5 Budgeting Apps That Will Help You Cultivate Your Finances in 2020
The Truth: Budgeting can be difficult.
If you've mastered your finances, and you've already figured out which methods work and which don't, it's easy to dismiss budgeting apps. Make Money. Spend Money. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
But what if you're a beginner learning how to start managing your money for the first time? What if you haven't figured out what works and what doesn't? You need a budget app.
I'll let you in on a secret…
You can experiment just as well on a free budgeting app as you can on a paid option with all the bells and whistles.
Do you want to say goodbye to the inevitable growing pains of living on the edge because your money never seems to be enough?
Budgeting apps put you on the fast lane to financial freedom.
So which budgeting app is best?
Well, that's the thing: In this post, we'll go over all the different budgeting apps and give you the pros and cons of each. But first, let's stop to note.
There are loads of options out there (Clarity Money, Personal Capital, Mvelopes, Simple, Acorns, Wally, and CountAbout are other popular budgeting apps), but we're focusing on our favorite five.
Alright, enough prologue. Ready to find out which budgeting app is best for you? Let's go.
1.Mint gives you free credit score
First up is the Mint budgeting app.
It's FREE and lets you sync with your accounts or other apps to track your spending. It automatically tracks your transactions from linked debit and credit cards against your budget.
You will never have to lose sleep about late bill payment or exceeding budgets. Mint alerts you when bills are due and when you exceed your budgets.
It's easy to understand and customize to suit your needs. The clean interface gives you an overall cash flow so you can get an all-rounded picture of your spending habits in real-time.
But, while it tracks your spending against the budget, it also allows you the flexibility to adjust your budget. You can add your own categories, track bills, split transactions, and set limit notifications.
Mint is also an investment tool. It tracks your investment when you sync the app directly to your investment account. It shows your investment performance, allocation, and changes in value over time.
Its data-driven MintSights gives personalized recommendations on creating your first budget, debt consolidation, and even how to grow your investments. That's not all; it also gives you free credit scores and monitoring.
Isn't Mint a powerful tool to help you manage your finances? But everything good comes with its cons. However, its cons are minimal; in fact, I'll show you how to get around them.
Mint decides how much you can spend on an item, such as entertainment based on your income. But you can override the limit by creating your own categories and budget limits.
Mint discontinued their bill pay option, so you can't pay your bills through Mint. However, you can still add your bills, track their due date, amount, and mark bills as paid.
Mint is FREE to use, which means it makes money through offers to its users, such as credit cards and other investment apps. You might find the adverts kind of annoying. But that's something you can ignore considering the value you get for FREE.
Seriously, though Mint isn't perfect, you'll be hard-pressed to find a budgeting app that gives you such features for FREE. It's especially true if you are just a beginner, bootstrapping with no extra buck to pay for a budgeting app.
But is it the right budgeting app for everyone? Let's look at the other options…
2. YNAB You Need a Budget helps you track every dollar
Have you tried to budget in the past and failed? Then YNAB is suitable for you because it was designed for beginners who want to track every dollar. You'll not fail again with YNAB because it gives you an option to work with an "accountability partner" who waves a red flag every time you exceed your budget.
YNAB can connect to a wide range of devices, making it easy to share the budget with other family members. Devices include; laptops, desktops, smartphones (Android and iPhone), tablets, or Amazon Echo for verbal budget reports from the app. Its ability to connect with multiple devices makes it the best budget app for couples or individuals working together on their budget.
Here's how it works.
You build a budget based on your income, allocating every dollar you earn to all expenses, including; living costs, debt payments, savings, investments ensuring every dollar is accounted for. But it's expensive costing $84 a year or $11.99 a month. But it's FREE for 34 days.
3. EveryDollar makes budgeting easy
EveryDollar makes budgeting and gives you the confidence to walk into financial freedom while saying goodbye to money stress.
It takes 10 minutes to create your first budget and start planning your purchases and tracking your spending.
It ensures your expenses are equal to your income so that you can live within your means.
A FREE version is available, and you can upgrade to the EveryDollar Plus, which costs $129.99 a year. With the free version, you create a transaction every time you spend money to account for it in your budget. But the EveryDollar Plus version will enable you to connect to your bank accounts and expenses, giving you a streamlined experience.
It's cons also come in equal measure.
The free version doesn't allow you to sync the app to you to sync to your bank accounts. You have to key in transactions manually. Unlike the Mint app, which offers investment management, the EveryDollar app is limited to budgeting function.
It's also expensive to upgrade and doesn't offer monthly payments.
EveryDollar is useful if you're looking for a basic budgeting tool. But if you need something more complex or you have too many transactions, you might want to explore other options.
4. PocketGuard keeps cash in your pocket
PocketGuard is a free app that helps you track your spending, budget for expenses, and allocate money for savings.
If you find yourself out of cash every mid-month, PocketGuard can help you manage your finances and easy to set up.
Link it to all your financial accounts to track your spending against the budget throughout the month. It also tracks your income, putting it towards your recurring bills, everyday expenses, and depositing into your savings account as you go.
Can you imagine this… Finding an app that helps find opportunities to save.
Here's the thing....PocketGuard tracks your recurring bills from TV, phone, or internet companies and helps you find better deals for your monthly utility costs. Doesn't that help you lower your spending?
Maybe, that's an outstanding feature with PocketGuard- It indeed guards your pockets.
Pocket Guard has a free and paid plan (Pocket Guard Plus). The paid version costs $3.99 per month or $34.99 for the year.
What about its cons?
It relies heavily on forecasting income, making it a bad fit for people with irregular incomes. You also can't share a budget, therefore not the right choice for couples who share a budget.
Therefore if you fall into these two groups of people, then you might want to look at other sophisticated options.
5. GoodBudget for households
A perfect option is the best budget app for couples who want to share their budgeting process but also great for solo budgeters too. It's based on the envelope system, where you portion out your monthly income toward specific spending categories.
You have up to 10 FREE budget categories called envelopes in the app. When you add a new transaction, you have an option to add details and break up the expense into multiple envelopes.
Add to your envelopes from your income every payday, and you'll know just how much you have leftover for those fun purchases. You can allocate your money towards specific spending categories.
Like other apps we have reviewed, you can sync your budgets across the Android or iPhone spectrum.
What about the cost?
They have a FREE basic option or a paid option where you pay $6 per month or $50 annually. The Plus version offers unlimited envelopes and accounts, up to five devices and other perks.
It also comes with its cons.
It's tedious. Unlike other apps, it doesn't allow you to sync bank accounts. You manually add account balances, cash amounts, and debts.
The free version allows one account, two devices, and limited envelopes. The Plus version limits you to only five devices.
While this app is excellent if you like to see a breakdown of where your money is going. You must be disciplined to use the app successfully. No fancy algorithms showing you how much to save, but it does help you gain control over your money.
That's a wrap.
Having reviewed the top 5 budgeting apps, you might still have a lingering question.
What's the Best Budgeting App for You?
That's the million-dollar question, isn't it? But it depends on your needs and budget.
You know you need a budgeting app, especially when you're just starting. You know the pros and cons of each of Mint, YNAB, EveryDollar, PocketGuard, and GoodBudget. And, you know how each one of them works.
In my honest opinion, the answer is simple…
The best budgeting app is whichever one will get you to stop nibbling on every buck and start taking control of your spending.
Will you start mastering your finances today?