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9 best budgeting apps of 2021

Most of us want to spend less and save more, but our daily commitments can make it almost impossible to track and manage our spending. Budgeting apps will make your life easier by managing your finances, savings, and investments. If you’re looking for budgeting apps to use, we’ve compiled a list of apps we’ve tried and tested ourselves to be the best ones available.

Budgeting apps you should try in 2021

App name
Best for
Pricing
 
Mint
Best for credit monitoring and budgeting
Free
YNAB
Best for zero-based budgeting
Free trial only
PocketGuard
Best for simplified budgeting, easy to use
Free (in-app purchases)
Honeydue
Best for couple budgeting
Free
Personal Capital
Best for tracking overall wealth, investments, and spending
Free (in-app purchases)

Mint: Best for credit monitoring and budgeting

Mint Budgeting App

Sign up for Mint

Mint will track and categorize all your transactions, making it easier for you to plan your finances accordingly. You can track all your bills on the go and identify suspicious transactions on your linked accounts.

Features

  • Budget and track your expenses: Track what you’re spending your money on from day to day. Whenever you’re about to cross your set budget, you’ll receive an alert. You will also receive reminders for upcoming payments.
  • Track your credit scores: Mint recently rolled out this feature to allow its users to monitor credit scores with ease. You can also view other data like the age of credit accounts or payment history.
  • Create and manage goals: The goal tracking and management feature is a prominent feature you’ll find helpful. Set specific budgeting goals and determine how they can be met, for example, settling your credit card debt or saving for an important asset
  • You can use Mint on the web or mobile devices: Select the platform of your choice, and all data from your account will be synced across your devices.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Receive alerts via SMS or email for your transaction summaries
  • Keep track of your credit score
  • Set budgeting goals and track how close you are to achieving them
  • Set up two-factor authentication during login to prevent unauthorized access

Cons

  • Some users have complained of synchronization problems.
  • No investing features
  • It cannot import from Quicken
  • Miny cannot be used to pay bills

YNAB: Best for zero-based budgeting

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

Sign up to YNAB

YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a hands-on tool to manage your monthly spending. It’s designed on a zero-based budgeting system that allows you to plan for every penny you’ve earned and track how it’s being spent.

Feature

  • Real-time tracking of your finances: YNAB allows you to link all your accounts and receive real-time updates for your spending
  • Proactive Security: YNAB will secure your data on all devices
  • Ease of use: YNAB is very user friendly – it can be used by beginners who are using budgeting apps for the first time
  • Good data export: YNAB offers better data export than most budgeting apps

Pros

  • YNAB will show you how to budget in a very user-friendly way
  • Excellent support
  • It comes with a free trial
  • It ensures that you’re prepared to live on the last month’s income

Cons

  • YNAB is not free to use but has a free trial
  • Some users have complained of lag when using YNAB
  • It does not support features for tracking investments
  • No automatic transaction downloads

PocketGuard: Best for simplified budgeting, easy to use

PocketGuard

Sign up to PocketGuard

PocketGuard is a powerful app that can help you manage your spending, lower expenses and create a budget. In addition, you can monitor unauthorized and unwanted charges with ease. It’s available on both Android and iOS stores but only available for users living in the U.S and Canada.

Features

  • Link your accounts: You can link credit cards, bank accounts, loans, and investment accounts, and your financial spending will be displayed for easy analysis from day to day.
  • Track spending in real-time: All transactions will be updated in real-time so that you can take note of where your money is and how it’s being spent
  • Know where to spend: Know what is left after your bills are paid. Taking note of leftover money will help you spend and save wisely.
  • Budgeting on autopilot: The app can set up a personalized budget based on your goals, income, and the expenses you regularly pay
  • Identify ways you can save: PocketGuard can help you save in different ways, such as negotiating lower bills.

