Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The best apps for planning your budget: Rocket Money, Mint, and more

These apps can help you set money goals, automate your subscriptions, negotiate better prices, and more.

Often casting focus onto essential basics like shelter, food, water, and utilities and away from "luxuries," budgeting isn't necessarily fun... or easy. Creating and sticking to a budget might not be intuitive, but luckily, technology can help to streamline and simplify the process.

Budget apps can help you track your budget easily, and even flag areas where you can save monthly by eliminating unused subscriptions. 

Also: The best online savings accounts: Put those digital tools to use

If you're looking to get better at managing your budget, I considered feature suites, associated fees, and overall security to round up the best budgeting apps available to you today. 

Pros & Cons
  • Bill negotiations
  • Sync all of your accounts
  • Sliding scale pricing
  • Limited features with free plan option
More Details

Rocket Money features: Price: $3-$12/month | Bill negotiation: Yes | Manage subscriptions: Yes | Syncing available: Yes

Rocket Money is the ultimate budget app since it really highlights ways you can save money in your monthly budget. The app manages all your subscriptions so you can easily see what subscriptions you can cancel. It notifies you when upcoming bills are due so you can plan ahead, and you can use the helpful spending tracker to see what areas of your life you can trim your spending accordingly.  

One of the coolest features of Rocket Money is bill negotiation. For a fee, the app can negotiate bills for you by finding hidden discounts or promo rates so you can get a lower monthly rate for whatever it is. 

While the app is free if you simply want to create a budget, Rocket Money's Premium suite does come at a cost. Members can choose from a sliding scale between $3-$12 per month for premium features that include credit reports, custom categories, smart savings account, and more. Users can cancel premium memberships at any time. 

Pros & Cons
  • Free to use
  • In-app tax services
  • Free credit score
  • Does not support joint accounts
More Details

Mint features: Price: Free | Bill negotiation: Yes | Manage subscriptions: Yes | Syncing available: Yes

Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps and for good reason. It is free to use, something (ironically) rare among the best budgeting apps, and you get financial budgeting shared by 24 million users. 

The app allows you to create a personalized budget and will then monitor your spending. It studies your spending habits and advises how to increase your savings. It will also check your subscriptions to ensure that you are not paying for services you do not need. With MintSights, you can set goals to reach financial milestones and build a stronger financial foundation. 

Once you connect your accounts, you can easily navigate between outstanding account balances, your monthly expenses versus spending, and even access your free credit score. Mint is compatible with not just banking accounts, but also your credit cards, loans, and investments. You can even file your IRS taxes and receive your refund through the app's integrated TurboTax services.

Like Rocket Money, Mint also provides bill negotiation service called Billshark. If the feature is successful in saving you money, you'll give the app a cut of your savings for up to 24 months.

Pros & Cons
  • Smart reporting
  • Affordable plans
  • compatible with several devices
  • Must manually log items
  • Paid plan has the best features
More Details

Goodbudget features: Price: Free with ads or $8/month | Bill negotiation: No | Manage subscriptions: No | Syncing available: Yes

Goodbudget is a budgeting app that helps you create a budget you can stick to, even providing available debt tracking for extra motivation. It also helps with money management so you know exactly where your funds are and how they're performing. It's almost like a game. 

You will have to subscribe to Goodbudget, but once you do, you will have wide access to the app through both the web and multiple phones -- making it easy to share your account with others in your financial network. This sharing capability can help in staying financially connected even when physically apart, possibly aiding in any miscommunications or budgeting mishaps.All transactions are synced to the cloud so you never have to worry about certain financial transactions going missing. 

Additionally, virtual tools like pie charts coupled with generated reports aid in spending tracking and show your finances in greater detail. Digital envelopes, each assigned to specific expenses, can also help you categorize your finances into available funds. 

Pros & Cons
  • Suspicious transactions monitoring
  • Debt payoff plan
  • Negotiate interest rates
  • Paid plan for best features
  • Lower Google Play Store rating
More Details

Pocketguard features: Price: Free or $7.99/month or $34.99/year | Bill negotiation: Yes | Manage subscriptions: No | Syncing available: Yes

Utilizing smart algorithms to manage and track spending, PocketGuard takes a very modern approach to budgeting. The app also monitors your bills, helping to remind you ahead of missing payments before falling into (possibly even further) debt. True to its name, Pocketguard's built-in anti-fraud feature helps to keep track, and alert, you to suspicious spending trends. 

