Best Budgeting and Personal Finance Apps – 2018

smartphone“A new year, and a new me.” That’s what quite a few people say to start off the new year, and according to CBS MoneyWatch, more than 1/3 of New Year’s Resolutions made are financial in nature. Whether it’s a goal to simply save more money, the desire to invest some of their money every month, or simply a goal to track where their money goes, plenty of people in the world want to be more financially responsible, which is admirable.

With smartphones, this is easier than ever. No more putting pen to paper on a big spreadsheet (unless you want to), now you have the opportunity to have your budget and financial info with you at all times.

But to truly excel, more than just a bunch of numbers, you must have a way to decipher what they mean. To that end, there are plenty of apps that will help. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite budgeting and personal finance apps – in no certain order:

Acorns- 

An app for both Android and iPhones, Acorns is designed for casual investing by taking the leftover spare change from your everyday transactions and depositing it into exchange-traded funds to build up your portfolio slowly over time. When you sign up, you fill out a questionnaire that identifies your financial goals and then Acorns will present you with a list of options it believes are appropriate for you. Users can even set up one-time investments that are larger than your spare change or recurring investments if you prefer to contribute more regularly. Whereas, most trading platforms are encumbered with hefty transaction fees, Acorns is a little bit more reasonable.

Cost: Acorns only charges a fee of $1 a month for accounts less than $5,000 and 0.25% once your account goes higher than $5,000. Free for college students with a valid .edu address for up to 4 years from date registered.

Mint – 

From the creators of TurboTax®, available on both iPhone and Android, the Mint app helps with budgeting, money management, credit score tracking and bill pay all in one. Receive reminders when bills are due, get tips on your credit score, see what you are spending your money on, and where you can save money.  If you already have Mint on your PC, you can sync it with the mobile app to have the most current information available while on the go.piggy bank

Cost: There is no charge to use this app.

PocketGuard – 

Available on both Android and iPhone, PocketGuard is a remarkably robust app that allows you to see the full gamut of your finances at the click of a button. It integrates with your bank account through an encrypted and read-only connection, and shows you exactly how much money is in your accounts at any time. Furthermore, it takes the guesswork out of the equation by telling you how much money you can afford to spend the rest of the day. PocketGuard tracks your purchasing behavior by totaling up expenses, subscriptions, bills, and more and gives you a bottom-line number to keep you from going into the red.

Cost: In app purchases available from $3.99 to $34.99 per item.

Home Budget with Sync – 

Home Budget with Sync is also available for either Android or iPhone. What Home Budget aims to do is give you a one-stop shop for your entire household budget (emphasis on the household), showing you a visual representation of all your expenses, income, purchases, and bills. Over a period of time, users can learn about their purchasing behavior and track how much they have out of each account in the form of charts and infographics. The real advantage to this system is the ability to share your budget with friends and family members, enabling each person to coordinate what money needs to go where.

Cost: $5.99.

Clarity Money –

At a glance, Clarity Money is nothing more than a simple budgeting planner app in the same mode of Home Budget and PocketGuard. To be honest, there is a lot that is similar: integration with banks to track spending and determine financial behavior, for instance. But Clarity Money is so much more than just a simple tracking app. After it’s done tracking your behavior, it’s AI then identifies opportunities by which you can save money, such as pointing out discounts and coupons, identifying subscriptions that you’re not using, and setting up a savings goal for you to shoot for. Some may find this level of intelligence jarring, but for people who are struggling to get a hold on their money, Clarity may just provide the boost they need. Clarity Money is available for both iPhone and Android Smartphones.

Cost: There is no charge to use this app.

Unsplurge – 

Only available on iPhone, Unsplurge is a savings app with a twist: rather than simply tracking your expenses and leaving the overage to you, Unsplurge encourages you to save towards a big goal through it’s community-oriented focus. You set the goal you want to shoot for – such as a trip, paying off a debt, or planning a shopping spree – and then every time you avoid a large expense, you log it in a private note and share it to your friends. Unsplurge believes that by taking a goal-centered approach first, it can more quickly help you grow your nest egg.

