Best Budgeting Apps Of June 2024 – Forbes Advisor

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The best budget tool for you is the one you’ll actually use, whether that’s a full-featured app, a tricked-out spreadsheet or more manual means. To help in your search for the right budgeting app, we’ve ranked ten of the best budgeting apps available.

Mint, previously one of the leading free budgeting apps, is no longer available to download, so it does not appear on this list.

Our editors are committed to bringing you unbiased ratings and information. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. We use data-driven methodologies to evaluate financial products and companies, so all are measured equally. You can read more about our editorial guidelines and the banking methodology for the ratings below.

We’ve compared 15 budgeting apps to find some of the best mobile apps available for managing budgets, savings and expenses. For this review, Forbes Advisor focused on apps available to U.S. consumers. The top 10 apps offer a variety of useful features and tools that can meet varied personal finance and money management needs.

We picked YNAB because it helps users figure out and focus on their financial priorities by giving each dollar a job. Within the app, there are several features to support setting goals and budgeting efficiently.

We like that YNAB offers adjustable goal tracking so you can customize your budget as your needs change and reports to help you better understand your financial habits. YNAB also has a knowledgeable support team, guides to common questions and free online workshops.

We don’t like that you can only use money already in your linked bank account to allocate funds to your budget with YNAB. You can’t plan ahead for your next paycheck, for example.

YNAB is best for people who want to proactively manage their finances and budget every paycheck. This app isn’t optimized for passive budgeting or irregular use.

YNAB, short for You Need A Budget, is an award-winning budgeting program that specializes in helping consumers save money and get out of debt. It is accessible from desktop and mobile platforms and voice-activated devices. There is no upfront commitment with YNAB, and you can try it risk-free for the first 34 days.

YNAB prides itself on focusing on your present situation and future possibilities rather than looking into past financial insights. The YNAB app is available for both iOS (4.8 stars) and Android (4.7 stars).

We picked Empower Personal Dashboard™ (formerly Personal Capital) as the best budgeting app for tracking net worth because of its outstanding reporting, investment management and spend-tracking features.

We like Empower because it provides customers with a holistic view of their financial picture, from day-to-day spending to portfolio performance. It also offers desktop capabilities for those who prefer budgeting on a computer.

We don’t like that you must have at least $100,000 in investment savings to use this platform’s robo-advisory services.

Empower Personal Dashboard is best for those who want a free app to show them their overall finances and help them understand their net worth.

Empower Personal Dashboard™ has several savings tools designed to help build retirement savings and emergency funds and pay down debt. It also has excellent advisory tools, including an investment checkup, investment fee analyzer, financial planning, cash flow tracking, education cost planning and real-time net worth tracking. All of these tools give detailed insights into your current financial picture while helping you plan for the future.

Getting started with the app is simple—all users need to do is link bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, mortgages and other line items from their budget. From there, the app will gather information to produce a full financial picture. The Empower app is available for both iOS (4.7 stars) and Android (4.1 stars).

We chose the Goodbudget app because it offers an easy, digital version of the time-tested envelope method. By dividing your funds into envelopes labeled by category, such as rent and groceries, Goodbudget helps you plan your spending by giving every dollar a purpose.

We like the Goodbudget app because it’s optimized for envelope budgeting as a couple or family. You can sync a shared household budget with more than one person, and the free version offers plenty of functionality.

We don’t like that Goodbudget doesn’t let you link your bank accounts, meaning you have to track everything manually. You also can’t see all of your finances in one place.

Goodbudget is best for you if you like the idea of using the envelope system to budget and want to create and maintain a strict spending plan.

The free version of Goodbudget is similar to the paid version, Goodbudget Plus. The Plus version contains all of the same features with extended capabilities. For example, the free version gives each account 20 envelopes for organizing your finances, while the paid version gives you unlimited envelopes.

The platform is accessible from a mobile device, tablet or desktop. The Goodbudget app is available for both iOS (4.6 stars) and Android (4.1 stars).

Goodbudget also offers Budget Bootcamp courses to teach users how and why to create a budget that works for them how to stop living paycheck to paycheck, how to get rid of debt and a crash course to help tackle financial emergencies.

