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The best budgeting apps help your family track monthly income and expenses and give you access to your budget anywhere, at any time. Instead of relying on an old notebook and pencil or a spreadsheet, budget apps offer automatic expense tracking and let you set and track savings goals.
If you’re not comfortable linking bank accounts to a mobile app, no problem. Some of the budgeting apps on our list still allow you to manually enter your information, but still, take what you input and analyze it to help you find gaps in your budget, examine spending habits, and ultimately improve your budgeting skills and save more money.
Some budgeting apps offer free and paid versions, allowing you to choose the best option. Free budget apps are great to test drive before investing money in mobile money management. Some offer free trials as another way to test an app before paying for access.
Even if you like to manage your finances on your own, using a family budgeting app in conjunction with manual budgeting can help you spot trends and target overspending and unwanted or long-forgotten subscriptions. Some budgeting apps will even negotiate monthly bills with your providers to lower your expenses and save more money every month.
To determine the best budgeting apps for families in 2024, we looked at compared features, ease of use, availability, cost, app ratings, and other essentials so that you can make the best choice for your family.
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Intuit recently announced they are shutting down Mint, their very popular budgeting app. Mint will be merged with Intuit Credit Karma, but it will lose many budgeting features that users enjoyed. Mint will stop working as it is now by January 1, 2024.
For the last 15 years, Mint has been a favorite budgeting app for many people. Intuit says Mint has 25 million users. This change could leave millions of dedicated Mint users without their main tool for managing money.
Best Budgeting Apps For Families
Here are our picks for the best family budgeting apps.
Simplifi by Quicken is a straightforward all-in-one budgeting app that builds personalized budgets, tracks spending, and provides insights and customized spending plans. It makes our list of the best budgeting apps because it allows users to set and track savings goals, receive real-time spending alerts, and view various financial reports.
The app is sharable with a partner (or more than one person), perfect for couples or families. Plus, Simplifi is customizable and works with several budgeting styles, including zero-based budgeting, envelope budgeting, and the 50-30-20 budget.
Who It’s Best For
Simplifi is for individuals and families who want to take control of their spending, set and track specific savings goals, and get an overall view of their finances in one spot.
- Tracks all of your financial accounts in one app
- No ads
- The app allows users to customize most features to fit their needs
- Works with several budgeting styles
- It comes with a fee
- No live customer support
- Not compatible with Quicken
Simplifi costs $3.99 per month billed annually ($47.88), but sometimes offers lower promotional rates.
Quicken Simplifi is among the best budgeting apps you can download. It's robust, yet easy to use. With customizable tools, Simplifi lets you see where you've been, where you're at now and where you're headed financially.
No sales calls.
Accessible from anywhere with desktop and mobile applications.
Rocket Money is a free budgeting app that allows users to track spending, create budgets, automatically save money, negotiate bills, and monitor subscriptions. Premium membership gives you access to extra features like unlimited budgets, concierge services, and premium chat support.
Who It’s Best For
- Rocket Money is great for individuals who want to save money on existing bills and monitor subscriptions.
- Rocket Money will negotiate bills on your behalf to cut your expenses
- The app helps locate and eliminate unwanted or old subscriptions
- Full budgeting capabilities
- Some of the app’s advertised features are only included with Rockey Money Premium.
- Rocket Money charges a portion of the money saved on negotiated bills.
- Rocket Money is free to use but offers a Premium membership ranging from $6 to $12 per month or $48 to $60 annually.
Experience a fresh way to manage your money with Rocket Money.
Track your spending to build positive money habits, create a budget that works for you, gain insight into your credit score, credit report, and net worth, put your savings on autopilot, and get control over unwanted subscriptions with the free app.
Personal Capital is now Empower. We love the free budgeting and investment app. Empower makes our list of the best budgeting apps because it offers more insight into your investments than your average budget app. It monitors your 401(k), Roth, and other retirement accounts and has budgeting features that point out where you can save so you can invest more. The budgeting features do, however, take a backseat to the investment features.
Who It’s Best For
- Empower is best for DIY investors who want to review their budget with an eye toward more investing,
- Easy Set-Up: Empower is user-friendly and easy to set up. Just input your external account information and start building your budget.
- Large Purchase Planning: Empower can run investment scenarios, so if you like to plan ahead for future growth or are planning a large purchase, these features could be very helpful.
- High Investment Fees: Empower’s wealth management investment fees are .89% on the first million invested and drop with higher account balances. This fee is relatively high, though still less than working with a financial institution.
- Account Minimums: Empower’ wealth management services require a minimum investment of $100,000, which may be a barrier for some folks.
- Empower’s budgeting app is free to use, but there are fees if you invest with them.