Pros

  • Includes a free to use version
  • You can set a spending limit
  • Track all your cash transactions
  • Set your budget tracking on autopilot

Cons

  • It’s a free app, but some more advanced features are only available in the premium version.
  • Only available for use on mobile devices; no web/browser version is available.
  • They use your financial information to display ads and send you emails with offers and products.
  • No phone support

Honeydue: Best for couple budgeting

Honeydue

Sign up to Honeydue

Honeydue allows couples to budget and spend their shared income wisely. You and your partner can see financial transactions in the app, including credit cards, bank accounts, investments, and even loans. You decide on what you want each other to see and can categorize your individual expenses automatically.

Features

  • Shared budget and transactions: Share your finances with your partner; each partner can have their own budget and can spend only from their account if they wish, or you can share the full account.
  • Shared expense calendar: There is a calendar for bill reminders located in the notification section. You can select the bills you want to receive reminders for.
  • Shared Checking accounts: You and your partner can have a joint checking account; it comes with a cash visa card that can be locked at any time.

Pros

  • The full version is free to use
  • Easily share your transactions and budget with your partner
  • Set up bill reminders
  • Create a joint checking account

Cons

  • Available on mobile devices only
  • It doesn’t have a rollover budget option
  • Limited spending analysis.

Personal Capital: Best for tracking overall wealth, investments, and spending

Personal Capital

Sign up to Personal Capital

Personal Capital is an investment tool, but the free tool also allows users to track their spending. You will be able to connect and track your savings, checking, and credit card accounts. You can also monitor your 401ks, IRAs, loans, and mortgages.

Features

  • Track your actual wealth: Since it has access to your overall wealth, it can deduct based on your spending and reveal your net worth.
  • Budgeting: Plan your spending based on your weekly, monthly, or yearly income. You also get suggestions based on different budgeting rules provided, such as the 50-30-20 rule.
  • Savings planner: With personal capital, you don’t need to hire any financial advisor; you can use the app to calculate how much you need for emergencies or retirement.
  • Track your investments and spending: you can manage your investments and portfolios with ease. At the same time, get a detailed analysis of where you’re spending your money.

Pros

  • Free to use tools
  • Includes a Net Worth calculator
  • The best budgeting app for tracking your investments
  • Good data analysis
  • It acts as an online financial advisor
  • Includes real-time reporting

Cons

  • Personal Capital comes with high fees if you want access to human advisors
  • You will need manual tracking with the free app for managing your spending
  • You have to take some risks

Goodbudget: Best for shared envelope budgeting

Goodbudget

Sign up to Goodbudget

Goodbudget comes with an envelope system where you can categorize your monthly income into different sections, and multiple users and devices can access the same account at a time.

Features

  • Easy to use: It’s a straightforward app anyone can use to budget their finances with ease
  • It’s affordable: With the free plan, you can access the basic features, and the paid plan they offer is relatively low-priced compared to competitors.
  • Multiple device support: The free option offers two devices support while the paid plan offers up to five devices support
  • Envelope budgeting: At the beginning or end of each month, divide your income into “envelopes”, each corresponding to a spending category (e.g. food, rent, or bills), which allows you to better track and set limits to how much you spend on specific items.
  • Get advanced reports and graphs: When using GoodBudget, you receive a clear view of your spending and the progress you’re making towards your goals with their advanced daily reports and graphs.
  • Multiple user support: For couples that want to budget and monitor finances together, Goodbudget is a great option

Pros 

  • Includes a free version
  • The whole family can access it (two in the free plan)
  • Transfer funds between your set envelopes
  • Get a full report based on each envelope, payee, and more
  • Very intuitive and easy to use interface
  • Offers the option to import transaction statements from your bank
  • Excellent user reviews on app stores

Cons

  • The free plan has limits
  • Manual logging is required (it’s not automated)
  • Financial accounts aren’t synced; you have to import each account manually
  • Can’t track investments

EveryDollar: Best app for planning future purchases

EveryDollar

Sign up to EveryDollar

EveryDollar is another excellent budgeting app for planning future purchases and also track your current spending. It’s also a zero-budget-based app similar to YNAB. The free version has limitations; you’ll have to enter your transactions manually when you spend your money. EveryDollar is ideal for someone that’s looking for simplicity and basic features of budgeting apps.

