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The 5 best budgeting apps: Master your finances

What is the best budgeting app? The best budgeting app is Mint for its excellent features, affordability, and high user ratings, but we have other fantastic options that also make our list of the best budgeting apps.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

Budgeting is rarely fun. You have to buckle down and quit spending on luxuries, instead focusing on the essential basics, like shelter, food, water, and utilities. Making and sticking to a budget is not always the easiest, which is why we can all use a little help now and then. 

These are the best budgeting apps to help you keep your budget in 2022 and beyond. 

Mint

Cost: Free

Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps and for good reason. It is free to use, something 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Free to use
  • Widely compatible with banking institutions
  • Simple set up
  • Does not support joint accounts
  • Restricted to monthly budgeting
Goodbudget

Cost: There is a free version with ads, or you can upgrade to an ad-free plan for $7 per month or $60 per year.

Goodbudget is a budgeting app that helps you create and stick to a budget. There is available debt tracking to keep you motivated and on track. It also helps with money management so you know exactly where your funds are and how they are performing. 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. This means that it is easy to share your account with others, like a spouse or family member. It helps you stay connected financially even if you are physically apart, helping to prevent miscommunications and financial mishaps. All transactions are synced to the cloud so you never have to worry about certain financial transactions going missing. Review pie charts and reports to track your spending, with generated reports to show your finances in greater detail. Digital envelopes help you categorize your finances into available funds with each envelope assigned to certain expenses. It is a visual way to improve your finances through the help of virtual tools. 

Pros

Cons

  • Smart reporting
  • Affordable plans
  • Compatible with several devices
  • Must manually log items
  • Paid plan for best features
Personal Capital

Cost: Personal Capital is free to use.

More than 2.8 million people utilize Personal Capital, and it is a portfolio tracker specifically designed to help with your investments, offering a unique digital approach to your personal finance. The app works with several different types of accounts, including your normal banking accounts, as well as investments, stocks, and retirement funds. The exclusive Retirement Planner tool helps you view your 401K, IRAs, and also your debt so you can have a complete, well-rounded portrait of your finances at the click of a button. The Cash Flow graph stacks your income versus your expenses for an overall financial snapshot that is easy to understand, plus there is an Investment Checkup tool that checks your investments, looking for ways to minimize risk while maximizing rewards. The Retirement Planner is an excellent option when you want to create and manage your retirement. You also have the option to join Personal Capital as an investment client so you can receive direct support from its financial advisors. 

Pros

Cons

  • Individual stocks available
  • Financial advising available
  • Suite of management tools
  • Account minimums apply
  • Added fees
Pocketguard

Cost: There are three subscription plans, in addition to a basic plan with limited features for free.

Type of plan

Cost

Monthly

$7.99

Annual

$34.99

Lifetime One-Time Purchase

$79.99

PocketGuard takes a different approach to budgeting, utilizing smart algorithms to manage and track your spending. It also monitors your bills, helping to ensure that you do not miss a payment and risk falling further into debt. There is a bill tracker and organizer available as soon as you link your bank accounts. Any subscriptions you have will be automatically flagged and built into your monthly budget. With the IN MY POCKET feature, the app will automatically calculate your monthly expenses and then advise you on what is left over to spend. It also can help you negotiate better interest rates on your existing accounts, helping you save those extra dollars. It is easy to identify what disposable income you have to spend when the app does all the calculating and reporting for you. You do not have to pay to use PocketGuard, although you will need to subscribe if you want to access all of the best features. 

Pros

Cons

  • In My Pocket feature
  • Can link bank accounts
  • Personalized spending reports
  • Paid plan for best features
  • Lower Google App rating
You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Cost: There are two plans available for YNAB. 

Plan

Cost

Monthly

$14.99

Annual

$98.00

You Need a Budget (YNAB) shares some pretty impressive results, with 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. 

Pros

Cons

  • Compatible with tons of banks
  • Detailed reporting
  • Goal setting resources
  • Must purchase plan
  • No bill-paying capabilities

What is the best budgeting app?

Mint is our pick for the best budgeting app, thanks to its free and expansive services. Users can create a budget, monitor their spending, and improve savings with the financial support of Mint's services. Mint is even compatible with TurboTax, saving you precious hours when it comes time to file your taxes.

Budgeting app

Cost

App Store Rating

Google Play Rating

Mint

$0

4.8

4.4

Goodbudget

Free and paid plans

4.7

4.4

Personal Capital

$0

4.7

4.3

Pocketguard

Free and paid plans

4.7

4.2

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Paid plan

4.8

4.8

Which is the right budgeting app for you?

To help you find the right budgeting app for your specific needs, consider our recommendations for the best budgeting apps based on our extensive study.

Choose this budgeting app...

If you...

Mint

Want a free app with serious tools

Goodbudget

Like budgeting using envelopes

Personal Capital

Want to manage your financial portfolio

Pocketguard

Want to track your spending

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Are committed to creating and achieving your ideal financial budget

How did we choose these budgeting apps?

 In searching for the best budgeting apps, we consider several factors that help shape our 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? 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 budgeting app?

A budgeting 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 budgeting 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 budgeting apps worth considering?

We came across many picks for the best budgeting app during our search. These are some of the ones that almost made our list.

For more help with your finances, consider our picks for the best payments apps, the best savings accounts, and the best penny stocks!

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