Sign up for Empower's free dashboard for access to tools to track and manage your financial life
EveryDollar utilizes zero-based budgeting for easy-to-use budget tracking through the free mobile app. The app doesn’t allow you to sync bank accounts within the free version, but the feature is available through EveryDollar Premium. Within EveryDollar, you can personalize budgets to your needs, set due date reminders, split transactions on receipts, and make notes within budgets. We’ve included it on our best budgeting apps list because it’s a great option for families that are new to budgeting or want a simple budgeting app.
Who It’s Best For
- EveryDollar is ideal for people who use a zero-based budget and also prefer to manually enter bank account information.
- EveryDollar allows you to split large store receipts up by budget categories.
- Users can add notes to their budget for reference.
- Account linking is only available in the premium paid version.
- EveryDollar is free to use. EveryDollar Premium comes with a 14-day free trial, and then it costs $17.99 a month or $79.99 annually.
RELATED: What is The Anti-Budget?
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
Often included among the best budgeting apps, YNAB promotes the popular zero-based budgeting strategy. Every dollar is given a job: spending, saving or investing- down to the last penny.
Who It’s Best For
- YNAB is best for people who want to dive deep into their finances and pay off debt or save for a large investment.
- Comprehensive: YNAB offers an extensive view of your finances and lets you see where you habitually overspend.
- Customer Service: They have responsive customer support, and most emails receive a reply in 24 hours.
- Cost: YNAB is the most expensive app listed, and you can find most features in other free or lower-cost apps.
- Hard to Remove Reimbursable Expenses: YNAB does not have a way to remove or hide a transaction that doesn’t apply to your budget, like reimbursable work expenses.
- YNAB offers a 34-day free trial, with monthly billing of $14.99 or yearly at $99.
PocketGuard tells you what is left in your pocket after recurring expenses are paid. Millennials may enjoy the hashtag and emoji features, and the clean, simple structure could work well for someone who just wants to know what they have in their pocket at any given time. Pocketguard makes our best budgeting apps list because of its powerful debt payoff plan feature within the paid version of the app.
Who It’s Best For
- Pocket Guard is geared toward younger users with a predictable paycheck and is great if you just want to know what’s left to spend after bills and savings have been accounted for.
- In My Pocket (IMP): The IMP feature helps you determine at a glance if that impulse purchase is covered. It gives you your available balance after the bills have been paid, and shows you upcoming transactions.
- Hashtags: PocketGuard lets you tag specific transactions related to each other. For example, if you go on vacation, you can create a hashtag related to gas, food, and hotel expenses and create a report based on the hashtag later.
- Lacks Investment Options: This is a transaction-based budget app, and PocketGuard is not set up to incorporate investment accounts.
- Not All Features Available for Free: While PocketGuard is free, there are features, such as cash tracking and custom categories, that are only available for PocketGuard Plus users.
- Free version with ads, or $7.99 a month or $34.99 a year for PocketGuard Plus. There’s also a lifetime option for $79.99.
Honeydue is a budgeting app specifically geared toward couples. The app allows two people to manage household expenses and budget together. It also allows you to keep individual expenses and shared expenses as needed. There’s also a shared calendar with bill alert reminders. If you’re looking for a new shared bank account, you can upgrade to a Honeydue joint bank account, which comes with joint debit cards.
Who It’s Best For
- Honeydue is for couples who want to budget and manage their finances together. It’s also a good option for couples looking for a joint bank account with fee-free ATM access and no monthly fees.
- Honeydue has individual and shared expense management and tracking.
- It’s free.
- Honeydue doesn’t have a desktop version.
- Honeydue is free to use.
Marcus Insights (Marcus by Goldman Sachs) is a free budgeting app that offers basic expense review and transaction importing. It makes our best budgeting apps list because it offers a comprehensive snapshot of your finances and accounts.
Who It’s Best For
- Marcus Insights is best for people who want to see all of their accounts at a glance but don’t necessarily want to create a formal budget.
- Monthly Spending Breakdowns: Marcus Insights provides a monthly spending breakdown and category overview, along with cash flow information, so you know how you’re doing each month.
- Useful Push Notifications: Marcus Insights sends you push notifications based on when you get paid, if your balance goes below a set point, or when an expense is withdrawn from your account.
- You don’t have to be a Marcus customer to use the app.
- Only syncs to linked accounts: Marcus Insights can link several accounts but only tracks spending from those accounts, and you cannot manually add transactions from an unlinked account.
- No Budget Customization: Marcus Insights provides one-size-fits-all budget categories that can’t be customized.
