Best Budgeting Apps

Jeremy Biberdorf Image
Updated
Feb 25, 2024
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In today's fast-paced world, managing personal finances efficiently is more crucial than ever. Budgeting apps have emerged as a cornerstone for financial planning, offering tools to track spending, set goals, and improve financial health.

With a plethora of options available, choosing the right app can be overwhelming. This article will guide you through the best budgeting apps, each with its unique features and capabilities.

Whether you're looking to track daily expenses, save for a big purchase, or get a comprehensive view of your financial health, these apps provide solutions tailored to diverse needs and preferences.

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Quick Breakdown

Quick Breakdown


  • Best for personalized spending plans and tracking.

  • Ideal for comprehensive financial management.

  • Best overall and great for holistic financial oversight.

  • Excellent for automated savings and budgeting insights.

  • Perfect for spreadsheet lovers who want customization.

  • Suitable for desktop-based budgeting enthusiasts.

  • Optimal for zero-based budgeting fans.

The Best Budgeting Apps Going Into 2024

Simplifi

4.5 stars
Service Type Personal Finance App
Fees $3.99/month or $35.99/year
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Customizable budgets.
  • Real-time spending tracking.
  • Personalized spending plan.
  • Financial goal setting.
  • Alerts for upcoming bills.
  • Investment tracking.
  • Secure data encryption.
  • Mobile and desktop access.
Simplifi by Quicken offers an intuitive, user-friendly platform, ideal for crafting a personalized spending plan and keeping financial goals in focus. Its real-time tracking feature and customizable budgets cater to individual preferences, enhancing users' financial management experience.

Simplifi's investment tracking capability stands out, providing insights into portfolio performance. The app's secure data encryption ensures privacy and protection, with both mobile and desktop versions offering seamless access.

Also, its bill alerts and financial goal-setting tools help users stay on top of their finances, avoiding surprises and maintaining financial discipline.

Developed by Quicken, a renowned leader in personal finance software, Simplifi is designed to simplify money management. It embodies Quicken's commitment to empowering users with effective tools and insights, enabling them to make informed financial decisions and achieve their financial goals.

Check out my in-depth review of Simplifi to gain more insight into the company.

Quicken

4.5 stars
Service Type Personal Finance & Money Management
Fees Varies
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Comprehensive financial overview.
  • Customizable budgeting templates.
  • Investment portfolio analysis.
  • Bill payment tracker.
  • Retirement planning tools.
  • Secure cloud backup.
  • Mobile app availability.
  • Debt reduction planner.
Quicken is a comprehensive personal finance tool offering an all-encompassing view of your finances. Its customizable budgeting templates and investment portfolio analysis cater to various financial management needs, from daily budgeting to long-term investment planning.

The bill payment tracker and retirement planning tools are invaluable for those seeking holistic financial planning. Quicken provides secure cloud backup, ensuring data safety and accessibility, while its debt reduction planner guides users in managing and reducing debt efficiently.

The platform's versatility and depth make it a go-to choice for users who require a detailed and multifaceted approach to financial management.

Quicken, as a longstanding authority in personal finance management, is renowned for providing robust, detailed, and user-friendly financial tools. The company's focus on innovation and user-centric features has helped countless users manage their finances confidently and effectively.

Read my Quicken review article to dive deeper into the platform.

Monarch Money

4.6 stars
Service Type Personal Finance & Budgeting
Fees $14.99/Month or $99/Year
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • All-in-one financial tracker.
  • Customizable budget categories.
  • Net worth tracking.
  • Financial goal setting.
  • Investment account integration.
  • Automated bill tracking.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Collaborative budgeting for partners.
Monarch Money excels in providing an all-in-one financial tracking experience, integrating aspects like net worth tracking and investment account oversight. Its automated bill-tracking and financial goal-setting features aid in maintaining disciplined spending and saving habits.

The app's user-friendly interface simplifies financial management, appealing to both beginners and experienced budgeters. Collaborative budgeting for partners or families makes it an inclusive tool for joint financial management.

Additionally, the app's ability to track and categorize expenses helps users understand their spending patterns better, allowing for more informed financial decisions.

Monarch Money, emerging as a noteworthy contender in the budgeting app market, offers a comprehensive and intuitive approach to personal finance management. The company focuses on delivering a seamless user experience, combining various financial management tools in one platform.

