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Expert Curated List of the Best Budgeting Tools and Savings Apps

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 12/28/2022
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Budgeting is an important aspect of financial management. It helps you track your expenses and take control of your spending. It also allows you to see opportunities to save money, prepare for emergency expenses, pay off debt or achieve your financial goals.

Some people may find budgeting challenging. A budgeting tool or savings app can be a great addition to your financial planning strategy. It can help with monitoring spending, encourage saving and identify unhealthy habits.

Generally, the best budgeting tool may vary depending on personal financial goals and needs. Comparing the pros, cons and features of different tools, knowing what factors to consider and learning how to make the most of budgeting tools can help you find the right app suitable for your situation.

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What Are Budgeting Apps’ Benefits?

Getting on a budget can improve one’s financial situation. It helps ensure you achieve your long-term financial goals, including building a nest egg, planning retirement or preparing for unexpected expenses.

However, developing the proper habits can be difficult, especially for beginners. Having the right tools can help. This is where budgeting tools and savings apps come in.

There are various options available in the market. Each one offers different features and advantages. But generally, budgeting apps help monitor finances, identify unhealthy spending habits, encourage saving and achieve financial goals.

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    Monitor finances and expenses

    A budgeting app allows you to track your financial situation. You can customize the app for automatic notifications. Many apps also let users synchronize bank accounts. Thus, making it easier to monitor income and expenses.

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    Identify unhealthy spending habits

    Since budgeting tools help you monitor your expenses, you get to see spending habits that are harmful to your finances. They help determine unnecessary expenses. For instance, you may be paying for a subscription you’re no longer using.

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    Encourage saving

    Knowing where your money goes every month can help you determine areas to improve. It also helps you see how much money is left. Thus, allowing you to allocate extra funds to your savings.

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    Achieve financial goals

    Developing good financial habits is essential in achieving long-term financial goals. The use of budgeting apps is a great start. Budgeting allows you to be more disciplined when it comes to spending. Thus, helping you take control of your finances, grow your wealth and reach your goals.

An illustration of a girl reviewing best budgeting and savings apps.

The 8 Best Budget and Money-Saving Apps

MoneyGeek reviewed eight of the most well-known budgeting apps available in the market to help you find the best tool that fits your financial situation and needs. To determine who each app is best for, MoneyGeek checked user ratings, best features and costs.

1. Mint

Best For: Budgeting beginners
Summary

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Price
  • Free
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Best Features
  • Free credit score
  • Investment tracker
  • Budgeting goal tracker
  • Bill payment tracker
points
Ratings
  • App Store: 4.8
  • Google Play: 4.3

Mint is a great option for newbies and individuals interested in basic budget tracking. The app has high user ratings in both the App Store and Google Play, reflecting a positive customer experience in general. It allows you to link different financial accounts for better monitoring.

However, the app is ad-supported. Additionally, if you’re looking for a more hands-on experience instead of just tracking transactions, Mint may not be for you.


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Pros
  • Allows users to link cash accounts, credit cards, investments and bills.
  • Free.
  • Unique features, such as free credit score, investment tracker and budgeting goal tracker.
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Cons
  • Focused on tracking of transactions and not on management.
  • Ad-supported app.
  • Daily updates and projected monthly spending are only available for premium users.

2. YNAB

Best For: Hands-on budgeting
Summary

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Price
  • $14.99 monthly
  • $99 annually
  • 34 days free trial
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Best Features
  • Real-time updates across devices
  • Loan calculator
  • Spending and net worth reports
  • Bank synchronization
  • Zero-based budgeting
points
Ratings
  • App Store: 4.8
  • Google Play: 4.5

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is an excellent option for people who want to be more hands-on when it comes to financial management and budgeting. The app is also good for beginners willing to spend a few bucks. Among its best features are the loan calculator, spending and net worth reports and account synchronization. It also uses zero-based budgeting, wherein you allocate all your money to certain expenses.


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Pros
  • Smart and easy budget categorization.
  • Allows users to set multiple budgets, prioritize savings goals and track spending.
  • Real-time updates across devices.
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Cons
  • Paid app.
  • No investment tracking.
  • Requires hands-on budgeting and commitment.

3. Goodbudget

Best For: Traditional budgeters
Summary

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Price
  • Free
  • Premium ($8 monthly; $70 annually)
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Best Features
  • Real-time updates across devices
  • Loan calculator
  • Spending and net worth reports
  • Bank synchronization
  • Zero-based budgeting
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Ratings
  • App Store: 4.7
  • Google Play: 4.6

If you’re used to the traditional budgeting method that uses envelopes, this may be a good option for you. The app allows you to divide your income into different expenses categorized into envelopes. This helps prevent overspending on one category.

