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Best Budget Apps To Fit Your Goals and Lifestyle

Do you want to quickly check on your personal finances through the ease of your smartphone? Unfortunately, numerous budgeting apps on the App Store and Google Play Store can be challenging to determine the top budgeting apps that match your goals and lifestyle. Fortunately for you, we listed the best budget apps that can best fit your needs.

Are you a fan of Dave Ramsey’s advice and the zero-based budgeting strategy? Or, are you a couple looking to improve your money management skills to reach your financial goals? Regardless of your walk of life, from a college student to a sassy grandma, we’ve got them all covered!

Why Is Having A Budget Important?

Have you ever found yourself in at least one of the following scenarios?

  • Getting charged an overdraft fee
  • Not having money to contribute toward a savings goal or sinking fund
  • Wanting healthier foods for your kids, but limited by price
  • Growing consumer debt and only making the minimum payment
  • Afraid to spend money or purchase big-ticket items

If you answered yes to any of the above scenarios, then having a budget is essential. It’s not a great feeling living paycheck to paycheck and being uncertain about your family’s future.

Also, you shouldn’t feel guilty buying a cup of coffee or a new car. If you can pay your monthly expenses and budget for it, then who is to say you can’t afford it. They’re just jealous.

Why don’t people like budgets?

One of the main reasons people don’t like budgets is that they feel it restricts their spending. However, although a budget does set a limit, it still allows a person to buy whatever they want within that limit.

For instance, if you budget $300 a month for a car while still meeting your other needs, then you can purchase any brand of car you like. Or, if you’re trying to rehab an investment property, you can choose any flooring as long as it’s within budget.

Keys Factors For The Best Budget Apps

Although the term “best” is subjective, we account for various factors, such as customer rating, price, features, and budgeting style, to determine the best budget apps. Ultimately, it will come down to preference. For instance, a person may value budget style (i.e., zero-based budget vs. envelop system) more than price and vice versa.

Customer Rating

Users of an app can give a comprehensive or short review of their experience. Along with their comment, they rate the app on a star system where five stars are the highest and one star is the lowest. Therefore, users have installed these apps at least one million times, have 1,000 reviews, and are greater than four stars.

Price

Of course, everyone would love to have access to premium features. However, having those features may come with a cost even if the app offers “freemium” services. And, yet, some are willing to pay the price because they believe it’s worth it. Therefore, we’ll also highlight the different plans, free, paid, and freemium, and what features the app includes and excludes.

Features

Typically, features are the leading determining factor for the best budget apps. For example, many budgeting apps sync with one’s bank account, credit cards, and mortgages. However, some developers limit apps on the number of bank accounts, credit cards, and loans they can link to. This limitation may be due to a plan or basic technology restrictions.

Additionally, having a lot of features doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. Instead, it’s crucial to have the right features versus having many “bells and whistles.”

Budgeting Style

There are different budgeting styles: the envelope system, zero-based budget strategy, and the 50-30-20 rule. Each type takes on a different approach to budgeting that works well for other people.

For instance, the zero-based budget strategy gives every dollar a purpose. You assign a certain amount to rent, another amount towards grocery, and another towards a college fund. The goal is to use every dollar so that there are zero dollars left.

On the other hand, the 50-30-20 rule divides one’s income into three categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.

Thus, regardless of your budgeting style preference, there are a couple of budgeting apps that can match your style.

Best Overall: Mint: Personal Finance & Money

Overview

    • Price: Free, offering in-app purchases
    • Customer Rating: 4.5
  • Notable Features: Track transactions, monitor monthly expenses, money spending tracker, create goals, connect crypto account, credit score monitoring

Summary

Mint is a household name when it comes to tracking your money and budgets online. So, it’s no surprise it’s the overall best for anyone wanting to get their budget under control.

Users can easily track their spending, make a budget, and visualize which categories they spend their money on. So, when I wanted to start following my spending online, Mint was the first place I started.

One of the nice features is the ability to set goals and a target date. In addition, Mint can automatically calculate how much you need to budget per month to reach your goal.

