12 Best Budgeting Apps (Compared)

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Updated: 30th Jun 2020
Written by Drew Cheneler
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The best budgeting apps allow you to easily manage your bills, track your spending, track your net worth, and hold you accountable. As we all know, budgeting is the foundation of managing your personal finance. Whither you are a hard-working individual or retired, budgeting is what ensures you live a financially secure life.

Some budget friendly apps focus on trimming your monthly bills, while others focuses on tracking your annual spending. One will even send you personalized text messages to hold you accountable of your overspending. Before you partner with one of the best budgeting apps, it is important for you to know the details about each one.

Best Budget Planning Apps and Tools to use today to manage your finances

There are plenty of budgeting apps vying for your allegiance, making the selection process confusing and time-consuming. However, our team tested them all and found the best of the best. To help you sift through the details, we compiled the best budgeting apps into an easy to read side-by-side comparison. Backed by hours of research, these are the results. Let’s dive in!

The best budgeting apps allow you to easily manage your bills, track your spending, track your net worth, and hold you accountable. As we all know, budgeting is the foundation of managing your personal finance. Whither you are a hard-working individual or retired, budgeting is what ensures you live a financially secure life.

Some budget friendly apps focus on trimming your monthly bills, while others focuses on tracking your annual spending. One will even send you personalized text messages to hold you accountable of your overspending. Before you partner with one of the best budgeting apps, it is important for you to know the details about each one.

There are plenty of budgeting apps vying for your allegiance, making the selection process confusing and time-consuming. However, our team tested them all and found the best of the best. To help you sift through the details, we compiled the best budgeting apps into an easy to read side-by-side comparison. Backed by hours of research, these are the results. Let’s dive in!

At A Glimpse: 12 Top Budgeting Apps 

  • Personal Capital: Best for Tracking Net Worth & Investors
  • Trim: Best for Lowering & Negotiating Bills
  • Simple: Best Budgeting App with a Bank
  • You Need A Budget (YNAB): Best for Zero-Based Budgeting
  • PocketGuard: Best for ‘Accountability’
  • Mint: Best for Free Credit Score
  • Money Patrol: Best for Education
  • Honeydue: Best Budgeting App for Couples
  • PocketSmith: Best for Budget Friendly Calendars
  • Charlie: Best for Saving Money
  • Mvelopes: Best for People who use Cash
  • Goodbudget: Best App for Envelope Budgeting

The 12 Best Budgeting Apps

1. Personal Capital

Best for Investors & Tracking Net Worth

Personal Capital: A budgeting App that allows you to track your net worth and spending habits

Source: Personalcapital.com

What We Like:

  • In-depth net worth tracker, which tracks your monthly bills, spending, credit cards, loans, mortgages, checking, and investments
  • Robust tools to help you plan and achieve a secure retirement
  • Offers users a complete investment advisory service

Price: Free!

Founded in 2009, Personal Capital has attracted a legion of raving fans. With $12.3 billion assets under management, 22,000+ investment clients nationwide, and 2.4+ million individuals who rely on their intuitive budgeting platform, Personal Capital knows a thing or two when it comes to planning your financial future.

Personal Capital provides you a holistic view of your current financial state. Their powerful budgeting software will help guide you in the right direction as you save for retirement, finance a home, or pay off any outstanding debt. Here is the deal, Personal Capital allows you to connect all of your financial accounts into their mobile application or desktop feature, so you can get a crystal clear picture of where your money is at. With this information, they will help you craft an unbeatable budget, so you can start saving more money than you thought was possible. Best part, Personal Capital is completely free!

Want to Learn More? Check out our Personal Capital Review.

2. Trim

Best for Negotiating & Lowering Bills

Trim: One of the best free budgeting apps for you to download.

Source: Trim.com

What We Like:

  • Thoroughly analyzes your spending patterns to identify actionable ways for you to save money
  • Automatically negotiates cable, internet, phone, and medical bills
  • Will identify and cancel old subscriptions that are still taking money away from your hard-earned paycheck

Price: Free

Powered by artificial intelligence, Trim is a premiere budgeting app that is designed to negotiate your bills to a more affordable rate and help you identify gaps in your budget. With Trim you can expect to save money and know exactly what you spend money on.

