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With the convenience and intelligence of modern technology, apps and websites are making the creation and maintenance of your budget easier than ever.
There are numerous apps and websites available for your use (and many of which are free) that will take you swiftly step by step.
With that, let’s get started with a list of the 16 best budget apps to help you save money.
Use a shopping app to help budget?! Yes. Smart shopping is critical to staying on budget! Although apps that offer a full-scale picture, like Mint, YNAB, and EveryDollar, are tremendously helpful, there is something additional to be gained by also using shopping apps to your benefit.
Receipt scanning apps, where you log purchases made by using your phone’s camera, can be a creative way to help you stay on budget. Working off of a planned shopping list, like in Ibotta, can help you avoid overspending.
Additionally, getting cash back for purchases you were already planning on making may help pad your budget where needed. Earned gift cards can help you splurge a little, without touching your budget. Check out these receipt scanning apps/websites:
“shop. earn. enjoy.”
Shopkick is a free iPhone and Android app that allows you to earn points for shopping. This app requires shoppers to walk into physical stores and then scan selected items. The points, or “kicks”, for completing this can then be turned in for gift cards. Gift cards include popular stores like Sephora, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, and Target.
- “More Brands. More Rewards.”
Available for both Android and iPhone, Fetch Rewards gives rewards for scanning receipts that contain purchases of selected items. Different that Ibotta, which requires that you buy specific products at specific store, Fetch Rewards works with any store!
Fetch Rewards markets themselves on the following: “Fetch Rewards makes it easy to save on your every day grocery purchases by removing the limitations of other apps.
No store limitations, no having to clip special offers, no worrying about missing out on savings. All you need to do is snap a picture of your receipt and points will be put into your account.”
Read a detailed review of Fetch Rewards here.
This slick app allows three ways to earn money:
- Sending in your receipts of purchases you’ve made, such as grocery store purchases
- Linking your store loyalty cards
- Mobile in-app purchases by shopping through visiting an electronic link from Ibotta to the mobile retailer
Ibotta is unique in that they will offer actual cash back. Once you’ve earned $20 in cash back, you can receive a cash payment via Venmo or PayPal (or you can elect to receive gift cards).
View a complete Ibotta review here.
“connecting brands & shoppers for good”
With a focus on healthy and eco-friendly products, Makeena will help you to earn money where you shop. Although it bears similarities to apps like Ibotta, the Makeena partners specifically with ‘better for you’ brands.
And unlike some other receipt scanning apps, it is possible to earn cash and rewards at any store. They even have a health focused blog.
The app is available for both Android and iPhone.
Please visit here for a thorough review of Makeena.
Want more apps like this to help make you money? Read this.
Additionally, think of other types of shopping apps as a way to help you make careful purchases and find coupons. One way to avoid overspending is to only order what you need online, avoiding the impulse purchases that occur when shopping physically in the store. Coupons can help you get more for less.
Make sure you’re using the following apps to their greatest potential:
The Target app for iPhone and Android offers both coupons and discounts for Target shoppers. After signing into your Target account, you can access coupons through the “Wallet” section. Often the coupons will offer a free Target gift card with a purchase, such as dog food, baby items, or home goods.
Cartwheel is unique feature to obtain discounts on items purchased in store or by drive-up. To boot, the discount is in addition to any sale price already listed! You can select discounts, ranging from 5%-75% off, and add them to your ‘cart’.
The cashier scans a barcode at the time of purchase to apply the discounts. Don’t have time to look through the available discounts? Use the convenient barcode scanner to scan items in the store or as you check out! If a discount is available, it will be automatically applied!
There are treasure troves of Amazon hacks just waiting to be unlocked. In addition to offering daily deals, Amazon offers a whole section of coupons just waiting to be clipped! Once logged on to your Amazon account, simply click on the “Clip Coupon” button and then the coupon will be applied to eligible items at checkout.
There are often coupons available by establishing the subscription option for items routinely purchased.
Big Picture Apps
Finding one wonderful app to manage a majority of your financial needs and transactions can be a game changer! The apps listed below can provide a comprehensive view of most aspects of your complete financial picture.
