Suppose you want to begin budgeting or improve your current budgeting strategy. In that case, numerous tools can perform the majority of the effort. Maintaining financial control is much easier with the help of any of these applications that may help you keep track of your spending and arrange your finances. Even better, many of today’s most downloaded budgeting apps are open-source and free to use.
Since there are numerous budgeting applications, we chose 11 of the more well-known ones and put them through their paces. Utilizing our financial data, we compared many popular budgeting apps to determine which worked to keep us from exceeding our limits. And while each of these apps has some value, we’ve identified three standouts that will help you maintain complete control over your budget and finances.
Our testing methodology
We installed each app and completed the onboarding process, including integrating our bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial data, just as if we were actual users of the service (for apps that allow this). Then, we used each application in various ways to evaluate its functionality. To get a feel for the full capabilities of each app, we began with the free versions and then, when possible, paid for the full edition.
When evaluating each app’s usability, we considered several factors. This entails the overall usability, the simplicity of account creation, the accessibility of reports, the availability of data uploading from several financial institutions, and any other special features.
Goals and progress monitoring allowed us to plan for a more extensive range of expenses and gave us real-time feedback on our budgetary status.
We found that apps with a desktop version and support for both iOS and Android performed better overall.
We analyzed each app’s initial purchase price and any additional charges for premium features.
You may create a solid budget with the help of PocketGuard by connecting all of your financial accounts, including credit cards, checking accounts, and savings accounts. Additional cash or cheques that don’t go directly into your bank account can be entered manually.
The program will provide a starting point for a budget based on your historical spending patterns over the past few months, which you may modify as needed. PocketGuard is unique among budgeting apps because it allows you to make your categories and use a wide variety of premade ones.
The app will automatically categorize your transactions, but you can manually change the category for each purchase if the app makes a mistake. However, PocketGuard’s classifications proved to be reliable in our tests.
After you’ve set up the app for the first time, it will show you your “In My Pocket” balance for the month. This gives you a better idea of how much you can put away for the future or spend on luxuries.
Then, as the month progresses and you make purchases, your budget is automatically adjusted to reflect the actual amounts you’ve spent in that category. You can visualize monthly expenditure patterns in PocketGuard’s budgeting charts.
One recent improvement is the option to receive alerts about your finances via push notifications, such as reminders when bills are due, money has been received, or you’ve been over your spending limit.
You may reduce some of your monthly expenses by using PocketGuard’s services. The software calculated that it might save me $10.23 on my monthly Vodafone bill of $180 through contract negotiations. Even though you won’t be charged for using this service, PocketGuard will take a 40% cut of any money you end up saving as a result of using it.
In addition to the phone, internet, and cable bills, you can use this service to save money on many others. Although we cannot promise that using PocketGuard will result in cost savings, it certainly can’t harm to give it a try, especially if you’d rather not bother haggling with your service suppliers directly.
The only drawback is that PocketGuard Plus, the paid edition of the program, costs $4.99 per month, $34.99 per year, or $74.99 for a lifetime membership. At the same time, the free version only provides limited access. The subscription version’s key selling point is that users can create an infinite number of budgets and monitor their financial flow. Although the fees can add up, the potential cost reductions more than make up for them. Important advice: Because the app offers more pricey plans, you should sign up using the web version.
And if you’re ambitious, you can use a referral system to get free access to the even more advanced PocketGuard Plus service. Suppose you refer enough people (representing points) to the service. In that case, you will be rewarded with a free month of the premium tier.
As a whole, PocketGuard is the best option if you’re looking for simple software with impressive graphics and features. Just be aware that the full software version will provide the best experience.
Honeydue allows you and your partner to consolidate your financial assets into a single location, making it easy to construct a household budget. The software supports the linking of credit cards, banks, savings, and other accounts from a wide variety of financial institutions. You and your significant other can use this functionality to view account activity for both of your accounts with a simple click of a button.
Honeydue is designed to help you and your partner stay on the identical financial path. Still, it also allows you to control what information your partner has access to. In this way, you may specify whether you want your partner to see all of your account activity or just your balances.
