Best Budgeting Apps of 2022

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If you have trouble budgeting your money, you’re not alone. Creating a budget can be overwhelming, and sticking to a budget isn’t easy — especially if it’s your first time working with one.

A budget is an important personal finance tool. It helps you keep track of your money and allows you to create a personal financial plan that works for you.

To help you keep your finances on track, GOBankingRates has identified the best budgeting apps out there. Plus, there’s something for everyone — from college students to seasoned investors.

Best Budgeting Apps

The best budgeting apps offer a range of services and options that give you personal financial assistance at your fingertips.

Best Free Budget App: Mint

There’s a reason Mint has consistently been named the best free budgeting app. First, it’s completely free to use — there’s no paid upgrade. Second, it’s easy to use, making Mint a great app both for personal finance newbies and for in-depth budgeters who like to really track where their money goes.

Make Your Money Work for You

The Mint budgeting app helps you balance your budget by tracking your expenses. It connects to all of your bank accounts and automatically updates whenever you make transactions. You can categorize your budget and receive an alert when you exceed your limit.

  • Target users: Personal finance newbies and in-depth budgeters
  • Categories: Income, Miscellaneous, Entertainment, Education, Shopping, Personal Care, Health & Fitness, Kids, Food & Dining, Gifts & Donations, Investments, Bills & Utilities, Auto & Transport, Travel, Fees & Charges, Business Services, Taxes
  • Goal setting: Goals are also included in the budget
  • Unique feature: The app keeps track of your spending and sends you alerts
  • Linking: The app connects with your bank accounts to keep you up to date on your finances
  • Ability to transfer money: Not available
  • Fees: Completely free app
  • Support: Help is available via live chat
  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Set alerts to monitor your spending and income
    • Free credit score
  • Cons:
    • Adding categories can feel clunky
    • Only one user per account

Best Zero-Based Budget App: You Need A Budget

You Need A Budget tracks your spending and lets you know how you can pay off your debt, start saving and more. It’s an excellent choice for zero-based budgeting.

Visual learners will appreciate the detailed graphs and color-coding, which give a quick glimpse of how much money you’ve spent. The combination of an easy-to-use interface, an impressive learning library and a robust online community make this the best debt app.

  • Target users: Best for visual learners and those who like detailed reports
  • Categories: Customize categories to fit your needs
  • Goal setting: You can create and set goals to fit your lifestyle 
  • Unique feature: The website has an impressive library of lessons that explain how and why to budget
  • Linking: The app links to bank accounts
  • Ability to transfer money: Transfer money from one budget category to another
  • Fees: Free trial for 34 days. After that, purchase a monthly plan for $14.99 or an annual plan for $98.99 
  • Support: Help is available via email and the online community; YNAB also offers videos, a podcast and free workshops
  • Pros:
    • YNAB claims you can save between $600 and $6,000 in spending per year when you stick to the system 
    • Zero-based budgeting
    • Free 34-day trial
  • Cons:
    • Pricey at $14.99 per month or $98.99 per year 
    • No phone support or live chat.
Make Your Money Work for You

Best Budget App for College Students: PocketGuard

If YNAB isn’t in your budget, check out PocketGuard. This free budget app offers a simplified budgeting snapshot that will help you organize bills, expenses, subscriptions and set up custom categories. Sync your bank accounts and credit cards to the app, so you’ll know how much cash you have to spend at any time.

  • Target users: Personal finance newbies and in-depth budgeters
  • Categories: Categories include Bills, Income and Goals, along with the ability to create custom categories
  • Goal setting: Yes
  • Unique feature: The app shows what you have available for everyday spending
  • Linking: You can link your checking, credit and savings accounts
  • Ability to transfer money: N/A
  • Fees: Paid and free versions
  • Support: Help is available within the app and via email
  • Pros:
    • Easily connects to your accounts 
    • Shows you daily balances based on the budget you set up
    • Upload images of receipts and other items
  • Cons:
    • Debt payoff plan is only available in paid version.  

Best Budget App for Couples: Goodbudget

By using the old envelope budgeting method, Goodbudget lets you track your envelope and account balances and sync them to multiple devices. You can make envelopes for all your budgeting categories and reserve money in each one based on that category.  

You can also save for big purchases, create a workable budget and share budgets with family and friends. With the shared envelope system, this app is the best family budget app or the best budget app for couples.

  • Target users: Families, couples and budgeters who like manual budgeting
  • Categories: Sample categories include Groceries, Eating Out, Date Night and Kids
  • Goal setting: Yes, goals are also included in the budget
  • Unique feature: The envelope system takes a digital form
  • Linking: This app does not link with your bank accounts
  • Ability to transfer money: N/A
  • Fees: In addition to a free plan, Goodbudget offers the Plus plan, which costs $7 per month or $60 per year
  • Support: Help is available by phone or via email
  • Pros:
    • Sync and share your budget with others
    • Goal setting and debt payoff available
    • User-friendly mobile app
  • Cons:
    • No direct syncing with financial institutions and requires manual entry
Make Your Money Work for You

Best Wealth Management App: Personal Capital

Personal Capital shows you your net worth, assists you in managing your investments and helps you plan for retirement. Use the dashboard to get an overview of your financial life. If you’re an active investor, use the Personal Strategy tool to take stock of your current portfolio.

