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The new year is finally here! That means it’s the perfect time for a fresh start on anything – including your money goals. 🤑
So where should you start?
Building a budget is an awesome way to make a financial plan and stick to it all year long. Budgeting apps can save you time and headaches when creating a spending plan.
But what is the best budget app to try? To help, we’ve compiled the 6 best budgeting apps to kick off 2022.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
What is it: What is YNAB? You Need a Budget, often referred to as YNAB, is an award-winning app that has helped new budgeters save an average of $600 within the first two months.
The app is based on four rules:
- Give every dollar a job. You decide where your money is going and plan ahead for expenses we often forget about like the annual renter’s insurance fee or a club membership fee, which you can save for using sinking funds.
- Embrace your true expenses. Be honest about what you’re really spending money on.
- Roll with the punches. If you overspend or need to shift around your budget, you can. Because well, life happens.
- Age your money. Use last month’s income for the next month’s expenses, effectively breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.
This app could be a lifesaver if you’re struggling with how to keep track of bills and stay caught up.
- Easily syncs to your bank accounts and other financial accounts
- Includes tools to help you set and track financial goals
- Provides detailed reported and educational resources
- Safe and secure
- Fee applies after the initial trial period ends
- No bill payment option within the app
- Limited support for international banks
- Can take time to learn the YNAB system
Cost: Free for 34 days or $11/99 per month or $84 for year
Best for: People who want to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck and get a month ahead with budgeting.
What is it: Tiller is a web-based platform that makes it easy to get your hands on your financial data and know where your money is going.
Are you a spreadsheet nerd? 🤓 Then Tiller could be one of the best budgeting apps for you.
This app uses the power of Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel to automatically track your spending so you can see all of your financial data in one place.
- Works with more than 21,000 banks, lenders, investment firms and other financial institutions
- Customize Tiller budgeting templates for your own expense categories and goals
- Track your budget, work to pay off debt, and know your overall net worth
- Tiller budgeting system is easy to learn, even for budgeting beginners
- A fee applies after the initial trial period ends
- Doesn’t include bill payment, credit score tracking or investment tracking
- Works best on desktop, which may not work as well if you prefer to budget on the go
- Spreadsheet-based budgeting approach may mean a learning curve for some
Cost: Free 30 day trial. After that, $79 per year or $6.58 per month
Best for: People who want to get expenses under control and are comfortable using a budget app that relies on spreadsheets.
What is it: EveryDollar is a monthly budget app that helps you stay on top of your finances by tracking everything- so you can know if you’re meeting your target or not and where you may need to adjust
If you’re paying off debt, you might have heard of Dave Ramsey, who’s probably best-known for his “baby steps” approach which he discusses on his financial podcast. His team has created the EveryDollar budgeting app which offers budgeting templates that you can easily customize for your personal finances. You give every dollar a job and tell it where it goes. To get started with the app:
- Enter your monthly income.
- Plan for expenses.
- Track your expenses.
This monthly budget app could work for you if you prefer a zero-based budgeting strategy.
- Easy-to-use budgeting app
- Sync between multiple users, which is great if you’re budgeting with a spouse, significant other or roommate
- Split transactions into different budget categories if needed
- Basic version is free to use
- Free version requires you to track spending manually
- Annual fee is on the pricier side for a monthly budget app
- Doesn’t track investments
- Not ideal for budgeting with irregular income
Cost: Free or 14-day trial of Ramsey Plus, which is $129.99 annually
Best for: People who need help staying on top of their budgeting while paying off debt.
What is it: What is Mint? Mint is an OG budgeting app that’s been around since 2007.
It’s hands-down one of the best budgeting apps for creating a comprehensive picture of your finances. In a nutshell, the app helps you:
- Create a budget.
- Track your spending.
- Helps you stay on top of your bills.
- Monitor your credit score.
- Get personalized tips catered to your specific financial situation.
Is Mint free? Yep. That’s a huge plus if you don’t want to spend money to track your budget each month.
