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Best Budgeting Apps

Mint wins with a collection of features to streamline your budget.

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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. It can help you organize your income and expenses, allowing you to spend your hard-earned money more wisely.

The number of money management, personal finance, and budgeting apps is large, so it helps to know the different types of people and spending they're designed for. We’ve done the hard work for you, creating a list of the best budgeting apps out there.

Best Budgeting Apps

Best Overall : Mint


Mint

 Mint

  • Price: Free
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

Mint tops the list as a free, easy-to-use app with ample features, including automatic transaction categorizing.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free to use

  • Free TransUnion credit score updates

  • Excellent mobile app

Cons
  • Some users complain about technical issues

  • In-app advertisements

Overview

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.

Learn more about Mint.

Best to Keep From Overspending : PocketGuard


Pocket Guard

 Pocket Guard

  • Price: Free basic version; Pro version $7.99 per month
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: No
Why We Chose It

We chose PocketGuard for its specific features curb the tendency to overspend, like subscription tracking and information that could help you negotiate lower rates for bills.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy to see cash flow

  • User-friendly platform

  • Easily identify subscriptions you can cancel

Cons
  • Cost to use pro version

  • Some users complain about technical issues

Overview

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.

PocketGuard even has a feature to help you track each individual bill and find opportunities to save. It looks out for recurring bills from phone, TV, and Internet companies, which may help you to find cheaper options. It can also help you find subscriptions you forgot you had and give you ideas of what you might want to cancel. Not only does this app help you track your budget, it helps you lower your spending.

Best for Type-A Personalities : You Need a Budget


YNAB

 YNAB

  • Price: $98.99 per year or $14.99 per month
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: Yes
Why We Chose It

You Need A Budget offers a different approach to budgeting by giving every dollar a job.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 34-day free trial

  • Unique method of budgeting

  • Strong educational tools

Cons
  • Cost

  • Intensive system that takes time to learn

Overview

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.

These jobs include everything from living expenses and entertainment to debt payments, savings, and 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 progress tracking features to help motivate you to reach your money goals.

Read our full You Need A Budget review.

Best for Just Budgeting : Wally


Wally

 Wally

  • Price: Free basic version; Gold version $39.99 per year or $8.99 per month
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: Yes
Why We Chose It

We chose Wally because of its streamlined budgeting features and support in most foreign countries.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Budgeting features are easy to use

  • Graphics to showcase your finances

Cons
  • Gold version is costly

  • Limited personal finance tools beyond budgeting

Overview

Wally features wonderful images and graphics and is specifically focused on budgeting without tons of other functions. 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. 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. If you want a simple budgeting app without the bells and whistles, this could be the one for you.

Best for Cash Style Budgeting : Mvelopes


Mvelopes

 Mvelopes

  • Price: $5.97 to $19.97 per month
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: Yes
Why We Chose It

If you're looking for a digital version of the popular cash envelope system, Mvelopes is a great fit. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 30-day free trial

  • Unlimited digital envelopes at all pricing tiers

Cons
  • A few banks and credit unions may not be supported for sync

Overview

Cash budgeting lends itself well to envelope budgeting, a style of budgeting where you put cash in envelopes for different spending categories. When an 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 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

 Goodbudget

  • Price: Free basic version; Plus version $8 per month
  • Bank Sync: No
  • Free Trial: No
Why We Chose It

We chose Goodbudget because the software makes it easy to budget as a couple.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 10 free digital envelopes or unlimited with paid version

  • Sync across multiple devices

  • Track your progress towards paying off debt

Cons
  • Free version has limitations

  • Doesn’t sync to bank accounts

Overview

Formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid or EEBA, Goodbudget is a perfect option for couples that want to share the 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 across formats (web, iPhone, and Android), making it is great for couples with shared finances, while working great for solo budgeters as well.

When you add new transactions you can include 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


Personal Capital

 Personal Capital

  • Price: Free for Personal Capital investors; 0.89% on the first $1,000,000 invested
  • Bank Sync: Yes
  • Free Trial: No
Why We Chose It

Personal Capital allows you to track your budget and investments in one place.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extensive educational resources

  • Free financial tools and software

  • Net worth tracking tools

Cons
  • Cannot manually add transactions to budget

  • Less emphasis on budgeting tools

Overview

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 similarly, using the same automated tracking of purchases from linked accounts.

