Best Budgeting Tools and Apps for Personal Finance



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: March 8, 2021

Budgeting is a crucial activity that nearly everyone with an income needs to perform. That is, everyone who doesn’t have a personal accountant. With the new year approaching, many people choose to commit to better financial habits. This may involve anything from splurging less to planning for high-value purchases. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, it is imperative that you learn how to make a budget and stick to it. But you don’t have to go about it in the traditional manner, you can always choose one or more of the best budgeting tools and apps to help you with it!

It is widely known that healthy financial habits are better aspired for than cultivated. Even though it’s a simple concept: don’t spend more than you make, more and more people are racking up credit card debt. Of course, the hyper-consumerist lifestyle that many of us lead, only makes matters worse.

The Best Budgeting Tools to Manage Your Finances:

1. You Need A Budget aka YNAB


You Need A Budget has developed a bit of a cult following in recent years and claims to have helped many users to get out of debt. It has an easy-to-use and flexible system. What makes it work is a simple, but effective philosophy: every dollar has to be accounted for. You give every dollar a job – from living expenses and investments to vacation and education. It allows you to sync your bank account or to enter transactions manually.

Pricing: 34-day free trial; $83.99 annually; students get the first year free

Available on: Web, The App Store, Google Play, Windows

Pro Tip: The savings goals and debt payoff feature help you to attain true financial stability.

2. PocketGuard


Can’t keep yourself from overspending? This app can help. It does what its name suggests – guards you against splurging on things you don’t need with money you don’t have. PocketGuard links your financial accounts and tracks your spending throughout the month. You can set spending limits on each category. The app will notify you when you’re close to the limit, reminding you that you made a commitment to control your spending in that area.

Pricing: Free; Premium version (PocketGuard Plus) costs $3.99 per month or $34.99 annually

Available on: App Store, Google Play

Pro Tip: PocketGuard tracks your recurring expenses and helps you find better deals on those too.

3. Personal Capital


Personal Capital has a greater focus on tracking and analyzing your investments. It analyzes your investment classes for free and lets you know which funds are costing you the most. You link all your accounts on the app in order to get a complete overview of how each of your investments is doing. Its free money tracking dashboard can be used to track other expenses as well. The optional paid features include personalized financial guidance with an expert, portfolio management and financial planning. Even without the paid features, you can still do a lot with the free version of the app.

Pricing: Free; Price of paid services depends on your net worth

Available on: Web, The App Store, Google Play

Pro Tip: The Retirement Planner feature enables you to plan and manage your retirement fund effectively. For free!

4. Splitwise


This one’s not a complete budgeting app but it’s still a handy one. Splitwise is a nifty app that helps people track how much they owe to friends and colleagues and vice versa. It makes sharing expenses on outings, meals, events, etc easy to track by logging in each transaction. It basically keeps a total over time, so that you can pay back the money in a large payment, rather than keeping track of every small amount, or worse forgetting to pay back. It also has email reminders for when a shared expense is due or when you need to pay someone back. Neat, right?

Pricing: Free

Available on: The App Store and Google Play

Pro Tip: Splitwise has a ‘spinoff’ app called Plates, dedicated solely to splitting your restaurant bills!

5. TurboTax


An Intuit offering, TurboTax is a consumer-friendly tool to walk you through filing your taxes. It makes filling in the tax information easy, you can do it by importing your W-2 form information or just taking a picture of the form. For a short-term fix, a free version is a good option, especially if you only need to file only your 1040A or 1040EZ.

The paid version, like Personal Capital, connects you with a CPA or other expert in order to help you maximize your returns.

Pricing: Free up to 5 returns; Paid plans starting from $39.99 per return

Available on: The App Store, Google Play, Windows Store

Pro Tip: Get maximum deductions by staying updated on changing tax laws through the Tax Reform section on the TurboTax website.

6. Mint


Mint is a highly popular budgeting app. It takes your bank and credit card information to analyze your income and spending trends. It then points out the exact areas where you can spend less to improve your finances. You can set alerts for bills and upcoming payments to avoid unnecessary late fees. It also analyzes your credit score for free and gives you tips on how to improve it. You also get notified in case of unusually large spendings or suspicious transactions.

Pricing: Free

Available on: The App Store and Google Play

Pro Tip: Track your spending trends over time and by the merchant to see where you’re spending the most.

7. Hopper


This last one is for the Globetrotters. Or for anyone who likes good deals on flights and hotels. It claims to have saved 30 million travelers $1.8 billion to date.

If you like to travel, but get stressed out at the thought of planning, from when to go to which flight to take, then Hopper is for you. It helps you to plan less and travel more. It predicts prices for hotels and flights with 95% accuracy, up to one year in advance. You can see the price predictions for each period of time and decide when the best time to make your trip is. It will notify you automatically when it’s the best time to book your hotel or flight.

Pricing: Free

Available on: The App Store and Google Play

Pro Tip: The Hopper website has a section dedicated entirely to travel tips, which can come in handy when putting together that spur-of-the-moment trip.

Wrapping Up

In 2019, You may want to cut down on excess spending or save a few bucks where you didn’t think it was possible to. Or maybe you simply want an easy-to-access overview of your finances. Either way, you can use any of these best budgeting tools and apps in combination to stay in control of your finances.

The aforementioned budgeting tools are a godsend for anyone who is trying to be a mindful spender in 2019. Quite a few of them make their core functionalities absolutely free for the user, so you won’t be spending to curb your spending. Thank us later!

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