Cost: There is no charge to use this app.

woman with phoneYNAB – 

The popular budgeting website You Need A Budget has come out with its own budget app to download for both Android and iPhone users. With the cost of the subscription, comes a nearly limitless stream of integrations, allowing you to access your budget via the app on your phone or the web version on your computer. Furthermore, YNAB sticks true to its mission of educating its users about financial security, so along with the standard budget tracking that is available on most apps, you also get a variety of educational tools and guides that will help you develop good habits.

Cost: Free for 34 days after download; then $5/ month for a subscription.

EveryDollar – 

If you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University, you’re most likely familiar with the EveryDollar app since he talks about it on nearly every show. But EveryDollar isn’t just some gimmick attached to a big name, its seamless budgeting software and month-to-month tracking features make it a step ahead your basic budget apps. Furthermore, it allows family access so everyone that needs to can log on and make adjustments to any category at will, giving you a big number at the top to see how much over or under your budget you are. Every category is customizable, and you can link the app to your bank and have the transactions for the previous day appear instantly every morning, leaving you the job of dragging them to their proper location.

Cost: One month free trial. After that, $9.99 per month or $119.99 per year.

IOU – Debt Manager – 

If you’re the type of person who has a lot of rotating debt amongst a lot of different vendors, IOU might be perfect for you. Available on both Android and iPhone, IOU is an app that shows you a list of all the parties that you owe money to (or vice versa). It keeps track of how much you owe and to whom, a contact page personalized for all your debtors/debtees, and the ability to set up recurring or periodic payments. Users can also create non-monetary loans (such as a power tool that you keep loaning out to your neighbor) and set up a payoff date for each item. You can view past debts that have already been settled and sync the information between platforms at will.

Cost: In app product purchases are available from $.99 to $3.99 per item.

Expensify – 

Expensify is an app for both android and iPhone, developed with the business traveler in mind. Expensify allows you track all of your business-related expenses, take pictures of your receipts, and import purchase info from your personal credit cards and bank accounts to create IRS-approved receipts. Expensify’s Smart Scan feature is perfect for taking a picture of any receipt and having the system automatically upload the data to your log, minimizing the need for you to manually input the information every time. There are spots for travel mileage, rate-based expenses such as car services, and automatic currency conversion for international travelers.

Cost: There is no charge to use this app.

Credit Karma – 

Credit Karma will retrieve and monitor your credit scores and reports from the major credit bureaus like TransUnion and Equifax.  On your dashboard, you will see your credit scores, information about your credit report, and recommendations on how to improve your credit score. As a bonus, Credit Karma also provides information regarding insurance rates, loan consolidations, and new credit cards they think you’ll qualify for based on your credit. Instead of having to apply for different services and getting dings on your credit report with every hard pull, only to find out you aren’t approved, Credit Karma brings suggestions right to your fingertips. This app is available on both android and iPhone, and even allows you to check in on your credit with weekly and daily updates.

Cost: There is no charge to use this app.

With all the available tools at your disposal, saving, investing, and spending money has never been easier, so if you’re one of the millions of Americans every year who make a resolution to be more financially responsible, start with an app on this list. It won’t do the actual work of self-discipline for you, but it will give you every resource in the world to make the whole process easier.

As with any app or service that wants to access your banking info, it’s best to do research on your own to assess the security and validity of every option. Check for software that aligns with your most important goals – whether that’s saving or investing or budgeting or something else – and focus on that end goal first. Then, move into the more advanced apps that will help you grow your net worth from this point forward. By securing your money through budgets and smart investing, you can better set yourself up for a bright financial future.

Do you use a financial app to help you stay on track? Which is your favorite? Please leave a comment, and let us know!