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Top 5 Budgeting Apps


I know you're busy spending for the holiday season, but there's no reason that you should put off getting your budget together until the new year!


Here are my favorite budgeting apps, with a short description of each (shoutout to Nerd Wallet).


Goodbudget is based on the envelope system, in which you portion out your monthly income toward specific spending categories. The app allows multiple devices to access the same account, so partners and family members can share a budget. Unlike most other apps, Goodbudget doesn’t have you sync bank accounts. You manually add account balances (that you can pull from your bank’s website), as well as cash amounts and debts. With accounts and income entered, you assign money toward spending categories, known as envelopes. The free version allows one account, two devices, and limited envelopes. The Plus version, which is $7 per month or $60 annually, offers unlimited envelopes and accounts, up to five devices, and other perks.


PocketGuard, a free budget app, connects your checking, credit, and savings accounts and detects recurring bills and income. Then it shows how much is available for everyday spending by subtracting upcoming bills, savings goal contributions, and pre-budgeted money from your estimated income. PocketGuard automatically categorizes your expenses, but you can also create custom categories and set limits for them. Bonus: If you really want to dig deep, PocketGuard lets you export transactions so you can play with the data in your own spreadsheets.


Mint has you connect your financial accounts, then the app tracks and categorizes your transactions. You’ll get alerts when you’re over your budget in a particular category, if it spots a large or suspicious transaction and if you’ve paid ATM fees. Mint also lets you track all your bills in one place and reminds you when upcoming payments are due. All these features are free — including its credit monitoring service.


You Need a Budget (YNAB) is for the committed user, no doubt. It’s based on the zero-based budgeting system, so you must make a plan for every dollar you earn. It also requires a financial investment of either $84 a year or $11.99 a month, after a 34-day free trial. (Students who provide proof of enrollment get 12 months free.) Those who pay this price can benefit from YNAB’s many features. You can connect bank accounts, set goals, contribute to savings and customize spending categories. You can also access resources, like app user guides, budgeting advice, and free workshops.


Honeydue, which is new to the 2021 list, allows you and your partner to see both financial pictures in one spot, including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. (However, you can choose how much you share with your significant other.) The free budget app automatically categorizes expenses, but you’re also able to set up custom categories. Together, you can set up monthly limits on each of these categories, and Honeydue will alert you when you or your partner is nearing them. Honeydue also sends reminders for upcoming bills and lets you chat and send emojis.


Personal Capital is primarily an investment tool, but its free app includes features helpful for budgeters looking to track their spending. You can connect and monitor checking, savings, and credit card accounts, as well as IRAs, 401(k)s, mortgages, and loans. The app provides a spending snapshot by listing recent transactions by category. You can customize those categories and see the percentage of total monthly spending that category represents. Personal Capital also serves up a net worth tracker and portfolio breakdown.


Don’t want to connect your accounts? Daily Budget Original (iOS only) and Fudget are simple trackers in which you manually enter incoming and outgoing money.

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