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The Best Budgeting Apps Of 2022 | Prof. Stacy, The Money Teacher

The Best Budgeting Apps Of 2022

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Having a budget – or spending plan – is fundamental to managing money well and achieving financial goals. Tracking your spending is necessary to know where your money is going. Intentionally planning your spending before the month begins using a zero-based budget and tracking your spending throughout the month will help you see where your spending is “on your plan” versus where your spending is going “off your plan”. This monitoring allows you to make changes to your spending plan during the month in response to actual savings so you can head off overspending. Making a budget and managing your spending to it will make you feel like you got a raise!

Common features for budgeting/spending tracking apps

Some of the common features of apps that focus on budgeting and tracking your spending include:

  1. Able to sync with bank accounts and credit cards to automatically track spending (versus manually inputting transactions). This feature can take the monotony out of tracking your spending.
  2. Monitor savings, investments, debt, and credit scores
  3. Receive alerts when bills are due
  4. Ease of use
  5. Accessible from multiple devices

How much do they cost?

Many budgeting apps offer a free version (with a paid upgrade) or have a free trial to try out the app. Free app versions may have more limited features or lots of in-app advertising.

Should you pay for the app after the free trial or for the upgrade? It depends…does the app or upgrade offer functionality that is worth the cost to you? You could start with the free app version and see what your pain points are … what takes too much time? What makes you not want to use the app? What do you want the app to do that the free version doesn’t do? Then decide if it is worth paying for the app or the upgrade.

Many apps cost $20/month or less (if you pay annually) – approximately the cost of a pizza.

Which app is right for you?

The Best Budgeting Apps of 2022 | Prof. Stacy, The Money Teacher

The one that you will use! The “right” app is the one that will increase your confidence in budgeting, spending wisely, and saving. The “right” app is the one that will help you achieve your goals; the one that you will still be using next year.

Spending twenty-ish bucks a month to gain control of the financial spending beast definitely sounds like it is worth it!

Some Of The Best Apps To Try First

Popular overall free app: Mint
  • Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investment, and net worth
  • Categorizes expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards
  • Provides bill payment reminders
  • Provides alerts for over-budget, large transactions, ATM fees, etc.
  • Provides Credit monitoring
  • Free (with ads)
Popular app for serious budgeters: You Need a Budget (YNAB)
  • Uses a zero-based budget versus categorizing expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards
  • Intended to help get users out of debt
  • Sets financial goals
  • 34-day free trial then $84 per year ($12 per month); 12 months free for students
Popular app with connected financial education program:EveryDollar
  • Uses a zero-based budget versus categorizing expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards
  • Intends to help get users out of debt – debt payoff calculator
  • Allows tracking for savings goals
  • Provides bill payment reminders
  • Able to export transactions to spreadsheets
  • Allows for setting financial goals
  • Offers extensive financial education through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University community
  • 14-dayay free trial then $130 per year

Popular app for over-spenders: PocketGuard

  • Categorizes expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards
  • Allows for setting savings goals and tracking investments
  • Able to export transactions to spreadsheets
  • Free basic budgeting app; $35 per year to upgrade to premium version
Popular app for couples: Honeydue
  • Allows couples to manage money together across accounts while also allowing each partner to choose what to share
  • Categorizes expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards for both spouses/partners
  • Provides bill payment reminders
  • Provides alerts for when either partner is reaching spending limits
  • Allows for setting savings goals and tracking investments
  • Free app
Popular app for investors: Personal Capital
  • Categorizes expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards, IRA, 401K, mortgages, loans…
  • Tracks spending and wealth
  • Provides less comprehensive budgeting features than other apps but offers investment management services
  • App is free; if you use investment management services there is a fee
Popular app for investors and small businesses: Quicken
  • Categorizes expenses
  • Links to bank and credit cards, IRA, 401K, mortgages, loans…
  • Tracks spending and wealth
  • Identifies tax-preferential transactions
  • Tracks business transactions
  • Provides both a desktop and mobile app
  • Annual fee of $35 – $52
Popular “envelope” budgeting app with some free budgeting courses: Goodbudget
  • Based on the envelope budgeting method
  • Able to sync and share with partner
  • Allows for sinking funds for large purchases
  • Tracks debt payoff
  • Provides free courses for budgeting, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and dealing with financial emergencies
  • Basic app is free; ”Plus” app $70 per year
Popular “Envelope” budgeting app: Qube Money
  • Digital envelope budgeting app
  • Able to make real-time spending choices with a linked debit card funded by “charging” a Qube
  • Able to direct deposit your paycheck to your Qube account
  • Able to transfer funds into your Qube account for a 4% fee
  • Provides simple spend controls
  • Able to budget for partners and families
  • Manages budget and automates savings using “Qubes”
  • Individual “Basic” account (10 qubes) is free but desirable features in “premium” account are probably necessary for $78 per year; Family plan for $138 per year

Budgeting and tracking your spending are critical to getting control of your income and directing it effectively to achieve your goals. For many people, an app can be a great tool to help with this task. There are many apps to choose from, each offering different features, so it is worth spending some time determining which app will best meet your family’s needs. But don’t get “paralysis of the analysis” and end up doing nothing! After some research, choose one, and away you go!