Monarch Money's dedication to innovation and user satisfaction is evident in its rapidly growing user base. Read my full review of Monarch Money to learn more about the company.

Empower

4.2 stars
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Automated savings.
  • Subscription cancellation feature.
  • Customizable budget categories.
  • Expense tracking.
  • Financial insights.
  • Bill negotiation services.
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Account aggregation.
Empower stands out with its automated savings feature and unique subscription cancellation service, helping users effortlessly save money and manage subscriptions. Its customizable budget categories and expense tracking tools provide a personalized budgeting experience, tailored to individual financial habits and goals.

The app's financial insights give users a deeper understanding of their spending patterns, aiding in making more informed financial decisions. Additionally, Empower's bill negotiation services can help reduce regular expenses, potentially leading to significant savings. The platform's user-friendly interface and comprehensive account aggregation make financial management a more streamlined and less daunting task.

Empower, as a fintech company, is dedicated to simplifying personal finance management through automation and intuitive design. The company's focus on empowering users with tools for savings, budgeting, and expense management has positioned Empower as a go-to app for those seeking a comprehensive and user-friendly financial assistant.

Check out my comprehensive Empower review to learn more about the company.

Tiller Money

4 stars
Service Type Personal Finance & Budgeting
Fees $79/year
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Spreadsheet-based budgeting.
  • Customizable templates.
  • Daily financial data updates.
  • Automated transaction import.
  • Google Sheets and Excel compatibility.
  • Easy expense categorization.
  • Debt tracking and management.
  • Community-driven support.
Tiller Money offers a unique spreadsheet-based budgeting solution, ideal for users who prefer the flexibility and familiarity of Google Sheets and Excel. Its daily financial data updates and automated transaction import features streamline the budgeting process, allowing for up-to-date and accurate financial oversight.

The platform provides customizable templates, making it easy for users to tailor their budgeting and financial tracking to their specific needs.

The app excels in easy expense categorization, debt tracking, and management, offering a comprehensive view of one's financial landscape. Additionally, Tiller Money’s community-driven support and resources are valuable assets, providing users with tips, tricks, and advice for maximizing their budgeting efforts.

Tiller Money is known for its innovative approach to budgeting, merging traditional spreadsheet flexibility with modern financial tracking technology.

The company prides itself on empowering users to take control of their finances through customizable and automated tools, making financial management accessible and efficient. My detailed review of Tiller Money provides more insight if you want to know more.

Moneydance

4.4 stars
Service Type Finance Tracking Software
Fees $65 one-time fee
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Offline access to finances.
  • One-time purchase model.
  • Customizable interface.
  • Investment tracking.
  • Multi-currency support.
  • Integrated bill payment.
  • Detailed reports and graphs.
  • Syncs with mobile app.
Moneydance is a robust budgeting software that combines offline access and a customizable interface, catering to users who prefer a one-time purchase model over subscriptions. It stands out for its advanced investment tracking features and multi-currency support, making it suitable for a global audience. Users can manage various financial aspects, from budgeting and investment tracking to bill payments and reporting.

One of the key features of Moneydance is its ability to provide detailed financial reports and graphs, giving users a clear view of their financial health. It also syncs seamlessly with its mobile app, ensuring users can manage their finances on the go.

The platform's design emphasizes both functionality and user experience, making it an excellent choice for those who want comprehensive financial management tools without ongoing subscription fees.

Moneydance, developed by The Infinite Kind, focuses on providing a comprehensive financial management experience. The company has built its reputation on creating software that offers a range of financial tools while ensuring data privacy and security.

Moneydance's commitment to continual improvement and customer satisfaction has made it a preferred choice among users seeking a one-time purchase budgeting solution. For even more info about the company, check out my detailed review.

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

4 stars
Service Type Budgeting App
Fees $14.99/month or $99/year
Benefits
Overview
Company
  • Zero-based budgeting approach.
  • Real-time budget updates.
  • Goal tracking feature.
  • Personalized budgeting categories.
  • Debt payoff tools.
  • Educational resources.
  • Bank syncing.
  • Mobile and web access.
YNAB (You Need A Budget) employs a zero-based budgeting approach, making it a standout choice for users who prefer to allocate every dollar and track their budget in real-time. The app's goal tracking feature helps users set and achieve financial targets, whether for savings, debt repayment, or investment. YNAB’s personalized budgeting categories allow for customized financial planning, aligning with individual lifestyles and priorities.

