The best budgeting apps can help you get a better handle on your income, how you’re actually spending it, and the bills you have to pay. They do this by using technology to help you budget according to your goals, and by automatically keeping track of where your money goes each month.
Fortunately, a variety of the best budget apps are absolutely free to use, although upgrading to a paid plan is often worth it. If you’re wondering how to budget and hoping a mobile app can help, read on to learn about the best apps for budgeting, how they compare, and who they’re best for.
Our Picks for the Best Budgeting Apps
- Mint: Best Overall
- Personal Capital: Best for Building Wealth
- YNAB (You Need a Budget): Best Zero-Sum Budgeting App
- EveryDollar: Best for Dave Ramsey Followers
- Honeydue: Best for Couples
- PocketGuard: Best for Simplified Budgeting
- Goodbudget: Best for Virtual Envelope Budgeting
Best Budgeting Apps – Reviews
Like it or not, but creating a spending plan is the best way to minimize financial waste so you can pay down debt, save more money, and work toward various personal finance goals. The following mobile apps can help you create a budget that works.
- Always free to use
- Connects with your financial accounts for real-time tracking
- Helps you set financial goals, including debt repayment
- Supported by ads, which can be annoying
- No bill pay feature
Mint is an online budgeting tool and expense tracker that automatically categorizes your transactions and helps you track your spending so you can work toward various financial goals. You can link your financial accounts — savings, checking, credit cards — to Mint. By doing so, the budgeting app lets you get a holistic view of your finances, as well as where all your extra money is going each month.
Mint also helps you track your progress toward retirement goals, and you can use the app to create and track a debt payoff plan to boot. Visual tools, including graphs and reports, clearly illustrate your situation and help you chart a course.
The best part about Mint is that it’s absolutely free to use since it’s supported by ads and offers. If you want to get into budgeting but you’re not ready to pay for the privilege, you should definitely consider giving Mint a try.
- Free to open an account
- Free tools, including retirement calculators and a 401(k) fee analyzer tool
- Track your net worth all in one place
- Paid financial advisor services available
- High fees for investment management services (starting at 0.89%)
- Minimum account balance of $100,000 to work with a financial advisor
- No bill pay feature
Personal Capital is actually a robo-advisor, meaning this company is an online financial advisor of sorts that offers wealth management and portfolio management services. That said, the Personal Capital app also offers an array of free money management tools you can sign up for, including budgeting tools and software, a 401(k) fee analyzer tool, retirement planning calculators, and more.
For those who want to add tracking to various aspects of their monthly budget, Personal Capital is worth considering. Your financial dashboard allows you to see everything that is going on in your financial life, from your monthly spending habits to how your net worth changes over time.
On top of that, you can track your investment portfolio, and even receive objective investment advice if you want to pay an annual fee of 0.89% and you have a minimum account balance of at least $100,000. However, the regular service is free, and you can manage your finances — and investments — with the help of this budgeting tool. Check out our Personal Capital Video Review to learn how this app works and who it’s best for.
- Free trial for 34 days
- Use zero-sum budgeting to see where every dollar you earn goes
- Syncs with your financial accounts for tracking in real-time
- Comes with goal-tracking tools
- No free plan for the long-term
- No bill pay feature
- Doesn't track investments
YNAB (You Need a Budget) is a budgeting app that uses the zero-sum budgeting method — a type of budgeting that requires you to “spend” every dollar you earn on paper to eliminate waste. By giving each dollar you earn a job, you can ensure all your bill payments are on-time while also working toward financial goals, whether that means saving up an emergency fund, paying off high-interest debt, or both.
This budgeting app syncs with all your financial accounts, making it easy to track spending and bank balances in real-time. You also get access to an array of financial tools, including spending and net worth reports, loan calculators, goal-setting tools, and more.
While YNAB doesn’t offer a free plan for the long term, they do offer a free trial for 34 days. This may be enough time to try YNAB to see if it’s worth it, but make sure you’re fine with paying for this app after the first month is up. If you decide to keep YNAB beyond the free trial, you’ll need to fork over $14.99 per month or $98.99 per year in membership fees.