We picked Oportun(formerly Digit) because it helps you “set and forget” your savings goals. All you need to do is input how much you want to save and when you want to hit that mark. Oportun then calculates a deposit amount for you and schedules regular transfers to savings.

We like that you can create custom goals within the Oportun app and get help with more than just saving. If you want to invest, Oportun will also help you select an investment fund suited to your needs.

We don’t like that Oportun doesn’t notify you when it transfers money to your savings. The app also decides how much to save, and you can’t override these amounts or schedule savings transfers yourself.

Oportun is best for people who need help saving. The app does the work of deciding how much to transfer and how often for you, then automates these deposits.

Oportun offers personal loans ranging from $300 to $10,000 and an Oportun Visa Credit Card with lines up to $1,000. Both of these features can be managed in the Oportun app.

Oportun is free for the first 30 days. Once your free trial period is up, you pay $5 per month. The Oportun app is available for both iOS (4.7 stars) and Android (4.1 stars).

We picked Monarch because it provides an overview of your finances, allowing you to see all your accounts in one place. It’s one of the best replacements for Mint because, while similar to Mint, it offers additional features. Monarch allows you to collaborate with your partner or a financial advisor on your budget and offers more options when creating savings goals.

We like Monarch because you can customize your dashboard, choosing what you want to see and what you don’t. Monarch categorizes your transactions for you and you can access and filter them all in one place. Monarch is available on both desktop and mobile, unlike many other popular budgeting tools.

We don’t like that Monarch isn’t free, as Mint was. You’ll pay either $14.99 or $8.33 a month for this app, but you will have an ad-free budgeting experience.

Monarch is best for those who want to link multiple financial accounts and make custom budgeting and savings goals. The app provides a comprehensive personal finance platform, and you can budget on your own or with a partner.

Monarch listens to its users and changes things accordingly. According to its website, new features are released monthly based on user feedback. Some other enticing features of Monarch include tracking net worth, investments, bills and subscriptions, budgeting rollovers and customizable spending reports. Monarch is available on both iOS (4.9 stars) and Android (4.8 stars). Former Mint users may qualify for an introductory price discount.

We picked PocketGuard as the best app for tracking spending thanks to its simple interface. It shows how much money you have, how much you put toward bills and how much is left over. The app also shows you a personalized pie chart of your expenses. To prevent overspending, you can set spending limits directly in the app.

We like PocketGuard because it lets you choose between envelope, 50/30/20 and zero-based budgeting. You aren’t stuck with a budgeting strategy you don’t like and can fully customize your spending plan to meet your needs.

We don’t like the limitations of this app’s free version. If you want to access all the features, such as the ability to customize your spending categories and manually input information, you must pay for the Plus version.

PocketGuard is best for you if you want to keep track of how much money you have left to spend after paying your bills and other expenses. The app can even notify you when you’re close to exceeding a spending limit you’ve set or using up your budget.

The In My Pocket feature helps you manage cash flow by showing how much money you have to save or spend after you cover your bills, budgets and goals. Linking your bank accounts and credit accounts is required for In My Pocket. Pocketguard identifies your recurring income, expenses and savings goals and calculates your monthly cash flow.

Keep in mind that the app limits some features in the free version, such as tracking your cash flow and the ability to create your own spending categories. The PocketGuard app is available for both iOS (4.6 stars) and Android (3.7 stars).

We chose Stash because it builds investing into your budget and helps you invest a little at a time. You can buy fractional shares of stocks to diversify your portfolio with less money, and you can either choose your own stocks or let Stash choose your assets.

We like that Stash has features for tracking spending and setting savings goals. If you want to automate these goals, you can use tools like round-ups to achieve them passively.

We don’t like that Stash doesn’t offer a free version. You’ll pay $3 a month for the Stash Growth plan or $9 a month for Stash+, which unlocks more portfolios and investing insights.

Stash is best for those who are new to investing and want to buy stocks while they budget. It’s not ideal for granular budgeting or tracking your spending, and you need a Stash bank account to access all features.

When you subscribe to Stash, you can access several budgeting tools, a taxable brokerage account, a debit card that earns you stocks when you use it for expenses and a digital checking account.

