgeting as a whole implies that you are in control of how much you spend and earn, providing you with the ability to plan ahead for some of the more lucrative purchases.
This process can be rather problematic for many different reasons, especially in the long run. Luckily enough, the rise of the mobile app market in recent years led to an entire market of budgeting apps appearing and competing with each other for your attention. In the modern day, there are many different options available when it comes to budgeting apps.
These solutions can be safely separated into three different groups:
To make it fair, we have multiple examples of budgeting apps for each of these three groups. Together, these three groups are what makes our top 15 best budgeting apps list.
Our top 15 best budgeting apps list starts with several examples of apps that are completely free. As the name suggests, all of these examples can be used by any smartphone user free of charge, with no additional features locked behind a paywall of sorts.
Mint is one of the go-to products in this industry, having one of the largest user bases on the market – and being completely free on top of that. Mint has an incredibly high App Store/Google Play Store rating, it has a lot of different features, and is capable of synchronizing with a variety of user’s accounts, be it credit cards, loans, bills, and so on.
Its most basic feature is the ability to group your spendings into different categories. These categories can be personalized and there is no limit on how many categories you can have. Each category can also have its limit, and Mint would provide you with a notification if you are close to reaching said limit.
Additionally, Mint can track user’s goals in multiple different forms, helps with paying off your debt, provides you with information about your credit score, and so on. However, there is one crucial part of Mint that might not suit some of its users – most of its features are reactive, i.e. tracking your spendings that already happened. From this standpoint, Mint might not be the best choice for people that want to be more active with planning their current and future finances before purchasing anything in the first place.
Speaking of future planning, Qapital is a viable app for these purposes. It motivates people towards saving up for a specific goal, while also being relatively simple to navigate and manage. The way it works is that every day you are given a specific amount of money and a number of simple tasks that can be as easy as going somewhere or doing something.
The idea here is that associating a specific amount of money with each task makes it easier for users to visualize their spendings. Additionally, the app itself offers the ability to create various “rules” that add money towards one of your goals when you are doing something that is considered “positive”, such as training, skipping morning coffee, etc.
At the same time, this app focuses most of its efforts on positive reinforcement and would be far more useful for people that tend to spend money on a whim, which would make it inefficient for some groups of users.
Budgeting is not always for one person, either – there are many other use cases, including family budgets, couple budgets, and so on. Honeydue is designed specifically to help couples with budgeting. This includes bank account information, loan information, credit card data, and more. Each person can choose how much they want to share with their partner, as well.
Similar to how Mint works, Honeydue also offers the ability to automatically categorize your expenses, create and delete custom categories, as well as set up limits for each specific category. The difference here is that both people are going to get notified whenever you are reaching the limit on one of the categories.
Honeydue also has bill reminders and allows couples to communicate from inside the app itself. However, it also has the problem that we have mentioned with Mint – focusing mostly on past spendings, which is not an ideal option for people that are more interested with budgeting for the sake of planning your future expenses.
Another example of a budgeting app that was made specifically for couples is Zeta. It has all of the features that you might expect from a budgeting app, such as tracking your spendings, managing bills, and more. What makes it different from other examples on the market is its ability to offer each couple a joint banking account with a number of special features.
This account does not have any fees associated with it and you can use it to pay your bills, perform contactless payments, and so on. It also comes with its own app – Zeta Money Manager, which allows its users to track this account’s spendings, set up joint couple goals, manage both shared and your own budgets, etc. These accounts and cards are offered by Zeta with the help of LendingClub Bank with FDIC insurance in terms of security and data control.
Personal Capital, on the other hand, is a combination of budgeting and investment features – which is why its most relevant use case in this context is to track your spendings. Personal Capital can connect and monitor credit card accounts, savings accounts, as well as your loans, mortgages, etc. It can categorize spendings based on their nature and provide a snapshot of recent transactions based on these categories.
There is also a net worth tracker and a portfolio detalization, and the service itself has both a mobile app and a web browser version. However, it is still an investment app, first and foremost, which is why this app might not be the best option for users that are not interested in combining their budgeting efforts and their investments in the same app.
This concludes the first part of our top 15 best budgeting apps list. The next part focuses on applications that have free features but also offer more of those features as a paid service – this kind of business model is often referred to as “freemium”.
Freemium as a pricing strategy is the combination of two words – “free” and “premium”. As we have mentioned before, this kind of approach offers users a limited set of features for free, with the ability to expand the feature set for a price. The payment itself can be either a one-time spending or the recurring subscription.