However, the free subscription only offers limited access. You can only use two devices, one account, 20 envelopes and debt tracking. If you want unlimited envelopes and accounts and access from five different devices, you’ll have to pay $8 per month or $70 per year.


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Pros
  • Allows budget syncing.
  • Standard version is free.
  • Allows debt tracking.
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Cons
  • Limited envelopes for a free subscription.
  • Limited features.
  • Additional accounts and devices require a paid subscription.

4. EveryDollar

Best For: Basic budgeters
Summary

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Price
  • Free
  • Premium ($12.99 monthly; $79.99 yearly)
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Best Features
  • Zero-based budgeting
  • Customized categories for budgeting
  • Bill due dates
  • Savings goals
  • Split transactions
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Ratings
  • App Store: 4.8
  • Google Play: 3.5

EveryDollar is a free app. It’s best for individuals looking for a simple budgeting tool. If you want to access other features, such as bank synchronization and spending reports, you’ll have to be a premium member. This can cost you $12.99 per month or $79.99 per year.


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Pros
  • Zero-based budgeting.
  • Set due dates for bill payments.
  • Set savings goals.
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Cons
  • Bank synchronization for premium users only.
  • Limited features.
  • Manual input of budget and expenses.

5. Personal Capital

Best For: Investors
Summary

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Price
  • Free
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Best Features
  • Net worth calculator
  • Investment checkup
  • Financial advisors
  • 401(k) fee analyzer
  • Spending tracker
points
Ratings
  • App Store: 4.7
  • Google Play: N/A

Personal capital has a budgeting feature but may be considered as a wealth management tool. Its best features include an investment checkup and net worth calculator. That said, you may get financial advice from human and robo-advisors.


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Pros
  • Free.
  • Access to financial advice.
  • Allows investment and 401(k) analysis.
  • Provide net worth and portfolio tracker.
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Cons
  • More focused on investment rather than budgeting.
  • May be complicated for investment and budgeting beginners.
  • Management fees for investments.

6. PocketGuard

Best For: Overspenders
Summary

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Price
  • Free
  • Premium ($7.99 monthly; $34.99 annually; $79.99 lifetime one-time purchase)
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Best Features
  • Bills planner
  • Spending insights
  • Customized budget
  • Net income analysis
  • Anti-fraud feature
  • Accounts synchronization
  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) goal strategy
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Ratings
  • App Store: 4.7
  • Google Play: N/A

PocketGuard uses the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) goal strategy, which helps individuals focus on well-defined and attainable financial goals. The app allows you to link financial accounts, making tracking spending easier and preventing overspending.

PocketGuard is a free app. However, special features like the debt payoff plan and adding categories are available only to paid users.


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Pros
  • Free.
  • Breaks spending into categories for easier tracking.
  • Connect to multiple financial accounts.
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Cons
  • Debt payoff plan for premium users only.
  • Only premium users can add budget categories.
  • Limited savings goals for free users.

7. Honeydue

Best For: Couples
Summary

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Price
  • Free
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Best Features
  • Joint bank account
  • Sync financial accounts of two people
  • Bill reminders
  • Built-in chat for partners
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Ratings
  • App Store: 4.5
  • Google Play: N/A

Budgeting for couples is Honeydue’s main focus. It allows you and your partner to sync your financial accounts for better monitoring. You can set bill reminders to avoid penalties. You can also communicate with your partner through the built-in app feature. If you and your partner decide to bank together, you can also get the Honeydue joint bank account.


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Pros
  • Allows couples to sync their financial accounts.
  • Categorizes expenses through an automatic or custom option.
  • Sends bill reminders.
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Pros
  • Tracks past transactions rather than acts as a budget planner.
  • No analytics or reporting tools.
  • Limited features.

8. Digit

Best For: Passive budgeter
Summary

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Price
  • Free for six months.
  • $5 monthly thereafter.
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Best Features
  • Link bills and credit cards
  • Automates bills payment
  • Savings account
  • Monitor car payments
points
Ratings
  • App Store: 4.7
  • Google Play: 4.5

Digit is best for people looking for a hands-free budgeting experience. Instead of manually inputting data, the app analyzes your expenses and automatically moves your deposits to your bills’ accounts to ensure timely payments. You can also keep track of your car payments and budget your rent payment. However, the free subscription only lasts for six months.