- Free trial of paid version for 14 days
- Free version available
- Built around Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps
- Syncs with your financial accounts for real-time tracking
- Paid version includes full Ramsey+ membership
- Free version offers limited functionality
- Paid version requires a minimum three-month commitment
- Free version of the budgeting app is very limited
EveryDollar is a free budgeting app offered by Dave Ramsey and Ramsey Solutions. This app also uses the zero-sum budgeting system to help users pay off debt and save toward various goals.
One of the benefits of EveryDollar is the fact you get to personalize your budget and categories to fit with your lifestyle and how you normally spend. You can also set up individual savings buckets for various goals you are working toward, whether you are saving up an emergency fund or setting aside some money from each paycheck for a family vacation.
The EveryDollar app also lets you set due dates for nearly anything from upcoming bills to milestones you want to remember. The app also offers budget insights, regular spending reports, and debt tracking tools. Finally, the paid version of this app is actually part of the Ramsey+ membership. This membership also comes with educational resources such as Financial Peace University, as well as various tools and financial content from Ramsey Solutions.
If you decide to sign up for the paid version of EveryDollar, you should know that you’ll have to commit for at least three months and that membership fees vary depending on the length of the program you sign up for. Membership options will set you back $19.99 per month for three months, $16.66 per month for six months, or $10.83 per month for one year.
- Syncs with more than 20,000 financial institutions
- Helps couples seamlessly manage their finances together
- Option to upgrade to a free joint bank account
- Chat feature lets you communicate with your partner through the app
- Mediocre goal-setting tools
- Bill pay feature for joint checking option still in development
Honeydue is a budgeting app that was created with couples in mind. This app syncs with more than 20,000 different financial institutions, so couples can see all their transactions and bank balances in one place. They can also chat with one another within the app, whether they want to send a supportive message or ask about a charge. Honeydue also makes it easy to coordinate the payment of household bills and expenses with both parties knowing exactly where they stand all along.
This app also offers the chance to upgrade to a free joint checking account called a Joint Cash account. This account is free of fees and account minimums, and it even offers access to 55,000 free ATMs nationwide. The checking component of this app will also have a bill pay feature in the future, which means users may be able to track their spending and pay their bills all in one place.
- Free version available
- Expense tracking and budgeting tools
- Sync your accounts to get a holistic view of your finances in one place
- Helps you negotiate better rates on your cable, cell phone, and other bills
- Use the app to set goals and grow your savings
- Referral program available
- "In My Pocket" feature lets you see how much spending money you have
- Free version of the budgeting app is limited
- Lack of transparency on company website
- No bill pay feature
- Not useful for tracking investments or your net worth
PocketGuard is another budgeting app to consider if you want to get a complete look at your finances using your mobile device. This app lets you see your bills and expenses, as well as your savings accounts, all in one place. You can set up savings goals and track them with the app, and you can use expense tracking and basic budgeting tools to figure out what you need to do to save more each month. You can even customize categories and create expense reports with the paid version of the app.
This app also helps you negotiate better rates on your cable bill, your cell phone bill, and other regular expenses you have. A referral program even lets you earn up to 12 free months with PocketGuard when you refer your friends.
If you decide to pay for PocketGuard, membership fees will cost you $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year. You can also purchase a lifetime membership for $99.99.
- Free plan available
- Use envelope budgeting to eliminate financial waste
- Joint accounts available
- Create debt repayment plans
- Save for big expenses with the app
- Free plan has limited features
- Requires you to manually input transactions
Goodbudget helps you work toward your financial goals with the help of a digital envelope system. Basically, you use the app to set up various spending categories and set a cap for each one. From there, you manually input transactions in your Goodbudget with the goal of staying within the boundaries you have set while avoiding overspending.
Goodbudget also offers debt payoff tools and the ability to track your progress over time. You can also use the app to set up savings goals and keep stock of where you’re at.
There are two versions of the Goodbudget app — the free version and the paid version. Where the free version lets you track 10 or more budgeting categories or “envelopes” and works on two devices, the paid version includes unlimited envelopes and up to five devices. Note that the paid version of Goodbudget will set you back either $8 per month or $70 per year.