Final Verdict

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 its own 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 No Free basic version PocketGuard Pro: $7.99 per month 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 basic version Gold: $39.99 per year 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 $8 per month No 256-bit encryption
Personal Capital Best for Investors No Budgeting tool is free 0.89% for first $1,000,000 invested Yes 256-bit encryption

Guide to Choosing the Best Budgeting App

Determine Your Need for a Budgeting App

Budgeting apps take a lot of the work out of making and maintaining a budget. They can automatically sync up with all of your bank accounts and payment cards, categorize your transactions, and give you a bird’s-eye view of what you buy and how much you spend each month. Many apps generate reports to show how your finances change over time. All that would be difficult or impossible to replicate on your own, but budgeting apps make it easy.

You might need a budgeting app to help you:

  • Manage spending and plan for monthly bills
  • Pay off debt
  • Save money and build wealth
  • Build up an emergency fund
  • Keep tabs on recurring subscriptions
  • Control your stress about money

Comparing Budgeting Apps

Every budgeting app aims to help you track spending and save money, but they come with a variety of features. Consider the following when choosing a budgeting app:

  • Price: Some excellent budgeting apps are free, while others offer a free trial period or have monthly or annual fees.
  • Option to sync other accounts: Being able to automatically sync your budgeting app with your bank, credit card, and other accounts and transactions is very handy.
  • Automatic transaction categorizing: “Groceries” are purchases from the grocery store; “dining out” are purchases at restaurants. Can the app tell the difference automatically? If not, can you categorize transactions yourself? This is one of the most useful aspects of budgeting apps. 
  • Goal setting: Can you set savings goals, like having a certain amount in retirement and emergency funds, and track your progress along the way? Some apps even let you create budgets for different goals.
  • Bill payment and budgeting tracker: Having all of your bills in one place, with reminders when payments are due, will help you avoid monthly surprises. It’s also nice to get a notice before you go over budget for the month.
  • Mobile app: Is there a mobile app along with an online dashboard? Is it easy to navigate and use, and does it include all the features of the online dashboard?
  • Budget sharing: If you share finances with a partner or roommates, can you make use of the same budget to help you stay on the same page?
  • Extra features: Some apps include extra perks like a free credit score or investment tracking.
  • User reviews: Check the reviews of budgeting apps on the App Store and Google Play for insight from actual users.

Signing Up for a Budgeting App

Signing up for budgeting apps is usually quite easy. Start by visiting the company website or downloading the app, and then create a new account. Depending on the app, registration may only require an email address.

After logging in, you may find step-by-step instructions to get started. You’ll typically be asked to provide your income, and to sync up your bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, loans, and other financial accounts. You may be able to set transaction categories, or the app may do that for you; if so, check the categories to make sure they’re accurate. Consider setting up savings goals, if possible. 

From there, you can explore the rest of the app’s features to see what it has to offer—look for handy tools like bill alerts and subscription tracking, and advice for making and sticking to a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does a Budgeting App Do?

Budgeting apps can help track your personal finances 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; each app offers some standard, basic features, along with unique tools to help you build strong financial habits. Some budgeting apps can also 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. There is often a free version and a paid version. Monthly fees are usually around $10 to $15 with discounts if you pay yearly, although some are more expensive.

What’s the Difference Between a Budgeting App and Accounting Software?

Budgeting apps are accessed through an online platform, or downloaded on your mobile phone or tablet to be used on the go, but not all accounting software has this option. Accounting programs often offer more robust features designed for finances above and beyond the typical household—they're often used for business bookkeeping. 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

Our team evaluated several budgeting apps before choosing the best options for our readers. During our evaluation, we considered several criteria, including cost, user-friendliness, and features. We also took into account whether each company offered a mobile app, a free trial option, automatic transaction categorization, and the ability to share your budgets with others.

After careful consideration, we arrived at these top budgeting apps and matched each with a category of users with specific needs.

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