The platform offers robust debt payoff tools and an array of educational resources, providing users with the knowledge and tools needed to improve their financial health. YNAB's bank syncing capability ensures that all transactions are up-to-date, offering a real-time view of one's financial situation. Available on both mobile and web platforms, YNAB offers flexibility and convenience for managing finances on the go.

YNAB is renowned for its effective budgeting methodology and user-centric design. The company is committed to helping users gain control of their finances by providing a comprehensive budgeting tool that emphasizes education, practicality, and proactive financial management.

For more information about YBAB, I have an in-depth review with all the details.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a budgeting app effective?

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An effective budgeting app provides user-friendly interfaces, customizable budgeting tools, real-time tracking, and insightful financial reports. These features help users understand their spending habits and make informed financial decisions. The best apps offer a balance of simplicity and depth in functionality to cater to a wide range of financial management needs.

Can budgeting apps help with debt management?

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Yes, many budgeting apps come equipped with debt payoff tools and strategies. They assist users in efficiently managing and reducing debt by tracking owed amounts, creating repayment plans, and offering visual progress trackers. These tools can be instrumental in developing a clear path towards debt freedom.

Are budgeting apps secure for linking bank accounts?

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Most reputable budgeting apps employ bank-level encryption and robust security measures to protect users' financial data and linked accounts. They often include features like two-factor authentication and regular security audits to ensure the highest level of data safety and user privacy.

Do budgeting apps cater to joint or family budgeting needs?

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Many budgeting apps are designed with features for shared budgets, ideal for couples or families managing finances together. These apps allow multiple users to track spending, set joint financial goals, and stay informed about the family's overall financial health.

How do budgeting apps differ from personal finance software?

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Budgeting apps are typically more focused on tracking daily expenses and creating budgets, often with user-friendly, mobile-oriented interfaces. Personal finance software, on the other hand, may offer more comprehensive features like investment tracking and long-term financial planning tools.

Can users track investments with budgeting apps?

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Some budgeting apps integrate investment tracking and analysis, enabling users to oversee their investment accounts alongside everyday expenses. This feature allows for a more holistic view of one's financial portfolio, including assets and liabilities.

Do budgeting apps provide financial advice?

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While budgeting apps generally don't offer personalized financial advice, they often include educational resources, general financial tips, and best practices. These tools and information can guide users in improving their financial habits and making better financial decisions.

Is it worth paying for premium budgeting app features?

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The value of premium features in a budgeting app varies based on individual financial needs and goals. Advanced reports, custom categories, and additional financial tools can provide more depth and flexibility, which can be beneficial for users with complex financial situations.

How do budgeting apps help in setting and achieving financial goals?

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Budgeting apps enable users to set specific financial goals, like saving for a vacation or paying off debt, and track their progress towards these goals. They provide motivational insights and visual progress indicators to keep users engaged and focused on their financial objectives.

Can budgeting apps replace financial advisors?

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While budgeting apps offer valuable tools and insights for financial management, they are not a complete substitute for professional financial advisors. Advisors can provide personalized advice and planning for more complex financial situations, which apps may not fully address.

Do budgeting apps offer insights into spending patterns?

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Many budgeting apps analyze spending habits, offering users insights into where their money is going. This analysis can help identify areas for cost-cutting or smarter spending decisions, leading to better financial management.

Can these apps help with financial emergencies?

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Budgeting apps often include features to plan for financial emergencies, like setting aside funds in an emergency category. They can help users build and maintain an emergency fund, crucial for unexpected expenses.

Are there budgeting apps for small businesses?

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Some budgeting apps are designed specifically for small business owners, offering features like expense tracking, invoice management, and tax preparation assistance. These specialized tools cater to the unique financial needs of small businesses.

How user-friendly are budgeting apps for beginners?

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Most budgeting apps are designed with beginners in mind, offering intuitive interfaces, step-by-step guides, and simple tools to get started with budgeting. They aim to make financial management accessible to users with little to no prior budgeting experience.
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He’s a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.