With the "In my Pocket" feature, the app automatically calculates monthly expenses and then notifies you of any leftover funds. Working with BillShark, Pocketguard, can also help you negotiate better interest rates on your existing accounts, helping you save even further.

While you don't have to pay to use PocketGuard, although you will need to subscribe if you want to access all of the best features. 

Also: How to save money when traveling abroad 

Pros & Cons
  • Long free trial period
  • Loan calculator
  • Compatible with tons of banks
  • Must purchase plan
  • No bill-paying capabilities
More Details

You Need a Budget features: Price: $14.99/month or $99/year | Bill negotiation: No | Manage subscriptions: No | Syncing available: Yes

You Need a Budget (YNAB) shares some pretty impressive results, advertising that new users saving an average of $600 in their first two months and $6,000 in their first year of using the app. It is equal parts personal finance resource, expense tracker, and budgeting tool. You can clearly see your debt versus your credit, so you can identify what accounts need attention and which ones are doing well. 

The app automatically syncs with your bank accounts, providing an overall financial portrait that compares all of your accounts. In addition to expense tracking, there is a loan calculator tool that helps you compare different loan options and interest rates. With Spending & Net Worth reports, you can set goals and track your progress, serving as an extra motivation to save money and reduce overall debt. 

Currently, you can try YNAB for free for 34 days, so you can give the service a test drive before you opt for a paid subscription. 

What is the best budget app?

Rocket Money is our pick for the best budgeting app, thanks to its sliding scale of pricing and expansive services. Users can create a custom budget, monitor their spending, and even have the app negotiate your bills to a lower price. 

Budgeting app


App Store Rating

Google Play Rating

Rocket Money

$3-$12/month (sliding scale)








Free w/ ads or $8/month




Free or $7.99/month or $34.99/year




$14.99/month or $99/year



Which is the right budget app for you?

The right budget app for you will depend on how you want to budget, if you want specific features like bill negotiations or credit scores, if you have a single or combined checking account, and what price you're willing to spend per month for a subscription.

Below, I've broken down the options further.

Choose this budget app...

If you...

Rocket Money

The best overall options. The app can handle bill negotiations for you to get you lower prices on what you pay monthly. 


Want a free app with convenient tools. It even has built-in compatibility with Turbo Tax services.


Like budgeting using the envelope method. You can sync your budget(s) across multiple people and devices. 


Want to track your spending. It has a debt payoff plan to get you back on track. 

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Are committed to creating and achieving your ideal financial budget. It's free trail is 34 days, so you can try it out for a month before subscribing. 

How did I choose these budgeting apps?

 In searching for the best budgeting apps, I considered several factors that help shape this list.

  • Features: When choosing the best budgeting app for your needs, consider the features available from each app. Can you sync your bank account? What tools are available? What about reports? We considered these questions in making our selections because the more features a budgeting app has, the better the app is likely to be.  
  • Fees: It is not uncommon for budgeting apps to charge a fee for their services, whether it is an upfront fee or an ongoing monthly or annual fee. Be sure to review all fees in advance, so you can be sure that you choose the right service for your needs. 
  • Security: Security protocols are a significant factor when choosing the best budgeting apps because you want to be sure that your banking information - some of your most sensitive information - is thoroughly protected before, during, and after use. 

Also, be sure to consider customer support so there is someone there to help in case you run into any snags.

What is a budget app?

A budget app is a mobile service that typically allows you to track your spending and increase your savings.  You can typically sync your accounts to view a complete financial portrait, all within a single app. Here, you will find our picks for the best budgeting app for your financial needs. 

Do budgeting apps work?

Like anything else, a budget app only works if you use it regularly. Many apps offer financial tools and resources that can help you reduce your debt and expand your financial worth by providing expense and other reports.

Are there alternative budget apps worth considering?

There are endless amounts of finance apps available in the App Store or the Google Play Store. However, not all of them are legit or can successfully help you create a budget. Below, I've listed out some other trustworthy budget app options. 

A smartphone with the Everydollar app on its screen

Best alternative for those new to budgeting


Everydollar has features like paycheck planning, saving funds, group financial coaching, and more. 

View at Everydollar
Two smartphones next to each other with the Honeydue budget app on their screens

Best alternative for couples


Honeydue is a great budget app for those in a relationship trying to manage combined finances and set money goals. 

View at Honeydue
A tablet and a smartphone next to each other with graphs on their screens

Best alternative for tax season prep

Simplifi by Quicken

View and pay your bills, manage spending, and plan ahead for tax season with Simplifi. 

View at Quicken
Editorial standards