The best budgeting apps are easy to use, affordable, and help you stick to your budget.
Each of these apps serves a different purpose, and all are great for helping you meet your goals and get back on track financially. Whether you’re trying to pay off debt or saving to buy a house, these apps can help you track your money and set you up for success.
The 8 Best Budgeting Apps (2 of them are Free)
YNAB (You Need a Budget) is a fan favorite of the personal finance community, and for a good reason–it has stood the test of time. YNAB can take some time to set up initially, but its website offers a wide selection of videos and articles to help you navigate the app and set up your budget correctly.
YNAB has solid security measures, including encrypting your passwords and banking information. You can read more on their security measures here. Also, YNAB promises never to view anyone’s budget unless required by law.
- Can use for multiple budgets
- Syncs with a large number of banks
- App syncs over multiple devices
- Easily track spending with customizable categories
- 34-day free trial
- Doesn’t help you view your overall financial health
- No bill tracking or bill pay features
- Cost is $98.99/year or $14.99/mo
- No investment tracking option
Best For: People who love getting into the nitty-gritty of budgeting. If you love spreadsheets and accounting for every dollar spent, this is your app.
Mint is another fan favorite, and it comes with plenty of features for a completely free app. You can track your monthly spending, net worth, investments, and debts.
Mint uses security scanning and multi-factor authentication to ensure all information you enter into the app is not breached. On top of that, they don’t keep your password to any bank account. You can read more about their security policy here.
However, some user reviews from the Apple App Store mention having trouble getting the Mint app to connect with their bank accounts consistently. Another downside, you’ll see a ton of ads while you use the app since it’s free.
- Receive money updates via text and email
- Get a free credit score within the app
- Easy-to-understand and customizable financial reports
- Reminds you when bills come due
- Free to use
- Syncs across multiple devices
- Ads can be annoying
- Does not manage investments, only tracks performance
- Sometimes accounts don’t sync
- May have difficulty with accounts using two-factor authentication
- Can’t turn off the notifications without changing it in your account settings
Best For: Someone who is paying off debt. You can watch your overall net worth change while tracking your monthly spending. Mint is also great for beginners learning to budget since it’s free to use.
Personal Capital offers the ability to get a bigger picture of your financial well-being. Personal Capital’s best features are its valuable free tools, including the net worth tracker, retirement planner, investment checkup, and fee analyzer, all beautifully displayed on the Personal Capital dashboard.
Setup is pretty standard on this app. You can configure Personal Capital to send you monthly net worth updates via email and other notifications.
When you reach $100,000 in investments, you’ll receive calls asking if you’re interested in having a free consultation with one of their financial advisors, which may culminate in a sales pitch for their investment services.
Personal Capital takes your security seriously. They use AES-256 encryption, which is also used by the U.S. military. On top of that, they offer two-factor authentication and support biometric access on their apps. You can read about their full security measures here.
- Free access to the net worth tracker, retirement planner, savings planner, and debt payoff tools
- Excellent dashboard
- Access to live financial planners for a fee
- You’ll receive sales calls to join their paid service
- Net worth and fee requirement to access wealth management services
Best For: People who have a solid handle on their money and want to level up. You’ll find tools to help grow your investments, and Personal Capital’s calculators are beneficial for those starting to work on retirement planning.
PocketGuard is strictly a budgeting app to show you how much money you have in your pocket. It estimates upcoming expenses and savings goals and subtracts them from your estimated budget. In just a glance, you’ll be able to see how much money you can spend without going over your budget.
While PocketGuard is easy to set up, the desktop version can be challenging to navigate. It’s not super intuitive, but you’ll enjoy a better user experience once you learn to navigate it.
PocketGuard uses the same 256-bit SSL and advanced encryption standards as banks and other financial institutions. You can read more about their full security measures here.
- Great tools to help you keep your spending in check
- Will let you know what subscriptions you’re paying for
- Designed to help you reach savings goals
- May help you negotiate lower costs on bills by identifying where you may be overpaying
- Free version available
- Some functionality is only available for paid users
- Paid version is $7.99/month, $79.99/annually or $99.99/one-time payment for lifetime access
Best For: People who are goal-focused or working to save for a vacation or pay off debt. It lets you pay yourself first before looking to see what other money you have left. And it finds small ways to help you save money along the way.
Compared to other apps, it doesn’t have the best user experience. While EveryDollar allows you to split transactions across spending categories, you’ll have to manually enter all your transactions unless you’re using the paid version of the EveryDollar app.
If you want upgraded features like bank account syncing, you will have to purchase a membership to Ramsey+. The paid version uploads transactions for you, but you still have to sort them.
EveryDollar uses firewall barriers, and any information you give to EveryDollar is encrypted. You can read more about their security measures here.
- Allows you to split transactions
- Syncs over multiple accounts
- You can copy your previous budget over from prior months
- Free 14-day trial
- You have to manually input your spending, unless you upgrade to the paid version
- App lacks investment tracking
- You have to create a budget every month or copy a budget from a previous month
- High subscription cost: $59.99/3 months, 129.99/annual, or $99.99/6 months
Best For: Anyone following Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University, and the 7 Baby Steps. Ramsey Solutions states that this app is good if you’re focused on paying down debt. However, more affordable apps can also help you pay off debt, including YNAB and Mvelopes, which we’ll tell you about below.