As a bonus feature, Mint offers a credit monitoring service. And, if you’re a cryptocurrency investor, Mint now supports the following platforms, Coinbase, Robinhood, Paypal, Binance, Blockfi, and more.

Best For Zero-Based Budget: You Need A Budget (YNAB)

Overview

    • Price: Free, offers in-app purchases
    • Customer Rating: 4.8
  • Notable Features: Real-time updates, debt paydown tool, customizable visual reports

Summary

The strategy of a zero-based budget is to give every dollar an assignment. The goal is to have nothing or (or “zero”) left to assign. This strategy matches YNAB’s first rule: “Give Every Dollar A Job | You’re the boss. The drill Sergeant. The maestro. When you earn money, you prioritize how you’ll use it, and then follow your plan.”

The zero-based budget is more than traditional budgeting buckets. With YNAB, users can stop living in the dark about their finances. Instead, they can clearly understand where their money was going.

Aside from personal checking and savings accounts, this personal finance app can link brokerages, 401k accounts, and student loans. With the help of the debt paydown tool, users can stay on pace to get out of debt (i.e., credit cards, loans). In addition, the auto-import feature allows users to see if merchants charged anything to their accounts.

Best For Envelope System: Goodbudget Budget Planner

Overview

    • Price: Free, offers in-app purchases
    • Customer Rating: 4.7
  • Notable Features: Spending by envelope report, free ten regular envelopes, unlimited envelopes for paid subscribers

Summary

The Goodbudget Budget Planner is similar to other budgeting apps because it syncs transactions and has a “debt progress report.” However, it boasts “based on the envelope budgeting method. But with no physical envelopes; only virtual envelopes!” So, for users that prefer the envelop system, this app is easily one of the best budget apps for their needs.

It’s important to note that the app’s free version only includes ten regular envelopes and ten annual envelopes. On the other hand, paid subscribers will receive unlimited regular and annual envelopes, seven years of transaction history, and sync up to five devices.

Best For Couples: Honeydue: Couples Finance

Overview

    • Price: Free, offers in-app purchases
    • Customer Rating: 4.5
  • Notable Features: Choose how much you want to share, split expenses, emojis to encourage each other about their spending habits

Summary

As the app name implies, Honeydue is for couples managing their finances together, especially with a joint bank account. They want couples to see the big picture about their finances by talking more and fighting less. Users can set monthly household limits, customize spending categories, and get notified when they reach them.

Also, couples can choose how to split expenses either evenly or have different portions. They have to go through their bank transactions and mark which ones they want to break up.

Users can now avoid awkward conversations on how to split the current and upcoming bills.

Best For Investors: Personal Capital: Investing

Overview

    • Price: Free
    • Customer Rating: 4.7
  • Notable Features: Interactive cash flow graph, retirement planner, investment checkup tool, net worth tracking

Summary

Although the Personal Capital app is not necessarily a budgeting app, it is still a noteworthy app for tracking one’s net worth by managing bank accounts, IRAs, 401ks, mortgages, investment accounts, stocks, and debt from its dashboard.

The Personal Capital also offers numerous free tools, such as the Cash Flow graph, Investment Checkup Tool, and Retirement Planner. And, although it doesn’t manage a budget, it can show positive results on what budgeting to invest can do!

Final Thoughts

Remember, budgeting, in general, is not perfect. Instead, budgeting is a guide to your finances.

So, whether you’re managing your family chances or a small business calculating the contribution margin, having a proper budget is essential to have good cash flow. And, with the increase of technology, it has been more accessible than ever to handle your budget from your phone.

There is a range of best budgeting apps you can install on your mobile device, tablet, etc. However, choosing a budgeting app ultimately will come down to your preference and lifestyle regardless if another app has a free version available.

Mint is the overall best free budgeting app. However, if you enjoy the zero-based budget and the envelope system, YNAB and GoodBudget are the next best. At the same time, HoneyDue and Personal Capital are great for couples and investors who want more than basic budgeting apps.

Which budgeting app fits your lifestyle and saving goals? Or, which app are you willing to download and give a try?