Budget Successfully with These Good Budgeting Apps

One essential habit that you need to adopt to gain financial independence is budgeting. It remains popular because many people use to control their personal finances and spending. If you’ve tried to use a budget before but it didn’t work, don’t give up just yet. Perhaps you need a little help from some good budgeting apps, like the ones listed below.

9 Most Popular Budgeting Apps

List of Most Popular Budgeting Apps

Most Popular Budgeting App: Mint

Availability: Android, iOS, browser-based

Cost: Free

Mint was one of the first budgeting apps on the market. As a result, the developers have had time to add several enhanced features, including its crown jewel: budgeting.

Mint’s budgeting tool analyzes your financial accounts (bank, loans, and credit cards), then proposes budgets based on your spending habits. The app categorizes each expense (for example, “Dining”), and can show you the effects of spending less per category.

There are other powerful features to the Mint app. “MintSights” visualizes trends in your shopping patterns, which can make it easier to understand your financial health. The app also offers alerts to warn you when you go over the budget. You may also track spending by category or review your cash flows into and out of your account each month.

Good for Zero Budgeting: You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Availability: browser-based, iOS, Android

Cost: Free for a 34-day trial period, then $84/year or $11.99/month. Students get the first 12 months free.

YNAB approaches the budgeting problem from a different perspective to the competition. Instead of categorizing your money, you assign “jobs” to every dollar you earn. The jobs may include paying rent/mortgage, eliminating debt, or building savings and investments. You want every dollar accounted for. The goal is to think about each dollar you earn and spend. This approach, where your income equals your expenses, is called zero budgeting (Income – Expenses = Zero).

Despite the high cost, YNAB has many favorable features. It lets you add your bank accounts and establish goals. You may also customize your expense types and build savings. The app is completed by user guides, free workshops, and additional budgeting advice.

Bonus App for Zero Budgeting: EveryDollar

Availability: browser-based, Android, iOS

Cost: free; EveryDollar Plus app costs $129.99/year.

Another app that uses zero budgeting is EveryDollar, based on Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps to Wealth” idea. If you’re already a fan of Dave Ramsey, this app may be great for you. It tracks your spending and helps you plan for a large purchase. The free version of the budget app allows you to account for expenses using a transaction. The transaction is then used in your budget.

Upgrading to EveryDollar Plus allows you to connect to every expense to your bank account.

Best App for Preventing Overspending: PocketGuard

Availability: iOS, Android, browser-based

Cost: The basic version of PocketGuard is free. The paid version can be bought as a monthly subscription for $3.99 or an annual one for $34.99.

If you’re looking for a reality check, PocketGuard is it. PocketGuard provides an honest look at how much money is available daily after paying your regular bills and subscriptions. In other words, it shows the amount available “in your pocket” each day after you’ve met your monthly obligations. This is supposed to keep you from spending what you don’t have.

PocketGuard has one of the easiest setups for a budgeting app. All you have to do is connect your bank accounts and it will begin tracking your finances. It sees how much you earn, and your recurring and everyday expenses over a given period. You can then turn on the feature in the app which tracks your expenses for ways to save money. It analyzes recurring bills, like utilities, and then tries to find ways to lower their costs.

Great for Budgeting and Investment: Personal Capital

Availability: browser-based, Android, iOS

Cost: Free

Primarily designed for investments, Personal Capital does include a tool for tracking your spending. It’s not a budgeting tool per se, but it can be adapted into one. Pay attention to your savings, checking, and credit card accounts, and also your mortgages and other loans, IRAs and 401(k)s. You may take a snapshot of your current financial situation by customizable categories or take an overview by percentage spent. Embrace the ability to see all of your accounts with the net worth tracker. If you need more details about your financial situation use the portfolio breakdown.

The App That Mainly Does Budgeting: Wally

Availability: iOS, Android

Cost: free

If you just want a simple app for budgeting without all the bells and whistles, then meet Wally. Wally focuses on one thing, but it does it extremely well: budgeting. It shows you where your money goes by balancing your income and expenditure.

Wally does have a few other tricks. It can alert you when a bill’s due date is near, or when you’ve hit your financial target. Wally will also work for almost any currency,  so people within or outside of the U.S. can use it.

The App for Budgeting and Saving: Clarity Money

Availability: Android, iOS

Cost: free

This budgeting app gives clarity to your spending habits and debt load. There is a dashboard that lets you see where your finances stand currently. The app also lists all your accounts and helps you monitor your expenses. Clarity Money was designed with services to cancel subscriptions and monitor your credit score. These additional tools give a more holistic view of your entire financial situation.

Clarity was recently acquired by Marcus, a financial subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. While the app is still available and free to use, it will soon become part of the Marcus brand. Marcus offers high-yield savings accounts and no-fee personal loans at fixed rates.

The App to Use if You Like Envelope Budgeting: Mvelopes

Availability: Android, iOS, browser-based

Cost: There are three versions available: Basic at $6/month; Plus at $19/month; and Complete at $79/month.

