Needless to say, managing your monthly budget isn’t as much fun as blowing it unless you have one of the best budget apps to make it easier. If you’re looking for a way to keep track of your money and increase your wealth, the solution may be in your smartphone. The best budget apps help you track your finances, get out of debt and save money with ease. With the New Year just around the corner, we’ve rounded up the 6 Best budget apps and tools for 2019.
The 6 Best Budget Apps
Mint is no newcomer in the world of budget apps. This multi-platform financial app was designed by the reputable financial software company Intuit Inc., the makers of Quickbooks and Turbo Tax. Mint has been around since 2007. Many financial experts regard Mint to be the best budget app.
The app takes the work out of making a monthly budget. With a single dashboard, Mint can show you an entire financial picture – all your money, bills and investments, debts, assets, credit score and retirement. With Mint, you’ll have an accurate and comprehensive picture of where your money is going. This all-in-one resource lets you generate a monthly budget and track your bills to help you avoid living paycheck to paycheck.
To keep track of your money, the app requires you to connect your credit cards, bank accounts, loans, and investments. The sync capabilities mean that you will be able to receive automatic updates on your finances every time you log into the app.
Since this post is about the best budget apps, we will focus on the budget section. Based on your spending and suggestions across your accounts, mint automatically creates a customized budget. It reminds you when bills are due, how much you owe and what you can afford to pay. In the event that your account/s is overdrawn, you will receive an email notification.
Unlike most budget apps, Mint shows your real-time credit score to give you a bigger picture view of your personal finances and budget. The app utilizes the same security as banks, meaning your personal details are safe and secure.
Mint is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
If you’ve tried to create a monthly budget with an app before, you might have been demotivated along the way as doing it yourself exposes you to the harsh reality of your finances. No one wants to know how much money they don’t have. Having an app track your finances and show you how to manage your finances better takes care of this problem. That’s where YNAB comes in. YNAB used to be available for desktop only, but the growing popularity forced the team behind it to develop apps for smartphones and tablets.
After trying out a couple of these budgeting apps when I was creating my budget, I was particularly impressed by YNAB. The app is unlike any other budgeting app I’ve come across before. It has an open-ended setup and an educational approach that guides you through the budgeting process. The app also does helpful math and gives you some useful insights via occasional automated tip emails that make the process look simple. To learn budgeting basics, YNAB’s online classes with a live instructor will come in handy.
The app will require you to allocate all the money you bring in. It is built around the ‘every dollar has a job’ principle. YNAB doesn’t let you come up with a budget around money you don’t have. By dividing expenses by category and living within your means, you will be in a good position to make better-informed decisions. If it’s your first time using the YNAB app, you will love the easy setup and automatic bank and credit cards syncs. If you don’t want to share your bank and credit card login credentials with YNAB, no problem. You can manually upload your CVS files.
The only downside to YNAB is that you will need to cough up $6.99/month billed annually at $83.99, but that’s a small price to pay considering the amount you will save during that period. Besides, you will receive a 34-day free trial to decide whether or not to pay for the app. Students get up to a full year trial period.
YNAB is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
If you are willing to switch banks, then you should try the Simple smartphone app. Many banks have joined the apps craze, but no bank has such a practical, well-designed and useful tool like this one. Simple is a fast-growing online bank with checking accounts and debit cards. Simple is a full-fledged commercial bank with FDIC insurance.
With this free budget app, keeping track of money will be more fun. It takes the chore out of budgeting and turns it into a routine. This is how the budget app works: anytime you feel like splurging, you can check the app to see how much money is safe to spend. The integrated budgeting tools in Simple effectively classifies all your debit card purchases and gives you immediate transaction alerts. The prompts show you where all your money is going and makes you reconsider your spending habits. This way, you will not be distracted from your long-term saving goals.
The app also lets you set different ‘Goals’ based on your income and what you would like to save in the long-term. Saving goals can range from gifting yourself the latest 65” Plasma TV to an upcoming vacation. Breaking your budget into categories (utilities, rent, groceries, etc.) will help you effectively plan for future spending.
The only catch with Simple besides switching banks is that you will need to put most of your spending on your Simple Debit card.
Simple is available on Both Android and iOS platforms.
If you want a straightforward, yet a streamlined view of your current expenses and savings at any given time, you should try PocketGuard. As the name suggests, the app does what it says- guarding your pockets by taking the drudgery out of keeping track of your money. It lets you link and syncs your credit cards, checking and savings accounts, and loans. This way, you can get a general idea of your entire financial picture at a glance.
PocketGuard also allows you to break down your expenses into various categories like rent, utilities, entertainment, eating out, etc. PocketGuard can scrutinize subscriptions from TV, phones and internet companies and suggest better deals. After taking care of bills and setting aside some money for savings, the ‘In My Pocket’ feature gathers info from all your linked accounts to show you the exact amount of money available to spend. PocketGuard connects to Apple Watch and the app goes for $3.99/month or $34.99/year.
PocketGuard is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
If you are a fan of financial podcasts, then you might have heard of Dave Ramsey, a personal finance guru and radio host who is also the brains behind EveryDollar. EveryDollar allows you to create and adjust your monthly budget in minutes then track your spending against the budget.
This app has a simple layout that is both practical and beginner-friendly. All you need to do is to set up your monthly budget and your income at the top. You need to include all the expenses you expect in that period.
To make things easier, EveryDollar syncs to your bank accounts to save you from entering transactions manually. To use this fantastic feature, you’ll need to upgrade to EveryDollar Plus at the cost of $99/year. The price may appear unnecessarily high, but you will get your $99 back in no time. The fact that you paid for the premium version will compel you to ensure you use the app.
The drop and drag functionality allow you to view your transactions and drag them to a category of your choice.
EveryDollar is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
Our list would not be complete without mentioning Honeyfi. A new entrant in the budget apps world, Honeyfi is targeted towards couples. This simple-to-use app is built around collaborating budgeting and helps millennials to start their money journey together. With Honeyfi, it will no longer be ‘my budget’ but rather ‘our budget’. It features useful money management tools customized for young couples. Standout features include adding comments, tagging transactions and creating categories.
In our previous post on money problems, we highlighted how money is the leading cause of relationship arguments and divorce in the United States. Honeyfi helps take the financial stress out of your relationships with its ability to split expenditure between spending categories. The app will send alerts to both parties after every transaction. The commenting functionality means you can share your thoughts about a particular purchase.
The only disadvantage of using Honeyfi is that it currently doesn’t accept all major credit cards or bank accounts which makes keeping track of your money with this app a little challenging. But the developers are working to change this.
Final Thoughts On How To Keep Track Of Your Money
The ultimate goal of using a budgeting app is to keep track of money successfully – spend less money than you earn. Your bank account balance will determine whether or not you can afford a home, live comfortably or be able to retire. The best budget app will import and classify transactions for you, and the background calculations in these budget apps will help you figure out trends and averages. YNAB helped me get started with creating my monthly budget and got me back on track with my finances. Once I understood my monthly budget, everything fell into place.
Whether you are a parent or a student, our picks are flexible enough to fit various financial situations and priorities. Think about the features that are most important to you and begin your journey towards financial freedom today. As you will soon come to realize, just being able to keep track of your money will have a significant effect on your spending and saving habits.