Stash offers two plans, each including base features such as investing, banking and budgeting tools. Stash Growth, a $3 monthly plan, also offers access to Stash Smart Portfolios and retirement IRA accounts. The $9-per-month Stash+ account includes $10,000 in life insurance coverage, investing for children within a custodial account and premium investing research and advice. The Stash app is available for both iOS (4.7 stars) and Android (3.7 stars).

We picked Honeydue because it helps couples communicate more efficiently about their expenses and finances. Couples can chat back and forth about money inside the app and track their spending together.

We like Honeydue because it offers automated bill reminders, making it easy to stay on the same page with your partner about bills. You can also split expenses in the app and see how much you’ve spent together and separately.

We don’t like that Honeydue doesn’t offer a desktop version; you can only view your account through the app. We also don’t like that it lacks savings goals features.

Honeydue is best for couples who want to budget together, split bills and categorize their transactions. It’s not ideal for tracking savings goals, so it’s best for couples who already have a place to do that.

To get started with the app, integrate your bank accounts into the app. The app hosts over 20,000 different financial institutions. If you and your partner choose, you can open a Honeydue joint bank account, which is FDIC-insured via Sutton Bank. The account has no fees or minimums and comes with a free debit card with which you can access over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs, Apple Pay and Google Pay. It also can provide instant notifications to your partner. The Honeydue app is available for both iOS (4.5 stars) and Android (3.6 stars).

We chose Rocket Money because it can help you save money on your expenses, including subscriptions. Rocket Money shows you all of your subscriptions in one place, and it can cancel any you don’t want for you.

We like that Rocket Money is affordable. It offers a free version and a paid premium version, but the free version includes all of the app’s subscription management features, and the price for the paid version is flexible.

We don’t like that Rocket Money keeps 30% to 60% of the money you save in the first year if you use the platform’s bill negotiation services. However, you get to choose the percentage.

Rocket Money is best for people who have a lot of subscriptions and bills to keep track of. It may be a good fit for you if you’re interested in lowering your monthly costs or canceling services you aren’t using.

After connecting your bank accounts to Rocket Money, it will track your spending habits and provide you with a breakdown of your most spent categories. It identifies where you should adjust your spending and save instead. It also sends you notifications when your balance drops to avoid overdraft fees and upcoming charges.

Rocket Money also offers automated savings, which you can set up by choosing your savings goal and frequency. Your money will be allocated to a Rocket Money savings account that is FDIC-insured through a U.S.-based bank. Funds can be withdrawn from your account at any time. Rocket Money is available on both iOS (4.2 stars) and Android (4.3 stars).

We picked Copilot because it gives users a complete overview of their finances by tracking budgeting, saving, earning, investing and net worth. The app is only available for iPhone or Mac users because it was designed for Apple devices.

We like Copilot because it provides you with a daily snapshot of your finances and categorizes your spending for you. Its smart features also help you adjust your budget with your cash flow, split, move or pause recurring expenses and scan your accounts for suspicious activity.

We don’t like that this app isn’t available for Android users and that it doesn’t offer savings goals yet. It’s also not ideal for sharing with your partner (see Details).

Copilot is best for Apple users and those who want a picture of their finances that goes beyond budgeting and spending. It’s best for you if you’re tracking your savings goals somewhere else.

You have to jump through some hoops if you want to share your Copilot account with your partner. You can give your partner your email address and password, and they can log in to your account. They can input their personal accounts so you both will have full access to your entire financial situation. However, you will view the same dashboard and share one account rather than have separate logins.

To create this list, Forbes Advisor analyzed 15 budgeting apps. We ranked each budgeting app on 18 data points within the categories of consumer ratings, costs associated with the app, security and encryption of consumers’ data, desktop availability and the ability to share the app with someone else.

Budgeting apps with a higher overall rating relative to their number of reviews ranked higher on our list, as did those that are completely free. We also prioritized mobile apps with advanced security features, like biometric authentication, multifactor authentication and encryption. Apps that allow the ability to connect an unlimited number of accounts moved toward the top of our list, as did apps that also have a website version and allow for sharing with family or friends.

With more than half of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, according to multiple surveys, budgeting is critical to helping people break free from financial struggle and create financial stability. The U.S. has seen a rapid escalation in housing and healthcare costs over the last 30 years, leaving less money to put toward savings and retirement.