Thanks to the app’s convenient categorization of all your transactions, you can track your household’s expenditures in each expense category. Each category can have its spending restriction, and the app will alert both you and your partner when you’re getting close to that limit. The app will also notify you if money is added to or removed from the account.
The most beneficial aspect of Honeydue is undoubtedly the built-in messaging system. You can communicate with your spouse about a specific purchase by adding a comment to it or sending it to them through the chat function. The inclusion of amusing emojis can help make budgeting a more pleasant experience.
You and your companion may discuss and plan your budget together. The app’s central location will ensure that everything is preserved and remembered. It could even save you from having to engage in specific uncomfortable conversations while eating.
Honeydue also allows you and your spouse to set calendar reminders for upcoming bill payments. The ability to plan ahead for home spending will help you avoid late payment fees on future invoices.
Honeydue now allows users to open a joint bank account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. If you and your partner don’t already have a joint account, this is a simple method to keep tabs on your financial transactions. However, you can only access
Honeydue Joint Banking via the dedicated mobile app; a web browser interface is not currently planned. The mobile app also does not support check deposits.
Honeydue is a terrific alternative for couples. While it lacks some of the features of the other applications on our roundup, it is still completely free. Honeydue’s built-in messaging and alert tools ensure you and your companion never go over your budget by accident.
Even if you’re not tech-savvy, setting up Mint is a breeze because the software automatically imports data from your bank, credit card, and investment accounts. Your whole financial standing across all of your accounts is always available in real-time on Mint.
The software lets you label each and every one of your account transactions so you can see where your money is going. This is useful for keeping track of your Venmo transactions (which many applications don’t integrate with) so that you can tell the difference between the $30 you made helping a friend relocate and the $30 you spent on lunch.
Mint has a lot of functions, but its budgeting tool is particularly helpful. The monthly budget that Mint recommends you stick to is predicated on your spending patterns and typical spending in each category, so following it can help you plan better and save money. You can modify the budget to meet your specific requirements and preferences, but starting with the system’s recommendations can be very beneficial.
Using Mint to track your spending will alert you if you start to go over your established limits. It’s simple to check in with Mint regularly to monitor your financial situation and adjust as needed.
All Mint users also have access to their credit score for no additional cost. While there are many places to access your credit score for no charge, including it with your monthly bills is a pleasant touch. The app will refresh your credit score every three months, so you can always know how your payment history and available credit affect your score.
Mint is a fantastic option if you want to do more than just budget your money and view everything in one spot.
Wally collects credit card data in real-time and organizes it in valuable ways, allowing users to see at a glance how much money they have allocated to spend each month. Your remaining monthly budget is the first thing that is displayed when you check in with Wally. This prominent indicator can help you keep track of your spending and avoid going over your allotted budget.
Wally also has a receipt-taking feature that you can use to help you keep track of your spending. This is a great way to track your spending without physically storing every receipt. It helps make small purchases with cash, which is especially useful while you’re on the road.
Wally is ideal for digital nomads because it works with nearly any currency you could need while traveling (or living) overseas. This app’s major drawback is that it’s exclusive to the Apple Store; hence, those who use Android-powered smartphones will be unable to get it.
Although Wally was previously exclusively available in a premium-priced version, a new freemium version is now available. Now, you can upgrade to Wally Gold for a fee and access additional features, including category-based budgeting, account sharing, a complete view of your financial history, and more. If you have an Apple smartphone, you can try out this budgeting tool and see if it meets your needs thanks to its straightforward interface.
If you’re looking for an envelope budgeting tool to help you budget and track your monthly expenses, go no further than Goodbudget. You can divide your monthly spending into discrete “envelopes” for various expenditures. With the free version, you can make up to 10 envelopes, but with GoodBudget Plus, you can make as many as you like.
Due to the manual nature of the software, financial transaction imports are not possible. When you’ve established your envelope system and are ready to begin using it, you’ll write the amount of each purchase directly into the appropriate envelope. In addition, you can automate your submissions by adding reoccurring payments.
