The Ultimate Guide to the Best Budgeting Apps

budgeting apps

Alright friends, so you’d love to save more money. And you could certainly use a little extra cash in your pocket or some more cushion in your account, right? Right.

Picture it– going on a little weekend getaway with your friends, throwing a nice birthday party for your kids, buying help buttonyourself some new clothes, or just not having to stress about scraping money together for rent or groceries. But, how do you save money when you have all the bills and debt?

Well, budgeting is the simple answer. Then why not do it? Many of you downloaded the free budget booklet, so what’s stopping you?

Turns out, not everyone likes paper budgets. For many, a budgeting app is so much easier to deal with. If that’s how you are, then great! Because I’m going to compare and contrast the top 7 budgeting apps out there so you can decide which is best for you.

Pros and Cons of the Top 7 Budgeting Apps

1. Mint.com 

Mint has been around for a long time and is a popular and well-known app as far as budgeting goes. Mint links up with your bank account to keep track of your money. It has a detailed analysis of spending habits and your present bills, debts, and assets. You can also create goals for saving money or paying off debt, and this can sync to your budget. Compatibility: Windows, IOS, Android  Price: Free

Mint.com Pros:

  • Free.
  • It has great features and keeps detailed track of your money.
  • It’s simple and very user-friendly.
  • Financial summaries sent each week.
  • Can keep track of your credit score.
  • Has bills due alerts available.
  • Pay bills through the app.
  • Gives tips on how to spend and save better.

Mint.com Cons:

  • Mint has ads disguised as “helpful hints” that pop up.
  • Users have reported problems with syncing the app to their accounts.
  • Spending notifications can be slow, up to a few days or weeks after you have paid a bill.
  • Some users find that the app sometimes puts expenses into categories that seem random for example $20 at J.C. Penny into “Pharmacy” instead of “Shopping-Clothing.”

2. YNAB (You Need a Budget) 

This app helps you make lifestyle changes so that you can plan for your future. It encourages smart spending habits that are meant to get you out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle of worry and get you ahead financially. Either sync up with your bank or enter your data by hand. Compatibility: IOS, Android Price: $50/yr or $5/month, but the first 34 days are free! 

Pros:

  • Designed to help users develop better spending and saving habits.
  • No ads.
  • Can share information with other devices.
  • User-friendly.
  • It syncs up with the cloud.

Cons:

  • $50-$60/yr (although for those who want something to teach them how to save money rather than just budgeting appssomething to keep track of expenses, this may be worth it).
  • The mobile app has fewer features than its desktop companion program.
  • Requires you to enter the data manually.

3. Good Budget

This app is a lot like Mint, with spending categories. You decide how much money you put into each one. This app does not sync with your bank account, so you have to do all the work yourself. Compatibility: iOS, Android Price: Free (or $5/month for GoodBudget PLUS)

Pros:

  • Makes it easy to share financial info with other people such as a roommate, family member, or spouse because you can share your budgets.
  • Syncs with the cloud so you can access your budget from other devices anywhere you are.
  • Creates helpful charts and graphs to give you a visual representation of your spending and help you understand it better.

Cons:

  • A limited number of devices and spending categories allowed (with the free version).
  • Only 1 year of financial history (unless you upgrade to $5/month).

4. TOSHL Finance

Toshl Finance is a fun and playful app. The app has little monster graphics that pop up on its different pages when you enter expenses or sync data from your bank. It makes the usual budgeting app a bit less boring. It keeps track of current and past expenses and uses that information to help you plan your financial future. Compatibility: IOS, Android, Blackberry Price: Free (upgrade to Toshl Pro at $1.99/month or $19.99/yr.)

Pros:

  • Free (unless you want to make more than two budgets or link more than two bank accounts, which means you’ll need the Toshl Pro upgrade at $1.99/month or $19.99/yr).
  • User-friendly, fun graphics, something different from run-of-the-mill budgeting apps.
  • Provides analysis of past and current spending while helping you plan future spending.
  • No ads.
  • Has bill reminder feature.

Cons:

  • Comes with a fee if you want to enter more than two accounts or budgets.
  • The mobile app is good but has fewer features than the web based app.

5. EveryDollar

This app is a lot like Mint but allows you to keep track of the progress you are making in Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom. It also helps you budget for the future, and like You Need A Budget, it gives “every dollar” a purpose, hence the name. Price: Free (but you must enter all information manually unless you pay the $99 annual fee to sync the app to your bank account) Compatibility: Desktop, IOS, Android

Pros:

  • It follows Dave Ramsey’s steps to financial freedom.
  • Organized appearance, user-friendly.
  • Let’s you plan for the future.

Cons:

  • You can’t sync the app to your bank account unless you pay $99/yr.
  • No ads on the app, but there are pop-ups from Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers that encourage you to get help for some financial circumstances.

6. Mvelopes

You may have some friends or family that use the envelope system of budgeting. Learn more about the envelope system here. While it’s a great idea, many do not like to use cash anymore, or it is not practical for them. So this app takes the envelope system and puts it on your smartphone! Compatibility: IOS, Android Price: Free for up to 4 accounts and 25 envelopes or $95/yr fee for more

Pros:

  • It’s a classic system that has been proven to work for many, people swear by it.budgeting apps
  • It’s free unless you want more than 25 envelopes.
  • Budgeting is simplified and easy.
  • Bank account syncing is easy, and there have been very few issues.
  • Allows you to track your assets.

Cons

  • It does not store historical data.
  • Takes a bit of getting used to when learning to navigate the app.
  • Contains ads for other Mvelopes products and upgrades.

7. Spendee

If apps could be pretty, this one is beautiful! Spendee is a great user-friendly app with a simple design that not only looks nice but is very easy to navigate. It syncs to your bank account, or you can key it in yourself. It’s got a basic app feel that does way more than the basic. Compatibility: IOS, Android Price: Free (unless you want to upgrade to Plus, at $1.99/month or Premium at $2.99/month)

Pros:

  • User-friendly.
  • Syncs to your bank account.
  • Has the ability to keep track of locations where you spend so you can see where you spend the most.
  • Has travel mode that supports all currencies.
  • Easy-to-read graphs analyze your spending.
  • Syncs with other devices.
  • Can share information with family or friends.
  • No Ads.

Cons:

  • Can’t create custom categories for income
  • Costs extra for plus and premium upgrades that allow for sharing information with others, among other perks

Decisions, decisions

Well, now you have all the information you need to get in the game with one of these budgeting apps. Click on the links, check out the apps and try one out! You will be surprised how easy it is to get started and get your finances under control. Good luck financially savvy friends!

Note About Security

These apps use a personal password you create and top grade security encryption to keep your information safe just like a regular bank does. Budgeting apps are new, so it makes sense that you might be a bit wary, but there are daily advances and updates in all of these apps to make them more user-friendly and more secure. For more information about safely using budget apps, check out this article: Safely Using Budget Apps

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