- Free with ads
Goodbudget uses a traditional envelope budgeting system. The free version allows you to set up 20 envelopes to encourage saving and debt repayment with less temptation to use funds earmarked for other goals or bills. Goodbudget Plus is the paid version of the app and offers additional features like unlimited envelopes, seven years of transaction tracking and email support. Goodbudget makes our best budgeting apps list as an option for individuals who prefer envelope budgeting over other methods.
Who It’s Best For
- Goodbudget is for people who prefer envelope budgeting or want to become more disciplined at paying off debt and saving money.
- Separate envelopes for various savings goals.
- Reports to analyze spending trends.
- The free version offers limited support.
- Multiple users are only available with a paid plan.
- Goodbudget is free to use. Goodbudget Plus costs $8 a month or $70 annually.
Other Budgeting Apps to Consider
If the budgeting apps above don’t fit your needs, consider these other top budgeting apps to help you manage your family’s finances.
While Wally may be too complicated for most users, it’s a useful budgeting app if you deal in foreign currency or have multiple people involved in a budget (think event planning, etc.)
- Cost: Free to use, but offers paid versions. Wally Gold is $8.99 per month or $39.99 annually. Monthly bank account linking costs $2.99.
Albert is a free basic savings platform with the ability to keep all of your accounts in one place. Albert offers basic budget features, but the focus is really on their in-house products. The app now offers banking with a free Cash debit card.
- Cost: The basic version is free, but Albert Genius charges a minimum of $8 a month (you pay what you think is fair).
Spendless is a family budgeting app specifically for Android users that lets one or more people manage a household’s expenses and budgeting efforts. It also allows users to tag locations to expenses and leave personalized messages for their spouse or partner.
Homebudget With Sync
HomeBudget with Sync is a free expense-tracking app for households. Reviews show it’s easy to use and customizable. There’s a free “lite” version and an upgraded version for a one-time fee of $4.99 with more functionality.
Fudget is a free manual budgeting app that doesn’t require you to sync your bank accounts to use. The app features a simple, easy-to-use interface. Fudget has a free version and a paid Pro version with a $3.99 one-time fee.
What Is A Budgeting App?
A budgeting app is a personal finance app that helps you budget your money. Some budgeting apps allow you to monitor your financial health, like spending habits, credit scores, retirement savings, and net worth. Some apps allow you to sync your financial accounts for real-time tracking, including bank accounts, credit cards, and investment and retirement accounts. Other apps primarily focus on a specific budgeting-related task, like tracking your spending or creating a monthly budget.
How Do Budget Apps Work?
B=The best budgeting apps allow you to track your spending, set and track financial goals, create budgets, and view other financial information. Some budgeting apps are accessible online and through an app on your mobile device, while others only offer a mobile or web-based platform.
Most budgeting apps fall into four categories:
- Free budgeting apps
- Paid budgeting apps
- Budgeting Apps that sync with banking and financial accounts
- Manual budgeting apps
The specific features and functions available to users vary between different budgeting apps.
Types of Budgeting Apps
Dozens of budgeting apps exist to meet various financial needs. Some apps offer basic capabilities, while others provide a more comprehensive suite of budgeting and financial tools. Here’s a look at the different budgeting app types available:
- All-In-One budgeting apps
- Expense-tracking budgeting apps
- Zero-based budgeting apps
- Envelope budgeting apps
- Investment and retirement planning budgeting apps
- Budgeting apps for couples
- Banking apps
How Much Do Budgeting Apps Cost?
As mentioned, some budgeting apps are free to use, while others charge a fee. Budgeting app fees can cost anywhere from $0 to $15 per month or more. Some apps offer a free version with basic features, and a paid version or multiple paid tiers that unlock additional premium budgeting features. Budgeting apps may charge a monthly fee or bundle the cost into an annual charge.
Should I Pay For A Budgeting App?
It sounds funny to pay for a mobile app to help you budget your money, especially if you’re paying down debt, trying to cut spending or saving toward future goals. There are several paid budgeting apps that provide value far beyond their cost when used properly.
Paying for a budgeting app can be worth the cost if:
- It’s easy to use
- It’s something you would use regularly
- It performs the specific tasks you need it to
- It easily syncs with your financial accounts
Are Budgeting Apps Safe To Use?
If you get anxious anytime you have to enter sensitive information on your devices, you’re not alone. We all want to know that the companies we trust with personal and financial information are doing everything possible to keep our info secure.
Most budgeting apps, especially those that connect to your financial accounts, utilize bank-level security measures to keep your information safe. In some cases, the app may require you to activate security features on your device to use it.
When you connect your financial accounts to a budgeting app, the app does not store your account login information. Instead, it uses a third-party service like Plaid to connect the app and your bank account. Budgeting apps have read-only access to your financial accounts, meaning no one can move money in or out of your bank accounts from within the app.