You may already use the envelope method with physical cash. If you don’t know what this is, it’s simple. You create envelope categories and put cash in each envelope for your budget. If the cash runs out in an envelope, your category’s budget is empty.

Well, there’s now a digital solution using the same methodology, but for debit and credit cards. Mvelopes lets you connect your financial accounts and build a digital envelope budget to track your spending. It allows for real-time budget matching so that you will know if you can afford to splurge.

Mvelopes has 3 plans:

  • The Basic plan offers unlimited envelopes, and the ability to connect to unlimited accounts and develop an envelope budget online.
  • Plus is everything Basic, additional tools like Mvelope Debt and Learning centers, and access to a financial coach each quarter. There is also access to one-on-one assistance when setting up, and priority-level support if you need help.
  • With Complete you get all the benefits of Plus and more. These include monthly check-ins with a financial coach, trainer-guided education, and a financial roadmap customized to you.

Best Budgeting App for a Dynamic Duo: Goodbudget

Availability: browser-based, Android, iOS

Cost: Choose between Basic (10 annual and 10 regular envelopes for free) or Plus ($6/month or $50 per year for unlimited regular and annual envelopes).

It makes sense to design a financial strategy with your romantic partner. Many couples cite finances as a major factor leading to fights, breakups, and divorce. If you’re looking for an app that allows you and your partner to work on a budget together, consider Goodbudget.

The app empowers couples to work jointly on their household budget and provides a proactive way to decrease household debt. You and your spouse input your monthly income, then allocate portions of it to envelopes for various categories. When you spend in a category, you adjust the envelope to cover the expenditure. When the envelope is empty, you halt spending in that category until the next month. Better yet, aim to stop spending before that point. You may find that it takes some discipline to become proficient at the app, despite it not having fancy algorithms. With practice, it should help you manage your finances better.

Conclusion

Budgeting may look hard, but with the help of a budgeting app, it can become much easier. Find the app that matches your needs and get started on your path to financial freedom.

Roman Zelvenschi

I started a digital marketing agency Romanz Media Group Inc. 12 years ago. Running my own business quickly taught me the importance of cash flow. Making sales was not enough, I had to have money in the bank to pay the vendors, staff and personal bills.

During those early stages of the company I learned how to get creative with debt and to save on interest cost. I paid for everything I could with a credit card to both get more points and to extend the payment date by 25 days (credit card grace period). I then utilized a 0% balance transfer offers to rotate this debt.

I learned a lot during this process and made a lot of mistakes. My key lesson is that the most important part of being financially independent is how much I managed to save, rather than how much I earned. Staying disciplined with savings and tracking spending is not easy and I tried many different methods to stay on track.

FinancialFreedom.Guru is a side project where I and my staff are trying to share the practical knowledge on how to understand finances and to build wealth.

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Melanie
Melanie
10 months ago

Probably using (budget software) YNAB is my best finance decision) Basically makes me give every dollar a job and plan for goals, yearly expenses, and emergencies.

Ingrid
Ingrid
10 months ago

YNAB 100% It was instrumental in breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle for me

Kristina
Kristina
10 months ago

I just started YNAB, not gonna lie I am
Confused. But I will get there lol

Dei Lanza
Dei Lanza
10 months ago

YNAB. In my first year I went from overdrawn and sub paycheck to paycheck to about 25% of my income to going savings/debt payment. Depending on your bank, auto-import can be a challenge, but their customer service is great and might be able to find a solution. (I prefer manually entry because it helps to keep me mindful of spending).

Hunter B
Hunter B
10 months ago

I will rave about ynab to anyone who will let me. Before ynab, the year I had with car repairs alone would have put me thousands more in debt. With ynab, I was able to weather it and realize I could afford the payments a barely used car with warranty in its place, and it would still end up cheaper on the next year when all the repairs were factored in.

Kinzie
Kinzie
10 months ago

 I used Mint for several years but didn’t make any progress because it just told me where I had already spent my money. YNAB deals with the money in your account right now and every dollar in the account has a job. It really helped me shift to present tense and what do I need this money to do before I get paid again. It’s a learning curve but well worth it.

Halley
Halley
10 months ago

 Previously, I would make a “budget” on a piece of paper. List my bills, estimate groceries, etc, and list the paychecks I expected to receive that month. The math usually worked, and I was always pleased that things were looking good. However, a week or two into the month, I had to double check when to pay certain bills because I didn’t know if my next paycheck would clear in time, and I would get to the end of the month and have to use credit cards to cover spending because for some reason, my paper budget wasn’t adding up.… Read more »

Laraine
Laraine
10 months ago

YNAB is a total game changer for budgeting. I had never thought about budgeting and finances like this before….I think the reason so many people struggle with it is because it’s asking you to turn everything you know about budgeting upside down and do it entirely differently. 

Ted
Ted
10 months ago

I’m on team Every Dollar . It’s free, relatively easy to use, had great tech support and it is perfect for what I need.

Susan
Susan
10 months ago

I like Every Dollar because it has a free version and it’s very easy to customize. If you’re willing to spend a small amount, YNAB is a pretty cool app too. I use a bill schedule though, so I found YNAB too complex for our needs. I find accountability is more likelu to happen when we have to manually track things (even if I have most bills on auto-pay).