Features

  • Settle all your debts using the snowball method
  • Save up to 15% for your retirement
  • Settle your house payment
  • Save up to six months of past expenses
  • Create a college fund for your kids

Pros

  • Includes a free version
  • Ideal for budgeting
  • Easy to use – perfect for anyone looking for simplicity in their budgeting apps
  • Includes Dave Ramsey’s steps on how to pay off your debts
  • Get expert advice on finance topics

Cons

  • The free version has limited features, while the paid version is more expensive than its competitors.
  • It cannot be used to track investments.
  • It can only sync your bank accounts with the paid version

Simplifi: A nifty budgeting and personal finance app

Simplifi

Sign up to Simplifi

Simplifi is a personal finance app for managing cash flow, and you get a view of all your finances under one roof. In addition, it comes with a simplified budgeting feature called the “Spending plan,” which allows users to track their income, daily spending, and fixed bills.

Features

  • Planned Spending: This will forecast your income and fixed income not to overspend your monthly income.
  • Enhanced reporting: Simplifi offers to filter your spending reports based on the chosen category; you can know how much is spent on groceries, Amazon, bills, or leisure. You’ll also be able to compare your finances to previous months.
  • Watchlist: This allows you to focus and control how much you are spending on a particular purchase, for example, in a certain restaurant. Setting up a watch list will help you not exceed the limit if you are spending problematically in a certain category or venue.

Pros

  • It comes with comprehensive goal tracking and spending tracker tools
  • You can personalize the app for your own finances
  • Targeted budgeting capabilities like using keywords to track specific spending

Cons

  • It does not include a free version
  • Most investment tracking options aren’t available.
  • A credit score isn’t available.
  • It does not send you spending alerts (for example, for exceeding a certain spending limit)

Zeta: Budgeting and spending app for couples

Zeta

Sign up to Zeta

Zeta is a free app that helps couples manage finances together. It doesn’t matter whether they live together or not; married, engaged, new parents or divorced couples can use this app to track their spending towards particular goals, such as house or college funds.

Features

  • Bill splits: It’s designed for couples that want to share bills. They can track who owes the other, and so on. It’s ideal for monitoring child care costs or any other spending shared between them.
  • Bill calendar: This feature allows you both to see upcoming bills. This way, both partners will know their financial obligations and share the bill’s expenses.
  • Setup saving goals: Set up shared or individual savings goals, and track how far you are to achieving these goals.
  • Use memos with your purchases: Memos are used to let your partner know what you spent the money on. For example, if you made an Amazon purchase, you could add a message saying, “Birthday gift for Michael.”

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Online banking option for couples
  • Shared savings and spending goals
  • Very easy to use (suitable for less technology-savvy users)
  • Includes a very straightforward process to split expenses
  • They have a very responsive customer support team

Cons

  • There are no high-end budgeting or investment options
  • Only available for users in the U.S and Canada.

Frequently asked questions about budgeting apps

Is your financial information safe with budgeting apps?

Generally speaking, budgeting apps are safe to use as those apps are authorized (by yourself, the user) to track your financial data. However, the drawback to this is that some of the budgeting apps track your spending and display ads according to your financial spending. As with any other financial app, make sure you use a strong password to manage your account and not share your credentials with anyone else. If possible, always set up two-factor authentication to ensure full security when using your budgeting apps.

Should you trust investment advice from budgeting apps?

Some apps will analyze your personal finance and then offer financial advice – you have to be careful when using the advice presented to you. Make sure to seek professional help before investing your hard-earned money anywhere, and always do your due diligence when investing.

Stephen is a Fintech expert with an interest in stock, commodity, and crypto trading. He loves researching the future of financial technology and works in the risk and compliance field. He also runs his own blog, where he discusses his own investment views. He was an early bitcoin investor (since 2013).

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