5 Great Apps For Managing Your Budget

From an early age, I had a budget. That is thanks to my parents. They taught me and my siblings that the best way to manage your money and help it grow is to not only know where you are spending your money but plan how you will be spending your money.

When we started getting an allowance our mom drew up a budget for us with a certain amount going towards tithe, some to savings, and the rest was spending money. As I got older and started working I also created a budget that helped me reach some of my early savings goals.

When I first started budgeting as an adult I just used a spreadsheet and mapped out what I thought I should be spending each month. Because I was newly living on my own I didn’t have a good idea yet on what things like groceries and utilities would cost. So my first few budgets were fails which I found to be typical when you first start budgeting.


Soon I switched over to using a website/app to create and manage my budget. I liked using the site/app because it allowed me to easily see what I was spending each month and adjust my budget categories accordingly.
 
Great Apps For Managing Your Budget | A Relaxed Gal
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Since then I’ve become a little more sophisticated with my budgeting and have started using the zero-based budget method which is great for consistent tracking of your expenses and income because I take my income and assign every single dollar of it to expenses or savings so that it equals zero. I’m still also using a budgeting app which helps make this type of budgeting extremely easy.

I’ve used a few different budgeting apps over the years. Each one is slightly different from the others as my needs for budgeting would change over the years. Here is what I look for in a budgeting app:
  • Account connections: There is an option to connect my bank accounts so I don’t have to manually enter any transactions outside of cash transactions
  • Easy to use: This is important because I don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to move transactions around, or set up my budget.
  • Clean interface: The app wasn’t cluttered by a lot of ads or other images or info that won’t help me with my budget.


If you’re looking to start budgeting and want an easy way to track your budget, here are five different apps I’ve found that not only can help with that but also meet my criteria.


Free budgeting apps


Mint

This budget app has been around for years. It may be the granddaddy of all budgeting apps. It’s a free app that says it makes money from “carefully selected partner offers that could help take your money further.” They say they don’t sell your data.

The features that you get when using Mint are
  • Connections for all types of financial accounts including your investments
  • Notifications when subscriptions increase and bills are due
  • Automatic categorization of transactions so you don’t manually have to do it
  • Personalized insights to help you spend smarter, save more, and pay down debt
  • Free credit score

Personal Capital

This one is a little unique as it’s more focused on investing than budgeting, but there are some good features that can help you set up and manage your budget.
  • Connection for all of your accounts including checking, saving, credit cards, 401k, 529 accounts, loans, and investments
  • Wholistic look at your net worth
  • Notifications when bills are due
  • Set monthly spending targets

This is a free app because Personal Capital is hoping to sell their financial advisory services to some of the budgeting users.

Apps For Starting Managing Your Budget | A Relaxed Gal

Paid budgeting apps


Mvelopes

If you like to use the envelope system then this may be the perfect budgeting for you. There are three plans to choose from and the more you pay, the more features you get

Here are the features that come with all three plan levels
  • Quick budget creation in less than 15 minutes
  • Can link an unlimited number of bank accounts
  • Automated transaction importing and account balance monitoring
  • Can create an unlimited number of envelopes
  • Access to live chat & the Mvelopes knowledge base
  • Interactive reports of your budgeting progress

For the higher-priced plans you get additional features that help you manage your money as well as budget it. For example, the highest level plan adds on features like access to the Mvelopes debt reduction center, a dedicated personal coach, and a personalized financial plan.

EveryDollar

This app was made for those who like to do zero-based budgeting. There are only two plans, paid and unpaid. If you want to have your transactions imported automatically you’ll want to go with the paid version. Along with other features that I’ll note later, with the paid version you get access to a Ramsey+ membership which includes Financial Peace University, access to exclusive Ramsey Solutions live streams, audiobooks, access to their Savings and Debt Payoff Tracker, and more.

These are the features that come with both the unpaid and paid versions
  • Easy to set up in 10 minutes or less
  • Drag and drop interface for categorizing transactions
  • Debt payment tracking: The app will keep track of interest and payments to keep the debt balance accurate
  • Can create savings or sinking funds

With the paid version you also get to sync with your financial institutions, see custom budget reports, due date reminders, recommendations, and can download your transactions as a spreadsheet. You can sometimes get a free trial to test it out before committing to a paid membership.

You Need A Budget (YNAB)

This app claims to be different from the other ones because it teaches “you how to manage your money and get ahead—for good.” They claim that “new budgeters save $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 their first year.”

Features for the You Need A Budget app include
  • Automatic syncing of your bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts
  • Access from any device, anytime so you can collaborate and share info with your spouse
  • Alerts when you’re starting to overspend
  • Goal tracking
  • Progress reports
  • Personal support via email
  • Free online workshops


Things to keep in mind when choosing a budgeting app

Free budgeting apps aren’t really free. They have to make money somehow and there are three typical ways they do that
  • Some of them sell your info to other companies who then market you with their products and services
  • Some sell ad space so you may be inundated with ads when using the app
  • Others push their paid products or services (cross-sell if I want to use marketing terminology) hoping to make money from you that way




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