Although we didn’t find Goodbudget exceptionally user-friendly, the graphic reports it generates are pretty comprehensive. If you’re interested in trying out the Plus edition, you can do so risk-free for an entire month.
An “Albert Score,” a financial assessment rating on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, is computed by the Albert app to give the user feedback regarding how well they follow their budgetary goals. The app’s built-in transaction categorization features will aid in budgeting and expenditure monitoring.
While Albert shares many similarities with other budgeting applications, its savings feature sets it apart. With Albert Savings, an algorithm that considers your overall financial situation decides how much money to move from your checking account to your savings account. Although each withdrawal may seem insignificant, it is planned to pile up over time.
The fact that you have to provide sensitive information like your SSN and bank account details during Albert’s setup process may be enough to prevent some people from using the app. This prevents you from testing the program’s features before committing to using it and from even using the parts of the software that don’t require you to log in. Furthermore, there is no web version, so if you prefer not to link an account and would like to manage your finances from a computer, this is not the appropriate app for you.
You may divide your budget into virtual envelopes through Mvelopes, much like the traditional “envelope” technique. The idea is that once your funds are segregated, they remain there and may be utilized for nothing but that designated purpose. Ultimately, this aids in controlling spending and avoiding inefficiency in any given category.
Using Mvelopes to make envelopes is a simple process, although it may take some time. When you upgrade to the Premier or Plus edition of the application and pay a fee, you’ll get help getting started because some of the options aren’t as obvious as others. We don’t think it’s appropriate because of how expensive it is, especially when contrasted with some of the other applications we’ve recommended. You may test drive the Premier plan (and the accompanying app) risk-free for 30 days to determine if it meets your needs.
Mvelopes is a helpful program if you are already acquainted with the envelope method but would like to convert it to a digital format. However, it is not free, not even the most basic version. Considering the price, there may be more cost-effective alternatives.
Simply put, because You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a zero-based budget application, you must assign each dollar you make to a specific spending category or savings target. This gives each incoming dollar something to go toward, or a “task,” which in turn improves your ability to budget.
You may skip the hassle of manually entering your financial data into YNAB by linking your bank accounts and the credit card the moment you sign up for an account. The next step is to create a spending plan that accounts for necessities like rent and food and extras like travel and entertainment (such as vacations and dining out).
You can better plan for these outings and avoid exceeding your spending limit if you keep track of how much funds you have left in the “quality of life goals” and “just for fun” categories.
Though it’s a fantastic solution, the interface of the app may be difficult to get accustomed to. The good news is that you can try out YNAB risk-free for an entire month and see if it meets your budgeting needs in that way. It offers many courses and lessons to help you get the most out of the app and better understand personal finance.
The EveryDollar app is excellent for those who follow the advice of personal finance expert Dave Ramsey (who hosts the radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show”) but don’t want to view their whole financial picture to budget. It’s founded on the principle of “zero-based budgeting,” which means that all available funds are allocated immediately and completely, with no room for discretionary expenditure or savings.
There is a free and a premium version of EveryDollar. If you want to integrate your bank transactions, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version from the free one. To have a complete picture of your financial situation, the premium version also includes the option to generate personalized reports. The app’s price is excessive, especially given that the same functionality is offered for free by competing apps.
To avoid frivolous spending at the end of the month, EveryDollar emphasizes planning so that you may decide where your hard-earned cash will go in advance. If sticking to a budget is your top priority, then shelling out the extra money could be well worth it.
Personal Capital is a valuable tool for determining one’s financial standing. But if you want a budgeting tool, this popular investment option may be too much information and too complicated for your needs.
Although it allows you to connect your credit cards and account information, including investment accounts, the app’s strong suit was not its budgeting tools in our initial testing. An updated feature now allows for splitting a single transaction into different categories, which was not possible before. For instance, a considerable Target purchase that contains both apparel and groceries can now be broken down into component parts.
While it is convenient to be able to track your expenditure in real-time and establish monthly goals, there are more valuable and user-friendly apps out now for budgeting.
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