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16 Free Budgeting Apps To Help You Stay On Track

16 Free Budgeting Apps To Help You Stay On Track
Amy Boyington May 18, 2018
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

free budgeting appsMobile apps have become necessary tools for just about every aspect of our lives, from shopping online to checking our bank statements.

If you struggle to find a budget that works with your finances (or to stick to the budget you have in place), then your mobile device may be able to help you with that too.

There are a lot of free budgeting apps for iOS and Android devices. Like most apps, some are way more intuitive than others.

The following apps are the best free budgeting apps you can find to help you save money without thinking about it, understand your spending, and makeover your finances as painlessly as possible.

1. Personal Capital

Best For: People who want to invest and have some basic knowledge about the process.

Potential Drawbacks: This app isn’t the simplest one out there and definitely could be confusing to those who don’t have experience investing in a portfolio.

Personal Capital is a personal finance app that combines budgeting with investing to help you reach your savings goals. This app isn’t for beginners though. If you’ve never invested before, there will be a learning curve to understand your net worth and other areas of your financial picture that the app provides.

Personal Capital does paint a solid overview of your finances with interactive tools that track your cash flow and provide detailed accounts of your income and expenses. You can also see how every one of your investments is affecting your net worth, so you can tweak your portfolio to best meet your needs.

2. LearnVest

Best For: Strategizing your finances, now and for the future.

Potential Drawbacks: The free version has become more limited over time. More recently, free users are unable to automatically connect accounts and instead must do so manually.

LearnVest helps you learn how to better manage your money so that you can meet immediate and future financial goals. You’ll start with three significant goals – savings for emergencies, retirement, and paying off debt – and you can then tweak your goals to suit your financial picture.

Based on your current and future needs, you can choose a budget that works best for you. LearnVest has tools along the way that can help you stay on track and learn what you need to do to keep reaching your future financial goals.

LearnVest connects to Family Sharing on iOS devices so that other members of your family can also stay on top of the budget.

3. Wela

Best For: Getting a full breakdown of your spending style.

Potential Drawbacks: The app doesn’t let you tweak your spending much from the recommended goals, which can be a drawback for people who want to make a customizable spending budget that’s tailored to their lifestyle.

Wela is one of the highest-rated personal finance apps in the App Store, and it’s easy to see why. This budgeting tool is one of the few that seems to have little to no issues getting all your accounts connected to give you the most accurate picture of your income and expenses, thanks to its partnership with over 19,000 financial institutions.

This app is like a digital advisor in the palm of your hands. It gives you set goals for savings, spending, and more, and you can even compare your current and future finances to other people like you.

There are also several planning tools within the app that let you set up a plan for things like buying a home, getting out of debt, or saving for your child’s college fund.

4. Clarity Money

Best For: Cancelling money-drainers that you don’t need to free up your finances.

Potential Drawbacks: The information the app draws from your accounts may be a little slower to update than some similar financial trackers.

Clarity Money doesn’t just help you see what you’re doing with your money; it also helps you get rid of things you don’t need. You know all those subscriptions you pay for every month that you never have time to use? Clarity Money can free up some space in your bank account by canceling them for you.

The app also shows an overall picture of your finances, including alerting you when you spend more money than you should. The simple Savings feature also helps you save toward specific goals by holding yourself accountable to a weekly or monthly savings goal.

5. Fudget

Best For: People who want a simple budgeting app without all the bells and whistles.

Potential Drawbacks: If you’re looking for more than planning a budget, Fudget probably won’t appeal to you.

Fudget is probably the simplest budgeting app around. It’s clean, minimalistic interface lets you create a budget and edit that budget in just a few taps and swipes. This app is all about creating a budget and doesn’t utilize the fancy graphs and charts you’ll get on other apps.

Add income and expenses, check out how you spend your money and place a star next to income and expenses that you have frequently so you can add them to the budget easily every week or month.

