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How to Budget Better: 6 Best Budgeting Apps to Kick Off 2021

By Melanie Lockert
January 13, 2021

The new year is finally here! That means it’s the perfect time for a fresh start on anything – including your money goals. 🤑 

But where should you start? Building a budget is an awesome way to make a plan and stick to it, all year long. To help, we’ve compiled the 6 best budgeting apps to kick off 2021. 

 

  1. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
  2. Tiller
  3. EveryDollar
  4. Mint
  5. Personal Capital
  6. Chime
  7. Are budgeting apps worth it?

You Need a Budget (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:

    1. 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.
    2. Embrace your true expenses. Be honest about what you’re really spending money on. 
    3. Roll with the punches. If you overspend or need to shift around your budget, you can. Because well, life happens.
    4. Age your money. Use last month’s income for the next month’s expenses so you’re always a bit ahead, effectively breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. 

TL;DR: YNAB makes it simple to budget solo or with a spouse, and offers goal tracking and support to help you reach your financial goals. 

Tiller

Are you a spreadsheet nerd? 🤓 Then Tiller could be a good budgeting option for you. This app uses the power of Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel to automatically track your spending. Here are all the main perks.

  1. See all your financial data in one place.
  2. Customize Tiller budgeting templates for your own expense categories and goals.
  3. Track your budget, work to pay off debt, and know your overall net worth. 

TL;DR: 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. 

EveryDollar

If you’re paying off debt, you might have heard of Dave Ramsey. 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:

  1. Enter your monthly income.
  2. Plan for expenses. 
  3. Track your expenses. 

TL;DR: EveryDollar 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. 

  • Available On: iPhone, Android, Desktop. (The app claims that you can get started in less than 10 minutes!)
  • Price: Free or 14-day trial of Ramsey Plus, which is $129.99
  • Best to: Help pay off debt

Mint

Mint is an OG budgeting app that’s been around since 2007. 

In a nutshell, the app helps you:

  1. Create a budget.
  2. Track your spending. 
  3. Helps you stay on top of your bills. 
  4. Monitor your credit score.
  5. Get personalized tips catered to your specific financial situation. 

TL;DR: Mint gives you a comprehensive look at your finances with advice on where to go next. 

  • Available On: iPhone, Android, Desktop
  • Price: Free
  • Best to: Overall financial management and credit tracking

Personal Capital

Personal Capital not only helps you budget, it can also help you track your net worth, look at investments, and build wealth. 

Using Personal Capital, you can:

  1. Create a budget. 
  2. Easily track your expenses. 
  3. See account balances for your bank accounts and investments.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 

TL;DR: Personal Capital goes beyond just helping you maintain a budget. It also gives you a big picture look of where you’re at financially. 

Chime

Chime is not a budgeting app, but it has many tools to help you keep a budget. 

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 paid

TL;DR: Chime helps you stay on top of your money and step up your savings game.

  • Available On: iPhone, Android
  • Price: Free (all you need is to bank through Chime) 
  • Best to: Help you save automatically

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. And after the past year, I think we could all use some positive change – financial or otherwise! 


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