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Budgeting can already feel difficult, but with the right budget app, you should be able to track your spending habits, find ways to spend less and save more, or budget effectively as a couple.
In our search for the best budgeting apps, we made sure our top picks are easy to use. We also considered what might be important to different people when sticking to a budget. Check out our picks for best budgeting apps, and read more about how we chose the winners.
Mint: Best budgeting app overall
Why it stands out: The Mint app is owned by Intuit, the financial software company that also owns TurboTax and Quickbooks. Link your bank accounts to Mint for the app to create a budget based on your past spending habits.
The app splits your expenses into categories such as shopping, bills, and transportation. You can easily change the settings yourself or create a new category — so Mint does all the hard work for you, but you still have some control.
Mint makes it easy to save for multiple goals. Create a goal, including your estimated costs and timeline, and Mint factors the plan into your budget.
Mint is easy to use and helpful for understanding your finances on a large scale. In addition to showing your income, expenses, and savings goals, it also displays factors like your credit score, investments, and net worth.
Look out for: Occasionally, Mint will place a transaction in one category (like transportation) when it should actually be in a different category (like bills). You do have the ability to reassign the transaction to another category within the app or create your own category.
Zeta: Best for couples
Why it stands out: Zeta is a budgeting app designed specifically for couples. Zeta displays all your individual and shared finances in one place, and it gives you the option to hide certain financial information from your partner. It’s a good option for couples who have combined their finances or for those who prefer to bank separately.
With Zeta, you can set personal and combined financial goals. The app sends you monthly reminders to set “money dates,” making it a good tool for learning to communicate about your finances.
Look out for: The Zeta mobile app has an easy-to-use interface, but its website is outdated and difficult to navigate.
Trim: Best for reducing bill payments
Why it stands out: Trim analyzes your bills and spending habits and reveals where in your budget you can save money. Trim’s most unique feature is Bill Negotiation — the app analyzes your internet, phone, cable, and wireless bills and determines whether you can get the same service with the company for a lower price. This feature could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in a year, which you can then put toward other expenses, save, or invest.
Pricing: It’s free to sign up for Trim. If you agree to Trim’s proposed bill negotiations, you’ll pay 15% of what Trim saves you in a year in one lump sum.
Look out for: When Trim negotiates a bill, you pay 15% of whatever it will save you for the year in one lump sum. If you plan to change your internet, cable, phone, or wireless provider in the next year, you could actually end up losing money.
Trim is also not downloadable as an app on the Apple or Google Play store. Instead, it’s available through Facebook Messenger, or you can sign up via email.
Methodology: How did we choose the best budgeting apps?
Research is an important part of choosing a budgeting app that fits your needs. First, we compiled a list of budgeting apps by going into the Google Play Store and Apple Store to find 20 apps available on both platforms. We also cross-referenced our research against popular comparison sites like Investopedia, The Balance, and NerdWallet to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.
Then, we reviewed each budgeting app for a week. To determine our top picks, we looked at pricing, budgeting tools, and user experience We also considered whether each app accomplished everything it advertised, and how regular users reviewed the product on the Apple and Google Play store.
Other apps that didn’t make the cut and why
- You Need a Budget: This app is designed to help you get out of debt and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck — but it takes a long time to set up, has an elaborate interface, and costs $11.99 per month.
- Wally: Wally helps you track your spending by taking pictures of receipts, but it isn’t available in the Google Play store.
- PocketGuard: It’s easy to visualize your spending with this app, but the charts and graphs aren’t always accurate if PocketGuard doesn’t categorize your transactions correctly.
- MVelopes: When you link your bank account to MVelopes, it provides a digital version of the “envelope method” in which you track your spending by keeping money in separate envelopes based on the category — but you’ll spend at least $6 per month for the most basic version.
- GoodBudget: GoodBudget offers a free version of the “envelope method,” but it doesn’t link to your bank account, so you have to be disciplined enough to enter every transaction manually.
- Personal Capital: Personal Capital includes spending and net-worth tracking features, but it’s primarily an investment tool.
- EveryDollar: EveryDollar’s free version helps you track expenses and set goals, but it doesn’t monitor your net worth or credit score like Mint does.
- Albert: This free app tracks your spending and alerts you if you’re at risk of overdrafting, but it isn’t as strong as our top picks.
- CountAbout: One feature of CountAbout is that you can import data from Mint — but considering Mint is free and CountAbout’s most basic plan costs $9.99 per year, you’re better off just downloading Mint.
- PocketSmith: You may like PocketSmith if you want a forecast of your net worth. But its interface isn’t quite as intuitive as those of our top picks.
- Wismo: Wismo is a hybrid social media platform and budgeting app, so you won’t get the full experience unless your friends and family also use the app.
Are these apps trustworthy?
Normally, we compare companies’ Better Business grades. But two of our favorite budgeting apps haven’t been graded by the BBB, so we aren’t factoring scores into our trustworthiness review.
Trim and Zeta do not have any recent scandals.
Mint’s parent company, Intuit, does have some public issues surrounding its tax-filing software, TurboTax. The city of Los Angeles sued Intuit in 2019, claiming it made free tax filing hard to access for people who qualified. This scandal pertains to Intuit’s TurboTax, not Mint. But if it makes you nervous, you may decide to go with one of our other favorite budgeting apps instead.