Christi
Christi
10 months ago

I have a massive issue with all the apps. I am an American living abroad and have accounts in both the US and my country of residence as well as debts both places. I have tried all kinds of apps and it is impossible to link all if my accounts. I am at a loss.

Fiona S
Fiona S
10 months ago

Not a budgeting app as such. I have 3 current accounts. 1 for household bills, 1 for personal bills and 1 for daily spending money. As soon as I get paid I put money in the 2 bill accounts for the months bills. I never withdraw from these accounts. J leave enough in the spending account yo pay God food and fuel through the month and any excess gets split between savings accounts 1 long term to save for holidays etc and 1 for daily extras new boots clothes for work, take aways etc.

Charlene
Charlene
10 months ago

I’ve recently started using Money Dashboard. I won’t comment on it as I haven’t really used it a lot but might be worth looking at

Phoebe
Phoebe
10 months ago
Reply to  Charlene

it’s good I’ve used it for a few years
I also have a dedicated notebook all incoming and outgoing written down and do no spend unless its needed

Sarita
Sarita
10 months ago

I use You Need a Budget and it’s basically a virtual envelope system that also keeps track of your credit card spending so you can pay the appropriate amount while still getting rewards.

Roman Zelvenschi
4 months ago
Reply to  Sarita

Yeah it works well, some people have problem with it when they get paid weekly or different numbers based on hours they worked

KARY
KARY
10 months ago

I’ve been using Simple Bank 5 years and I love seeing where my money is and what I have leftover. Auto envelopes your expenses and goals after maybe 30-60 mins of set up 1 time

Daniel
Daniel
10 months ago

Not that I think signing up for a new credit card is a good idea, but the new Apple Credit Card has app features that not only track your spending, they pride themselves on not charging any kinds of extra fees whatsoever

JoEllen
JoEllen
10 months ago

I’ve used YNAB for a couple of years and love it!! Super easy and has all the “bucket” features I wanted for budgeting.

Phoebe
Phoebe
10 months ago

I have used mint for years. And it is free. Paying for budget program seems to defeat the purpose.

Froese
Froese
10 months ago

I use Mint at home on my laptop but I want my phone to stab me in the side when I start driving to get take-out because I forgot that I just went for take out 3 days ago!!!

Towanda
Towanda
10 months ago

I use the free version of the app Every Dollar. I love it. The paid version uses your online banking to automatically deduct stuff but i prefer to enter everything myself anyway. It is great 

Kathryn
Kathryn
10 months ago

I use iXpenseIt, I like it because I just want to track daily expenditures and I can use multiple currencies.

Grace
Grace
10 months ago

I use Miny to glance at my funds but not for budgeting. At the end of each month, I use excel to make a budget for the upcoming month because things change (events and such).

Owens
Owens
10 months ago

I havent tried Ynab yet, but Mint and Everydollar are not sufficient enough for me. For example, Everydollar only looks at credit card statement balances to remind you that a bill is due. Well I dont carry balances on the statement for all of my cards except one each month but I do use them and pay them off before they report. Everydollar therefore does not see me as owing anything since it never got reported on my statement. If it werent for that, the app woyld work for me.

Camille
Camille
10 months ago

I am completely enamored with YNAB!
Plus, they just launched their new mobile app a couple weeks ago, and now you can do almost EVERYTHING through it that you used to have to do on a PC!

Tashina Brown
Tashina Brown
9 months ago

I am really liking Mint so far. It doesn’t charge to link to my bank account. It also has a budget section that will program monthly and is user friendly. I tried EveryDollar and YNAB but they cost money to link the accounts.

Brittany
Brittany
9 months ago

We use Mint because it’s free and a very details spreadsheet. I do further budget breakout and all bills via spreadsheet and transaction tracking in mint. I feel so much more in control than this time last year

Lauren
Lauren
9 months ago

Every time someone posts about Mint I say the same thing — I use a credit union. They will not allow members to connect their bank accounts to Mint because the user agreement (which everyone acknowledges they read but no one really reads the whole thing) does not protect Mint users should a hacker breach the system and get their account info to steal their money.

Nerman
Nerman
9 months ago

I use YNAB after trying to use EveryDollar (free). When I started I took some of their webinars that helped me figure things out and personally I prefer to enter things in manually

Christi
Christi
9 months ago

I used EveryDollar for years, but after I worked for YNAB last year for the holiday season, I fell back in love with it since I hadn’t used it for a few years (before it was cloud-based). It has really helped me and I have stuck with it this entire year. I never did that with EveryDollar. I do have most of my info come through via Direct Import, but my main checking account, Capital One, has always had issues importing because CO is just protective of people’s data since the breach last year (no data or personal info is… Read more »

Carol
Carol
7 months ago

The thing that helps me the most is tracking every penny that goes in and out with a budgeting program – I use ynab – I get myself into trouble when I don’t track everything. It gives me a clear picture of where I am, what I’m doing, and where I need to go. The other thing that helps me is reading something about money everyday.