Hit enter to search

The Best Budgeting Apps


Joanna Yuen

Marketing & Content Specialist - 25 Apr, 2024


Fortune favors the prepared. In this case, we are talking about literal fortune - as in money.

It’s always a good idea to be more proactive about your finances, and adding a few more tools to your arsenal can help. In an evolving economic climate where a lot of people are feeling the pinch, finding new ways to pinch pennies is always helpful. Luckily, with smartphones near us all the time, we can put financial fitness right at our fingertips. In this post, we are covering our favorite apps that can be used for budgeting and other financial wellness. Keep reading to learn more about how to add more money to your bottom line every month simply by using the latest technology.

Why Use a Budgeting App?

Budgeting apps have gained significant popularity in recent years. They are widely used by individuals and households to manage their finances more effectively. Budgeting apps provide a convenient way to track income, expenses, and savings, helping users gain better control over their money. Want to save more money each month? Hoping to gain more insight into investment opportunities? No matter what your financial goals are, there’s an app to help you meet them. Budgeting apps can help streamline your finances in a variety of ways, such as:

Simple expense tracking: Budgeting apps allow users to easily record and categorize their expenses. This helps them understand where their money is going and identify areas where they can cut back or save. If you’re new to budgeting - or paying attention to your finances in general - it’s a good idea to start using simple expense tracking apps so that you can get a clear picture of what’s happening with your money. Only then can you really consider where you need to cut back or shuffle spending.

Real-time financial insights

Most of us are used to online banking these days, so we’ve gotten a bit spoiled when it comes to getting instant information. These apps take things a step further and provide users with real-time updates on their financial situation. Users can view their income, expenses, and savings at any time, helping them make informed decisions about their spending habits. You can calculate your net worth so that you can make smarter decisions over the long-term, for example, how a large purchase will impact your eventual retirement.

Goal setting and tracking

A goal without a plan is just a wish. It’s important to treat serious goals as objectives that you commit to and take action on. Having goals written down or otherwise “committed” to makes you much more likely to try to achieve them. You can also break larger goals into smaller milestones that are more manageable. Budgeting apps often include features that allow users to set financial goals, such as saving for a vacation or paying off debt. Users can track their progress towards these goals and receive reminders to stay on track.

Automatic expense categorization

Many budgeting apps use machine learning algorithms to automatically categorize expenses. This saves users time and effort in manually categorizing each transaction. It can be really helpful for people who need to manage expense accounts for work or for people who are self-employed. These tools can also prove really helpful at tax time when you need to break down specific spending.

Budgeting tools and analysis

What if you’ve never even made a budget before? Don’t worry! Budgeting apps offer various tools and features to help users create and stick to a budget. They can generate visual representations of spending patterns, provide insights into areas of overspending, and offer suggestions for improving financial health. Many people find the information more accessible in a visual format, so getting charts that represent spending can be really valuable.

Syncing with bank accounts: Some budgeting apps allow users to link their bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts. This enables automatic syncing of transactions, making it easier to track and manage expenses. It also makes it easier to move money around, such as when you need to transfer funds from a savings account to a credit card or checking account.

Reminders and notifications

Let’s be honest: we all have plenty to remember on any given day. That can make it hard to know what is due when, and actually pay things on time to avoid late fees. Budgeting apps can send reminders and notifications to users about upcoming bills, due dates, and spending limits. This helps users stay on top of their financial obligations and avoid penalties.

Historical data analysis: By storing and analyzing historical data, budgeting apps can provide users with insights into their long-term spending habits. Users can see how their spending has changed over months or years and identify any patterns or trends that may be affecting their financial well-being. This is great for seeing progress on your goals, as well as for gaining a deeper understanding of your true spending habits. If you’re a person that has asked yourself “Where does all my money go?”, then an app like this can be really helpful.

Overall, budgeting apps offer a convenient and effective way for individuals to monitor and control their finances. They provide valuable insights and tools that can lead to improved financial health and better money management.

Related Post: Simple Hacks for Managing All of Your Apps


Top Budgeting Apps

The popularity of budgeting apps is going to vary depending on individual preferences and regions. There’s something for everyone, at every stage of a financial journey. Which app will be most beneficial to you depends on your own financial situation, habits, and goals. That being said, there are some that tend to be very popular and well-regarded. Here are ten widely recognized and popular budgeting apps:

YNAB (You Need a Budget)

YNAB is a budgeting app that focuses on helping users gain control of their finances. It emphasizes budgeting by giving every dollar a job (zero based budgeting) and encourages users to plan for future expenses. If you use zero-based budgeting or would like to get started, this is an ideal place to begin. It can be a really helpful tool for people tackling debt or trying to achieve specific financial goals. It is a paid app with a monthly fee, but there is a money back guarantee if you don’t think it’s helping you.


Formerly known as Personal Capital, this tool offers a comprehensive financial management app with budgeting tools, investment tracking, and retirement planning. It provides a holistic view of users' financial health and places a greater emphasis on investments and long-term planning, but it can be a bit lighter on individual financial tools. One of the best features is the personal dashboard where you can get a visual of your entire financial situation in one place.