- The Mint budget app is free and easy to use even if you’re new to budgeting
- Easily create financial summaries to see where your money is going at a glance
- Syncs to your financial accounts so you can set up alerts and notifications inside the app
- Track your credit score for free each month
- Can take time to set up properly
- Some users have run into issues with syncing financial accounts
- Expenses may be miscategorized in your budget
- Mint does run advertisements inside the app, which may be annoying to some
Best for: Mint is one of the best budgeting apps for people who want to view all of their accounts in one place on the go.
What is it: Personal Capital goes beyond just helping you maintain a budget. It also gives you a big picture look of where you’re at financially.
Personal Capital is one of the best budgeting apps but you can use it to do so much more than just making a monthly budget. It can also help you track your net worth, look at investments, and build wealth.
Using Personal Capital, you can:
- Create a budget.
- Easily track your expenses.
- See account balances for your bank accounts and investments.
- Set up a monthly budget that shows a pie chart of where your expenses are going as well as charts of your high-spend days.
- It has a retirement planner and helps you track your net worth (assets – liabilities). That way you can effectively plan for the future too as well as keeping your finances in order in the present.
- Packed with highly useful (and free) financial management tools
- Monitor your budget and your retirement investments in one place
- Get access to advice from professional financial advisors
- Automate your investments to grow wealth on autopilot
- Not designed to primarily be used as a budgeting tool
- You’ll need $100,000 or more to invest with Personal Capital
- An annual management fee applies to investment accounts
- Cash management account earns a relatively low APY
Cost: Free, if you’re only using the budgeting and financial tools
Best for: People who want to track their budget and net worth from month to month.
What is it: Chime is not a budgeting app, but it has many tools to help you keep a budget.
Chime is an award-winning mobile banking app designed to help you stay on top of your money and step up your savings game.
For example, when you open a bank account through Chime, you can:
- Get daily balance notifications so you always know what’s in your account.
- Stay on top of how much money you have on hand, which can empower you to make better financial decisions and have the info you need to spend wisely.
- Save more easily. You can round-up your savings to the next dollar when you spend money or automatically save a percentage of your income when you get paid¹
- Save money automatically
- Easily track your spending and balances
- Easy to manage your account on desktop or through the mobile app
- Unlock added features, including the option to get paid up to two days early with direct deposit²
- 24/7 customer service is available
- Mobile check deposit is not available to all members³
- No joint account access
Cost: Free (all you need is to sign up for an account through Chime)
Best for: People who want to save automatically while staying on top of their monthly budgets.
Are budgeting apps worth it?
Even though some of these budgeting apps are free to low-cost, you might be wondering “Are budgeting apps worth it?”. Adding a new financial tool to your life can feel like a lot of work, because change is hard. But budgeting apps can help usher in new, positive change and better financial habits for the new year, which can pay off over the long term.
Are budgeting apps safe?
In general, budgeting apps are safe to use for managing your money. The best budgeting apps include multiple layers of security protection to encrypt your data and keep it out of the hands of hackers. You can take additional steps to up your security level by choosing unique passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication and only logging in using secure WiFi.
YNAB vs. Mint: What are the pros and cons?
In terms of the differences between YNAB vs. Mint, cost and function are largely what set them apart. YNAB requires a monthly or yearly fee while Mint doesn’t. YNAB uses spreadsheets to manage your budget on a forward-looking basis, which could work well for you if you’re spreadsheet-savvy. Mint, on the other hand, is an app that makes it easier to manage your current monthly budget from your mobile device, any time or anywhere.
How do I budget better?
Learning how to budget better can take time but choosing the right budgeting app can be a good place to start. You can use a budgeting app to review your spending and see where your money goes. This can give you insight into where you might be wasting cash each month. You can also use a budgeting app to track your bills to see how your expenses may increase or decrease over time.
Downloading a monthly budget app can be a great way to kick off the new year as you set your financial resolutions. But really, any time is a good time to start making–and sticking to–a budget. The best budgeting apps we’ve rounded up here can make the process of budgeting as painless as possible so you can get ahead financially.