Having no financial plan or budget in place can cause stress and overwhelm you, leading to increased spending, living beyond one’s means and perpetuating destructive cycles. But having a solid budget in place as part of your overall money mindfulness can make a huge difference—not only by helping you achieve your financial goals but also by reducing stress and anxiety and improving your overall quality of life.

Creating and managing a successful monthly budget is all about knowing how much money you bring in and how you actually spend it. Your income should be greater than your expenses, and you should have enough wiggle room to set money aside each month for savings and retirement. If your balance isn’t where you want it to be, it’s time to create a budget plan.

To get started on a budget plan, list your income and expenses. Connecting your bank accounts to your favorite budgeting app is the easiest way to do this, but you can also do it manually with a pen and paper or spreadsheet program.

Next, separate your fixed expenses from your variable expenses. Fixed expenses are those that don’t change from month to month, such as housing, utilities, insurance, child care and loan payments, including automobiles, student loans or credit card payments. Variable expenses include groceries, entertainment, dining out, vacations and streaming services. Finally, consider factoring in monthly contributions to savings goals like retirement or an emergency fund.

If your expenses exceed your income, look at your variable expenses first to see where you might trim the budget. After that, you can consider ways to cut back on fixed expenses, such as moving to a neighborhood with lower rent or refinancing your debt.

Budgeting for groceries can be tricky—everyone needs to eat. If you’re unsure how much to budget for groceries, compare your spending to the USDA’s food plan. Keep in mind that special dietary restrictions may push your grocery bill higher.

If you want to cut back on your grocery bill, meal planning can help. Create a weekly plan to make recipes that share ingredients or use pantry staples. Meat is a significant expense, so adopting a meatless Monday meal can also help lower grocery costs. Buying in bulk rather than single-use packaging can also save you some cash.

A vacation can be an exciting savings goal if you have some breathing room in your budget. The first step to budgeting for a vacation is to decide how much you want to spend and when you want to go. If you’re eyeing a $5,000 beach vacation one year from now, you can break that up into a monthly savings goal of around $420.

Not sure you want to commit to an expensive trip? Consider lower-cost options like a road trip, or keep your eyes peeled for a good deal. Budgeting for a vacation means you’ll have the funds ready when airfares drop or that aspirational ski lodge becomes available for booking.

To determine how much you should spend on rent, use the 28/36 rule. This budgeting principle says that you should spend no more than 28% of your total pre-tax income on housing or 36% of your total income on debt in general—which can include housing and a car payment or student loans. Using this rule, if you make $3,400 per month, you can afford up to $952 in rent and $1,224 in total monthly debt payments.

Sharing an apartment or house can help reduce your housing budget, as can moving to a cheaper area. If finding more affordable accommodations isn’t an option, you might have to look to other areas of your budget to cut costs.

Aside from buying a house or car, a wedding is one of the largest expenses most people will pay for in their lives, often costing tens of thousands of dollars.

If you’re saving for a wedding, first determine who might be willing to contribute. Family members may offer to pay for one aspect of a wedding or contribute a set amount of money to use for whatever you and your future spouse see fit. Then, determine how much you and your partner can contribute.

Once you have a baseline budget, decide how you’ll allocate your funds. List typical wedding expenses and determine what’s most important to you. Some essential line items include:

• Venue—both for the ceremony and the reception• Flowers and decor• Wedding attire• Photography• Catering and rentals• Favors and gifts• Invitations• Music• Rings• Officiant

Focus your spending on the elements you cherish most. If you need help breaking down costs, check out apps focused on wedding planning.

Budgeting is a process that begins with identifying your financial goals, along with observing your spending and savings habits. When you truly understand how much money is going out and coming in, you’re better prepared to handle both the expected and unexpected financial challenges life brings.

The mindset you bring to managing your money is important. Establishing a budget is a critical first step to gaining control over your finances. If you’ve never worked with a personal budget, it may take a few cycles for your habits to catch up. And, if you have money habits you need to improve, the right app can help.

A budgeting app is an app designed to help you optimize the spending and savings choices you make each month. By putting all your financial commitments and goals in one place, a budgeting app can give you better visibility into your financial choices and habits.

Similar to the apps you may use from your bank or credit union, a budgeting app may provide additional functionality such as financial goal setting and cash flow tracking across multiple financial accounts. Budgeting apps can sync with your bank and credit card accounts to provide a holistic view of your finances.