Freemium has become a rather big part of many businesses, and budgeting apps are no different – with our second group of best budgeting apps focused on services that work using such a payment model.
Fudget is a service that was created specifically for people that do not want to trust anyone with their financial information via connecting their financial accounts to a budgeting service. It is also one of the most simplistic applications on the market, and its approach to budgeting is as straightforward as it gets.
Fudget allows you to input all of your spendings manually, with the ability to track your balance and create lists of both outgoing and incoming finances. It is a relatively new app, which means that some of the features might arrive later, but right now it is rather simple.
Fudget also has the ability to give you a Pro account in exchange for a one-time payment. This Pro account gives you budget export capabilities, disables all of the ads, and includes a number of other advantages. However, it also has its own issues, mostly tied with the simplistic and manual approach to budgeting as a whole.
Its budgeting features are rather basic and you would have to input every expense manually, which may be extremely tedious for some users. A lot of the more advanced budgeting features are also absent, such as categorization, insights into your financial situation, and more.
On the topic of budgeting apps that are dedicated to one specific feature without spreading too thin, we can also talk about Wally. Wally is an extremely user-friendly budgeting app that does exactly what it is supposed to do – budgeting. It helps you with tracking your earnings and expenses, provides an overview of your remaining budget, and has a number of graphics to make the visualization easier.
Convenience is one of the most important parts of Wally, which is why all of its features are easy to use, so that budgeting is not as much of a chore for Wally’s users. Wally also has a Premium version that offers tracking in multiple currencies, easy currency conversion, as well as custom categories, budgeting calendar, notifications about repeated payments, and more.
EveryDollar is another take on a basic concept of budgeting without too many of the extra features. Its free version has a decent set of features, such as bill payment reminders, categorization for budget items, and there is no requirement to sync your financial accounts – everything can be typed in manually, down to each and every transaction.
According to its category on this list, EveryDollar also has a number of features that can only be accessed by subscribing to Ramsey+. Ramsey+ is a paid membership that offers multiple advantages, such as various courses, audiobooks, and more EveryDollar features, of course. This includes the ability to connect your EveryDollar app to your bank account for easier transaction management, the ability to print your own transaction history, as well as debt tracking and regular spending reports.
Unfortunately, this app also has its issues, such as the lack of features for the free version, as well as a rather high cost of the Ramsey+ membership. It is also relatively difficult to figure out what are the benefits of Ramsey+ membership before you sign up to it.
Goodbudget is the first participant on this list that uses an envelope budgeting system – a simple yet effective method of saving money for a specific goal, in which you take a specific part of your monthly income and put it in an “envelope” which resembles a specific goal of yours, such as a vacation, a costly purchase, etc.
This method has been around for a while now, and apps such as Goodbudget allow their users to not rely on physical envelopes for this method to be effective. There is no requirement to connect your bank account – although you do have to input your income, your debt and other financial information for the app to work in the first place.
Goodbudget has two versions of its service – the one that everyone can use only supports one account, a limited number of envelopes at the same time, and only two devices. There is also a paid subscription to Goodbudget called Goodbudget Plus that increases those limits to five devices and unlimited number of accounts and/or envelopes.
As we’ve mentioned before, Goodbudget does not offer any kind of automatic synchronization for its users, so you have to input all of your spendings and earnings manually for the app to work at all. As such, some people might find it too inconvenient to use.
Simplicity is one of the bigger selling points of another budgeting app called PocketGuard. PocketGuard is a simple yet effective budgeting service that can automatically count your available spendings after taking in account your income, your necessity funds, and other information.
It can synchronize with your investments, bills, loans, credit cards and bank accounts, track your net worth, and more. It even has the ability to input all of your spendings and earnings manually, so linking your accounts is not a requirement at all.
There is also a paid version of PocketGuard that can be either purchased as a subscription with recurring payments or via a one-time purchase for a permanent PocketGuard Plus status. PocketGuard Plus offers its users the ability to export their transactions, as well as a debt payoff plan and a host of other useful abilities. It is still an app that tracks mostly past transactions, which is why it might not be suitable for some users.
This concludes the second half of our list of best budgeting apps. Now that we are done with anything that is somewhat free, it is time to go over the premium products – budgeting apps that are only available for a price.