As a budgeting app user, you can further protect your account and information by:
- Using the security features included with your device
- Enabling multi-factor authentication
- Setting complex passwords and changing them periodically
Who Should Consider Using A Budgeting App?
Anyone can use budgeting apps as part of their budgeting strategy. Does that mean everyone should use them? Not necessarily.
You should consider using a budgeting app if you:
- Want to track your expenses to gain insight into your spending habits
- Are comfortable syncing your financial accounts with a mobile app
- Want to track progress toward your financial goals
- Are likely to use the app enough to justify the fee
How To Choose A Budgeting App
With a variety of budgeting apps to choose from, it’s difficult to know which one is the best option. Many budget apps offer free trial periods to test it out before you commit to the app long-term. I love free trials, but it’s tough to know whether an app works well without connecting your accounts, and who wants to go through all of the trouble of connecting financial accounts to multiple apps for one or two-week trial runs?
So, what do you look for in a budgeting app? You can narrow down the field of budgeting apps considerably with a little research. Below are several factors to consider when choosing a budgeting app to use.
- Compatibility: Look for apps that are available for download on your mobile device or operating system.
- App type: Consider how you plan to use a budgeting app and look for ones within that type. The interface: having access to a suite of features is great, but it means nothing if it’s not easy to navigate or understand
- Security: Look at how the app protects your information. You can find security details on the app’s website, usually within its FAQs or a separate security page.
- Syncing: Determine if you want a budgeting app that syncs with your financial accounts or if you prefer to manually enter your information.
- Features: What features are most important to you? Look for budgeting apps that are known for the tasks and features you plan to use the most.
- Fees: Determine if you are ok with paying for a budgeting app. Always make sure the app is going to offer enough value to warrant the added cost.
- Support: Look for apps that offer customer support in your preferred method of communication.
- Reviews: Check within the app stores to see how users rate the app. Look for recurring themes among users, good or bad.
What To Do After You Download A Budgeting App
Once you’ve downloaded a budgeting app, it’s time to connect your accounts. Follow these steps to connect your accounts and start using the budgeting app.
- Follow the app instructions for adding bank accounts and other financial accounts. Generally, this requires logging into your bank or credit card account through Plaid or another third-party service.
- Start with the account you use the most for everyday spending, whether it’s a checking or savings account or a credit card. If you’re into credit card rewards like us, adding all of your cards to a budgeting app can be a real chore.
- Once your account is synced, explore the app’s feature to see what tools are available.
- Once you’re comfortable using the app, continue to add any financial accounts you would like to monitor with the app.
Tips For Using A Budgeting App
You may go through some trial and error when using budgeting apps, especially if you’ve never used one or haven’t budgeted before. Here are some tips to help you make the most of a budgeting app.
- Know your why: Determine what you want to get out of budgeting or using a budgeting app. Knowing your why can help keep your expectations realistic and help you quickly identify whether an app is useful or not.
- Stay connected: A budgeting app is no good if you never open it. Make a habit of regularly opening the app and checking your progress.
- Don’t rely on a budgeting app for everything: Budgeting apps are only one piece of the puzzle if you use them. Develop good financial habits if you want to reach your financial goals.
Budgeting Apps Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a completely free budgeting app?
Yes, several budgeting apps are free to use, including Empower and Honeydue. Other budget apps, like Rocket Money, Goodbudget, Everydollar, and PocketGuard, have free basic versions as well as premium versions available for a fee.
Do budgeting apps really work?
Budgeting apps are not the solution to managing your money, but are useful, especially if you’re looking for a simple way to track your spending or set financial goals.
What are the disadvantages of budgeting apps?
You only get out of a budgeting app what you put in. Even the most automated budgeting app still requires you to use the app the track your progress and analyze your spending. Also, it’s another app you must learn how to use. Some budgeting apps have a steep learning curve. In some cases, an app’s best features and tools are only available by paying a fee.
What is the best budgeting app not linked to a bank account?
YNAB and Goodbudget do not connect to your bank accounts. Goodbudget is based on the envelope budgeting system, while YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method.
Goodbudget is more about planning for your finances than tracking previous transactions. This app is based on the envelope budgeting system, in which you portion out your monthly income toward specific spending categories (called envelopes). This app doesn’t connect your bank accounts.
What is the best budgeting app for beginners?
Simplifi by Quicken is relatively easy to learn and use. Often, if you’re just starting to learn budgeting, it’s best to start with free apps or ones that don’t require you to link your bank accounts until you’re more familiar with how to budget.
What’s your favorite budgeting app or software to manage family finances? Let us know in the comments below.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.