First time managing finances? These budgeting apps will help you take the first step towards intelligent spending.Budget is a very significant part of our survival. It is no wonder that most people are eager to find ways to make budgeting an easier task. It would be simpler if you can just buy anything you want without worrying about repercussions.
Unfortunately, not every one of us has the wealth to back us up throughout our days.
So, we need to know how to budget.
On the upside, the advancement of technology has brought forth various types of budgeting apps. While it is convenient to have an array of choices right at our fingertips, we have to make the right pick.
Yes, not all of these budgeting apps will suit your lifestyle and preferences. So, you need to make a list of the most promising apps and then compare and contrast them. This is exactly what we meant to do for you.
Steps for choosing a budgeting app
When you are picking a budgeting app, you consider the following :
No matter how cheap an app is, it won’t be worth anything if it does not work as you want it to. So, you check out the apps with the most helpful features and list them. Then, separate the apps with features that you cannot do without.
What can you afford? Hey, sometimes all you can afford is a freebie. There is no shame in that. After all, you are looking into budget apps. So, it makes sense you want to create your budget wisely. If you can get it for free, then why not? However, consider that the best free budget app does not necessarily provide you with all that you need from a budget tool.
Budgeting apps should also come with security features. They should not willingly or unknowingly give out your information, no matter how seemingly innocent the data is being entered.
You don’t want your household budgeting app to announce your information to the world. It does not matter if you believe the data is useless to most people. Scammers still find a way to take advantage of what they can get.
Sometimes, things go wrong. Even the best budgeting app can hit a snag. In such a case, you would like to be able to contact somebody. You don’t want to deal with a robot. Instead, you want to be able to talk to a real, live person who can assist you in real-time.
The best customer service usually comes with all means of communication: phone, email, and even live chat, preferably 24/7. App developers should consider their international users. Moreover, not everyone needs help during the daytime hours only.
So what are the reviews saying about the best budgeting apps 2021? Here are some of the apps that may have entered your radar:
Costly but efficient, You Need a Budget (YNAB) has earned a reputation for offering sought-after service. Budgeters feel that investing in the app is understandable because of its comprehensive and personalized assistance. The company certainly did not scrimp on the customer service as it offers the budget overhaul of your dreams.
YNAB syncs with your bank accounts and other files. So, you don’t have to enter every little bit of information that you feel should be part of your budget. Don’t worry: the data is safe because the app makes use of bank-level encryption.
It is proactive. So, it is designed to make you assign the budget a month before making use of the money. It encourages earning money first.
YNAB is one of the, if not the, most expensive budget tool out there. However, the developers know its strengths enough to provide a 34-day free trial, no strings attached. This means you don’t even have to enter your credit card details. You do have the option to pay $11.99 a month instead.
a free 34-day trial with no credit card needed
geared towards improving (and not just recording) your budget
The best thing about PocketGuard is that it is aptly named. It guards your spending. So, it not only lets you enter the amount you spend, but it also limits your budget. PocketGuard can do this by using the information you enter regarding your income, bills, and other spending habits. You are alerted as to how much you are spending per week, for example. So, you know when you need to slow it down.
The app has been specially designed for overspenders. It has a free and premium feature, but both are designed to keep your spending within your limits.
PocketGuard has an algorithm that identifies your budget limit based on your scheduled bills, saving goals, income, and recent spending habits.
The app alerts you so that you can pay your bills on time. It also points out how and where you can make payment negotiations.
It can also automatically save money for you, moving money towards an FDIC-insured bank account. Transactions are 256-bit encrypted to keep things secure.
You may categorize your transactions just like in the case of any other budget tool app.
It is a mostly free budgeting app that you can avail of at any stage of your savings journey.
The Premium version of the app, PocketGuard Plus, costs $34.99 a year. You may also avail of it at $99.99 as a lifetime membership. However, you may go with the $4.99 a month if you think your budget cannot afford the one-time payments.
It is user-friendly. So, it is a great fit for busy people who needed the app, anyway.
You can track your savings and transactions at a glance.
The basic app is free.
As with other apps, some technical issues still need to be ironed out.
EveryDollar is a budgeting application that helps you track your spending habits. It also assists you in planning for your next purchases. Just as the name of the app says, every dollar is accounted for. So, it expects that your income equals your expenses. This simplified version is how your free app operates. Ramsey+, on the other hand, is the premium version of the app. This not only provides you with the same services but also connects your app to your bank accounts.
