5 Budget Apps You Should Use If You Really Want to Save Money
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Want more money in your pocket every month? You only have two options: either make more money Your Guide to Making Money Online: Writing, Transcribing and Tutoring Gigs Your Guide to Making Money Online: Writing, Transcribing and Tutoring Gigs This is your guide to making money online. There are plenty of legitimate ways to earn money if you're savvy enough. Read More or save more money Simply Frugal: How To Learn Personal Finance The Easy Way Simply Frugal: How To Learn Personal Finance The Easy Way Do you fret over bills and debt on a regular basis? Do you feel lost when others speak using financial lingo? Here's the good news: it's never too late to learn about money. Read More . That’s it. There are no magic formulas or shortcuts. However, the good news is that saving more money is much easier than making more money.

Budgeting is the key concept behind getting rich, and budgeting is easy — even if you’re bad at math! All it means is dedicating a portion of each paycheck to certain things (e.g. rent, food, entertainment) and sticking to those limits. If you can do that, you’ve won half the battle.

And with the right apps, this whole “saving more money” thing will require close to zero effort on your part. Here are the most effective budget apps currently available. Pick the one you like best.

1. You Need A Budget (Windows, Mac)

In all honesty, few budgeting apps can compare to the sheer greatness of You Need A Budget — and I say this as someone who doesn’t even use YNAB for my primary budgets. At least on paper, YNAB is pretty much the optimal budgeting solution.

But is YNAB the right budgeting solution for you? Maybe. Maybe not.

At its core, YNAB is a money manager. All you do is input all of your transactions as they happen — both incoming and outgoing — and the software will handle everything else for you: financial goals, progress reports, searching through records, annotations, etc.

However, there are two drawbacks. First, you have to do everything manually. This is good because it forces you to face your money habits head-on, but can be a nuisance doing it day in and day out. Second, the learning curve. It won’t be comfortable at first, but once you get the hang of it, YNAB becomes indispensible.

With YNAB, you will quickly find areas where you can slash your household expenses How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps Tired of seeing all of your income go towards bills and expenses? You aren't alone. We show you some of the best ways to slash your household expenses. Read More , thus saving you hundreds of dollars every month. And best of all, YNAB is 100% free for students This $60 Budget App Is FREE For Students! This $60 Budget App Is FREE For Students! The popular budgeting software is the best of the best on the market today, and it's available for FREE to college students! Read More ! For everyone else, it costs $60.

2. Mint (Web, Android, iOS)

Mint is probably the most popular option on this list. It works like this: you let it connect to all of your financial accounts (e.g. banks, credit cards, loans, etc.) and it automatically pulls all of that data every day. Money tracking has never been easier than this.

Mint is invaluable for personal finance newbies, but especially useful When you’re trying to get out of debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt Imagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients. Read More . The automation makes it less stressful than something like YNAB, and the various graphs (e.g. net worth) are great for accurately tracking your progress.

But having used Mint for the past year, it’s clear that it isn’t perfect. Transactions can take between 24 to 48 hours to show up. Sometimes Mint isn’t able to connect to your bank or credit accounts, and this is more common than it should be. And while the web interface isn’t terrible, it can be confusing.

Fortunately, Mint is entirely free to use, so we can’t complain too much. Could it be better? Sure. Is it worth using even with these hiccups? Absolutely.

Read our beginner’s guide to getting started with Mint A Beginner's Guide to Managing Your Money with Mint A Beginner's Guide to Managing Your Money with Mint When it comes to free online budget tracking, Mint is king. Read More .

3. Mvelopes (Web, Android, iOS)

If a simple budget isn’t enough to keep you financially responsible, then we recommend that you try envelope budgeting: setting aside labelled envelopes (e.g. “Food”, “Clothes”, “Entertainment”) that restrict your spending to those categories.

But instead of using physical envelopes and cash, you should use Mvelopes, which is basically the digital equivalent.

Once you set up your account and limits, you can glance at the app at any time to see how much money you have left in each category. Before you make any purchases, check your Mvelopes status. If you don’t have enough, then you’ll have to wait for next month to roll around.

There’s a reason why Mvelopes was voted “Best Budgeting Site for Over-Spenders” in 2012: it really works. And that’s why we always mention it when we can, like on our list of the best finance apps for Android Build Better Spending Habits with These 7 Android Finance Apps Build Better Spending Habits with These 7 Android Finance Apps A few lifestyle tweaks can greatly improve your financial situation. Here are some of the best Android apps to help you budget and plan your spending. Read More .

The Free plan can connect up to 4 bank accounts and provides 25 different envelopes while the Premier plan allows unlimited bank accounts and envelopes for $95 per year.

4. Goodbudget (Web, Android, iOS)

Goodbudget is similar to Mvelopes in that it provides another take on the “envelope budgeting” technique. Every time you receive a paycheck, you split it up into categories that keep you honest regarding your expenses and purchases.

While Mvelopes is more for single-person budgets, Goodbudget is slightly better for couples and households. A single budget can be synchronized across multiple devices and can even notify other persons when money is deducted from envelopes.

