Do you find it difficult to keep track of how much money you have coming in and going out every month?
I sure do.
I wanted a way to track my monthly spending and I figured a budgeting app would really help me with that.
I’m really really good with money, but I can be “tighter” with managing where my money goes.
My biggest problem is keeping track what I spend money on. I don’t like it when I see my Visa bill and it’s got a lot more “unnecessary items” than I should have for the month.
What should you look for in a good budgeting app?
A good budgeting app will carefully track where you are spending your money every month, and categorize them into “areas” so you know how much money you have spent in a certain area.
You should get some sort of alert or a clear message that you are getting close to your spending limit. Basically, it should be pretty damn hard to “accidentally” over spend your money.
Along with managing your spending, a good budget app will help manage your overall net worth and help you save money for big expenses.
There are apps that will help manage your overall finances, and some that are more strictly geared towards budgeting and expense tracking.
The one that’s right for you depends on how much “help” you need in your overall finances.
With that being said, here is my list of the 5 best money management apps.
Top 5 Budget Apps To Track Your Income & Expenses
I’d say, overall, mint is the best “all in one” money management application.
Mint is a money management app/website that is accessible using just the internet. There is no software to download.
Mint helps you with basically everything that is important to your personal finance, like keeping track of your credit score and setting financial goals.
However, Mint’s best use is definitely their budgeting and expense tracking feature.
How Mint Works:
After you sign up, you set up your various banking accounts with Mint and they sync your data. Once that happens, you set up “categories” of expenses. Mint is smart enough to know where to put each transaction into what category.
You then get to see nice pie charts of where your money is going. It’s an excellent visual of your spending.
You can also set goals and use their “save money” feature to find ways to cut spending in certain areas.
You create a system where you can monitor where money comes in and goes out. Mint has amazing graphics and charts to give you a birds eye view of your financial situation. Creating a budget with these nice charts makes budgeting… well, fun!
Not bad at all.
Like any good online service these days, Mint has an app you can use for your android or apple products. Works for mobile phones and tablets.
Their app lets you view and manage your budget on the go. Cool beans.
Mint is a free service. Check them out at mint.com
2. Good Budget
Good budget is a budgeting system “for the modern world”.
They use what they call their “envelope system”, which is a system where your money automatically gets put into envelopes to pay for a specific category of expense (like groceries, transportation, and kids).
So when you need to buy something, let’s say Lego for the kids, you’d take money out of the “kids” envelope. You only have a certain amount of money in the Kids envelope, so clearly that’s your budget for it.
Same goes for the other envelopes.
The strength here is that you’ll know when you’re about to spend too much in a certain category. This budget system helps keep your spending in check.
You can think of their system as having actual envelopes of cash with you as you go about your life. Only, you aren’t holding actual envelopes and physical cash.
You’re actually just using their Goodbuget app to make the magic happen. You can access Goodbudget online and with their app for android and iPhone.
Goodbudget will also help you save money by creating an envelope for “big expenses”. Yay.
Does Goodbudget cost money?
They have a “freemium” system, where you get basic access for free. You’re restricted on the amount of envelopes you can create, the amount of accounts you can have, and the amount of devices you can use to access your account.
The paid option is currently $5/month or $45/year and this will basically give you unlimited access to everything. I’d recommend trying it out with the free option and if you enjoy using it, $45/month is peanuts because I am SURE you’ll save money in the long run simply by not over spending with their envelope system.
You can learn more about them at Goodbudget.com
3. You Need A Budget
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a 4 step budget management system.
Their BIG thing is to make every dollar you earn have a JOB. Most people have all their income roll into one account which they use to pay for everything. There’s nothing wrong with this, but this system is a little too simplistic for many people.
Because what happens when expensive unexpected expenses roll up? Or you’ve spent too much at the beginning of the month and don’t have enough cash left to carry you through till next payday.
YNAB attempts to solve this problem by giving each dollar you earn a job. Basically, your income goes somewhere you specify instead of getting rolled into a single account.
