- If your New Year’s resolution involves finances, consider using budgeting tools.
- These apps cover a wide range of uses, including financial planning, money monitoring and even investing.
- Although most of these apps share high ratings, you’ll want to note what the reviews have to say.
You might occasionally spend more than you have or be late on bill payments when you’re not in control of your finances, but there are plenty of personal budget apps available today that can help you create and follow a balanced budget. Manage your money and take advantage of features that will help you save, track what you spend and create financial goals by using the best budgeting apps.
Here are 14 personal finance apps you can use with smartphones — most of which are compatible with iOS and Android operating systems.
Best Budgeting Apps and Tools of 2019
|App||Best For||Cost||App Store Rating||Google Play Rating|
|Mint||People who regularly go over budget when trying to pay bills||Free||4.7||4.3|
|PocketGuard||Anyone who needs assistance organizing their finances||Free||4.8||4.4|
|IOU||People who lend or borrow a lot of money||Free for basic features, $2.99/month for pro version||3.9||4.4|
|BUDGT||Spenders who need to constantly adjust their budget based on sporadic income||$1.99||4.2||N/A|
|Qapital||People interested in shaving off a bit of their spending expenses for long-term savings goals||Free||4.8||4.6|
|Digit||Passive savers||Free for 30 days, then $2.99/month||4.8||4.5|
|Personal Capital||Intermediate investors||Free||4.8||4.6|
|YNAB||People new to the world of saving and budgeting||Free for 34 days, then $6.99/month||4.7||4.1|
|Spendee||Savers and spenders who benefit from visual aids||Free for basic version, $1.99-$2.99/month for additional features||4.6||4.2|
|Prism||People with a history of falling behind on payments||Free||4.8||4.7|
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.
Reviews were generally favorable, including remarks such as “This app is great for all that it offers: budgets, connecting to accounts, and setting savings goals.” But some users also said Mint offers little flexibility and that it doesn’t enable you to categorize your expenses according to your needs.
This free budget app will help you organize your bills, expenses, subscriptions and set up custom categories. You can sync your bank accounts and credit cards to the app so you can know exactly how much cash you have to spend at any time.
Reviews were positive for the PocketGuard app. “I really like the idea of having an app that tells you how much is safe to spend without endangering your bills money,” one user wrote. “It does a pretty good job of categorizing automatically; the need to recategorize is minimal.” However, some reviews also noted the bugs in the app, such as delays in providing recent data.
You don’t even have to enter your bank account information to use Dollarbird, which features a calendar format. Dollarbird calculates your balance and provides a breakdown of your past and planned transactions. You can also set up recurring transactions.
Users love this app, although it seems to have run into some glitch problems that cause the app to freeze. One reviewer commented, “I wouldn’t use another app to track everything. Made simple and easy and so far it’s been a great experience even using the free version.”
With the IOU app, you can track your bills and loans each month as well as who owes you and vice versa. IOU will keep track of when bills are due and send email reminders to people who owe you money — and notify you if you’re past due on debts. You can see a history of all the debts you’ve paid and share debt information with your contacts.
Users generally enjoy this app, but some take issue with the user interface. One review said they were “not happy with how it is recording payments.”
BUDGT helps you keep track of your finances by creating a new budget for you based on how much you’ve already spent during the month. You can set up your monthly budget with recurring and one-time income and expenses and set a target for your savings. At a glance, you can see if you’re on track to saving or losing money by the end of the month, and get an overview of where you spent each penny.
Users like how simple this app is to use. “I love this app,” one reviewer wrote. “I use it for daily budgeting.” Complaints included trouble setting up a budget for the month. The app is only available for iOS.
Another major player among finance apps is Qapital, which helps you save money for the things you can’t seem to budget for. Qapital uses your spending habits to trigger micro savings that it automatically puts aside for your goals. You can create shared goals with friends or family to make saving a team effort, while keeping your account separate.
The app has received high praise from users. One in particular said the app was “life-changing,” adding, “I’ve used it to save for trips to Ireland, New Orleans, Switzerland and Italy.” Some users commented that it’s difficult to delete an account with the app, and some users have had issues linking to banks.
The Digit personal finance app analyzes your spending habits when you connect your checking account and saves money for you. The app moves some money from your checking account to your Digit savings account each day, but it won’t transfer more than you can afford — so you don’t need to worry about overdrafts.
Users love saving money effortlessly with Digit, but it’s not without its faults. One reviewer had connectivity issues between the app and their bank. “It saves for you in small increments or larger if you add a boost,” the reviewer said. “But, often at times, the app would disconnect from my bank for no reason.”
Use this budget app to track your bank accounts and manage your budget on the go with real-time updates. You can access the spending tracker to find out how much you have left to spend, and you can see detailed views of your budget.
Ratings were high for Mvelopes. “It’s essential to having control over your money and making a difference in how you spend it,” one user wrote. One reviewer complained that transactions disappear randomly; another said the app still has annoying bugs.
Personal Capital shows your net worth, assists you in managing your investments and helps you plan for retirement.
Use the Personal Capital Dashboard to get an overview of your financial life. If you’re an active investor, use the fee analyzer and the investment checkup tool to take stock of your current portfolio.
Users like how the app gives an overall look at all your accounts, including retirement accounts and mortgages. One reviewer noted that the app combines investment monitoring tools and financial advising. Less positive feedback in the user reviews centered on connectivity issues.
Check Out: Best Personal Finance Software 2020
YNAB — also known as You Need A Budget — tracks your spending and lets you know how you can pay off your debt, start saving and more. You can also set a goal in YNAB for the amount you need to save for future expenses. Take advantage of the videos, online classes and money management resources — whether you’re planning for retirement or you just want to save and invest.
“Officially have been using YNAB for a year and it has helped so much. We used Mint prior and it was so much more frustrating,” one user wrote. On the other hand, other users expressed discontent with the app’s learning curve and the limited budgeting options.
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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.
Users generally praised the app. “I’ve been using Goodbudget for several years now, and it’s been so helpful for keeping track of my money,” one wrote. Some users complained that the Goodbudget app has issues with syncing.
The Spendee app helps you manage your finances by connecting with your online banking so your transactions get downloaded and categorized automatically. Spendee provides your financial overview via infographics, and you can share wallets with family and friends.
Users generally praised the app; one described the app as “great” and “easy to use.” But some users complained that Spendee has unbalanced plans and issues with syncing.
Acorns is a passive investment tool that lets users invest their spare change. The tool comes with tiered pricing options. Just $1 a month gets you the standard automated investing feature as well as tips on your investment portfolio. The top tier, which costs $3 per month, gets you Acorns Spend, which can help you earn more money when you shop with Acorns’ Found Money partners.
Acorns seems pretty popular among users. “I’ve been able to save more in two months than I have in years,” one user wrote. But one user said his investments “made absolutely no gain.”
If you have a history of failing to track your bills, this app might be for you. Prism helps you monitor your bills so you can avoid late payments. It boasts that it covers more billers than other apps at over 11,000.
Users generally praised the app: “No other app has come close to keeping my hubby and I so well updated on the status of bills due and ones we’ve paid,” one said. Despite the high scores for the app, users have written scathing reviews about Prism’s accuracy and customer support capabilities.
Check out the 12 best apps for first-time investors.
More on Budgeting
- How to Build a Perfect Budget for an Average Income of $64,175
- What is a Zero Based Budget?
- The 10 Best Personal Finance Software Options for 2020
- More Easy-to-Use Budget Templates
- Watch: Treating Finances Like a Game Will Help Get You Rich
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Sean Dennison contributed to the reporting for this article.