The app calculates every dollar. So, you are expected to spend no more than what you earn.
The premium version streamlines your services, connecting to your bank accounts.
The basic version of EveryDollar is free. However, Ramsey+ costs a hefty $129.99 a year. You only get a 14-day free trial.
The free service can provide you with a basic but helpful way of budgeting.
It limits your spending.
The annual cost is pretty high.
You are expected to spend every dollar, so you may have to categorize savings as a type of expense.
If you want more than just tracking and recording spending, you may wish to avail of Personal Capital. This app helps you build your wealth. It can even do this for you, even if you pick the free version. So, yes, you get a lot of value for your money, which is a lesson in itself.
However, if you want investment management services, you need to be willing to give up 0.89% of your money (as long as it is below a million dollars).
It has special investment features that are offered through the premium version.
Personal Capital is serious about data encryption. It makes use of various ways to secure your data. It uses fraud protection and different authentication processes.
Its dashboard shows you a comprehensive look at your finances.
Personal Capital is generally a free tool. However, you can choose to take advantage of the premium version, with its focus on investment. When you do that, you must pay 0.89% of whatever financial assets you have. This is only applicable if your savings are less than a million dollars.
You get so much even in the free app. There is a strong investment slant, which emphasizes not only saving but also wealth building.
It provides a fee analyzer tool that examines your net worth.
Personal Capital also provides you with some helpful tools, such as Retirement and Education calculators/planners.
It does not allow you to manually enter transactions.
Personal Capital may not give you what you want if you are in it for the budgeting.
You will get calls from wealth management specialists.
This is a fairly new addition to the best budgeting apps list. Honeydue enables you and your partner to work on your financial accounts in one app. So, this is a budget tool best used by couples who want to have an economic future together.
If you and your partner see yourself as a long-term couple, you may want to make the most of Honeydue. You can integrate bank accounts (including credit cards), investments, and loans in one place. Even then, you can choose to share just some aspects – and not all.
HoneyDue allows you to set up categories for your spending.
It sets limits on your budgets and sends alerts when you or your partner is dangerously nearing that limit.
The app lets you send emojis and messages within a chat.
The app is completely free. It earns money from the interchange fees that may be needed since HoneyDue is dealing with two people’s accounts.
It is good for couples who are sharing resources and living together.
The app sends alerts for when you need to pay your bills.
You may open a joint account with your partner.
The monthly budget cannot be rolled over.
Spending analysis is limited, compared to some apps that focus on wealth building.
TrueBill is a neat little tracker. It offers so much, even as a free budget management app. The app seeks to save you a lot of money by tracking your expenses and negating some bills. However, you need to read the fine print to fully understand what you are getting yourself into.
TrueBill may be free, but you will be asked to pay 30% of your yearly savings from the app. So, you can take that as both a promise and a requirement.
It can negotiate on your behalf, using TrueProtect. This feature syncs a bill that you need to deal with its provider. After that, TrueProtect will arrange for you at any time. So, you may want to be careful and start with one provider and see how it works from there.
TrueBill is not only a budget tracker but it is also geared towards having you save money.
Though TrueBill is initially free, you may be tempted to move on to its premium version. The premium version can cost anywhere between $3 to $12 monthly.
You must pay 30% to 60% of your savings annually. This is considered to be the app’s success fee. So, while you may be happy to save $120 on your cable TV per year, you may have to shell out (0.3 x 120) = $36 as a lump sum to pay for that success.
TrueBill offers a lot of features even when it is free.
It uses bank-level encryption.
The tracker is user-friendly.
You can find all your recurring charges in one place.
Syncing is easy.
It offers bill negation.
The lump-sum success fee may take away from your feelings of accomplishment.
Some features are only available when you are paying for your premium subscription.
Clarity Money is a budget management app. However, it may seem more like a financial dashboard that offers your cash status instead of your friends’ updates. With everything found on one feed, you may prefer this app if you are constantly on the go. You can just click on a service provider to specifically find out how much you have spent on it.
It provides a quick and easy dashboard for you to check your updated financial status.
Clarity Money syncs with your accounts.
It can automatically set aside and deposit money for you to ensure the consistency of your savings.
Clarity Money is a free app. However, it will take a third of the savings that you make from using it.
It is great for those who want to check their finances on the go.
The app can automatically set aside money for you every month.
