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Best Budget Apps That Actually Keep You On Track

Getting a hold of your personal finances is something super important that you may have never learned in school growing up. Budgeting, taxes, writing a check, etc. Many extremely useful and basic life lessons are overlooked in the education system currently. 

Fortunately for everyone, there are countless tools at your disposal that can provide this direction, and they are all at your fingertips. If you have a phone, then you have access to the many apps that provide useful budgeting services. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones on the market today. 

What To Look For In a Budget App

Whether you are looking for something simple and easy to use, something more interwoven in your other accounts for full control, or something in between. There is an app out there for you and your personal preferences. 


Some apps are free to use, while others come with a monthly subscription or perhaps an annual fee. It may seem counterintuitive to pay for a budgeting app when you are looking for help with getting your finances in order. However, there are features you can pay for such as syncing with your bank account, advanced technology, etc. that are extremely helpful with budget planning. 

Syncing Capabilities 

If you wish to have a broad field of view in your financial landscape, then syncing to various accounts would be important to you. Some apps allow you to sync to your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, etc. Consider if you need all of that information, or if you want just a simple budget tool to get you started. 

Account Sharing

Do you need to be able to share the monthly budget plan with family members or roommates? Would it be beneficial to coordinate efforts collaboratively, for example if you have common goals that you are trying to achieve. Make sure you look for apps that have this feature if you want to involve others in your budgeting process. 

Budget System

Each budgeting app provides their own take on particular budgeting methods. There are many budget systems out there, from the pay yourself first method to the envelope method. Make sure you understand what technique your app is using and if you align to that methodology.  

Customer Support 

You may not think you will encounter an issue, but like anything in life, problems arise that you will need help taking care of. Hopefully this aspect will not matter, but if you do encounter a problem and you really need to reach someone — having good customer service is paramount. If customer support is important to you when it comes to your finances, make sure to read reviews, do a test call with customer support or e-mail to see how quickly you get a response just in case an error does occur. 

Top Budgeting Apps

There are many apps that someone could download right now on their phone and get started budgeting the right way. The top apps may be a matter of preference or need for each particular use case. Here are some of the best apps and why they could be useful to you:

  • Clarity — Best Overall Budgeting App
  • Mint —Best Free Budgeting App
  • EveryDollar — Best Budgeting App With Educational Resources
  • Simple — Best Budget And Banking App Combined
  • YNAB — Best Budget App For Debt Reduction
  • Goodbudget — Best Budgeting App For Couples

1. Clarity

Best For: People who want a great user experience with lots of features

Price: Free!

Notable Features: Linking to institutions, credit score tracking, subscription canceling 

Clarity Money is an app that allows users to organize expenses, track spending, and make smart decisions with your money. This app has a great user interface and is probably the most aesthetically pleasing.

It breaks down all spending from this month, last month, this week, last week. A cool feature is that you can search for “food” and it will show you how much you spent this month, or even this whole year.

You can also search for a store and it will show you how much you spent at that store for the year. 

  • Pros
    • Links to your bank account, credit cards, retirement accounts, etc.
    • Can link your credit cards and it will show you how much debt you have, and how much credit is left as well
    • Can track credit score
    • Will review your expenses and automatically pull out your subscriptions (netflix, hulu, etc.) and asks if there is anything you would like to cancel this month. 
  • Cons:
    • If the app classifies an expense incorrectly, you can reclassify it. However, the next time it comes up again, the app doesn’t learn — it will classify it incorrectly again 
    • Regional bank account linking 

2. Mint

Best For: People who want a full view of their finances for free

Price: Free!

Notable Features: Works with intuit suite, Credit score tracking

From the makers of TurboTax, Mint provides a free money management and financial tracking application that is very intuitive.

It kind of does everything that you would like a budgeting app to do, and more. It can link your bank accounts to manage bills and your money together, see everything in one place, amongst other cool features.

  • Pros
    • Free to Use compared to many other fee-based budgeting apps 
    • Linked to bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, etc.   
    • Can estimate the value of your home (regional dependent) 
    • Can track credit score tracking
    • Provides custom tips for saving
  • Cons:
    • Cannot use mint without linking to your bank account
    • Limited budgeting capabilities, not able to set categories, rename them, or reorganize them. only supports NA banks, some usability/syncing issues
    • Only one level budget system that you cannot reorder (example: some other apps have pre-set categories that you can modify as needed)

3. Everydollar

Best For: People who want to be educated about their budgeting

Price: $129.99 a year

Notable Features: Unlimited streaming of courses

Everydollar is Dave Ramsey’s budgeting application, where he uses a zero-based budgeting system, where your income and expenses equal out.

