Can't afford a personal accountant? Have no fear. These apps have your back and will help keep your budget in line.
Building a budget is one of the most important steps toward improving your personal finance status. Unfortunately, creating a budget won’t be enough to accomplish your financial goals. You need to stick to that budget. That’s where the finance apps come in.
Through the magic of technology, you can use your smartphone or other device to manage your spending habits and live your best financial life. If you can’t afford an army of personal financial advisers, these may be some of the best budgeting apps you can find as an alternative.
Budget app No. 1: Money Lover
Money Lover allows you to track spending in real time, either through taking pictures of receipts or manual input. Enter your monthly incoming cash flow and Money Lover will generate charts to show where your money is going so you can properly make a budget. Once you know where you can and need to cut, you can use Money Lover to set savings goals and watch your financial situation improve as you cut down on overspending.
You can link Money Lover to your bank accounts and sync it across multiple devices. It’s free to start using, but if you want to add additional wallets, budget categories, and export through Excel, you will need to pay some money.
Money Lover also supports all currencies around the world, so if you are someone who tends to travel internationally, that could be a huge benefit.
Budget app No. 2: Fortune City
Different budgeters need different budgeting tools, and the best app for one person might not be the right choice for someone else.
While many of these apps link to your financial accounts to automatically track credit card and debit card spending, that option will not work for everyone. Perhaps you do not feel comfortable linking your money management apps to your financial institutions, or you make a lot of purchases in cash.
If you are having trouble just recording your purchases, then Fortune City may be able to help. It’s a town-building game where the resources to build different categories of buildings come from recording different categories of spending. The game will reward you for recording each of your expenses, which will hopefully encourage you to use to use the app without forgetting. As your town grows, you will be able to track how you have been spending money.
Of course, if you aren’t careful, you may feel incentivized to make additional purchases so you will have more transactions to record. If this sounds like you, or if mobile phone addiction or gaming is a problem for you, it may be wise to skip this expense tracking choice.
Budget app No. 3: Banktivity
While Banktivity has a free trial and a free iPhone version, you will have to spend around $70 if you want to use the software on different Apple devices. You will also need a subscription to their Direct Access program if you want to automatically connect your financial information to it.
On that note: This app probably isn’t for anyone who struggles with financial health, and could be better for someone who has account balances in the black and is looking to increase their net worth through strong budgeting.
If you are in a stable position and looking for a way to unify your checking accounts, savings accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, and all your other forms of personal capital, Banktivity may be the budgeting software for you.
Budget app No. 4:Wally
On the other end of the cost spectrum, there is Wally, which allows you to track and plan your monthly budget for free. You can also create payment reminders and notifications and plan out your expenses on a calendar.
Wally does require monthly payment to link your bank account to the app, but you can refer friends to earn “coins” that you can exchange for premium features.
Budget app No. 5: Prism
Prism is different than the other apps on this list since it is focused on bill payment. Examples include allowing automatic payments, reminding you about payments, tracking your payments, and showing you how much you’re spending on those payments. Missing bill payments is a quick way to damage your credit score, so this free app could be a good way to not just track how much you’re spending, but make sure you’re paying your bills.
Budget app No. 6: GoodBudget
GoodBudget uses the envelope budgeting system to make sure that every dollar is preassigned. The old-fashioned version of the envelope budgeting system required taking all of the money you received on payday, withdrawing it as cash, and literally separating it into different envelopes. One envelope for food, one for household expenses, one for entertainment, one for savings, and on and on.
GoodBudget lets you do all that virtually with electronic envelopes. You can use up to 10 envelopes for free, but will have to pay a membership of $6 a month or $50 a year if you want unlimited envelopes and support.
Budget app No. 7: You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (YNAB) also uses the envelope budgeting concept, but it doesn’t have a free version, just a free trial.
YNAB is more of a comprehensive attempt at financial health than some other budget apps. It costs around $12 per month or $84 per year, but for that money, you will also receive financial education lessons.
Budget app No. 8: Mvelopes
Let’s offer one more envelope budget app for good measure. Mvelopes offers a price point between GoodBudget and YNAB. At $6 per month, you will be able to link your financial accounts and assign your income as needed. If you are willing to pay $19 a month, you can get quarterly check-ins with a financial coach, access to the Mvelopes learning center, and other benefits.
Budget app No. 9: HoneyFi
If you share your financial life with a significant other, than HoneyFi could be a good choice for you. HoneyFi brands itself as a financial app for couples, so two people can budget together and save together to improve their shared financial situation.
HoneyFi allows you to link your account with your partner’s account; it also allows you to leave notes on transactions so you can both be aware of your shared finances.
Budget app No. 10: PocketGuard
PocketGuard links to your accounts to track your spending and automatically builds a budget. It will alert you if you’re spending too much, so you actually keep to the budget.
Beyond that, PocketGuard will actually suggest ways you could save even more by advising which providers might be willing to negotiate with you (or by providing alternatives if they won’t). It’s free to use with a few extra features if you’re up for spending money.
Budget app No. 11: Dollarbird
Dollarbird offers a calendar-based approach that lets you see what your monthly budget looks like from day to day. It also allows for collaboration with family and friends.
There’s a free option as well as premium options if you want more features. There’s even a business pricing option for workspace budget collaboration.
The Bottom Line
Budgeting can be simple, but it’s rarely fun or easy. We hope these apps will give you a leg up.
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