  • Target users: Investment-focused budgeters and those planning for retirement
  • Categories: You can create up to 30 custom categories
  • Goal setting: Yes
  • Unique feature: Personal Strategy tool for analyzing your portfolio
  • Linking: Yes, you can connect to cash, credit card, loan and investment accounts
  • Ability to transfer money: Yes
  • Support: Assistance is available via email or the support portal
  • Pros:
    • Ideal for individuals with assets who want an overall financial picture 
    • Free
    • Robust offering for planning and savings
  • Cons:
    • An advisor may reach out to work with you

Best Simple Budgeting App: Fudget

If you’re looking for an ultra-simple app that helps you set a calculation-style spending plan without having to worry about syncing accounts, Fudget is a good option. You won’t even have to set up categories — you’ll simply get a list of spending and income to see how much is coming in and going out.

Fudget is free. However, you can upgrade to Fudget Pro for a one-time fee of $3.99 to unlock features such as business and goal categories, fewer ads, Dropbox syncs, exports and more. 

  • Target users: Beginners in search of simplicity and a general financial overview
  • Categories: Not required
  • Goal setting: No
  • Unique feature: Lists your spending and income without detailed categories
  • Linking: No
  • Ability to transfer money: No
  • Support: By email
  • Pros:
    • Free version
    • Paid version is only $3.99 as a one-time fee
    • Simple, list-style tallies of spending and income
  • Cons:
    • Minimal extra features in the upgraded Pro version

Best Budget Visualization: Monarch

If viewing your financial picture in the form of graphs and charts is important to you, Monarch’s easy-to-use platform may be what you’re looking for. Behind the stunning data visualization, you’ll find Monarch offers plenty of features for the beginner — and more advanced — budgeter.

You can sync your credit and bank accounts for automatic updating, set goals, view investments and collaborate with a partner or household member to keep your spending on track.

  • Target users: Anyone interested in a visual representation of their spending
  • Categories: Create your own and view in list form
  • Goal setting: Yes
  • Unique feature: Clear and crisp visuals such as tables and graphs
  • Linking: Yes, you can connect to cash, credit card, loan and investment accounts
  • Ability to transfer money: No
  • Support: Assistance is available via email
  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Financial planning available
    • Recurring transactions can be seen on the calendar
  • Cons:
    • Certain features are still in the works based on customer requests and responses.

Advantages of Using Apps

Budgeting apps offer several advantages over manual budgeting methods.

The Benefits

  • Time-saving
  • Easy-to-use interfaces to keep in touch with your finances
  • An assortment of tools designed to help you understand where your money is going and set savings goals
  • Allow access to your financial information via smartphone
  • Safe — as long as you choose a reputable app and protect your phone
  • Allow tracking of goals and progress

How To Choose a Budgeting App

The best budget app for you is the one you’ll actually use. You may need to try out a few different apps before you find the one with the features you want and need. Here are some tips to help select one.

  • Take advantage of free trial periods.
  • Use the free trial period as an opportunity to find out how well each app works.
  • Choose an app that’s compatible with your device.

Other Budgeting Options

A budgeting app isn’t the only way to keep track of your spending. You can create a budget and track your spending manually.

Budgeting templates are also available online. Microsoft Excel has templates available that you can download to a computer. Mint also offers free budget spreadsheets on its website. Alternatively, you can use a notebook or ledger sheet to create your own simplistic or detailed budget.

Choose the budgeting tool that works best for you. Be sure to include the following information:

  • Amount of money you have coming in each month
  • Your fixed expenses — rent, mortgage, utilities, car payments and insurance
  • Your variable expenses — food, gas and entertainment

Make a plan for your money. Perhaps you want to pay down debt or save for a big purchase. Look for places to cut back within your budget and divert that money toward your financial goals.

Review your budget regularly. Few people have the same expenses each month, and for many, it’s not unusual to earn varying amounts of income from month to month. You may have a surprise expense or even a surplus after a raise. Adjust your budget accordingly.

Takeaway

Before you jump into one of the best budgeting apps mentioned in this roundup, the first step to financial health is knowing where you stand. Sync all of your accounts in one place, collaborate and get a shared view with a partner, get personalized advice on how to build financial resilience and make progress towards goals.

FAQ

  • What is the best budgeting app out there?
    • Mint may be the best budgeting app because it's free. However, it has plenty of features, leaving little to be desired.
  • What is the easiest free budget app?
    • Fudget is the easiest free budget app available. There are no categories to set up or syncing to do. Simply enter your spending and income and view your financial status in list form.
  • Is Mint still the best budgeting app?
    • Mint continues to be one of the top budgeting apps due to its robust features and free license.
  • What is the 70-20-10 budget rule?
    • The 70-20-10 budget rule allocates 70% of spending to your household bills. The remainder is divided between savings, 20% of your income, and giving or charity at 10%.

Barri Segal and Cynthia Bowman contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Information is accurate as of Aug. 15, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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With more than 20 years of experience as a freelance writer, Allison Hache knows a thing or two about creating quality content. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College and a master’s degree from the University of Florida. Her work has been featured on national and local websites.
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