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Pros
  • Free trial.
  • Link financial accounts and bills.
  • Hands-free budgeting.
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Cons
  • Free subscription ends after six months.
  • $5 monthly fee after the free trial.
  • Doesn’t allow a user to transfer savings.

Best Budget and Money-Saving Apps Summary Table

Comparing different budgeting apps is the best way to find the most suitable choice for your financial needs. The table below details a comparison of eight apps.

  • App Name
    Best For
    Price
    Rating
    Best Features
    Link to Accounts?
  • Mint

    Budgeting
    beginners

    • Free
    • App store: 4.8
    • Play store: 4.3
    • Free credit
      score
    • Investment
      tracker
    • Budgeting
      goal tracker
    • Bill
      payment
      tracker

    Yes, cash
    accounts,
    credit cards,
    loans
    investments
    and bills

  • YNAB

    Hands-on
    budgeting

    • $14.99
      monthly plan
    • $99 annual
      plan
    • 34 days for
      a free trial
    • App store: 4.8
    • Play store: 4.5
    • Real-time
      updates
      across
      devices
    • Loan
      calculator
    • Spending
      and net
      worth
      reports
    • Bank
      synchroni
      zation
    • Zero-based
      budgeting

    Yes, credit
    card and
    other bank
    accounts

  • Goodbudget

    Traditional
    budgeters

    • Free
    • Premium
      ($8 monthly;
      $70
      annually)
    • App store: 4.7
    • Play store: 4.3
    • Envelope
      budgeting
    • Debt
      tracking
    • Plan
      savings
    • Sync and
      share
      household
      budget

    No

  • EveryDollar

    Basic
    budgeters

    • Free
    • Premium
      ($12.99
      monthly;
      $79.99
      annually)
    • App store: 4.8
    • Play store: 3.5
    • Zero-based
      budgeting
    • Customized
      categories
      for
      budgeting
    • Bill due
      dates
    • Savings
      goals
    • Split
      transactions

    Yes (for
    premium
    users only)

  • Personal Capital

    Investors

    • Free
    • App store: 4.7
    • Play store: N/A
    • Net worth
      calculator
    • Investment
      checkup
    • Financial
      advisors
    • 401(k) fee
      analyzer
    • Spending
      tracker

    Yes, cash
    accounts,
    credit cards,
    loans and
    investments

  • PocketGuard

    Over-
    spenders

    • Free
    • Premium
      ($7.99
      monthly;
      $34.99
      annually;
      $79.99
      lifetime
      one-time
      purchase)
    • App store: 4.8
    • Play store: N/A
    • Bills
      planner
    • Spending
      insights
    • Customized
      budget
    • Net income
      analysis
    • Anti-fraud
      feature
    • Accounts
      synchroni
      zation
    • SMART
      (Specific,
      Measurable,
      Achievable,
      Relevant
      and Timely)
      goal strategy

    Yes, bank
    accounts,
    credit cards,
    loans and
    investments

  • Honeydue

    Couples

    • Free
    • App store: 4.5
    • Play store: N/A
    • Joint bank
      account
    • Sync
      financial
      accounts of
      two people
    • Bill
      reminders
    • Built-in chat
      for partners

    Yes (the user
    and their
    partner’s
    bank
    accounts,
    credit cards,
    loans and
    investments)

  • Digit

    Passive
    budgeters

    • Free for six
      months
    • $5 monthly
      after free
      trial
    • App store: 4.7
    • Play store: 4.5
    • Link bills
      and credit
      cards
    • Automates
      bills
      payment
    • Savings
      account
    • Monitor car
      payments

    Yes (bills and
    credit cards)

An illustration of someone using a budgeting app.

Personal Testimonials: How Apps Can Improve Finances

  1. What made you decide to use a budgeting tool and/or savings app?
  2. How do budgeting tools and/or savings apps help you with your day-to-day expenses?
  3. How did you choose the right budgeting tool/savings app?
Jared Weitz
Jared Weitz

CEO at United Capital Source

Alex Walker
Alex Walker

Senior Manager at CouponBirds

Dale Steven
Dale Steven

Researcher and Analyst

Kris McCormick
Kris McCormick

Blogger and Gentle Parenting Advocate

How to Choose the Right Budgeting App for Your Needs

With many apps available in the market, choosing one can be a bit overwhelming. Generally, the best option would be the app that fits your needs. Comparing your choices, including the prices, features, security and customer service, will give you an idea of which app is suitable for you. It’s also essential to ensure that the app is compatible with your device.

