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9 of the Best Budget Apps

Written by
Andrew Tavin, CFEI
Andrew Tavin is a personal finance writer who covered budgeting with expertise in building credit and saving for OppU. His work has been cited by Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and Hacker News, and he is a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council.
Read time: 5 min
Updated on January 24, 2024
young woman with curly hair checking out 11 of the best budget apps on her phone
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.

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 a personal financial advisor, these budgeting apps may provide a great alternative.

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 for effective  budgeting. Once you have identified areas you can cut, you can then 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 however, if you want to add additional wallets, budget categories, and export through Excel, subscriptions start at $2.49 per month.

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.

2: Fortune City

Different budgeters need different budgeting tools, and the best app for one person might not be the right choice for another.

While many of these apps link to your financial accounts to automatically track credit card and debit card spending, that option might not work for everyone. Perhaps some people may not feel comfortable linking their money management apps to their financial institutions, especially if they 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 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 the app without forgetting. As your town grows, you will be able to track your spending habits.

Of course, be careful, as you may feel incentivized to make additional purchases to record more transactions. 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.

3: Banktivity

Banktivity has a free trial, however, using the software on different Apple devices requires a paid version of the app. 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, but could be better for someone who has positive account balances 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, savings, credit card, and investment accounts, as well as all your other forms of personal capital, Banktivity may be the budgeting software for you.


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, receive notifications, and plan your expenses on a calendar.

Wally does require a 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.

5: Prism

Prism is different than the other apps on this list since it is focused on bill payment. Examples include allowing automatic payments, payment reminders, tracking your payments, and showing you how much you’re spending on those bills. 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 on time.

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 separating it into different envelopes like food, household expenses, entertainment, savings, and so 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 $8 a month or $70 a year for unlimited envelopes and support.

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 a more comprehensive budgeting app than some of the others on this list. It costs $14.99 per month or $99 annually, but for that money, you will also get access to financial education lessons.

8: 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 keep to the budget.

Beyond that, PocketGuard will 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.

9: 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 additional features. There’s even a business pricing option for workspace budget collaboration.

The Bottom Line

Budgeting may be simple, but it’s rarely fun or easy. We hope these apps will give you a leg up.

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