Using colorful charts or graphs, these can help you create and visualize a healthy budget. All have the shared quality of functioning on both a full, desktop site and a mobile device. Consider these resources as options a one-stop shop for your budgeting needs:
“When you’re on top of your money, life is good. We help you effortlessly manage your finances in one place.”
The convenience of being able to link up your accounts, cards, investments, and bills together makes budgeting easy. Mint’s position is that you should “know where you stand, and how you can improve”.
Mint will capture and categorize your spending. Mint even goes the extra mile to provide you with applicable alerts, such as when you have gone over budget or when you are being charged a fee. Additionally, Mint offers a Bill Tracking feature, to help you keep your bills “in check”.
And perhaps best of all, Mint is free!
“Stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money.”
YNAB is an acronym that stands for “You need a budget.” And how true is that! Pronounced “why-nab”, this app (and correlating website for desktop usage) has many handy features.
Like Mint, YNAB will link up with your bank account to transfer the information over to its system. YNAB offers goal tracking, easy reporting, and debt paydown features.
More than just a system to track data, YNAB provides a school of thought on budgeting. YNAB lists out some simple rules for your money:
- “Rule one: Give Every Dollar A Job
The secret is just to be intentional about what you want your money to do before you spend it. (Have we given away the secret sauce?) Take only the money you have on hand and ask yourself, ‘What should this money do before I’m paid again?’ With just four simple steps, you’ll begin to take back control.”
- “Rule two: Embrace Your True Expenses
Imagine a big bill coming in and… you just pay it. No fuss, no muss. While it’s important that you decide what you want your money to do now, it’s more important to realize that some of your money now needs to be used for large expenses down the road.”
- “Rule three: Roll With The Punches
We can’t believe this has to be a rule, because, of course, when you need to change your budget, just change it. That’s what rolling with the punches means. No guilt. No hand-wringing. It’s a halftime adjustment. A chess grandmaster adapting to an opponent’s silly mistake.”
- “Rule four: Age Your Money
We don’t want you stressed. So work toward spending money today that you’ve earned at least a month ago. It’ll change your life. You won’t have to time bills with paychecks. You may start forgetting when your actual payday is. You’ll be living far, far away from the financial edge. And it will feel great.”
In addition, YNAB provides quick, web-based workshops on various money and budgeting related topics for its users.
YNAB’s apps are available for iPhone or Android. You can try YNAB for free for 34 for days. Unlike may services, no credit card is required to sign up. After that, the annual total is $83.99. Want to be even more convinced? You can even read about some YNAB Success Stories.
For a more detailed review of YNAB, please click here.
“Budgeting Just Got Easy”
- “Add Your Monthly Income
Start your budget by adding the income you expect to make this month.”
- “Plan Your Expenses
Next, make a plan for your income. EveryDollar provides you with a customizable template for budgeting your monthly expenses.”
- “Track Your Spending
Follow your plan by keeping track of your spending throughout the month. Each time you spend money, create a transaction and track it to your budget.”
EasyDollar is in line with promoting Ramsey’s concepts of “financial peace”. EveryDollar is simple and user-friendly, with budget color-coded categories, shown as a percentage of the overall budget. The system even allows users to communicate with another user in their household about finance.
And just like Mint, you can sign up for free. Note though that to access EveryDollar Plus, which allows features like streaming your bank account’s transactions and priority support, there is only a free trial.
Learn more from users who love EveryDollar here.
Want to learn about more free budgeting apps for personal finance? Click here.
While saving can be challenging, technology rises to the task to once again make things a little bit easier. Check out these unique apps:
You may have heard of the simple concept of the 52 weeks savings challenge. The challenge is that in the first week of the year, you save one dollar. The next week, you save two dollars. So on and so forth until the last week of the year. If followed throughout the entire year, you will have saved a total of $1,378. Now there’s an app for that! The free app helps you build up this easy habit and provides you with notifications.
“Banking designed with your goals in mind.”
Although Qapital is actually a bank, they have positioned themselves differently than most old school banks. Here is a short video that explains how they use rounding up on purchase made through your bank account to fund a Qapital savings account.
Funds saved can be transferred to an account or used on a Qapital debit card.