Trim also offers their members a lucrative 4.0% annualized bonus on your first $2,000 that you save through their high yield saving account. Apart from their standard negotiations, Trim will also negotiate with your bank or credit card provider to lower your interest rates (APRs), waive fees, or even get refunds on select fees. As they tout, just last month Trim saved its members more than $1,000,000.

Interested? Check our our Trim Review.

3. Simple

Best Budget App Tied to A Reputable Bank

Best Bank Budgeting App

Source: Simple.com

What We Like:

  • More than just a budgeting app, it is a full-servicing bank account
  • Automatic budget builder that helps you set aside money for recurring expenses
  • Set Financial goals and let Simple let you know when you are close to hitting your goal or are straying away from it

Price: Free

Combining both your bank and budgeting experience, Simple is hands down one of the best apps you can download today. If you are looking for a new checking or saving account, then Simple should be at the top of your list. With everything consolidated into one mobile app, it makes it easy for you to manage and monitor your money.

With no fees, Simple tracks your spending and income on a routine basis. Simple’s built-in features, you will know exactly what you are spending money on. However, my favorite part is how it operates as both a bank and a budgeting app, because together it saves you time and keeps you from worrying about updating your monthly budget.

4. You Need A Budget

Best for Zero-Based Budgeting

YNAB: Your one stop solution to all of your budgeting app concerns

Source: Youneedabudget.com

What We Like:

  • Award Winning Budgeting App
  • Average user saves $6,000 their first year!
  • Hands-on software that helps you learn and prioritize your budget

Price:

  • 34 Day Free Trial Then $11.99/Month Or $84/Year. Students Get 12 Months for Free

You Need A Budget is an award-winning budgeting app. Since its creating, YNAB has helped countless of Americans prioritize their budget, overcome debt, and truly learn how to master their personal finances.

Though there is a monthly fee, YNAB is well worth the upfront investment, because they help you a detailed and hands-on budget that is derives from your monthly income. As they tout, YNAB is designed to change your life for the better, and their customer testimonials reveal it does just that.

Regardless if you are an individual or a couple, YNAB allows you to connect your bank accounts, manually or automatically enter routine expenses, structure a debt pay off plan, and so much more. You Need A Budget is designed to be a one-stop solution, and their intuitive mobile app and website do just that. Aside from the awesome budget software the employ, YNAB also ensures you learn first-hand how to create a budget and what to look out for.

Want to Learn More? Check out our YNAB Review.

5. Pocket Guard

Helpful If You Need to Be Held Accountable

An Accountable Budgeting App that will make sure you save money.

What We Like:

  • Designed for Millennials
  • Easy-to-use and perfected so you can manage your budget completely from your mobile device
  • Put your budget on autopilot so you no longer have to constantly update or take time reviewing it.

Price:

  • Free. Also Has A Plan For $3.99/Month for PocketGuard Plus.

Designed for simplicity, PocketGuard is a great option for those who are new to budgeting or have never made a budget before. With their intuitive design and budgeting software, PocketGuard allows you to easily link all of your financial accounts so you can track your spending, find ways to save money, and know when it is safe to spend money.

The main selling point with PocketGuard is their ability to tell you exactly what money you have to spend after it accounts for your monthly bills, previous spending habits, and upcoming expenses. The app is beautifully designed and incredibly easy-to-use. Not to mention, it should only take you about five to ten minutes to sign-up and get started.

6. Mint

Enjoy A Free Credit Score

A robust budgeting tool to help you manage your money.

Source: Mint.com

What We Like:

  • Complimentary free credit score that updates routinely. Mint allows you to track your credit score overtime and monitor it for any issues.
  • Set up automated alerts so you never miss a monthly payment again
  • Effortlessly create tailored budgets that aligns with your financial goals

Price: Free

Owned by Intuit, Mint was a pioneer in the budgeting app space. With over 20+ million users, Mint makes it easy for you to enjoy a high-level view of your personal finances. Whither you want to set spending limits, set up alerts so you never miss a payment, or track your spending, Mint allows you to do just that from your fingertips.

The biggest lure to Mint is the free credit scores and credit monitoring they provide to their users. Gone are the days where you must pay for an updated credit report, Mint allows you to view your credit score every day for free. If you are looking for a thorough budgeting platform, then Mint certainly warrants consideration.