YNAB, or You Need A Budget, is one of the most popular paid budgeting solutions on the market. Unlike some of the previous examples, this app focuses on savings for future endeavors, and not on tracking past purchases and transactions. It also follows a relatively popular system called “zero-based budgeting”, which assumes that you have to have a plan for the entirety of your income.
YNAB motivates its users to spread the entirety of their income towards different spending categories, be it goals, savings, regular expenses, etc. All of it is done for the sake of teaching the user in question to develop a better sense of understanding how their money can be diversified and spent on various activities or goals.
Since YNAB actively pushes its users towards learning this particular skill, it is extremely convenient how YNAB also has a variety of educational resources on the topic so that the clientele would be able to use the app in a more efficient way. The app itself can sync with your savings and other accounts, including loans and credit cards, and it is also available for both smartphones and desktop devices.
However, using YNAB is also a rather large commitment as a whole, since it does imply a learning process, which can take some time. Some users also might not like the fact how “hands-on” YNAB is when it comes to budgeting and resource management.
Simplifi is not focused on one of the previously mentioned branches of budgeting. What it does focus on is the “cash flow” – keeping track of how much resources you have on hand between your paychecks. It is also relatively easy to use, all you have to do is to sync your bank account to the app – and it can immediately provide you with an overview of your current financial situation. It can do quite a lot of things to make the entire management process easier – including bill tracking, spending categorization, and so on.
It can also offer custom spending plans, category spending limitations, and an entire blog of educational content about the topic of finances and budgeting. Simplifi has a month-long free trial that turns into paid subscription as soon as the trial ends, and Quicken (Simplifi’s parent company) claims that privacy and security are their main priorities, which is why all of the customers’ data is safe in their hands, including payment and financial information.
Stash is one more example on this list that offers budgeting as a part of a somewhat different service that focuses on investing more than anything else. It is still an investment app, first and foremost – with all kinds of investment features, multiple different plans, a taxable brokerage account, and so on.
The “budgeting” part of Stash offers the ability to create goals for your savings, as well as spending tracking and a number of automatization tools that help you with reaching your goals in a passive manner – with the help of automatic investing, round-ups, and so on. Stash’s own checking account also has no fees for overdraft and no hidden fees so it is really convenient for all these purposes.
The field of personal finance apps that also offer investment services is rather large, with products like Digit, for example. Digit tries its hardest to turn a part of budgeting that is saving up to a specific goal as effortless as possible. The goal itself might be almost anything – to build up an emergency fund, to pay off your debt, to go on a vacation, and so on.
The way Digit works is that it takes a calculated amount of money from your income and places it in your savings account (or your retirement account), so that you can actually set the rules and forget about this app as a whole. The only thing that is necessary for you to do as a user is to input the amount of money needed and the desired time frame for when you want to have this sum of money.
You can also use the same method to set up an investment fund for yourself. Digit has a month-long free trial that turns into paid subscription, and it is extremely user-friendly, reinforcing the original message of simplicity.
The last, but not the least, participant of this list is Mvelopes – another budgeting app that focuses on the famous envelope budgeting system. The idea is that seeing how much money is going to each of your expense groups on a regular basis teaches you to manage your finances in a more effective way.
Mvelopes also has several different “tiers” of subscription. The basic tier only has financial planning services based on your income information, as well as the information on how to try and reduce your unnecessary expenses. Higher tiers of subscription also get access to budgeting coaches – Mvelopes’ certified employees that teach users how to save money and eliminate debt.
One of the largest goals of budgeting as a whole is to save money in one way or another. However, it is likely that you do not even have to keep track of all your expenses as a whole. For example, the modern world has a massive number of subscription services – from video games and other hobbies to food delivery and healthcare. It is also highly common for people to straight-up forget about one or several of their active subscriptions.
As such, subscription tracking is also an important feat that cannot be overlooked. This is where INXY comes in – a free service that exists for the sole purpose of tracking various subscriptions to different services. It can connect to your bank account to see the transaction history and locate the unwanted or forgotten subscriptions that keep draining money from your account.
It can also be integrated into a variety of apps, such as Teams, Viber, Telegram, and even something as basic as a Calendar. There are also subscription reports, all kinds of alerts about upcoming or missed payments, and more.
As you can see, the number of budgeting apps is rather impressive, with each and every app having its own unique feature or some other trait that makes it different from others. Before you can choose a budgeting solution for yourself, it is always important to assess your current situation so that you can see which features you need the most. We hope that this article was helpful in figuring out the best budgeting solution for your specific use case.
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