Fudget can especially come in handy for businesspeople who want to track their business sales and expenses!

6. PocketGuard

Best For: Knowing what you have left over after being a responsible adult and paying all your bills for the month. PocketGuard can also save you money every month by negotiating your bills.

Potential Drawbacks: Some transactions can be a little wonky on this app, like refunds that show up in your bank account but don’t accurately figure into the money you have on hand.

PocketGuard is an all-in-one app that handles budgeting, savings, bills, and even saving you money on those bills. If you’re looking for the most well-rounded budgeting app, this one’s probably it.

In addition to automating your budget and savings plan, PocketGuard makes it even easier for you to manage your finances by suggesting ways to put money back into your wallet every month. The app will negotiate bills for you when possible and can suggest products that can help you save money, like a low-interest credit card or high-interest savings account.

7. Wallet

Best For: Having visual insights into your spending and financial planning habits.

Potential Drawbacks: Some financial institution accounts may have issues syncing transactions after the initial account setup.

Wallet is a financial planning app that’s easy on the eyes. The interface is colorful and organized, making breaking down your budget and savings goals a breeze.

One of the best things about this app is its visual diagrams that analyze your current spending habits and finances. You’ll see a breakdown of your bills, transportation costs, entertainment spending, and more.

Wallet also helps you track when your bills need to be paid with alerts and you can set spending limits for various categories to keep you in line with your budget.

8. Acorns

Best For: People who want the most painless way to save and invest money.

Potential Drawbacks: Even though Acorns investing is automated, there’s still a bit of a learning curve to understand where your money is going.

Acorns is a little different than your typical budgeting app. It’s more of a savings app, but it can help you stick to your budget for different savings goals.

When you connect your debit or credit cards with the app, Acorns will automatically round up your purchases to the next dollar and invest your change for you. You’ll get diversified portfolio investments to protect your money and it will barely feel like you’re doing anything to save!

9. Dollarbird

Best For: Family or team budgeting that lets you get rid of the paper calendar once and for all.

Potential Drawbacks: Dollarbird requires manual expense and income editing, so you won’t be able to connect accounts to automate everything.

If you’re looking for the perfect app to keep everyone on track with a budget in your family, then Dollarbird is it. It can also help business teams or parents and coaches of kids’ sports teams know where their finances are and where they’re going.

Dollarbird puts everything neatly into a digital calendar for your team or family to see in their apps. You can use some features for free, but larger teams will need to pay for a monthly subscription.

10. Empower

Best For: Anyone who has debt they want to pay off as quickly as possible with the help of financial advisors.

Potential Drawbacks: Not much; this is one of the highest-rated personal finance apps around!

Empower is a finance-tracking app that works closely with your current finances to help you reach your future goals, whether that’s saving and investing or paying off your debt. A lot of users swear by this app for helping them pay their debt, thanks to the suggestions of financial advisors that send them off in the right direction to get it paid fast.

You can set up automatic transfers to your savings account weekly or monthly with Empower to use toward investing, paying your debt, or whatever else you need it to do. The app also sends you alerts when it syncs your money, completes an auto-save, or there are any issues with your accounts, spending, etc.

11. Wally

Best For: International users who work with different currencies.

Potential Drawbacks: The most recent Android version is fairly new and has some missing features that people love with the iOS version.

Wally is one of the few personal finance apps that works in several countries and can handle just about any currency, which is great if you have income or expenses from or to other countries.

The Wally interface is easy on the eyes, using contrasting colors and a simple design to help you separate your income and expenses into categories for easy viewing.

The more you use Wally, the more the app starts to understand you, your finances, and what’s important to you money-wise. It’ll then adapt its suggestions and notifications to you to make the whole system more relevant to your needs.

12. HoneyFi

Best For: Couples who want an easy way to keep track of their combined finances without any argument-provoking surprises.

Potential Drawbacks: This app lays it all out there, so if you aren’t quite ready to be super transparent about your finances with your partner, this app could do more harm than good.

