Building and maintaining a budget isn’t easy, especially if you use complicated tools. Making your own Excel budget helps you track every facet of your financial life, but it’s complex. And that can be stressful. A simple budget app streamlines the process — and can reduce stress in the process.
These apps range from extremely stripped-down to more detailed, but they all have clean interfaces that will help you get an idea of how your budget looks right now without overwhelming you with information. Ready to simplify your budgeting process?
1. Level Money (Free)
Level’s interface has a single category: “spendable,” which is for everything but bills. You don’t set up an budget for utilities, another for groceries, another for going out . . . you just have one number to watch. You’ll choose an amount that you can spend each month, and your purchases will be subtracted.
The app connects to your bank accounts and keeps track of your purchases automatically. When your spendable allowance starts getting near $0, you restrict your spending. That’s really all there is to it. This is as simple a budget app as you can get.
Of course, this means you’ll need to figure out how much you should be spending each month, but once you’ve set some goals and taken stock of your financial life, that should be pretty easy.
2. Daily Budget Original (Free, Pro Upgrade)
The basics of Daily Budget Original are similar to Level, but it adds a few features, like the ability to add savings goals that will be subtracted from your daily budget. It also gives you more analytical views if you want to look at trends.
The biggest count against Daily Budget Original is that it features ads unless you purchase the pro upgrade for $7.99. You can also buy individual features, like getting rid of ads, additional spending icons, and CSV export, if you don’t want the whole package.
3. Pennies ($4.99)
Pennies is a great simple budget app if you want to manage a number of different budgets without a confusing and cluttered interface. Like the above apps, it tells you how much you can spend for the day. But you can set up a number of different budgets, and even transfer money between them.
It’s tough to beat Pennies’ great interface. The easy color-based budget monitoring lets you get an idea of how your budgets are going with a quick glance. And the number of days left in the month is displayed prominently so you know how long the money in your budget has to last.
4. Mvelopes (Free)
The envelopes method of budgeting is simple. You split your spendable cash between a number of envelopes. Then label the envelopes with categories. For the rest of the month, you can only spend on those categories with the money in that envelope. When it’s empty, you’re done with that category for the month.
Mvelopes is the digital equivalent. Assign money to categories, and watch how the cash in those categories gets spent right from your phone. It’s a simplification of standard budgeting, and makes it super easy to see where you stand.
Unfortunately, the free version only allows you to connect up to 4 online bank accounts. If you want more than that, you’ll need to upgrade to Premier for $95 per year. With that upgrade, though, you also get live support and more tracking tools.
5. Easy Spending ($1.99)
The biggest draw to Easy Spending is its clear displays of your account balances and spending habits. With a quick glance, you’ll know where your monthly budget stands and what you can spend without going over.
Cloud-based backup and sync are available for a subscription fee of $0.99 per month, but you get a month free trial and can cancel it afterwards. Most of the features in Easy Spending can be had with free budgeting apps, but if the simple interface appeals to you, it’s definitely worth $2.
6. Saved ($4.99)
While there’s a lot of information that you can access in Saved, the main views are relatively uncluttered. This is a good option for people who want lots of tracking options but don’t want to use them all the time. The pie graph spending charts are especially useful for seeing where your money’s going.
However, if you want to do a lot of financial tracking, you may want to go with a free app like Mint, which will help you keep track of pretty much everything. Again, though, if this interface appeals to you and is more likely to get you to use the app, go for it!
Your Favorite Simple Budget App
These six apps will keep you from getting overwhelmed with tons of information when you want to take a quick look at your finances. For what it’s worth, I’ve replaced my previous budgeting system with Level, and it’s made a huge difference in my financial life. If you have other suggestions for a simple budget app, we want to hear them!
Which apps do you use to keep track of your spendable budget? Do you use more than one? How simple do you prefer your budget solution to be? Share your thoughts in the comments below!