Related: Personal Capital vs. Mint

7. Money Patrol

Provides Robust Educational Resources

Money Patrol - One of the top budgeting apps currently on the market

Source: Moneypatrol.com

What We Like:

  • Supports over 15,000 Financial Institutions, so connecting your accounts is painless
  • Enjoy weekly, monthly, and yearly summaries of your spending habits
  • Know detailed information about your credit usage: Balances, Payments Due, Interest Rates, and More

Price:

  • 15 Day Free Trial. $7/Month Or $84/Year

Money Patrol relies on hard data to help you make sense of your money. Reviewing your transactions, credit usage, investment holdings, and spending habits, Money Patrol helps you identify your weaknesses and craft a custom-tailored budget to get you on the right track.

Through their user-friendly and technologically advanced application, Money Patrol helps you truly understand where you are spending money and what you can do to save more. They will even send you text messages and easy-to-read email alerts about potential spending problems and detailed insights. Aside from your transactions, Money Patrol allow you to track your student loans, investment accounts, business accounts, mortgages, and loans. With Money Patrol you will take control over your finances and chart a new path towards financial security.

8. Honeydue

Best Budgeting App For Couples

The best budgeting app for couples.

Source: Honeydue.com

What We Like:

  • Supports 20,000+ Financial Institutions that span over 5 countries
  • Automatic bill reminders so you and your significant other never miss a payment
  • Compatible for both Apple & Android devices
  • The best budgeting app for couples. Hands down!

Price: Free!

Honeydue is the premiere budgeting app for couples. With Honeydue you no longer have to argue or bring up financial situations over a family meal. Instead, you both can collaborate and remain transparent through Honeydue, which tracks your spending and provides a holistic overview of your money.

The best part about Honeydue is that couples can communicate through the platform. With a built-in chat feature, partners can easily ask one another what a recent transaction was used for or to see if the transaction represents potential fraud activity. Fret not, if you and your significant other prefer privacy then Honeydue allows you to do just that. With a quick tap of the finger, Honeydue will only disclose account balances vice every specific transaction. Regardless, if you and your couple are struggling to monitor your finances and work as a team, then Honeydue is a great solution to your problem.

9. Pocketsmith

Best for Using Calendars

A top budgeting app that helps track side hustles, and extra streams of income.

Source: Pocketsmith.com

What We Like:

  • Easily schedule all expenses and monthly bills in a user-friendly calendar
  • Robust financial model to help you test out ‘what-if scenarios’
  • Provides accurate future predictions of account balances (up to 30 years in advanced)
  • Break budget down into periods: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, & Annually so you know exactly where your money is at

Price & Plans:

  • Basic: Free
  • Premium: $9.95/Month
  • Super: $19.95/Month

Pocketsmith is one of the top budgeting apps on the market. Even though the price is a bit steep, they provide you the necessary tools and user-interface needed to manage your money responsibly. The biggest draw to this top budgeting app is their nifty tool that allows you to test specific financial situations. With each different financial situation that you test, such as buying a house, PocketSmith will help you take out the uncertainty, make an accurate decision, and lower your overall risk.

Aside from their financial forecasting, PocketSmith also has a built in calendar function that allows you to view your expenses either daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. You can customize the calendar to include target dates, set financial goals, and more. And, if you have multiple income streams (real estate, airbnb, side hustle, ect), PocketSmith has built in features to help you monitor these as well.

10. Charlie

Sends Personalized Texts About Your Spending

Charlie is a premiere free budgeting app that makes managing your finances easy and enjoyable

Source: hicharlie.com

What We Like:

  • Built in feature that ensures you get the best deals on all of your bills: Cable, Utilities, and more.
  • Sends you text messages about your spending, and allows you to set financial goals, such as saving for vacation or for a home
  • Will make sure you avoid all overdraft or late fees

Price: Free

Rather than operating as a standard budget app, Charlie brings life to your financial situation. Once you sign-up, Charlie will essentially act as another phone contact, which means you can send and receive text messages from Charlie. With Charlie you can track your spending, set financial goals, lower your bills, and check for surprise fees. All you have to do is send Charlie a specific message with a question or request, and the team at Charlie will get right to work helping you make the most of your money.