Budgeting Apps Guide
Whether you’re wondering how to get out of debt or trying to figure out where your money actually goes each month, the best budget apps can help. While you can always go old-school, with excel spreadsheets and dedicated envelopes for each part of your budget, an app can simplify the work for you and offer much more features and tools. Read on to learn how budgeting apps work and why giving one a try may be well worth it in the end.
What is a Budgeting App?
A budgeting app is a mobile app that lets you track your spending, your bank balances, and various goals you set up on your mobile device. That said, many apps have different budgeting features and tools, so you’ll need to do some research before you decide on the best app for your needs.
For example, some budgeting apps focus on helping consumers out of debt, so they use tracking tools and debt repayment tools to help you hatch a plan. From there, they help you figure out how much you can pay toward your credit card accounts and personal loans each month so you can become debt-free.
Other budget apps focus on setting spending limits so you can save more money over time. These apps help you set aside cash in financial products, such as the best high-yield savings accounts, so you can grow your savings over time. They can even help you build a stash of money you can move into the best short-term investments once you’re ready.
Some budgeting apps also come with wealth tracking tools, retirement calculators, and other features (such as roundup tools) that are meant to help you improve your finances for decades to come.
How to Compare Budgeting Apps
If you’re looking for ways to save money and you believe an app can help, there are a range of factors you should consider. Before you choose from the best apps for budgeting, look at each one closely to see how they compare based on the following:
- Free trial: Budgeting apps that offer a free trial let you give them a chance without making a financial commitment. With a few weeks or a month to try out an app, you’ll be able to decide if it’s the right option for your needs.
- Ongoing pricing: If you’re considering budgeting apps with paid plans, make sure to look at their monthly and annual pricing to see how it compares. Only try out apps with fees you can afford, and make sure paid plans you’re considering have fees that justify their costs.
- App features: Check whether apps have the functions you want most, whether you are focusing on debt repayment or looking for ways to get on track with your bills so you can improve your credit score.
- Number of devices: If you want to budget with your spouse or partner, make sure any app you’re considering allows multiple devices on the same account.
Syncing capability: Finally, decide whether you want to sync your financial accounts or input transactions manually. Most budgeting apps let you sync accounts so you can track your budget and spending in real-time, but not all of them do.
Reasons to Consider a Budgeting App
If you have tried budgeting in the past but it never seems to work, the best apps for budgeting may be the answer you’re looking for. Here are the main reasons to try a budgeting app if you haven’t already.
- Find out where your money goes. One of the biggest benefits of budgeting apps is the fact they let you see where your money is actually going without having to track your expenses manually. And when you know where your money is going, you can check for waste and look for areas of your budget to cut back.
- Get a bird’s eye view of your finances. Budgeting apps offer a holistic view of your finances, including how much you actually save and spend each month.
- Pay down debt. Most budgeting apps let you create debt repayment plans then track your progress over time. Without this kind of help, it can be difficult to create a realistic plan and stick with it, let alone know where you’re at along the way.
- Free up more cash for savings. Because budgeting apps track your spending and expenses on your behalf, they force you to look at yourself and your habits. Very often, the act of tracking your expenses and cash flow makes it easier to save more money each month.
- Simplify the budgeting process. Finally, budgeting apps do the budgeting grunt work for you (i.e. tracking expenses, monitoring your savings goals, etc.) so you can spend your time on other projects.
How We Found the Best Budgeting Apps
In our efforts to find the best budgeting apps of 2022, we looked for apple- and android-compatible apps that have a 3.8 star rating or better through both Google Play and the App Store. We also looked for budget apps that offer a free version or a free trial period, although we included apps that only offer paid versions if their perks and features were well worth it.
Other factors we considered include affordability, budgeting tools, and the presence of goal-setting tools and financial planning features. We also focused on apps that sync with your financial accounts for ultimate convenience and accuracy.
Finally, we only included apps that offer 256-bit encryption or better, enhanced security features such as two-factor authentication, and a satisfactory history of keeping your personal financial information safe from hackers and thieves.