If saving via a special app just isn’t for you, another option may be to work your bank to establish an automated transfer to move the desired amount to a savings account.
Paying bills might actually be less fun than saving money! If you’re not looking for an app like Mint or YNAB and need something specifically for managing the bills portion of your budget, check this one out:
“Magic for your bills”
Prism is a bill tracking system that allows you to conveniently view all of your bills together and pay them on time, via their bill pay system. You can use your payment method of choice (card, checking account, etc.). Prism even automatically pulls in balances and due dates from over 11,000 billers.
Budgeting For Children
Teaching children how to work with money is a vital element of growing up. Instilling the concepts of good financial stewardship is a wonderful gift to give to children. Since this is perhaps not the most enjoyable aspect of parent, there are some fun and friendly apps to help ease the burden:
“At last-an easy (and fun) way to pay allowance and teach your kids good money habits”
“goHenry is a debit card and app with unique parental controls, for young people aged 6 to 18.” This website and apps for Android and iPhone allows parents to incorporate giving allowance in a 21st century fashion. No longer confined to the constraints of giving cash, this system works to manage chores/tasks and the subsequent spending of the hard-earned money.
goHenry offers a free trail, but then switches to $3.99 per child per month.
14. Rooster Money
“Allowances. Sorted. Transform the way you manage allowances with your family.”
The app gives children choices about whether to save or spend their money. It also has a History feature to allow parents and children to look back on their choices.
Like goHenry, it is free to install, but then has a subscription fee.
Need something simple, but super cute, to log income and expenses? This app may be for you! The bird and bunny, best friend duo adorably illustrates finances. Money and pastel-colored cuteness finally have met.
16. Dilemme for Kids
“With Dilemme for Kids, learning to budget can now be fun too”
Hooray, a budgeting game for kids! Using the platform of planning a birthday party, kids will learn to make strategic budget-related decisions.
As the party is planned, “various stages are intermingled with mini-games (involving both skill and problem solving) that allow the players to increase or decrease the initial budget.” This game is available for both iPhone and Android.
How The Best Budgeting Apps Can Help
Bear in mind some motivators for why budgeting is worth your time. Whether you have a little bit of money or a lot, all of these reasons to budget apply:
- Save for your goals
- Budgeting allows you to put away for the things that matter most to you – whether that is retirement, fun vacations, a new home, your children’s education, or all the above! However, saving your money doesn’t happen without some measure of intention. Making saving a part of your everyday, rather than a second, passing thought, is huge for making it actually happen.
- Emergency Preparedness
- Sooner or later, almost everyone is bound to experience an emergency situation, resulting in the sudden need for cash on hand. According to a survey from Bankrate, most Americans do not have $1,000 in savings to cover an emergency, such as a health-rated scare. While no one likes to spend their money this way, being prepared is always preferable. (You may want to learn about how much to save for emergencies or check out this calculator.)
- Stop Overspending
- “Oops” money moments can happen at the mall, the grocery store, the car lot, shopping online late at night, or… just about anywhere really! Knowing just how much you should be spending and when you should be spending it is absolutely key! Budgeting well helps prevent overspending from happening. Some budget management systems even suggest using envelopes to divide up cash in the necessary allocations to help with this. Regardless of the methodology or approach, a principle purpose of any good budget is to prevent from overspending.
Perhaps all of the above reasons have the common element of creating peace of mind. Using a well-crafted budget to effectively avoid credit cards and piling up debt is huge for creating your tranquil financial picture.
There is stability and ease in operating within a framework. And of course, the satisfaction that achieving a goal brings is paramount. (Need more justification on the why? Read Investopedia’s list on Why You NEED a Budget.)
So how do you budget efficiently and swiftly? You leverage technology! A spoonful of sweet, techy sugar helps the budgeting medicine go down. Beyond using only the app provided by your bank or investment company, there are many wonderful, user-oriented apps available to aid you.
Use technology to your advantage. Make your smart phone work harder for you. With the ability of apps to monitor and trend your savings and spending you can budget quickly and efficiently. The worthwhile effort of making and maintaining a budget is now easier than ever.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the 16 best budgeting apps and their reviews. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.