As you can see, Charlie is one heck of a futuristic budgeting app. In fact, it is the only budgeting app that you directly interact with as if they were a real person. It is no wonder they have attracted a legion of die-hard fans, Charlie makes managing your finances and creating a budget fun and interactive, so you know exactly what you are doing with your money.

11. Mvelopes

Well Suited for Those Who Use Cash

Best Budgeting App for cash style budgeting

Source: Mvelopes.com

What We Like:

  • Put cash in an envelope which represents a specific category. Allows you to track every dollar
  • Connect to unlimited financial accounts
  • Real-time budgeting so you know exactly what you can afford

Price: 

Enjoy a complimentary One-Month Free Trial then the prices…

  • Basic: $6/Month
  • Plus: $19/Month
  • Complete: $59/Month

If you are still a prudent user of cash, then Mvelopes is the perfect match for you to manage your budget digitally. With mvelopes you assign each envelope a specific category and fill it with cash, so you can see exactly what you spend your money on. Fret not, an account with mvelopes comes with live chat support, interactive reports, account monitoring, auto transaction important and synching, and so much more. The Plus and Complete plans come with a Personal Finance Trainer, debt reduction tools, 1-on-1 setup assistance, and the premiere mvelopes learning center.

While mvelopes does cost money, it has satisfied thousands of customers and will continue to do so as they roll out exclusive features to help you make the most of your money. Whither you are looking for debt reduction tools, a simple way to monitor your money, or would like to tap into an elite personal finance trainer, mvelopes is able to help you hit your weekly, monthly, and annual financial goals.

12. Goodbuget

Best App for Envelope Budgeting

The Best financial tool for envelope style budgeting.

Source: Goodbudget.com

What We Like:

  • The budgeting software you need to plan for big purchases and expenses
  • Robust tools to help you pay off debt and learn
  • A time-tested envelope budgeting system to help you manage your finances

Price:

  • Free or for Plus is is $7/Month

As one of the newest budgeting apps, Goodbuget is a user-friendly program that allows you to create an envelope budgeting system, pay off debt, save money, and share your budget with your significant other. Compatible with both Android and Apple devices, Goodbudget is well suited for couples that share their finances.

With Goodbuget, you can create 10 envelopes for free. It is important to note, that envelopes are essentially categories, so you can easily track your money throughout the month and identify what category you spend the most in. This top budgeting app allows you to input your income and synch your financial accounts. Goodbuget is a great app if you want a holistic and detailed overview of your current finances.

How To Choose The Best Budgeting App

As you can see, there are multiple top budgeting apps to choose from; however, to truly find the perfect budgeting app you need to tap into the free trial periods that most of the apps offer to new users. After all, this is an important decision to make, and experiencing each budget app first-hand is a great way to ensure you make the best possible choice.

Also, you want to choose an app that will help you set financial goals, track every financial account, and offers a great user experience. Those who have multiple financial accounts, are serious, and want a long-term holistic view of your finances, then Personal Capital is your best choice. Again, testing out each app is the best way to choose the best budgeting app.

Top Budgeting Apps: What to Look Out For

While using a budgeting app comes with numerous perks, there are also a few things you need to look out for.

Technology Errors

While this is usually avoided for most users, some still experience the mobile application messing up from time-to-time. Remember, these apps are all powered by artificial intelligence and complex algorithms, which need time to truly understand your spending habits. However, the longer you stick around the more accurate and detailed results they will provide, so please give it time to feel the full effect.

Account Setup

While it should only take you about five to ten minutes to create an account, it does take some time for the budget apps to sync and connect with your financial accounts. But this is common and a good thing due to all of the security measures both the financial institutions and budgeting apps implement.

Excessive Notifications

As you can imagine, each app will send you periodic (daily, weekly, monthly, & annually) updates about your budget. They are designed to help you track your spending and make the most of your money, but some users get sick of the constant notifications. Fortunately, each app allows you to customize your notification preference, so there is no reason to let this hold you back or give up.  

Is It Safe to Use A Budgeting App?

Yes! A budgeting app employs robust security practices in order to protect your financial information. All apps usually use 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication.

Summary: Best Budgeting Apps

If you are looking for a quick solution to your financial budget problems, then using a budget app is a great opportunity. These apps are all designed to help you track your finances, limit your spending, and create an easy-to-follow budget. Regardless if you use a free or paid budgeting app, you are going to be well on your way towards financial freedom!

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.