In the free version of this app, you manually create your transactions within your budget. In the paid version, you can connect to your bank account for more fluidity in your expense tracking.  

  • Pros
    • Easy to get started, you can add, change, delete easily as you see fit. Create a budget in ten minutes
    • With paid version you can get customized reports of income and spending habits
    • In the paid version you can have access to unlimited streaming of best money courses
    • Using the paid version you can link to bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, etc.  
  • Cons:
    • Usability: Have to manually update expenses, does not learn to categorize. If you link to a bank account with the paid version, you will have duplicates (if manually input the same expense)

4. Simple

Best For: People who want Budgeting and Banking combined

Price: Free!

Notable Features: Banking and budgeting all in one, Protected goal account, Shared accounts

Simple is one of the first mobile only banking applications that helped their customers budget and save.

The main selling point of this budgeting app is that it offers a protected goals account, which offers 2.15% interest! The budgeting part of this application is, quite Simple, to be frank but also effective.

  • Pros
    • Protected Goals Account, which is similar to a savings account, but instead of virtually a 0% interest rate at other institutions. This has a 2.15% interest rate!
    • “Safe to Spend” feature shows you how much you have to spend after mortgage, car, utilities, etc. are taken into account by the algorithm
    • Shared account access with someone else who has a simple bank account. You can set up a shared goal with that other person. For instance a wedding with your spouse. Funds can go into that account and earn interest. 
    • Another feature, similar to Acorns, rounds up purchases you make and puts the rounded up portion into one of these protected goal account
  • Cons:
    • Simple budgeting tool. Not ideal for a heavy user
    • Doesn’t aggregate all accounts outside of simple (mortgage, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

5. YNAB (You Need A Budget)

Best For: People who want guidance to get out of debt

Price: $11.99 a month or $84 a year, free for students for 12 months

Notable Features: Banking and budgeting all in one, Protected goal account, Shared accounts

YNAB treats budgeting by approaching it with a 4 rule approach: 

  1. Give every dollar a job and track every dollar and give it a specific purpose
  2. Embracing your true expenses. Breaking up larger, low frequency expense groups into smaller and more manageable amounts
  3. Rolling with the punches, every budget must be flexible, provided the constant hurdles life throws at us
  4. Age your money by extending the time between the moment you earn a dollar until the time you spend it. This way you will not live paycheck to paycheck 
  • Pros
    • Good resources on their app, not only how to use their app but also their budgeting philosophy as well. Additionally, online classes are offered
    • Has pre-set budgeting categories that you can modify, making it very customizable and easy to use
    • Can link your account, which will pull all transactions over directly from your bank OR you can manually input all transactions (if you prefer to not link your account)
  • Cons:
    • Only supports banks linked in North America

6. Goodbudget

Best For: People who want to share a budget process together

Price: Options: Free, $7 a month or $60 a year

Notable Features: Shared accounts

Goodbudget is an ideal envelope-based system for you and your partner to share. This allows you to portion out your monthly income into specific categories for your expenses. Goodbudget works with non-monthly incomes, as well as variable incomes. This is an ideal account for spouses, or family members who wish to access the same budget. 

  • Pros
    • The Free Version allows folks to tracker 10 Regular Envelopes and 10 Annual Envelopes for a total of 20.
      • Regular Envelopes are best used for bills and groceries, and gas. Annuals are best used for saving for things that recur on a yearly basis, like property taxes, Christmas gifts, etc.
    • Can’t use money towards another particular field outside of the envelope. The purpose of this is to not overspend so that you will have more money at the end of the month to save
    • In paid versions, you get unlimited envelopes and can link to 5 different devices, amongst other perks
  • Cons:
    • No syncing with bank accounts. Unfortunately all information is manually added
    • Limited number of envelopes and devices on free account

Extra Budgeting Resources From InvestmentFirms.com

If an app is not working for you, there are other ways you can work on budgeting. Such options include: