Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps

11 Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for 2020

Do you use any personal finance or budgeting apps to help you manage your money?

If you don't, you probably don't have a good grasp of your financial situation. Therefore, you should consider using one or several of the apps discussed below.

There are several options available today. But it wasn't always that way.

In fact, Quicken and Microsoft Money used to be your only options. There were a few others, but those were the leading players.

Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued Money (my favorite legacy tool to use). And it never had a mobile app.

Alternatively, you could build a budget spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. However, if you aren't good with spreadsheets, that isn't a great option. And it usually requires a lot more work to keep on top of your finances with it.

Today, there are many excellent personal finance and budgeting apps to choose from that are simple to use.

Typically all you need to do is link your accounts, and you are all set.

Additionally, you can do it all on your phone.

Furthermore, apps are available for different types of budgeting, wealth management, monitoring your credit scores and reports, and for buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Related: Reasons to Save Money and Why It's Important

Best of all, many of these tools are free, so you can use multiple if you choose to.

And those that aren't free typically have a free trial. So you can try all the apps and see which one works best for you.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for further details.

Top Budgeting Apps

While there are several excellent options, these personal finance and budgeting apps provide the best overall view of your finances.

And read about the top budget planners if you want to manually track your spending alongside these apps.

1. Mint – Best Free Budgeting App

Mint Budgeting App

Mint is run by Intuit, which was founded in 1983. It is the same company behind TurboTax and QuickBooks, so they have a ton of experience in the personal finance arena.

Like the other budgeting apps, you link your financial accounts to Mint, which allows you to see all of your accounts in one place.

Mint App Features

When you open the Mint app, you see the following:

  • Overview Tab
    • List of recent transactions
    • List of accounts by category
      • Cash
      • Savings
      • Credit cards
      • Investments
    • Your upcoming bills
    • Credit Score
    • Monthly budget
    • Monthly spending by category
    • Cash flow for the month
  • Alerts Tab
    • Provides notifications for the following:
      • Over budget
      • High spending
      • Large deposits
      • Large purchases
      • Accounts that need your attention
  • Offers Tab
    • Here you can choose offers based on your credit profile for:
      • Credit cards
      • Personal loans
      • Investments
      • Savings
  • Settings Tab
    • This is where you:
      • Set up your accounts
      • Adjust what you see and the order of the Overview Tab
      • Set security and notification options
        • You can set notifications for:
          • Bill reminders
          • Low balances
          • Bill due alerts
          • Budget exceedances
          • Unusual spending

For each section of the Overview tab, you can click on each area to see additional details.

  • Transactions
    • See all transactions across all accounts
    • Filter to see specific transactions
    • Adjust categories, add tags, and add notes to individual transactions
      • Mint categorizes the transactions automatically, but occasionally puts them in the wrong bucket
  • Accounts
    • View individual accounts
    • View transactions for individual accounts
  • Upcoming bills
    • View bill calendar
    • See all upcoming bills and “Mark as Paid”
  • Credit Score
    • Shows the factors that impact your credit score
      • On-time payments
      • Credit usage
      • The average age of your credit
      • Total Accounts
      • Credit inquiries
      • Derogatory marks
    • Also, you can click on those factors to see additional details

Mint Summary

As you can see, Mint provides an excellent overview of your financial situation. The great thing about it is that you start by seeing everything at a high level, and then you can dig into the details as needed.

However, the one issue I've had with Mint in the past is some issues connecting with specific accounts.

It works seamlessly with the major financial institutions but has occasional issues with some of the smaller ones. I'll log in and think I corrected the problem, only to have it show up again later.

Other than that, it is a great, free budgeting app to use to stay on top of your finances.

2. YNAB (You Need a Budget) – Best Paid Budgeting App

YNAB Budgeting App

You Need a Budget teaches you how to manage your money. It focuses on being forward-thinking and proactive about every dollar you spend.

YNAB is based on four rules.

  1. Give Every Dollar a Job
    • When you get money, decide what it is for based on your priorities. And stick to that plan.
  2. Embrace Your True Expenses
    • Break large, less frequent expenses into monthly bills, so when the cost arrives, it is simple to pay for it.
  3. Roll With The Punches
    • If you happen to overspend in one category, borrow from another one, and move on.
  4. Age Your Money
    • Strive to spend money with “older” money. Think about your spending and spend less than you earn. Stay at least a month ahead of your spending.

This method is essentially Zero-Based Budgeting. This method just means that you are working with the money you have right now and budgeting every dollar of it down to zero.

You don't budget any money until you have it.

YNAB Pricing

While YNAB offers a one-month free trial, it is a subscription service with two plans.

  • Monthly Plan – $11.99/month
  • Annual Plan – $84/year
    • You save $59 by choosing the annual plan, which is almost five free months.

While there are several free budgeting apps available, according to YNAB's website, new budgeters save $600 in their first two months and over $6,000 in their first year.

So, if you are currently not using any method of budgeting, the investment of a YNAB subscription may be worth it. The reduction in money-related stress alone may make it worth it.

YNAB also offers a no-risk, 100% money-back guarantee if you aren't satisfied.

YNAB App Features

You Need A Budget has several versions of its budgeting app. YNAB is available for the Web, iPhone, Andriod, iPad, Apple Watch, and Alexa. What follows is based on the iPhone app.

To get started with the app, you follow three steps.

  1. Add Bank Accounts
    • Two Methods
      • Linked
        • Automatically imports cleared transactions
      • Unlinked
        • Enter current balances and enter your own transactions
        • May provide a clearer view of your spending
      • You can do a combination of the two, and YNAB will combine your manual transactions with reconciled transactions.
    • For linking
      • Enter your username and password and complete any additional authentication actions.
      • Click on each account you want to link and follow prompts.
  2. Start Budgeting
    • Assign every dollar a job
    • YNAB has default groups and categories (you can edit, add, or delete these)
    • Categories include:
      • Immediate Obligations
        • Monthly bills you need to live
        • Things like rent/mortgage, the electric bill, water bill, groceries, etc.
      • True Expenses
        • Large, less-frequent expenses
        • Auto/home maintenance, insurance, medical, etc.
      • Debt Payments
        • Loan Payments
      • Credit Card Payments
      • Quality of Life Goals
        • Vacation, fitness, etc.
      • Just For Fun
        • Dining out, fun money, etc.
  3. Record Your Spending

The app has three primary tabs:

  1. Budget
    • The budget tab is where you end up under the Start Budgeting step above
  2. Accounts
    • Lists all of your accounts and any transactions since you started using YNAB
  3. Reports
    • Includes reports on Age of Money and Net Worth

Additionally, there is a transaction tab to enter individual transactions, as well as a Help tab with getting started and budgeting resources.

YNAB Summary

YNAB is a powerful budgeting tool, especially if you have been living paycheck to paycheck.

However, I think it is more valuable for the principles it teaches than for the app itself.

I have used YNAB, but I found that I was already doing a combination of zero-balanced budgeting and envelope budgeting my own way for a long time now. Personally, I like to have a longer-term view of my finances.

With that said, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, I highly recommend giving YNAB a try to get control of your money.

The lessons it teaches are invaluable and, best of all, you can try it for free.

3. Clarity Money – Best for Eliminating Recurring Expenses

Clarity Money Financial App

Clarity Money is a highly-rated personal finance and budgeting app.

One thing I love about the app is the messages it gives me when opening it. It has told me to drink a glass of water, give myself a high five, and to not assume anything, among other things.

Kind of silly, but nice to have a little message of inspiration.

It is somewhat similar to Mint with the information it provides, both at a high level and working down to the transactional level.

However, it goes into a bit more detail when establishing a budget.

Clarity Money Budgeting

Clarity Money has you enter your monthly income as well as your monthly expenses. For recurring expenses, it is as simple as clicking on the transaction and toggling the Recurring Expense button.

After establishing your monthly income and expenses, you are shown how much money remains for each week and how much you typically spend each week.

You then establish a weekly budget, which excludes your recurring expenses, by choosing how much to budget in total and then breaking it down by category. The categories show how much you've been spending on average each week.

Other Features

One of the best features of Clarity Money is how it identifies recurring fees like streaming subscriptions and gym memberships, among others.

By doing this, it makes you think about how much you actually use those services and gives you an option to cancel it right in the app.

Like Mint, Clarity Money gives your credit score and a summary of the factors. However, it doesn't provide additional details for each one.

Another excellent feature is a widget on the dashboard that lets you look at individual merchants and see how much you spent this week, this month, this year, or last year. This information is valuable information for analyzing your budget.

Additionally, you can open a high-yield Marcus Online Savings Account using the app.

Clarity Money Summary

Clarity Money has a beautiful platform and several useful features.

It is completely free and helps you get a good handle on your weekly spending.

While it doesn't get as detailed in accounting for every dollar and more substantial, less frequent expenses like YNAB, it does have a bit more detailed budgeting than Mint.

If you already have a pretty good handle on your money, and you aren't living paycheck to paycheck, it is a great platform to use to tighten up your budget a bit more.

Zero Based Budgeting App

As described in the YNAB discussion above, zero-based budgeting is based on assigning a purpose for every dollar you have on hand. You start with your cash balance and allocate it all until you have zero dollars remaining.

While zero-based budgeting can be done without a personal finance and budgeting app, using an app is typically more accurate, easier, and quicker.

4. EveryDollar – Simple Zero-Based Budgeting

EveryDollar Budgeting

While YNAB is a zero-based budgeting app, EveryDollar is a free alternative.

However, the free version is entirely manual. To connect to any financial institutions, you need to have an EveryDollar Plus account.

EveryDollar covers five main areas during setup:

  • Goals
    • Pay Off Debt
    • Save for Retirement
    • Pay for Kids' College
    • Save for a Home
    • Stop Living Pay to Pay
    • Travel
  • Income
    • Enter all of your income sources (take-home pay)
  • Basic Expenses
    • Mortgage/Rent
    • Utilities
    • Transportation
    • Food
    • Other personal expenses
  • Giving
    • Charitable expenses
  • Debt
    • Credit card debt
    • Car loans
    • Personal loans

After you enter all of your information, you track individual transactions manually, tying them to budget items.

It is a pretty basic interface, just showing your Planned, Spent, and Remaining funds for each category.

EveryDollar Plus Pricing

You can try EveryDollar Plus for free for 15 days.

EveryDollar Plus costs $129.99 annually and includes the following:

  • Connect to your bank
  • Monitor your balances
  • Track transactions in your budget
  • Financial Peace University included
    • A nine-lesson class on paying off debt, saving, and building wealth

EveryDollar Summary

While EveryDollar is a manual budgeting tool, it gets the job done.

If you like the detailed budgeting available, but don't mind entering it manually, it is an excellent choice for you. That is a great way to be aware of how your money is being spent.

And you could use it alongside one of the free apps like Mint or Clarity Money that do pull all of your account information into one place.

I don't think the Plus version is worth the cost, however, if you like the free version and would like to use one tool that can pull in your account info automatically, it may be worth it to you.

Envelope Budgeting Apps

Envelope budgeting is based on setting aside a certain amount of money each month designated for specific expenses.

For example, you'd put $400 in an envelope for groceries. That money is used only for groceries, and once the envelope is empty, you don't spend any more money for that expense.

Carrying around a bunch of envelopes filled with cash isn't practical. So these apps solve that problem by tracking your budget virtually.

However, if you do like carrying around your envelopes, here are the best cash envelope system wallets to help you out.

Additionally, these are among the best personal finance and budgeting apps for teens and college students to introduce them to budgeting concepts.

5. Goodbudget – Best Freemium Envelope Budgeting App

Good Budget Envelope Budgeting App

Goodbudget is a simple budgeting app for using the envelope method. It can also be used for the Kakeibo method from Japan.

Similar to the envelope categories, Kakeibo uses four main categories: survival, optional, culture, and extra.

While the free version of Goodbudget is somewhat limited, it can accomplish what you need.

You set up regular envelopes for monthly expenses (groceries, gas, etc.) and more envelopes for annual/irregular expenses (insurance, maintenance, etc.).

The money to put in each envelope comes out of your account (you only have one for the free version).

If you register, you can share and sync your budget. Registering ensures everyone is aware of what the other is spending and how much money is left in each envelope.

The ability to share is a great feature for couples managing their finances together or parents helping their children learn about budgeting.

Creating envelopes for significant expenses and debt provides a clear path to cover those costs.

The app is pretty straightforward, with tabs for envelopes, transactions, accounts, reports, and more. The more tab allows you to add money and move money between envelopes.

The reports include Spending by Envelope and Income vs. Spending.

Goodbudget Pricing

The free version of Goodbudget includes the following:

  • 10 regular envelopes
  • 10 more envelopes
  • 1 account
  • 2 devices
  • 1 year of history
  • Debt tracking
  • Community support

The paid version is $5.99 per month or $49.99 annually and includes:

  • Unlimited regular envelopes, more envelopes, and accounts
  • 5 devices
  • 7 years of history
  • Debt tracking
  • Email support

According to Goodbudget, subscribers save an average of $1,758 in their first three months.

Goodbudget Summary

While Goodbudget is a pretty simplified app, it is a great place to get started if you are interested in envelope budgeting or Kakeibo.

One drawback of Goodbudget is that it doesn't connect to your accounts, so you have to enter everything manually.

I'd recommend starting with the free plan to test it out before deciding to upgrade to Plus.

6. Mvelopes – Best Paid Envelope Budgeting App

Mvelopes Envelope Budgeting

Mvelopes is a paid envelope budgeting app. It works on the same principles as Goodbudget but offers several additional features.

With Mvelopes, you can connect to your financial accounts. This allows Mvelopes to designate specific transactions to items in your budget.

Similar to Goodbudget, you add your monthly income and allocate your money towards items in your budget within the designated envelopes.

Mvelopes Pricing

There are three different plans available. All plans include the following:

  • Unlimited envelopes
  • Unlimited financial institution accounts
  • Auto Transaction Importing and Account Balancing Monitoring
  • Live Chat and Knowledge Base
  • Interactive Reports

The Basic plan starts at $5.99 per month and includes one month free.

The Plus plan starts at $18.99 per month, including one free month, and adds access to the Mvelopes Learning Center, Debt Reduction Center, and Quarterly Coaching Sessions.

Additionally, the Mvelopes Complete plan is available for $59 per month and provides monthly one-on-one sessions with a personal finance trainer. The sessions are used to create a long-term plan for your finances.

Mvelopes Summary

If you are interested in envelope budgeting and want to see your financial accounts in the same place, you should try out Mvelopes.

While it is a paid app, it provides several useful features to help you succeed with envelope budgeting.

Wealth Management App

7. Personal Capital – Best Wealth Management App

Personal Capital Wealth Management

Personal Capital provides a 360-degree view of your finances. It allows you to set up and track a budget, keep an eye on your investments, and plan for retirement.

Additionally, if you link at least $100,000 in investable assets through the financial dashboard, you'll have access to a free initial consultation. After talking to an advisor, they develop a recommended comprehensive strategy to manage your money.

You'll have access to dedicated financial advisors who provide advice backed by data, financial guidance tailored to you, tax optimization, and financial planning.

Financial services and fees are based on the amount of the investment assets you have over $100K.

3740224 11 Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for 202011 Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for 2020

Personal Capital is discussed further in our article on investment apps.

Even without talking with a Personal Capital financial advisor, the app will provide you with recommended allocations and adjustments based on your retirement goals.

If you have significant retirement savings or want to see recommendations for your goals, I highly suggest trying Personal Capital.

It is entirely free to use for an overview of your finances, including net worth, budgeting, cash flow, retirement planning, and built-in investment intelligence.

Read our Personal Capital Review.

Credit Score Monitoring Apps

While some of the personal-finance and budgeting apps above provide you with your credit score, most of them don't give the detailed information these apps offer.

These credit score monitoring apps give you your score, but they also provide details behind the factors that go into calculating your score.

It is essential to monitor your credit. This is especially true if you are looking to buy a home or open a loan or credit card account.

However, it is also vital to monitor your credit to ensure you aren't the victim of identity theft.

Additionally, it is crucial to understand that checking your credit with any of these apps has no impact on your credit score. Only credit inquiries when applying for credit can affect your credit.

8. Credit Karma – Best Overall Credit Monitoring App

Credit Karma Credit Monitoring

Credit Karma is pretty similar to Credit Sesame. However, I prefer the layout. It seems a bit more modern and intuitive.

In addition to your TransUnion credit score, Credit Karma also shows you your Equifax score. This can be helpful, especially if you observe any discrepancies between the two.

Credit Karma works by:

  1. Monitoring
    • When there are significant changes in your reports, you'll be alerted.
  2. Insights
    • Understand the factors behind your scores and how to improve upon them.
  3. Better Decisions
    • Receive personalized recommendations on using your credit more wisely.

5313301 11 Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for 202011 Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for 2020

Additionally, Credit Karma provides 100% free tax filing and has a high-yield, FDIC-insured savings account available. Credit Karma also monitors your personal information for data breaches.

I think the Credit Karma app is really where they shine. The credit scores are updated once a week, and you have easy access to everything you need at the top of the dashboard.

If you aren't monitoring your credit yet, I highly recommend you try Credit Karma. Read how I achieved a perfect credit score. It is entirely free, and it is an essential tool you should be using.

9. Credit Sesame – Personal Credit Management

Credit Sesame Credit Monitoring

Credit Sesame refers to its product as personal credit management or PCM. It works like this:

  1. Access Credit
    • Get your free credit score, credit report card, and credit monitoring.
  2. Understand Credit
    • Learn what affects your credit and how to improve it.
  3. Leverage Credit
    • Based on your credit, receive recommendations for personalized products.
  4. Protect Credit
    • Includes free credit monitoring and ID protection.

With Credit Sesame, you'll receive:

  • Your free TransUnion score updated every month
  • Personalized tips on managing credit and loans
  • Opportunities to save money on credit card and loan interest
  • $50,000 in identity theft insurance, plus fraud resolution assistance
  • Credit monitoring and alerts

Using the Analysis tab in the app, you can dig deeper into the details of each factor affecting your credit. You can also analyze your debt and see how each source is contributing to your credit usage.

Credit Sesame has a pretty simple layout and is easy to use. Best of all, it is free, so it is an excellent solution to stay on top of your credit score.

Cryptocurrency Apps

Cryptocurrency is basically digital cash. It can be used as an investment, but can also be used for shopping, dining out, and other things where it is accepted.

There are several different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Tezos, Dai, Zcash, and many others. The different types are used for various functions in the digital world.

Cryptocurrencies allow people to exchange money without a financial institution.

Like the other personal finance and budgeting apps above, if you use cryptocurrency, you need a way to manage and monitor it. The apps below will help you do that.

10. Coinbase – Best Cryptocurrency App for Beginners

Coinbase Cryptocurrency Tool

Coinbase has been around since 2012 and operates in over 30 countries. They are based in San Francisco.

Coinbase allows you to buy, sell, and manage your cryptocurrency portfolio. You can also schedule recurring buys for investing in crypto over time.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are available from Coinbase.

You can buy cryptocurrency using a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer. You purchase cryptocurrency at a set price.

A flat fee is charged on transactions below $200 in addition to a Spread of ~0.5%.

Transaction Amount Fee
≤ $10$0.99
>$10, but ≤ $25$1.49
>$25, but ≤ $50$1.99
>$50, but ≤ $200$2.99

However, if a variable fee exceeds the flat fee, the variable fee is charged instead.

The variable fee is determined by region, product feature, and payment type. In the United States, this ranges from 1.49% for U.S. Bank account payments to 3.99% for credit/debit card payments.

Coinbase Wallet is another app you can use to keep your cryptocurrency tokens stored on your phone. This can make it easier to pay others using crypto.

Additionally, if you are new to cryptocurrency, Coinbase has excellent resources to learn about it. You can even earn crypto by taking courses to learn about the different crypto types and tools.

If you are new to cryptocurrency or want to learn more about it, Coinbase is a great place to start.

11. Gemini – Best Cryptocurrency App for Trading

Gemini Crypto App

Gemini was founded in 2014 and operates with a security-first mentality. They were voted as the 2019 Markets Choice Awards “Best Crypto Exchange.”

To buy cryptocurrency on Gemini, you need to use a bank transfer.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are available from Gemini.

Gemini trading fees are similar to Coinbase's above, with a convenience fee of 0.5%. Orders above $200 are charged 1.49%. There are no credit/debit card options with Gemini.

Unlike Coinbase, Gemini is an actual licensed and regulated cryptocurrency exchange for trading. Placing orders for cryptocurrency on Gemini is similar to placing an order for a stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

If you are looking to trade cryptocurrency on a U.S. Licensed Exchange for low fees, Gemini is an excellent choice.

Related:
Best Investment Apps for Growing Wealth
Best Cash Back Shopping Apps to Save Money

Borrowing Money from Family and Friends – A Better Way to Do It

Summary

As you can see, there are several personal finance and budgeting apps available for people interested in improving their financial situation.

That Excel spreadsheet you've been using for years might be getting the job done, but the tools above are worth a look to make tracking your finances more manageable.

Several of them focus on particular aspects of personal finance, so ensure you find the one that meets your needs.

If you aren't currently using one of these tools and you don't feel like you have a grasp of your financial situation, I highly recommend using one or more. Best of all, most of them are free or at least have a free trial.

Do you use any of the personal-finance and budgeting apps discussed above? Are there others you prefer? Please share your experience using them in the comments below.

Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for Managing Your Money
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