The best budget apps are the ones that make planning, organizing, and life in general just a little simpler. That way you don’t have to worry about forgetting your insurance premium is due this month or running out of money around the holidays.
I don’t know about you, but my debit and credit cards could sure use a break after Christmas. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family to shop for during the Christmas season. However, all of my family’s birthdays seem to fall right within the same timeframe.
I’m not kidding — on top of Christmas, I have four family members who have birthdays that fall between December 15th and January 5th. And every year I have to juggle our finances so that we can celebrate all the important people in our lives, but still afford to pay our bills and feed our bellies.
So, it really is important for me to budget my family’s money. And not just during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year. Because honestly, if I left it to December to get started I wouldn’t have the time to budget or save.
Not everyone is born with the budgeting gene or the know-how to ensure that they have the money when they need it most. That is when we turn to technology (and I am certainly thankful for its help).
Best Budget Apps for 2018
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best budget apps on the market today.
1. GoodBudget Budget Planner
The GoodBudget money management app (formerly known as EEBA) allows you to use envelopes to divide and conquer your money into categories or (online) envelopes for bills, groceries, entertainment, transportation, etc.
I personally like that you can set up your payment schedules to occur at regular intervals; weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. And for those who receive irregular payments, such as freelancers, this app has you covered with an irregular payment option too.
What I also like about this app (and a few others to come) is that not only does it have a mobile option, both iOS, and Android, but you can also get a desktop version.
To help keep all family members on the same page, this app can cleverly sync with other mobile devices; you will not only be able to track where you spend your money, but you can also plan ahead.
GoodBudget also offers a pro subscription — $6 a month or $50 a year — that allows you to get more envelopes, accounts, and shows a history of your budget.
2. Mint.com Personal Budget Software
Mint is another great budget planner that offers you help on all your devices — iOS, Android, and Windows. Not only is it free, but it also gives you a free credit score when you sign up. Bonus! It is pretty easy to set up as well, just connect it with your bank account and watch as it helps to create a budget just for you!
All of your account information is secure, your data and any that is exchanged is encrypted, plus this handy budget app comes from the makers of TurboTax®, so you know they have a reputation to uphold.
You have access to your multiple bank accounts, plus your 401(k), and you receive alerts when you go over your budget.
It not only shows you how you spend your money based on debit and credit cards, but if you use cash all you have to do is enter the amounts in manually. I love that it doesn’t just keep track of your spending habits, but it also gives you tips along the way, and who doesn’t love tips?
The Digit budget app offers you a free 100-day trial, followed by a subscription of $2.99 a month and is available on iOS, Android, and your PC.
Digit monitors how you spend your money, then sets small amounts aside to help you save. It connects directly with your bank accounts and keeps all of your finances secure, and it won’t store your bank login.
One unique quality that I like about this money management app is its no-overdraft guarantee; if you don’t have the money to spend, it won’t allow you to spend it!
If you need access to your account savings, simply send it a text message and you will have the funds in your account by the next business day. Text messages will also be sent to you to help you keep track of how good you are doing with your savings, kind of like a pat on the back.
As an added bonus, all funds within the app are insured for up to a bonus of $250,000, so you can feel a little more secure using this app.
Wally is an awesome free money management app, and one that intends to always provide a free platform across all iOS and Android mobile devices. However, it won’t bog you down with ads just because it’s free.
Created by a small group of entrepreneurs that come from all walks of life, they want their app to represent that by providing a home budget app for single, married, or those who are married with kids.
Its current features allow for you to create a password for privacy, take pictures of receipts, and receive alerts when you have reached your budgeting goals or when bills are due.
Wally handles all forms of currency but doesn’t link to outside bank accounts. That means you have to input your amounts manually. This may be a bother if you’re short on time, but we think it’s worth it!
Mvelopes is one of the monthly expenses apps we’ve found. It uses the concept of putting money aside in (online) envelopes. Although there is no free long-term option, I do like that you can set it up on your PC, and it is also available for download in the app store or on Google Play.
There are three packages to choose from: Mvelopes Basic Package ($4/month), the Plus Package ($19/month), and a Complete Package ($59/month).
The Basic Package allows you to sync with your bank account and credit cards and offers a free 30-day trial.
With the Plus Package, you get the same features included in Basic but also have access to a learning center. You will receive quizzes, infographics, and even have the opportunity to meet every few months with a Personal Finance Trainer who will help you learn better budgeting skills!
Now, normally I would suggest that if you currently already have budgeting issues, having to shell out money to a budgeting app isn’t ideal. But for some, this may be a big help. Keep in mind, however, that talking with a finance specialist at your bank can also help, and since you are already using the bank you have earned the right to use their services at no extra cost to you.
The final Complete Package is on the pricier side and offers monthly meetings with your Financial Trainer to create long-term plans. The Plus and Complete packages both give you a debt assessment and may be helpful for those trying to climb out of their pit of debt.
Last but not least, the PocketGuard budget planner app is available to you on all three platforms and offers a free version and a subscription version for $3.99 a month or $ 34.99 a year, which is referred to as PocketGuard Plus.
The app creates categories and calculates your expenses. Based on your monthly income, it then predicts a monthly financial picture for you. You can keep track of your bills, income, and essentially what is left over in your pocket.
It also connects with your banking institutions; all your information is encrypted requiring a password and a pin to unlock. You can set up goals to save for, see your savings, and view upcoming bills that are due based on each month’s activities.
Related: 18 Easy Ways to Boost Your Income
Other Budget Apps to Check Out
There comes a certain point where the numerous budget apps available start to blur together and they all look the same, (seriously, my head is starting to spin). So, in lieu of me reviewing more, here are a few to check out on your own.
- Youneedabudget.com (YNAB) offers a free trial, then $6.99 a month; students get a free 12 months with proof; available for web, iOS, and Android.
- HomeBudget $6.99 a month; available on iOS, Android, and Windows
- Credit Karma free on iOS, Android, and Windows
- Yourmoneywallet.com free, premium subscription is $2.49 a month or 24.99 a year; available on iOS
Final Thoughts on Budgeting and Budget Apps
My parents have always set good examples of how to budget money properly, and yet even with these good budgeting values set in place, I still need more help. We all need help now and then, so the fact that there are so many money management apps to choose from is a great benefit to all.
All of the apps mentioned above will help you budget your money; and while they will remind you that you need to save, they won’t necessarily give you tips to actually help you save the desired money.
Sometimes saving can be harder than budgeting. On that note, let me offer some great ways to help you save money, whether you are a renter or homeowner. The fact is, finding some extra cash with minimal effort on your part is a bonus that I’m betting everyone is interested to learn.
If you’re still unsure, my advice is to try out the budget apps that are free to use first. Choosing a preferred platform (mobile, desktop, etc.) can help narrow down your options.
Also, decide whether it is important to you that you have an app that connects directly to your banking information versus entering your expenses manually.
Your turn! What are the best budget apps you’ve used? Tell us your favorite in the comments!
Danielle thrives on researching and writing on all aspects of life. Further to writing for Zumper blog and personal finance, she is an advocate of self-improvement and living a life that is both financially responsible and knowledgeable. When she is not on her computer, she can be found spending time with her husband and two sons.
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