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On one hand, budgeting can be your ticket out of the vicious paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. But on the other hand, budgeting…well…sucks, for the most part.
Here’s the good thing: It doesn’t have to be this way. There are more budget styles than there are Myers-Briggs personality types — enough to suit everyone, no matter what your style. And since we’re in an increasingly digital world and you probably already have your phone on you all the time, why not find an app that can help you?
Here are 10 apps you can try that will help keep you on point with your budget.
This popular app was one of the first big budgeting apps on the scene and it’s still one of the gold standards. What makes it such a top contender is that it automatically updates your budget every day. It even automatically categorizes each purchase, so all you have to do is log in and see your up-to-date budget with a quick glance.
For people who have a hard time remembering to enter in their purchases (or just don’t want to deal with the hassle), this is a very powerful feature.
YNAB (You Need A Budget) is another revolutionary budgeting tool. It exists as a stand alone computer-based budgeting program but you can access everything through its app as well.
YNAB is more than just a budgeting program. It operates on a budgeting philosophy: “Give Every Dollar a Job” (i.e., zero-sum budgeting) and “Age Your Money” (i.e. live on last month’s income). With these two rules, you’ll never run out of money to pay your bills, and you’ll keep yourself insulated from living in the paycheck-to-paycheck zone. YNAB is also a more hands-on budgeting program, and is definitely an effective choice for type-A personalities.
If you’re in a committed relationship, you and your significant other have likely disagreed about money at some point. In fact. according to a recent survey by Dave Ramsey, 41% of couples who are in debt fight about money, so you’re definitely not alone.
One solution is to be more open about your spending, and find a way to be more accountable. This is what Honeyfi proposes to do. It’s an app that both you and your significant other download. You can both then view your spending through the automatically-updated platform. You can even tag items, or comment on them with questions for your spouse.
If you’ve ever wanted a personal butler to help you with your finances, try Clarity Money. This app doesn’t really track your budget per se, but it does track your spending patterns and lets you know how you’re doing.
It also provides customized recommendations based on your personal money situation, such as financial products that may benefit you, recurring subscriptions you can cancel (they’ll even cancel them for you if you want), automatic savings plans, credit score updates, and more. It’s a great way to get a holistic view of your entire financial picture, and to see what you can be doing better.
Do you find it hard to save money? If so, then Qapital can help. This app lets you set up savings rules with IFTT (If This, Then That) technology so that you can find creative ways to save.
For example, you can set it so that every time you buy something, the purchase is rounded up and the difference saved. You can even set up custom rules using your location (reward yourself for going to the gym?), Twitter (save money every time a certain someone tweets), or even when you cross things off your to-do list.
If you normally get stymied by all of the math and numbers that go into most budgets, PocketGuard may be good option for you. This app guides you through a set up series and then analyzes your spending in select categories automatically.
The strength of PocketGuard is that it doesn’t require you to obsess and fret about how close you are to each budget category cap and how far along you are in the month, like with most budgeting apps. Instead, PocketGuard will automatically calculate how much disposable money you have to spend after taking account money you need to set aside for bills and necessary items.
And, the simple “In My Pocket” number lets you know at a glance whether you really can afford to buy that item that catches your eye.
Keeping track of all of your bills and paying them on time is one of the responsibilities of being a grown up (womp womp). Not paying your bills on time can have serious consequences beyond just paying late fees. It will harm your credit score as well, which means you can end up paying a lot more when you need to take out a loan.
This is where Prism comes into play. This app keeps track of your bills and due dates for you. It sends you automatic reminders when bills are due, and you can even pay your bills right through the app itself.
Mvelopes is another crowd favorite for best budgeting app. This app uses a digital version of the “envelope budgeting system,” a fancy name for divvying up all of your monthly income between each budget category and using only cash in designated “envelopes” to pay for your expenses.
The app itself might be worth it on its own for you, but the real strength of this program is that you can hire a real live financial expert to check in with your budgeting. This expert can coach you once a month or once a quarter (for a fee, of course). But if you can’t seem to do it alone, this may be just be the breakthrough you need to get your budget on track.
If the more complex budgeting apps still have you scared of your budget, try Fudget. This is the simplest budgeting app of all. There’s no recurring budget to keep track of. You simply make a list of your income for a given period (quarterly, monthly, biweekly, weekly, whatever) and track the expenses you have for that time period.
When you’re done making your list, the app tells you how much money you have left to spend. ‘Nuff said.
Did you know that Chime has a mobile payment app too? You can easily check your bank account details on-the-go.
There are a host of other budget-friendly features as well. You can find the nearest free ATM, turn your debit card on or off (helpful when you know you’ll be passing through an expensive part of town), set up automatic savings, split dinner bills with friends and family, track your spending, and more.
Try out more than one budgeting app
We’ve shown you 10 apps here that will help keep your budget in check. You probably already mentally circled one or two that may interest you, and this is a good thing.
We recommend downloading and trying out at least a few of these apps. After all, you won’t know whether you like it until you try it, and the best budgeting app is the one you will actually stick with.