Top 5 Most Popular Budgeting Apps

There are a plethora of budgeting software options available to consumers. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell, at a glance, which ones will best meet your needs.
By Beth W.
Updated Dec 17, 2020
budgeting apps
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It's not enough to keep mental track of the money you take in and spend. To gain control of your financial situation, you need to make a budget and track how well you are sticking to it. There are a plethora of budgeting software options available to consumers. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell, at a glance, which ones will best meet your needs. If your budgeting app doesn't have the features you need, if it's hard or inconvenient to use, or if it's a significant expenditure in its own right, it does you no good.It's time to cut through the confusion. Out of all of the options available, here are five that users love best.

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1. Mint

Intuit Mint is a free budget app for iOS and Android, and it's one of the most popular on the market. Like many apps on this list, it syncs with your bank, investment, credit card, and other personal accounts to monitor transactions as you go, in real-time. (You have to authorize this exchange of information, of course.)Mint is unique because it automatically tracks your spending into various categories, so you can better understand where your money's going. You can also create your categories manually, and track how you spend the money you withdraw as cash. Mint will also send you automatic alerts when you begin to reach your spending limits. Mint is part of Intuit's suite and the same company that creates TurboTax, Quicken, and other financial products. So as you might imagine, Mint is more than a simple budgeting tool and aims to be your financial one-stop-shop. It can even track your home's value and your credit score. 

2. Mvelopes

Maybe you've heard of "envelope budgeting" before: a system where you put a set amount of cash into a literal envelope and earmark it for a specific purpose. When that money is gone, it's gone, and you can't borrow between envelopes. Mvelopes is a unique budgeting tool that tries to replicate that system for the digital age. It works for iOS and Android and syncs automatically with your bank and credit card account information. While the system itself is rigid, the envelopes are flexible, and you can set them up; however, you please. Like many other services listed here, the program also offers basic financial literacy programs and advice on how to get out of debt.Mvelopes offers a free trial, but after that, it's a monthly subscription service. Pay more to receive access to personalized financial coaching and planning. 

3. Wally

Wally is a budgeting app for Android and iOS that's aimed specifically at millennials. Wally gives users a top-down view of the money coming in and how much they payout and where. The software is free (and ad-free, too), and the development team says future monetization will focus on premium features rather than ads or selling data. Designed to be straightforward and intuitive, the interface and team behind the app makes itself accessible to users. Privacy is a major concern for the app's developers, and Wally also includes features like receipt logging, goal setting and tracking, and multiple currencies. 


YNAB ("You Need a Budget") is a subscription service, although it offers a free trial. However, the program pays for itself by helping you budget better and get out of debt.YNAB doesn't just aim to be budgeting software. The program is based around "Four Rules," which teach financial literacy and solid budgeting. They include ideas like embracing flexibility in your budget and breaking up infrequent high costs into smaller regular savings.Like many other apps on this list, the app regularly syncs with your financial records in real-time. It offers fully automated reports, as well as goal-setting and -tracking. The app encrypts all data for security, and also offers both technical and budgeting support. Unlike some other apps here, it also works on Windows and Mac, not just iOS and Android. 

5. PocketGuard

PocketGuard is a free app for iOS and Android. The app designed to be simple and straightforward, rather than overwhelming you with too much information. The central conceit of the app is that in a given moment, all you need to know is how much money you have available to spend (after accounting for bills and other recurring expenses) -- and that's the information it gives you at-a-glance. As a result, PocketGuard is perfect for people who tend to go over-budget. If you want to go the extra mile, you can delegate spending into certain categories (like food, travel, gifts, and so forth), and you can create charts and graphs to understand your spending over time.If you don't feel like building a budget yourself, PocketGuard can do it for you automatically by examining your income and bills. The app can even determine ways to help you save money on bills. This app allows you to link up various accounts you have, to better understand monthly payments, assets and liabilities, and more. Because the app automatically links to your accounts, it updates your budget and spending information in real-time. Plus, it features top-notch encryption to help your information stay safe.

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