This way, it has a role.
YNAB’s 4 step system works like this:
1. Give every dollar a budget – which is what I just explained above
2. Save for a rainy day – You won’t spend the same amount of money every month, so it’s silly to budget money like that. YNAB helps solve this problem by creating a budget for those big expenses like car insurance payments or Tuition payments. YNAB breaks it down into monthly expenses so it’s more digestible than a lump sum chunk – which can cause a problem when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
3. Rolle with the punches – Some months you’ll need to spend more money in a certain category than usual. For example, maybe your grocery bills this month is double what it normally is. This is absolutely happens, so to compensate for this, you are allowed to “move money around” to balance your budget.
4. Live on last months income – I love this rule, and I haven’t seen people talk about this much in the personal finance space.
Basically, you will save 1 months worth of expenses so you are ahead 1 month. This means that you will be using last months income to pay for this months expenses. You will always be 1 month ahead in income, giving you a very very comfortable cushion.
This is genius because crazy stuff happens in life, and you just need money to solve certain problems. Having a months worth of “emergency money” is a very nice safety net.
How is YNAB accessed and how much does it cost?
YNAB is a software based application. You download it to your PC or Mac and budget your money with it.
You can also download their android and iPhone app to manage your finances on the go. This is pretty much needed to carefully track your expenses. When you’ve just made a purchase at a store, quickly launch their app and punch in the dollars you’ve spent. It will sync and you’ll get an updated tally.
YNAB is a paid budgeting software system. You get access to their budgeting app for free along with it. They offer a free trial so take advantage of that to test the waters out.
Check them out at youneedabudget.com
4. Wallet – By Budgetbakers
Wallet is a budget pocketbook that you can access right from your phone.
While you can access their budget app with online, they primarily market themselves as a mobile budgeting system.
They also say they are the most comprehensive income and expenses tracking system out there. I haven’t used them, so I don’t know, but I have checked them out pretty thoroughly and have read many user comments from the app store, and I have to agree that most people really enjoy using the wallet budget app.
They are a all in one type of budgeting application. They achieve this by giving you a birds eye view of all your financial accounts, while keeping track of financial items like debts, receipts, warranties, etc.
You have the ability to integrate you banking information for seamless tracking.
You’ll be able to set all your information, like your income, expenses, and create a budget around that with your financial goals in mind.
All your information will sync through the cloud, which just basically means the internet will be used to save your information.
How much does Wallet cost?
Wallet also features a freemium system where you can sign up for a free account that has limited access.
If you like it, you can sign up for a paid account. They charge a monthly fee, and it’s only a few dollars per month, depending on which type of account you’d like to sign up for.
Check them out at budgetbakers.com
5. Spending Tracker
If you’re looking for a budgeting app that is completely free, then Spending Tracker is as good as you’ll ever get.
Spending Tracker works like most of the budgeting apps I’ve talked about already here.
You use the app to do the following:
- Enter your income(s)
- Create categories to monitor how much you spend in each area
- Enter your monthly expenses
- Enter transactions you make as the month goes by
- Create a budget around your goals
The main thing you need to do is keep up to date with manually inputting your inevitable daily expenses.
A really nice feature of this free budget app is the graphs and chats you can generate. They aren’t the fanciest charts and graphs but they get the job done. There’s just something about visually seeing how much of the pie goes towards each type of expense.
You’ll know where to dial things back or where you could spend a bit more. It’s a balancing act that you’ll be more in sync with once you get to see it as a whole.
The app is rated very highly on the android and iPhone app stores (4.5 stars), and it’s free YAY!
Spending Tracker is a mobile money management app only, so you won’t be able to use it on your PC or Mac.
Just type in “Spending Tracker” in the app store to find the app.
Is there a budgeting app that you like and use?
I’m always looking for technological things to help make my life easier. I’d love to hear about what you like about the budget app you’re currently using.
Hit me up in the comment section.