HoneyFi is different than the other apps on this list in that it caters toward couples instead of individuals. Whether you’re moving in with your partner or just got married and want to combine finances, this app can help you both see where you are financially.

Collaborate with each other by connecting your accounts and tagging transactions as Yours, Mine, or Ours. You’ll see everything in real-time, so there are no next-day surprises in your accounts.

You can also create a household budget to keep both of you on the same page with your spending and saving habits.

13. Spendee

Best For: Travelers who still want to stick to a budget when they’re out of the country.

Potential Drawbacks: The free version of the app is somewhat limited. You can’t create multiple budgets or have multiple wallets unless you upgrade to Premium.

Spendee does most of the same things as similar apps. You can create a budget, connect your bank accounts, keep track of your bills, and see your finances displayed on simple, eye-catching graphs.

There are a few features that make it different though.

You can invite others to your account so that you can all manage your money together. This is great if you need some help from a trusted friend or if you want your family to all be on the same page with the household budget.

Spendee also can go into Travel Mode, which helps you easily convert currencies while you’re in a different country.

Another bonus is that you don’t need to download the mobile app to use Spendee. There’s also a web app available to use if you’d rather access your account from your computer.

14.  Credit Karma App

Best For: Staying on top of your credit as much as you do your budget.

Potential Drawbacks: Not much, aside from not offering a budget planning tool. It instead focuses more on your credit and how you can tweak your finances to improve your credit score.

I’m not sure that Credit Karma is as much of a budgeting app as it is a credit helper app. I still think it’s an important one to add to this list because it offers so much helpful financial information for free. Plus, we all know how much a budget and our credit can go hand-in-hand.

Credit Karma’s app offers a lot of the same information as you’ll find in your web account, but in a convenient place on your mobile device. You can get recommendations for financial products that could boost your credit score and save you money and stay alerted to potential identity theft and fraud.

Use this app paired with your favorite budgeting app for a complete overview of your finances and how it affects your credit.

15. EveryDollar

Best For: People who follow the zero-based budget approach backed by Dave Ramsey.

Potential Drawbacks: Those who don’t follow this approach toward budgeting probably won’t love this app.

Zero-based budgeting just means that every single dollar of your income is accounted for as an expense in your budget. After paying bills, spending money on entertainment, saving, and investing, you should have no extra money floating around every month.

This app helps you create a budget based on this method, which is great for people who are tempted to use extra money they have after paying things off.

Connect your accounts so that your finances can update in real time. You can set up a budget in just a few minutes, categorize your expenses, view your transaction history and more.

16. Mint

Best For: Keeping all your bills and accounts in one convenient place.

Potential Drawbacks: Mint has some challenges connecting to accounts. You may have a couple of credit cards or a bank account that gets left out because Mint can’t connect to it, which can leave your overall financial picture inaccurate.

Mint is one of the oldest budgeting apps around, but it keeps hanging in there despite all the newbies that have shown up in app stores since. That’s because Mint is a go-to tool for anyone who struggles to make, and stick to, a budget.

With Mint, you can connect your checking, savings, credit card, and loan accounts to see where your money is and where it needs to go. You can also connect your bills, like phone and electricity, to keep them in one place for convenient pay-offs.

Where the app really shines is with its budgeting tools. Mint tracks your expenses based on the money you spend from your accounts. You’ll see how much of your money goes to bills, groceries, entertainment, and everything else for the month.

If you’re a visual person, you’ll love seeing your budget laid out in front of you with graphs showing how much you’ve spent and how much you have left to spend for the month.

Final Thoughts

Free budgeting apps take the guesswork and stress out of planning and sticking to a budget. You won’t even have to stress about spending extra money just to get a helpful tool because these apps pack in a bunch of resources for free.

What budgeting apps are your favorite? Do you have one you love that isn’t on this list? Let us know your thoughts in a comment.

Amy Boyington

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