A new year has come and it’s time for a clean slate. Yet I imagine most of you are already falling behind on your new year resolutions.
So, let me remind you that whether you’ve planned to save more, get out of debt, or quit spending so much on that morning cup of joe that keeping to goals is the hardest part.
I’ve found that it’s a lot easier for me to stay on track when I monitor where my money goes. And budgeting and personal finance apps make it much easier to do just that. With a few taps and clicks you can stay on top of your finances and more importantly stick to your long term goals.
Note: The following list of applications is for iOS only as that’s what I use predominately.
Best Paid Budgeting Apps
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. And I’m from the school of thought that developers should be paid for their time. We all love freebies, but spending a few bucks to save you more money down the line strongly warrants a look.
HomeBudget with Sync ($4.99 – 4.5 Stars)
Simply Superb. This is the app that’s worked best for me over the past few years. It’s an expense tracker done right. You have to manually enter your expenses but I like that – it gives me time to reevaluate my spending choices. The app design is colorful and most importantly intuitive to use. The killer feature is family sync – allowing you to sync your budget to the cloud and share it with others – such as your partner or family.
Spendbook ($1.99 – 4.5 Stars)
Don’t need the family sync option? Then Spendbook is a fantastic alternative. It has a similar great design and easy to understand interface and makes working with budgets a lot more enjoyable.
You Need a Budget (Free* – 4.5 Stars)
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there and for good reason. I’d be amiss to skip it. It’s a cross-platform budgeting tool that simply gets the job done.
The mobile app is free to download, but the actual software requires the YNAB software (desktop client) which costs $60 to purchase. The software can sync between your computer and other devices over Wi-Fi alone or can be set up to utilize cloud sync. YNAB is perfect for those wanting to see their finances from all perspectives – micro to macro. And if you’re not sure about the hefty price – there’s a 34 day trial to test it out.
Best Free Budgeting Apps
We all love free things and these are my favorite freebie budget apps. They aren’t as feature packed as the choices above but they get the job done.
Wally (4.5 Stars)
Simplicity is the name of the game here. Wally has been designed to track your income and expenses each month and does so by creating detailed budget reports examining your spending vs saving vs income ratio. One important feature set missing from Wally, which prevents me from using it daily, is auto sync. Hopefully it’s implemented in the future.
BillGuard (4.5 Stars)
BillGuard was created to monitor unauthorized charges on your credit cards. It’s evolved since then into an automatic budgeting tool that’s pretty efficient. The interface is intuitive and it’s a solid choice for anyone wanting a more automated budgeting system that does away with manual entry.
Level Money ( 3 Stars)
If you want to take automating to the next level this is the app for you. An instant, at-a-glance read of you financial health is the manta here. Level Money connects to all your online accounts and analyzes your financial picture so you know what you’ve spent money on and more importantly, how much you have left to spend. Its key weakness is its dependence on track-able expenses such as credit cards, auto-deposits, etc.
Personal Finance Apps Worth Mentioning
There are a lot of personal finance apps available that aren’t solely designed for budgeting but are very helpful in their own ways.
Mint (Free – 4 Stars)
Mint helps you keep track of your net worth at the end of each month and tracks your balances among various accounts. Although the app does have a budgeting section it’s not particularly well developed and often miscategorizes certain expenses.
Acorns (Free – 4 Stars)
Acorns was developed to help invest spare change automatically. I’ve written a review here – Bottom Line: I don’t particularly like it for it’s purpose (investing spare change) as the fees associated with low balances are very high. But if you’re willing to work with balances above $1,000 it’s fee structure isn’t nearly as grim and quite competitive.
Robinhood ( Free – 4.5 Stars)
Here’s a new start-up that has created a beautifully designed app that allows you to buy and sell stocks from your iPhone. And that’s not the kicker… how’s zero commission stock trading sound? If you’re jaw dropped, you’re not alone.
I hope one of these apps helps you with your own budgeting process. But if you have another app that you use and love and want to share, please do so below!