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.
Most Popular Budgeting App: Mint
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.