Mvelopes is a paid budgeting app that allows you to categorize your available money and expenses into digital envelopes. It’s an excellent app for tracking where you’re overspending. You can see which buckets you had to transfer funds to if you overspent and where you underspent and have excess funds.
While it’s fairly easy to set up, Mvelopes does take more work to maintain than some of the other budgeting apps on this list. You have to go in and mark your transactions to ensure your budget stays up to date. Thankfully, you’ll see all recent transactions on your dashboard when you log in.
Mvelopes uses encryption, firewalls, hashed passwords, and other methods to protect your data. You can learn more about their full security policy here.
- Starts you with a clean slate so your budget is fully customized
- Ability to create a budget in a little as 15 minutes
- 30-day free trial
- Access to a financial coach with Plus subscription ($19.97/month)
- You’ll have to choose a subscription: Basic – $5.97/month or $69/year; Premier – $9.97/month or $99/year; or Plus – $19.97/month or $199/year
- Some banks may not be able to sync their platform
Best For: People who are looking for envelope-based budgeting. While there is no free option, the paid tiers provide access to educational videos and resources to help you manage your money, and Mvelopes offers more features at a better price than EveryDollar.
Simplifi is a personal finance app from Quicken. You can connect your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, even your 401(k) to get an overview of your finances. If you enjoy charts, graphs, and easy-to-read dashboards, you’ll love Simplifi.
Simplifi allows users to create multiple savings goals, track bills and spending, and monitor cash flow via mobile app or desktop. Simplifi uses 256-bit encryption. You can read more about their security here.
It’s worth noting if you’re a current Quicken user, Simplifi does not connect to Quicken. It’s an entirely separate app.
- Attractive dashboard
- Financial reports with easy-to-read charts
- 30-day free trial
- Transport data via csv file from Mint or Personal Capital
- You’ll need a subscription after the free trial: Annual Plan is $47.99 ($3.99/month) or you can pay $5.99/month
- Doesn’t sync with Quicken
Best For: Anyone wanting to track more than just income and spending. Simplifi’s dashboard is striking, a bit like Personal Capital’s. While Personal Capital’s free version can track all your financial accounts and investments, Simplifi offers more budgeting tools at a cost. You might even consider using both. You can benefit from Personal Capital’s free retirement planning tools while carefully tracking your budget with Simplifi.
Tiller creates custom Google spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel workbooks to track your money. You can use it to track spending and debt payoff. It fits in with any budgeting style since the spreadsheets are customizable.
Tiller takes some effort to set it up, but you can start with their templates and then customize them to fit your needs. Tiller then sends you daily emails about your money so that nothing catches you off guard.
Tiller is committed to having the highest security on their platform to keep your information safe and encrypted, and they don’t see any of your banking credentials. They also don’t sell your information to other platforms. They use Yodlee to connect to your financial data. You can read their 12-Point Security and Privacy Promise here.
- Free year for college students
- Perfect for spreadsheet fans
- Plenty of templates with charts
- Available for personal and business accounts
- Create up to five customizable spreadsheets
- Able to split transactions over multiple categories
- Free one month trial period
- Can be complicated to set up
- No dedicated mobile app
- Cost is $79/year
Best For: Spreadsheet enthusiasts who are comfortable making budgets, love looking at graphs, and seeing up-to-date spreadsheet information. Tiller has a large community of users smitten with spreadsheets, so you’ll have plenty of help getting started.
Check out our full Tiller Review.
How to Pick the Best Budgeting App
Choose the app that offers what you need for the price you can afford. You want to be sure you can download the app on your phone if that’s the primary way you’ll monitor your budget. If accessing your budget on your desktop is important to you, be sure that’s an option before you purchase an app.
Free apps are excellent to start with but might not offer some features you need to best manage your money, like account syncing. If you upgrade to a paid app, take full advantage of the free trial period (if offered) to test out the features and see if you enjoy using the app.
A word of caution, it can be exciting to download all of these at once to try them all out, but this can be overwhelming. It’s best to stick to one or two apps to start and switch them out if you don’t like them.
Here are our top picks for different budgeting situations:
- Best budget app to control spending: YNAB
- Best budget app to also track investments and retirement accounts: Personal Capital
- Best option for those who live spreadsheets: Tiller Money
- Best app for those who budget on their smartphone: Simplifi
- Best free budget app: Mint or Personal Capital
How We Chose the Apps in This List
In addition to our personal experience, we explored sites including Reddit, Facebook forums, and app reviews to see what others users are saying about the product. We chose the apps on this list for offering the best budgeting features for a reasonable cost.
You may consider using more than one app on this list. For example, you can use Personal Capital’s free dashboard to track your net worth and overall financial well-being while using YNAB to track your monthly budget.
There are no rules to follow here, except to stick with your budget. These apps should make it easier to do. If not, it’s time to move on to another app on this list until you find the one that works for you.