1

Price

There are many free budgeting apps you can easily download. However, some have limited features. You may need to spend a few bucks to access special features.

For paid apps, consider looking for those with a free trial. This way, you can test the different features and see if they cater to your needs.

2

Features

Typically, budgeting apps allow users to create budget plans and track expenses. You can customize and arrange costs into categories. Most also offer bank synchronization, making it easier for users to monitor their finances using a single platform. However, some provide unique features like saving and investment.

3

Security

Don’t forget to check the safety and security features of the budgeting apps. You’ll be inputting important data and syncing other accounts, so it’s crucial to ensure that your personal information is safe. Consider apps that have multi-factor authentication for log-in attempts.

4

Device compatibility

One of the most important things you need to check is the compatibility of the app with your devices. Try opening the app on different devices, such as iOS and Android devices, that you plan on using to access your budget plan.

5

Customer service

Sometimes, it’s inevitable to encounter issues while using a budgeting app. In such cases, it’s important to have a technical or customer service team you can easily reach out to for help. Before signing up for an app, research their services. You can read reviews from current and former customers about their experiences.

An illustration of someone whether or not he needs to purchase a paid budgeting app.

Free vs. Paid: Should You Purchase a Budgeting App?

Each person has different needs and circumstances. That means the budgeting tool that works for most people may not be suitable for others. Aside from researching what each app can offer, it would also help to review your preference.

For instance, some people may find free apps to be enough. However, others may opt for paid subscriptions due to the added perks.


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When Should You Use a Paid App?
  • You want to access premium services, such as retirement planner tools.
  • You find that paying for the budgeting app will give you more motivation to use it.
  • You want an app to manage all your financial accounts, including investments.
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When Should You Use a Free App?
  • The basic features are enough for you.
  • You would need the extra money for other expenses.
  • If you’re spending hundreds of dollars a year on an app, it may be better to hire a professional financial advisor.

An illustration of someone planning his financial goals using a budgeting app.

Achieving Your Financial Goals Using Budgeting Apps

Effective budgeting is crucial to good financial planning. Financial apps, such as budgeting tools, can play a huge role in accomplishing your objectives. Knowing how to use an app effectively can help you maximize the benefits.

1

Determine your needs

The first step you need to take is to determine your needs. What do you want to accomplish? What are your long-term financial goals? Doing this will help determine the types of features you’ll need.

2

Compare your options

Once you know what you want to see in a budgeting app, you can look for the best options. Consider checking multiple apps and comparing their offers. Decide whether a free app is enough for you or if a paid subscription is necessary to meet your needs.

3

Keep notifications on

A budgeting app offers many benefits. However, it’ll only be an effective tool if you use it regularly. If you think it’ll be hard to commit to logging in daily or weekly, turn on the app notifications to get alerts. This will keep you informed about your financial situation.

4

Sync transactions

Make sure your app is synchronized with your bank accounts so that all transactions are automatically filed. This allows you to monitor your spending in real-time.

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MONEYGEEK GUIDES

Budgeting is only one aspect of financial management. MoneyGeek created a few guides you can use to make well-informed financial decisions.

Methodology

MoneyGeek considered well-known budgeting apps and conducted a review considering various factors, including available features, customer ratings and user reviews in both the App Store and Google Play, pricing, pros and cons. MoneyGeek also determined who each app is best for to help you in choosing the right tool based on your needs.

Expert Insight on the Best Budgeting Apps

Finding the right budgeting app can be challenging, especially for people who have never used one before. MoneyGeek spoke with industry leaders to provide expert insight that may help you make well-informed decisions.

  1. How can a person determine if a budgeting tool and/or savings app is right for them?
  2. Aside from using budgeting tools and/or savings apps, what other financial tips can you share to help people achieve their financial goals?
Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan

Retired Financial Planner & Financial Coach

Hanna Morrell
Hanna Morrell

Holistic Financial Coach at Pacific Stoa Financial Wellness

Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell

Personal Finance and Wealth Management Expert and Founder of Credit Building Tips

Resources for Budgeting Tools and Savings Apps

There are many resources available to help you achieve financial success. MoneyGeek compiled a list of relevant resources to help you get started.

About the Author


expert-profile

Nathan Paulus is the director of content marketing at MoneyGeek. Nathan has been creating content for nearly 10 years and is particularly engaged in personal finance, investing, and property management. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas Houston.


sources