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Budgeting apps


5 Free Budget Apps to Help Get Your Finances on Track


Once upon a time, budgeting required repeated acts of manual labor.
It relied on papers, pens, and pencils — plus calculators, erasers, and spreadsheets.

It demanded that you set a spending goal, carefully track expenses, and perpetually reconcile the two.

Old school budgeting needed rigorous discipline and maintenance. That’s partially what made it so difficult (and why only 41% of Americans keep a budget).

While many Americans still rely on their pen and paper, 34% of millennials and Generation Zers have turned to budgeting apps to manage their money.

Who can blame them? By linking directly to your bank accounts and credit cards, budgeting apps do all of the heavy lifting in just a fraction of the time.

Ready to learn more? Here are the five best (and totally free!) budgeting apps on the market:

1. Mint

As one of the most popular financial apps, Mint provides the ideal entry point for budgeting.

In addition to syncing with your bank and credit card accounts, it can also incorporate any additional loans, investments, and miscellaneous bills you might have.

From there, Mint automatically divides your spending into clearly-defined budget categories (which you can customize however you like).

Mint also provides up-to-date graphs of your budget, your spending patterns, and your outstanding debts. You can even check your credit score and net worth for free — all in the app!

According to a recent Forbes review, Mint “is worth strong consideration for helping meet your budgeting needs.”

Click here to view the Mint website and download the app.

2. Zeta Money Manager

Want to budget with your significant other? Check out Zeta Money Manager, the free app that offers “financial tools to help your relationship thrive.”

According to a survey, money is the #1 cause of tension in modern relationships. That’s exactly where Zeta aims to help.

By linking your accounts, Zeta provides an overview of your finances and demystifies your spending patterns (both individually and as a couple).

Whether you and your partner have already combined finances or continue to bank separately, Zeta provides maximum convenience, customization, and privacy. In other words, you’ll be able to control what information is visible to your partner.

You’ll also be able to set bill reminders, to split transactions, and to message each other through the app.

Zeta will even provide occasional reminders to set “money dates," to help encourage communication on financial matters in a fun and relaxed setting.

Click here to learn more!

3. Goodbudget

Want to blend old school budgeting tools with new technology?

Check out Goodbudget, the app that takes a values-based approach to money management.

Goodbudget hinges on the tried-and-tested “envelope budgeting” system, where people divide their income and put money into envelopes according to category (i.e. groceries, rent, gas, etc.).
Then, whenever you need to make a payment, you physically take money out of the designated envelope until it’s empty.

While it’s an effective system, it’s a bit outdated in our increasingly “cashless” society. After all, almost everything has gone online (especially payments).

That’s why Goodbudget digitized the envelope budgeting system, putting it all in the convenient confines of a mobile app.

In the words of former U.S. President Barack Obama, “A budget is more than just a series of numbers on a page; it is an embodiment of our values.”

Goodbudget helps you pursue your values from a financial perspective.

That’s why the app has received a stellar 4.7 rating (out of over 12,000 reviews) in the Apple store — and a 4.4 Google Play rating (with nearly 20,000 reviews).

Click here to learn more!

4. Personal Capital

Looking to manage your investment portfolio while balancing your budget?
The Personal Capital app offers the best of both worlds — free of charge.

While connecting to your checking, savings, and credit card accounts, the Personal Capital app also connects to your 401(k)s, IRAs, mortgages and loans.

So while building a new budget, you’ll also be able to track your net worth and manage your investment accounts — all in the same place.

In other words, the Personal Capital app gives you the tools to promote your short and long-term financial health, whether on your phone, tablet, or desktop computer.

It currently has a 4.7 rating in the Apple Store (with over 35,000 reviews) — and a 4.3 Google Play rating (with over 16,000 reviews).

Click here to learn more and download the Personal Capital app!

5. PocketGuard

Want to keep your budgeting as simple as possible?

Check out PocketGuard, which was designed to help consumers achieve five clear goals:

  • To always know what’s in your pocket (i.e. how much money you have after taking care of your essentials)
  • To track your spending (and see which expenses require the most resources)
  • To see all your accounts in one place (from banks and cards to loans and investments)
  • To help track and lower your bills (and negotiate better rates on your cable and utility bills)
  • To help reach your financial goals with ease
  • While helping you budget, PocketGuard also uses an “Autosave” feature to help you put money away for retirement.

According to a recent CNBC review, “[PocketGuard] is the best choice for those who struggle to keep track of their spending and want to improve their saving skills. Its features allow you to get into the habit of keeping a close eye on your finances and spend more wisely.”

While the PocketGuard app is free, you can upgrade to a premium account for a fee.

Click here to learn more!

Moving Forward

These five free apps rank among the most popular (and highest-reviewed) on the market today.

However, if you’re interested in accessing additional features for a paid monthly subscription, be sure to check out apps including YNAB (i.e. You Need a Budget), EveryDollar (by Ramsey Solutions), and Fudget (which can be accessed for free and upgraded to premium for a cost).

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