PocketGuard is a simple budgeting app that connects to users' bank accounts, categorizes expenses, and helps track spending. It also provides insights on how much users can save and offers personalized budgeting tips. According to reviews, after you download PocketGuard, you connect your cards and bank accounts and the app automatically imports past transactions, asking you to select recurring expenses so it can factor them into your budget. The app then organizes your transactions into categories such as clothing, electronics and groceries. This is one of the more helpful options for people attempting to set a line-item budget and then adhere to it.


This one is really geared toward people who have specific financial goals they want to meet. That makes sense because EveryDollar is a budgeting app created by Dave Ramsey, a well-known personal finance expert who focuses on helping people get out of debt. It follows a zero-based budgeting approach and helps users allocate every dollar to a specific category. It ensures that every dollar of your budget serves a purpose and has a variety of tools to help, plus access to financial advice and expertise. There is a free version but the premium choice comes with many more helpful features.


One of the more Android-friendly apps, Goodbudget is based on the envelope budgeting system. It allows users to allocate money to virtual envelopes for different spending categories, helping them stay on track with their budget. It’s unique because it uses a “save, spend, give” model where you can use virtual “envelopes” to divvy up money and then sync and share budgets, as well as save for bigger expenses or debt payments. Their blog also offers lots of helpful tools and tips that can be applied to most people in any stage of their financial journey.


Wally is the first AI-powered finance app, and is a popular expense tracking tool that helps users monitor their spending habits and set savings goals. It allows users to scan receipts and offers insights into spending patterns. The fully automated system lets you connect all of your accounts to track spending, upcoming bills and expenses, and cash flow. You can also use WallyGPT for chatting about your finances, planning, and setting goals. For example, ask WallyGPT questions like “How have my grocery expenses changed over the past 12 months?” or “How much was I able to save last month?” It’s always valuable to get more context around your own finances as well as general financial advice. Plus, it’s totally free!


This unique budgeting app is designed for couples (and one of the only options created with a partnership in mind). It allows partners to track and manage their shared expenses, set budget limits, and communicate about financial matters. This is an important part of marriage - since money is often a trouble spot in relationships - and helps to keep partners on the same page and working toward the same goals. You can choose what to share and what you may want to keep separate, so there’s no anxiety about your partner having too much insight into things you both want to keep private. Use it to have smarter conversations and more transparency around the money flowing in your relationship.

Clarity Money

Clarity Money is a budgeting app that helps users track their spending, cancel unwanted subscriptions, and save money. What sets it apart from other apps are personalized recommendations for better financial management and subscription management (who doesn’t have too many sneaky subscriptions?. You can also review your credit score and get custom suggestions for how to improve it. In recent years Clarity Money was acquired by Goldman Sachs, so it’s backed by a finance powerhouse with the most innovative technology at its disposal.


Albert is an all-in-one financial app that combines budgeting, savings, and investing features. It provides personalized financial advice, tracks expenses, and helps users save money. Most important to many users, though, is the ability to get paid early and get advances from your bank up to $250. There are no minimums and no overdrafts and you can even start investing with just $1. You can also monitor your accounts for suspicious activity and the advanced security features mean your most sensitive financial information is protected. This is a good all-in-one option that can help the majority of users with regular budgeting and tracking.

These are just some of the apps that are available, but they’re our favorites - and online reviews agree. Each of these apps are highly rated and have been around for years, some of them backed by massive banking institutions and the latest technology. In the future, you can expect AI to play a bigger role in budgeting app development, providing new options that are more interactive and engaging. The app that is right for you will depend on your own financial situation, budgeting needs, and specific goals - but this list is a great place to get started!

Related Post: 10 Trading Apps for Fun & Profit


Best Practices for Using a Budgeting App

All apps are not created equal, so you can’t expect identical results. Start by considering what you really hope to get out of using a budgeting app, and then follow these tips to make the most of the tools:

1. Set clear financial goals

Before using a budgeting app, it's important to have clear financial goals in mind. Whether it's saving for a vacation, paying off debt, or building an emergency fund, having specific goals will help you stay motivated and focused.

Track your expenses: Use the app to track all your expenses, including small purchases. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and help you identify areas where you can cut back.

2. Categorize your expenses

Categorize your expenses in the app to easily see how much you're spending on different categories like groceries, entertainment, transportation, etc. This will help you analyze your spending patterns and make informed decisions.

3. Set a budget

Use the app to set a budget for each category based on your financial goals. Ensure that your budget is realistic and achievable. Regularly monitor your progress and make adjustments if needed.

4. Use notifications and reminders

Enable notifications and reminders in the app to stay on top of your budgeting goals. Set reminders for bill payments, savings targets, or any other financial commitments you have.

5. Sync your accounts

If the app allows it, sync your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts. This will help you automatically track your transactions and keep your budget up to date.

6. Analyze your spending patterns

Take advantage of the app's reporting and analysis features. Use the data to identify trends, areas of overspending, or potential savings opportunities. This will help you make more informed financial decisions.

7. Regularly review and adjust

Set aside time each week or month to review your budget and expenses. Make adjustments as needed and ensure that you're staying on track with your financial goals.

Related Post: Why Everyone Needs an App Integrated Browser


We want to help you make the most of the digital options out there. Make sure to follow Shift’s blog for all things tech: tips, trends, and tool reviews, all in one place.