Good budget apps track your spending for you.
And the best budget apps track your spending while helping you develop key habits for financial success.
Gone are the days of collecting receipts and manually entering expenses into a spreadsheet. With a budgeting app, you’ll be able to automatically record your income and expenses — and easily review it when you want to.
But with so many out there, which one do you choose?
We want to help. That’s why we curated this list of our 5 favorite budgeting apps.
The Best 5 Tools For Budgeting
Tiller Money – Best for spreadsheet lovers
Price: $4.92/month or $59/year. Comes with a 30-day free trial
Available on: Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel
Tiller Money is a fantastic budgeting app — that’s not really an app in the first place.
Here’s how it works: You connect the secure Tiller Money software with the different bank accounts you want to track. Then you can link up your bank information with a Google Sheet or Excel template that Tiller provides and contains all of your budgeting information.
It provides a great look at your finances as a whole from transactions, to expenses, to income. The template they provide also gives you an easy way to see if you’re on track with your budget — as well as how much money is left in certain categories.
One downside is that you have to manually categorize your transactions — but it’s still a great app that’ll give you fantastic insights into your expenses.
We love it so much that we did a deep dive on Tiller Money in our article on how to build a budget.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) – Best for personal finance junkies
Price: $84/year or $11.99/month. Comes with a 34 day free trial. Students can get the app free for an additional 12 months.
YNAB is a robust budget app that works on a straightforward premise: before you get your paycheck each month, you assign every single dollar a “job” or what you want to spend it on.
That way, when you get your paycheck, there’s no guesswork for where your money is going. It might seem very simple — but YNAB allows for very granular control (if you want it). You’ll be able to jump in and customize your budget to your exact preference. This is what makes it a favorite for personal finance junkies who really like to get hands on with their money matters.
The interface is straightforward and easy-to-use. A small downside is that it doesn’t include as many features as some of the other apps on this list such as the ability to look at investment portfolios. If you’re looking for a good way to start a solid budget though, this is your app.
Personal Capital – Best for investors
Personal Capital gives investors the tools they need to keep track of each of their investment portfolios in one place. Their dashboard aggregates your investment data into easy-to-grasp graphs and charts. At a glance, you’ll be able to get a good picture of your earnings and losses without having to log into all of your different broker sites.
There’s also an investment management service that allows you to invest into a company — but that comes with a fee.
Overall, it’s a lot more investment heavy than a lot of the other apps on this list. As such, I’d recommend it for investment junkies — though you could still get a lot out of it if you want to keep track of your spending.
Albert – Best for automation lovers
Available on: iOS
Albert is the “set it, and forget it” budgeting app. Not only does it give you all of your money data from your linked banks, but it also automatically creates a budget for you based on your spending and expenses.
That’s right. It creates a budget for you. That means you don’t have to worry about deciding on how much to spend on things like going out and groceries. The app also uses an algorithm that figures out how much you can save each month, and includes a tool that automatically saves that amount for you on the app.
It’s fantastic for anyone who likes a hands off approach to budgeting. So if you’re looking for more granular control, you might want to look elsewhere.
Mint – Best for beginners
With more than 20 million customers, Mint is one of the most (if not the most) popular budgeting apps out there — and with good reason.
It’s intuitive platform and dashboard gives even the least money savvy users an understandable look at their finances. Once connected with your banks, the app automatically organizes your spending into common categories (groceries, entertainment, etc). You can add your own categories for further customization.
The app also allows you to set up budgets and alerts so you know when you’re close to maxing out a budget. Great for keeping on track with your spending goals.
Overall, a very good budgeting app for beginners.
How To Choose The Best Budgeting App For You
While all these budgeting apps are great, let’s be honest: You’re going to want to download just one or two of them.
(That is, of course, unless you’re a huge personal finance nerd who loves to keep track of their spending. If that’s the case, you’re on the right website.)
When it comes to choosing the best budgeting app for you, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
What are my goals?
This is a very important question to ask no matter what budgeting app you ultimately choose.
Knowing your personal finance goals is the first step for financial success. And it can also help you choose the best app.
For example, maybe you want to simply save a little more each month — without having to worry about looking at spreadsheets or a bunch of data each week. If that’s the case, Albert is the app for you.
But if you’re finance savvy person who wants to improve their investments earnings by 10% this year, Personal Capital is going to be more your speed.
If you need help coming up with a good personal finance goal, check out our article on how to create a SMART objective (aka the best kind of goal setting out there).
How hands on do I want to be?
When it comes to personal finance, people typically either want to be as involved as possible or be hands off.
Luckily, you can be as involved with your personal finances as you want with the right budgeting app.
Want to be able to go in and look at different data sets for your budget to optimize it? Tiller Money, YNAB, or Personal Capital would be good for you.
Want to take a more back seat approach? Mint or Albert could be good for you.
Decide now how hands on you want to be with your budget. There’s no right or wrong answer here.
Am I in debt?
Before you choose an app, it’s a good idea to take a look at the current state of your finances and answer one important question: Am I in debt?
Debt is the most common roadblock to people living a Rich Life. That’s why it’s so important that you work on getting out of debt before you can even think of doing things like saving for huge purchases.
Those in debt want to choose a budgeting app that’ll help them lessen or get out of their debt entirely. Apps like Albert, YNAB, and Mint can help you do just that.
They’ll give you a snapshot of your spending as well as show you how you’re paying it down each month.
For more, be sure to check out our article on how to get out of debt fast.
Find the right budget system
Choosing a budget app is great — but it’s nothing without the right finance systems along with it.
What’s a finance system? It’s a plan of action to help you build the habits you need to accomplish your goals like getting out of debt, earning more, and saving for the things you love.
And there are a lot of different ways you can approach budgeting. To help you choose good tactics for your financial system, here are a few of our best resources on the topic:
When coupled with a budget app, your financial system will lay the foundation for your financial future — and your Rich Life.
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