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Mint launched in 2009 as a finance and money management app and is now considered the best free budgeting app overall. With Mint, you can link all your financial accounts, including your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and loans, to the app.
Mint’s budgeting tools allow you to see how much money you have, pay your upcoming bills, and even spot unusual account activity. Mint also offers a free credit monitoring service with quarterly reports from Equifax.
Plus, you’ll receive custom tips on how you can reach your goals faster. In addition, Mint will make recommendations for credit cards, checking accounts and savings accounts, and investment opportunities that you could benefit from.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is designed to tackle your monthly budget. So, it’s the perfect option for anyone who needs to get their expenses under control. The app lets you create a monthly budget and track where your money is going.
At the beginning of the month, you’ll enter how much income you expect to receive, as well as your bills and planned spending. And YNAB allows you to plan for quarterly and bi-annual bills, so you never fall off track.
YNAB is a hands-on approach to budgeting that works. It allows you to plan for what’s important and track your progress throughout the month. The app offers a free trial for the first 34 days, and then it costs $6.99 a month.
EveryDollar is the free budgeting app offered by financial expert Dave Ramsey. The app comes with a free and a paid version and focuses on Ramsey’s “envelope system” of budgeting.
The software operates on a zero-based budget, which means that all of your monthly income is assigned to a specific budgeting category. At the beginning of the month, you’ll enter your income and then allocate it to different categories depending on how you plan to spend your money.
Once your budget is in place, you can use the app to track spending throughout the month. And you can do this using the free version of the app.
You’ll just need to take a few minutes a day to manually enter your transactions, then move them to the budgeting category.
If you want to save yourself some time, you can sign up for the paid version of EveryDollar. This allows you to connect your bank accounts to the app, and it will automatically upload your transactions for you.
EveryDollar isn’t as robust and doesn’t come with the same level of support as other budgeting software on this list. But the learning curve is low, and it’s a suitable option for anyone who wants a simple, straightforward approach to tracking their spending.
GoodBudget is also based on a zero-sum budget, and it focuses on utilizing the envelope system. At the beginning of the month, you’ll set up your budget and what you plan to spend throughout the month.
Every time you get paid or spend money, you’ll track it in your GoodBudget account. This allows you to track your spending throughout the month, and you can always see how much you have left to spend in a particular category.
GoodBudget offers a free and paid version of the app, and the most significant difference between the two is that the free version limits the number of envelopes you have access to. But at just $5 per month, the paid version is still pretty affordable.
Mvelopes has three different plans, and each one comes with varying levels of support. Unfortunately, unlike other types of budgeting software, there isn’t a free version of the app, but it does offer a 30-day free trial.
The Basic plan is $6 per month, and it allows you to sync your bank accounts and credit cards to the account. You can automatically sync your transactions and track your spending every month.
The Plus plan is $19 per month, and the Complete plan is $59 per month. Both of these plans come with additional financial support from trained coaches. If you pay for an annual membership with any of the three plans, you’ll receive two months for free.
One of the things that makes Mvelopes unique is that each of its three plans comes with live support. Live chat is always available, and if you choose the Complete plan, you can even have access to a personal finance trainer.
Apps for Stashing Cash
Tracking your spending is important, but saving money is what allows you to get ahead. Fortunately, there are many great apps that make it fun to save money throughout the month. Check out some of our top picks below.
Qapital operates as a virtual piggy bank to store your spare change. This free app has become popular thanks to its simplicity and how easy it is to use.
When you sign up, you’ll link Qapital to your bank account, and the app will start saving money for you. Then, every time you make a purchase, the app will round your purchase up to the nearest dollar and save the rest in your Qapital account.
This allows you to continue to save a little over time. The amounts are so small that you won’t notice them at first, but these small numbers continue to add up over the months and years.
Acorns is an app that allows you to make the most of your spare change. It does this by saving a bit of money every time you make a purchase. It then invests that money into one of five diversified stock portfolios.
Acorns was founded by an investment banker, and the app serves as an introduction to investing. First, you’ll choose your investment strategy based on your level of risk tolerance, and then Acorns will create a stock portfolio for you.
The app is a great way to start investing slowly and get in the habit of saving. There is no large, upfront investment required and minimal management fees. And Acorns is completely free for college students.
If your focus is on investing, Personal Capital might be the right choice for you. They’ll look at your portfolio, analyze your current performance, and recommend ways you can improve it.
The app will alert you if you’re spending too much on fees and will provide detailed reports on your progress toward retirement. You can also track your cash flow, investments, and net worth all within the app.
Personal Capital will also show you how the S&P 500, Dow, and U.S. bond markets are performing. You can read our full review of Personal Capital here.
The great-grandfather of financial apps, Quicken is one of the most robust types of financial software available. It’s available for PC and Macs, but there is no mobile app.
You can choose from various features, depending on your needs. For example, the Starter Edition offers basic money management, while the Premier Edition lets you track and manage your investments.
You can even use Quicken to manage your small business or investment properties.
You buy your software outright with packages ranging from $34.99 to $99.99, so there are no monthly fees. And unlike online budgeting apps, Quicken is software that you download and install.
The best budget app for you will depend on you and your goals. If you’re looking to save a little extra money, then Qapital or Acorns is a good choice. If you want an overview of your finances, give Mint a try.
YNAB and EveryDollar are excellent budgeting apps for improving your spending habits. Whereas Quicken is a viable option for anyone who wants a more robust money management software.
But all of these apps can help you save money and get your finances under control. So choose the one that’s right for you and get started on the path to financial independence.