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Basic budgeting apps usually connect to your financial accounts, track expenses, and categorize expenses so you can see where your money is going. But many apps do much more than that.
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The budget apps below are crowd pleasers because of their features. As of July 28, 2022, each has at least 4.5 stars (out of 5) and at least 1,000 reviews on the iOS App Store or Google Play. (Go to method.)
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Why we recommend it: Let’s start with Mint’s very high rating on both the App Store and Google Play. (It also has more reviews than any other app we’ve reviewed.) It’s free and syncs multiple types of accounts: checking and savings, credit cards, loans, investments, and bills.
As for the actual budget, Mint tracks your expenses and puts them into budget categories. You can customize these sections, which is unlimited. You set limits for these categories and Mint notifies you if you’re approaching those limits.
In addition to these budgeting features, Mint can help users pay off debt, save more money, and track their goals. The app also shows users their credit score and net worth. Bonus: Mint offers plenty of support for using the app, including a detailed FAQ.
Why you might want to think twice: Mint is impressive in many ways, including the way it keeps track of everything for you. But if you want to be more actively hands-on with your budget, this might not be ideal. If you’re looking for an app where you plan ahead for your money, rather than tracking it after the fact, other apps on our list might work better for you.
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Why we recommend it: YNAB has the highest Google Play rating on our list and is tied with several other apps for the highest Apple Store rating.
This app is designed to help users plan ahead for their financial decisions instead of tracking past transactions. YNAB follows a zero-based budgeting system, where you create a plan for every dollar you earn.
As soon as you pay, you tell YNAB how much of your income should go into different categories, such as expenses, goals and savings. The idea is that you become more intentional with your money when you are asked to actively decide what to do with it.
With all these decisions made, YNAB is as good as you can get. To help users navigate this learning curve, YNAB’s website offers a number of educational resources that describe exactly how to budget and use the app.
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YNAB allows you to link your checking and savings accounts, as well as credit cards and loans. The app works on phone, desktop, iPad, Apple Watch and Alexa.
Why you might want to think twice: You must commit to sticking with YNAB. By design, it works best for users who want to be hands on when planning for their finances. Also, it’s priced higher than other apps on our list.
Price: Pay either $14.99 per month or $98.99 per year, though you can try it with a 34-day free trial. College students can use YNAB for free for one year.
Why we recommend it: GoodBudget is more about planning your finances than tracking past transactions. This app is based on the envelope budgeting system, where you divide your monthly income into specific spending categories (called envelopes).
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This application does not link your bank accounts. You add account balances manually (which you can pull from your bank’s website), as well as cash, debt and income amounts. Then you allocate money towards the envelope.
You can access the application from your phone and the web. You will also find many useful articles and videos that help you use the app.
Goodbudget offers a free version that allows one account, two devices and limited envelopes. Its paid version, Goodbudget Plus, allows unlimited envelopes and accounts, up to five devices and other benefits.
Why you might want to think twice: Since you can’t sync financial accounts, you have to write down every expense. If you are not up to this task, the app probably won’t work.
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Want to try budgeting and syncing your accounts? Check out Envelopes. It did not quite make our list but follows the same budget system and allows you to connect bank accounts.
Why we recommend it: These apps offer a simpler (and probably easier to manage) zero-based budgeting structure than YNAB.
Let’s start with the simple free version of EveryDollar. You don’t sync the accounts, but instead manually enter incoming and outgoing money throughout the month. You also categorize line items in your budget and set reminders for bill payments.
The premium, paid version of EveryDollar includes these features but allows you to connect your bank account Your transactions appear automatically in the app, which provides custom reports and recommendations based on your habits. You can link your savings and investment accounts.
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Why you might want to think twice: EveryDollar’s free version is simple, and the premium version is the most expensive app on our list. Also, the app’s website offers some resources to help you understand how to use the app before signing up for a trial.
Price: The basic version of EveryDollar is free. You can try the premium version for free for 14 days. After the trial, you can pay $59.99 for three months, $99.99 for six months, or $129.99 for 12 months.
Why we recommend it: Personal Capital is primarily an investment tool, but its free app includes features that are useful for budgeting and tracking expenses.
You can connect and monitor checking, savings and credit card accounts, as well as IRAs, 401(k)s, mortgages and loans. The application provides a snapshot of expenses when listing past transactions by category. You can customize these categories and see the percentage of monthly expenses each category represents.
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Private Capital also serves a net worth and portfolio tracker. You can access the application from both phone and desktop.
Why you might want to think twice: If your goal is to plan your spending and savings, you might want to go another way. This app’s budgeting feature helped it make the list, but its investment tools make it unique Other apps have even more budgeting capabilities in the weeds.
Another app worth checking out is Copilot (iOS only). The app also tracks investments in addition to tracking and categorizing expenses
Why we recommend it: PocketGuard’s catalog of features isn’t the strongest on our list, but that’s part of why we love it. The app is great about simplicity.
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You can track your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments, and bills. With this intelligence, the app shows how much money you have left to spend after you set aside money for necessities, bills and goals.
PocketGuard also tracks your net worth and gives you the option to unlink your accounts and instead track your finances manually. The paid version, PocketGuard Plus, offers a refund plan, the option to export your transactions and other features.
Why you might want to think twice: This app does a lot of work for you. This is good for most hands-off experiences, but less so if you want to plan for your money.
Price: Basic PocketGuard is free. PocketGuard Plus is $7.99 per month, $34.99 per year or $79.99 for a one-time purchase.
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Why we recommend it: Honeydew is designed so you and your partner can see your financial picture in one app. Both partners can synchronize bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments. (Although you can choose how much to share with your significant other.)
The free budgeting app automatically categorizes expenses, but you can also create custom categories. Together, you can set monthly limits for each of these categories, and Honeydue will alert you when you or your partner are near them.
Why you might want to think twice: Like some of the other apps on our list, Honeydue relies more on thinking and learning from past transactions rather than planning ahead for spending.
Why we recommend it: If you don’t sync financial accounts and prefer a simple, calculator-esque interface over fancy features, consider Fudge.
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In Fudget’s super-simple design, you list incoming and outgoing money and track your balance. There is not even a budget section. The Pro account also allows you to export your budget along with other extras.
Why you might want to think twice: If you like to categorize expenses, overviews, or anything other than the basics, this app is probably too easy for you. But if you don’t have it to log all expenses, it’s better to look elsewhere. We also didn’t get much in the way of a user guide.
The free app allows you to track your cash, watch you
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