If Goodbudget sounds exactly like Mvelopes in every other way, that’s because it pretty much is. The underlying technique works, so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Go with the one that you feel more comfortable using.

As far as pricing, the Free plan supports 2 devices, 20 envelopes, and tracks 1 year of history while the Plus plan supports 5 devices, unlimited envelopes, and tracks 5 years of history for $45 per year.

5. EveryDollar (Web, iOS)

For the most part, EveryDollar is yet another budgeting app. It doesn’t come with any unique or revolutionary features, but it has a modern interface that’s extremely polished and all of its core functionality is executed well.

EveryDollar acts as a central dashboard for all of your financial activity. All you have to do is provide your bank details and create a quick budget in just a few minutes. Transactions are straightforward enough: input them manually or import from your banks.

The other notable feature of EveryDollar is the ability to set money goals, whether you’re trying to save up for vacation or pay down debt as quickly as possible. Again, it’s not a unique feature, but good in its execution.

Long story short, EveryDollar is a modest app that simplifies your life. No advanced features to fiddle with, no envelopes or categories to manage, and no ugly or outdated interfaces that get in the way. It excels as a quick budget and money manager.

Best of all, it’s completely free. As of writing this, there are no paid plans. The Android version of EveryDollar will be released in 2016.

Which Budget App Do You Use?

There’s one huge caveat for all of these apps: a budget can be helpful for seeing your financial situation and setting limits, but the most important step you can take is to start seeing money in a new way 4 TED Talks to Help You See Your Money in a New Way 4 TED Talks to Help You See Your Money in a New Way Personal finance can be a scary and intimating subject. Luckily there is a wealth of information to help you learn. Here are some of the best TED Talks on the subject. Read More . It’s all about one mindset: kill debt, spend less.

That being said, there are plenty of other ways to save money: use an online savings account Save More Money by Using These 4 Online Banks Save More Money by Using These 4 Online Banks Online banks frequently offer much better rates and perks than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here are four of the best options for American residents. Read More , find cheaper vacations Save Money on Your Next Vacation with These Android Apps Save Money on Your Next Vacation with These Android Apps Summer is right around the corner, so you these Android apps to get a cheap vacation for you and your family. Read More , and reduce energy waste at home Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices One of the biggest benefits of a smart home is the energy saving technologies available. As well as saving money, you’ll also be pushing toward a more sustainable, convenient living situation. Read More . And if you prefer spreadsheets to apps, use these awesome budget templates for Excel An Excel Template for Every Occasion An Excel Template for Every Occasion Skip the steep learning curve and sort your life with the power of Excel templates. We have compiled a selection of auto-updating templates to track budgets, manage projects, and more. Read More .

Do you use a budgeting app? If so, which one? Have any tips for building a money-saving attitude? Drop a comment below and share your wisdom with us!

Explore more about: Budget, Make Money Online, Money Management, Save Money.

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  1. Ken
    December 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I use Squeeze. It’s a free application that helps you manage and or compare your daily/monthly expenses. This application truly is your ultimate "life hack" for budgeting your finances.
    Check it out at: SqueezeApp.com

  2. john doe
    December 4, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Money Pro, ibearsoft

  3. Frank J
    December 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Spending Tracker (free) on my Android phone is pretty cool... Except for the monthly Pie Chart section I designated for beer expenses... Ouch!

    • Joel Lee
      December 5, 2015 at 1:30 am

      Haha, that's the downside: you get to see just how much you've spent. Ouch, indeed!

  4. Anonymous
    December 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I use Skrooge. It does everything I need, and works on Linux and Mac. Possibly on Windows as well, via the KDE on Windows project, although I have never tested it.

    • Joel Lee
      December 5, 2015 at 1:29 am

      Nice to know there's a nifty Linux option out there. The only other one that comes to mind is GnuCash. Thanks Colonel!

      • Crafter
        January 18, 2016 at 11:16 pm

        There are a few options for Linux
        - Skrooge
        - KMymoney
        - GNU Cash
        - Economize! (Yes, it's name has a '!)
        - Grisbi

  5. Tejas
    December 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I use Monefy. It's birlliant!

  6. Rebecca
    December 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I never understand why Budget Tracker doesn't show up in these kinds of articles. I've been using it for about 3 years now and it's amazing. Does everything anybody could ask for with a pretty low learning curve and when you have a question support is very responsive about getting back to you quickly. It is manual entry but I don't mind that because it forces me to look at my bank account and pay attention to my spending. Definitely recommend.

    • Joel Lee
      December 5, 2015 at 1:27 am

      Budget Tracker looks pretty cool! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. However, it seems like they don't have any mobile apps, so that could be a big dealbreaker for a lot of folks. Please do correct me if I'm wrong!

  7. John
    December 2, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I hate that Quicken seems to be the only viable option that can handle budgeting and reports for personal and side businesses. I have tried others over the years but they all fall short in one way or another.

    • Joel Lee
      December 5, 2015 at 1:26 am

      Yeah, when it comes to business, I'd really recommend going with a more professional solution. A mistake there could be very costly!