Some budgeting apps will use a specific budgeting approach—like envelope budgeting or zero-based budgeting—while others will address budgeting more generally, allowing for customization based on your needs. A fully featured budgeting app can help you track spending, manage recurring bill payments, set savings goals and manage monthly cash flow.

Picking a budgeting app can seem like a small decision when compared to other personal finance choices. But the right budgeting app can make a big difference in your personal financial life.

When selecting a budgeting app, be sure to consider what your needs and goals are first. The right budgeting app can provide you with helpful insights and data into your expenses and savings. But before that happens, identifying your financial goals can help you refine your search for the right budgeting app for you.

Outside of your goals, here are a few features to consider before you commit to a budgeting app:

Budgeting apps aren’t the only way to manage your money and track your spending. Here are some alternatives to budgeting apps to consider.

While mobile apps are convenient for day-to-day budgeting, you might prefer software for a more robust money management experience. Software programs like QuickBooks or Quicken offer expanded capabilities beyond budgeting, like tax software integration and payment management. However, these added features often come at a higher price tag than mobile apps, so consider what you can afford to spend.

Spreadsheet budgets are highly customizable, making this method ideal for anyone who needs something more hands-on than budgeting apps. With a spreadsheet, you can record your income, keep track of your expenses and see where your money goes each week or month. Excel and Google Sheets are popular choices.

The 50/30/20 budgeting method lends itself well to budgeting with a spreadsheet because you can divide expenses, discretionary spending and savings into categories within the sheet and allocate individual expenditures to each category. To get started, use our 50/30/20 budget calculator.

For some, building a detailed budget might not be necessary or might feel too advanced. When this is true, just tracking your spending could be a good place to start. You can do this by looking through your bank or credit card statements periodically or using an app. Expense tracking apps like Mint give you a snapshot of your spending by category. While you can use Mint to budget, you can also just use it to sync your different bank accounts and see your activity more clearly.

If a mobile app isn’t your style, you might prefer manual budgeting. Budgeting without the help of technology is a good way to hold yourself accountable for your spending. Envelope budgeting or cash stuffing is a tried-and-true system for visualizing your budget that can be done manually.

When you get paid, you’ll distribute portions of your paycheck into envelopes. Each envelope will be designated for a specific category, such as rent, food or gas. With this system, you give every penny of your paycheck a purpose and cannot spend beyond what’s in your envelopes.

Yes, budgeting apps are worth it, especially when you understand what your financial goals are and use the right app to reach them. According to anecdotal reports, some budgeting apps have helped users save thousands of dollars in the first year alone. They can also help consumers make more mindful purchases by tracking their spending and cash flow.

Budgeting apps are a great tool to help ensure you’re living your budget, not just planning one. They can provide insights into your spending habits, identifying where your money goes and where you can make improvements.

As with any app, whether or not it’s “worth it” depends largely on how you use it. A challenge with budgeting generally—whether managed with an app, a spreadsheet, or more manual means—is committing not only to having a budget but to making your financial decisions in line with it. Many people find that the interactivity and automation provided by a budgeting app help keep them motivated to stay on top of their personal finances.

There are several excellent free budgeting apps to choose from here that may meet your needs. However, the best free budgeting app for you is the one that will best serve your personal financial goals. To find the right app for you, don’t hesitate to download a few and test them out for yourself.

While many budgeting apps claim to have user-friendly interfaces, each person has different likes and preferences. It is difficult to say which budgeting app is easiest to use, but all seven of these highly ranked budgeting apps are designed to provide a positive user experience.

The overall best budgeting app for couples is Honeydue, a free app that promotes transparency and collaboration between any two people who manage money together. Other budget apps for couples to consider include Goodbudget and YNAB.

If you don’t want to give your bank account information to a budgeting app, YNAB allows for file-based import of transactions as well as manual and automatic tracking. Goodbudget doesn’t connect to your bank account either—instead, it requires you to record each transaction manually.

Rachel Murphy is a freelance writer passionate about helping people make their money work harder. She has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, focused on small businesses, banking, investing, and healthcare. She has worked with several outlets, including Investopedia, Verywell Health, Money, and IN Kansas City Magazine.