It helps you save money.
You must pay a third of your saved money.
Clarity Money does not work well as a regular budget management tool.
Prism Money is an award-winning free budget management app that helps you manage and pay your bills. It is a quick and efficient way of being constantly in control of your savings and expenses. The app also ensures that you pay your bills on time by syncing with your accounts. Some recent reviews, however, warn that this may not always be successful after some updates.
Prism Money does bill optimization and even accomplishes the payments for you.
It helps you set goals that you can work towards.
The app also provides you with some budgeting tips.
This is a free app, which makes it pretty popular.
It consolidates your payments. You do not have to visit several sites to see how much you have due for each service provider.
You get alerts and even automatic payments on your behalf.
It links to more service providers and banks compared to other apps.
The app is user-friendly.
Some users complain about not sending alerts that some service providers are no longer syncing with the app.
The app sometimes freezes, possibly during vital processes.
There is a service charge for each transaction.
It may go through a transaction even without specific authorization (as long as you have authorized it before).
Mvelopes is not just a device-based budgeting app, but it also has an online platform. From its very name, you can tell that it is using the envelope system. Because carrying actual envelopes with money is unsafe, it is better to use a digital version of the system. This is where Mvelopes comes in. It can manage your spending and track your accounts and payments.
Mvelopes has an unlimited number of envelopes that you can use.
It has a learning center wherein users can watch videos on money.
It limits spending for every “envelope” or spending category.
The app comes with a debt reduction feature, which helps you calculate how much you can set aside for payments every month.
There are three payment schemes that you can choose from. The Basic Plan costs $6 a month and offers you basic digital envelope services. The mid-tier plan, Premier, is at $9.95 a month. It offers debt reduction and other wealth-building services. However, you may want to take it up a notch with the Plus route, which costs $19.99 a month. This allows you to get VIP treatment from Mvelopes’ customer service team.
You have unlimited digital envelopes to work with.
It will automatically perform some of your transactions for you.
For Premium members, you will get coaching sessions and VIP treatment.
There is no completely free option.
You cannot sync with 5% of banks and institutions.
Its calculator tools may be too basic for a paid app.
The mobile and app service is paid. So, you get to handle your finances without getting bothered by ads. It is very similar to other top budget management apps, such as Mint. However, it allows you to add the whole family to the mix. You also track your spending and income and gain some insights on how best you should handle your finances.
Simplifi helps you establish your personal goals. How you will be directed depends on where you are in life and where you plan on heading.
You can sync any of 14000 financial institutions and service providers.
It works exactly how you want it to work, as a budget and spending tracker.
You can organize the accounts of up to six family members.
You can gain insight into where your money is going and how you can make a better budget.
After a free 30-day trial, you can choose to pay for the service at $3.99 monthly or $39.99 annually.
The app comes from a reputable and trustworthy company, Quicken.
You can integrate your financial needs all in one app.
You can customize your goals and limits.
Simplifi will remind you of your achievements.
You will not be plagued by annoying ads.
Live customer service support is not yet available.
There are still some chinks the developers are straightening up.
Wismo has all the features that you need in a typical budget management tool. It can also be availed of for free. However, you may also choose to get the premium version at a reasonable price.
It calculates your Personal Spending Index, which should alert you as to whether you are spending reasonably. A PSI of 100 means you spend all that you earn. A lower PSI means that you set some money aside.
Entries can be done quickly. You can even enter a picture of what you have spent money on.
Wismo makes use of high-quality data encryption for your top security needs.
It can add family members.
The basic app is free. However, you can also pay a monthly fee of $9.99 or a more committed $4.99 a month for a year to enjoy more features.
It has the added motivator of being socially connected.
The visuals are compelling.
The PSI score gives you a straightforward look at where you are financially.
This budget tool is an Artificial Intelligence-based platform that allows you to manage your finances. It not only lets you enter information on your income and expenses, but it also answers your questions regarding the status of your accounts.
It uses 256-bit SSL encryption to keep your data safe.
It links to your bank accounts for easy syncing.
It allows you to see your recurring accounts and spending habits.
It enables you to get rid of unnecessary expenses or to find lower-cost solutions.
It answers questions based on your current financial status.
It recommends some products that will help you reduce your expenses.
It is completely free. However, it does earn money from the products that it recommends.
Transactions are secure.
The app can save you a weekly average of $80.
Charlie is free.
It can assist you in your bill negotiations.
It does not let you focus on investment and wealth-building.
It is not much of a budgeting tool as you may expect it would be.
Consider Countabout as an improved version of some of the troublesome features of other applications, such as Mint and Quicken. It does not display ads, and it also does not set you back a fortune.
The app lets you export data in .CSV format.
It has simplified transaction reports.
Information display is pretty minimal.
You can avail of the product for free. However, you may also choose the premium version at $9.99 a month. The $39.99 a year membership will allow you to automatically add direct connections. You can avail of a 15-day free trial without entering your credit card details.
You can easily customized tags and categories.
Transactions can be tracked easily.
It can import data from Mint and Quicken.
It has no dashboard that can summarize your financial information.
Some features are available only at extra charges.
MoneyPatrol helps you budget by analyzing all the data that you enter. You enter your expenses and income. Then, you sync the app with your bank accounts. So, you don’t have to manually manage your budget.
It integrates your expenses and accounts in one place.
It provides a calendar view that shows you how you spent money for the month.
It monitors your spending trends.
It allows you to set goals.
The app also alerts you of any suspicious activity, possibly one that does not match your usual pattern.
The visual dashboard provides you with a clear look at your finances, as a whole.
MoneyPatrol costs $59 a year.
You get a free 15-day trial period to test how it works.
You can cancel at any time.
The app has a helpful and attractive dashboard.
You have to manually enter the first bits of information required.
There is an annual fee.
Apps head to head
Now that you have seen a quick review of each of the best budgeting apps out there, here are some common head to heads:
Nerdwallet versus Mint
Nerdwallet’s strength is its ability to help the user improve his credit score, but it does not have a good interface like Mint. However, Mint is the app to use if you want an integrated and well-synced financial app that focuses on budgeting.
TrueBill versus Mint
TrueBill and Mint are both competent apps. However, you may want to go for TrueBill if you’re going to reduce or cancel unnecessary expenses. Mint is better for staying true to your budget or investment plans.
GoodBudget versus Mint
Again, Mint is great if you have a fixed plan for your savings and budgeting. GoodBudget is recommended if you are planning to pay off some debts and consider future big events.
Goodbudget versus YNAB
The two have similar philosophies, but YNAB is for individuals while a whole household can share GoodBudget.
Clarity Money versus Mint
Mint is a competent app, but Clarity Money may give you some (well!) clarity in its ability to integrate all the tools you need in one place.
Honeydue versus Mint
Again, both Honeydue and Mint are capable of consolidating accounts and expenses. However, Honeydue is recommended to couples, while Mint is mostly an individual account-based platform.
Wallet versus Mint
Mint is a more detailed service as it alerts you to upcoming payments that must be made. It also efficiently consolidates accounts.
Goodbudget versus Mint
Here, Mint is compared to Goodbudget, which has the capacity of being a full household app.
PocketGuard versus Mint
Mint is more of a traditional budgeting app, albeit richly featured, while PocketGuard is interested in growing your savings.
Prism Money versus Mint
Mint is higher ranked than Prism Money for a reason. It can handle more accounts at the same time. You don’t have to manually enter everything all the time.
Budget Simple versus Mint
BudgetSimple and Mint are both free. However, BudgetSimple is focused on where you can cut costs and save money. Mint, on the other hand, is packed with helpful features such as account syncing.
Simplifi versus Mint
Mint and Simplifi are similar. However, the latter is a paid service that allows you to add your family to the same account.
YNAB versus Mint
These two budget tools are both popular among their audiences. However, YNAB is one of the most expensive options out there, while you can get top-notch service with free Mint.
Personal Capital versus YNAB
In the hands of their respective target audiences, Personal Capital and YNAB can work very well. However, Personal Capital is not just about providing a competitive budget tracker. It is also interested in wealth building. Moreover, it may not charge service fees like YNAB, but it takes a success fee percentage for money saved.
Mint versus Mvelopes
With Mint, the emphasis is on being a trustworthy budgeting assistant while syncing various accounts. Mvelopes is all about making the different envelopes scheme a digital one.
There are several great budgeting apps out there. The best thing that you should do is to find the top five best tools that you cannot live without. Then, you can compare and contrast them. Which can fit into your budget? After all, it does not make sense to choose a service that will break the bank. Your ideal app is meant to make things easier for you.
״The secret of happiness, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less״ - Socrates
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