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Balancing your budget can be quite a balancing act. Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue. There are a number of money management apps that can save you time and hassle when it comes to making sure your money is flowing as it should.
Since so many apps are available, you might have a hard time choosing the best app for your needs. We analyzed 15 financial management apps and narrowed the list down to the top five options.
Why we chose it
the free personal capital app, available for iOS and Android devices, stands out as a complete artist. It provides a complete view of your finances, including daily expenses and your portfolio performance. The tools available in the app guide you through building retirement savings, building an emergency fund, and reducing debt.
In addition, the Personal Capital app helps with investment decisions, making it a great app for investors. It can perform investment control, analyze investment costs, help with financial planning, monitor cash flow, map education spending, and track your net worth.
While the Personal Capital app provides a lot of great features, using these features is pretty straightforward. You will find everything on one screen and you can easily navigate all the features from there. Bonus: The app is available in a desktop version in addition to the mobile version.
Several characteristics of the Personal capital application make it one of our top picks:
- A range of tools to keep an eye on the performance of your investments
- In-depth analysis of budgeting, cash flow, net worth and transactions
- Ability to focus on short and long term financial goals
The ability to modify or customize the user interface is limited. And you must have a minimum balance of $ 100,000 to use its portfolio management service.
Why we chose it
This popular app, produced by Intuit and available for iOS and Android devices, targets a wide range of consumers and can help you stay in control of your personal finances.
The Mint app makes it easy to keep track of subscriptions, lets you customize budgets, and offers financial information tailored to your situation. How does he do so much? It integrates with your bank accounts, allowing you to create a one-stop-shop for your money matters once you enter your bank details.
Among the strengths of the app are personalized budgets and alerts. Once you’ve set a personalized budget, all of your purchases are categorized automatically. To complement this functionality, the app provides information about your spending that puts you on the path to smarter financial decisions.
Another useful aspect of Mint is that it reminds you when bills are due or when you are likely to pay charges. This can help avoid costly overdraft fees and late payment fees.
Several features of the Mint app earned it a spot on our list. They include:
- Customizable budgets
- Free credit score monitoring
- Bill payment reminders and bank charge alerts
There may be issues connecting Mint to certain bank accounts. Advertising in the app can be distracting.
YNAB (You need a budget)
Why we chose it
The You Need a Budget (YNAB) app is especially useful if you’re looking to save money and clear your debt.
Available for iOS and Android devices in both mobile and desktop versions, the app focuses on your current and future finances, rather than dwelling on the past. The app aims to help people set financial priorities and set financial goals. It does this by focusing on budgeting, giving you a clearer picture of your financial goals and habits.
Keep in mind that the YNAB app will cut your budget. After a 34-day no-obligation free trial, YNAB charges $ 11.99 per month or $ 84 per year.
Several aspects of YNAB caught our attention, such as:
- Focuses on budgeting for current and future financial needs
- Possibility to share the application with another person, such as your loved one
- Help from YNAB staff members through webinars and other real-time interactions
With the good comes the less good. This application does not offer the possibility to monitor investments. Also, the interface is somewhat lacking, mirroring that of a standard Excel spreadsheet.
Why we chose it
The Pocketguard app, available for iOS and Android devices, gives you the numbers to help you understand your finances.
Pocketguard provides an overview of your income, expenses and savings. In addition, a pie chart shows you which expenses consume the most and the least of your budget. To facilitate the budgeting process, the app allows you to set spending limits.
The app does offer another way to save money, however – it can help you get better rates on recurring bills. All you need to do is log in some information about yourself to activate this feature. You will then receive offers tailored to your specific needs.
The Pocketguard app also includes a feature that automates your savings. However, if you are using the free version of the app, you will be charged a monthly fee of $ 2 to take advantage of the auto-backup feature. This feature is free with Pocketguard Plus, which costs $ 7.99 per month, $ 79.99 per year, or $ 99.99 for lifetime use.
The free version does not allow you to take advantage of certain features, such as setting up expense categories and tracking cash flows.
We love the Pocketguard app for several reasons, such as:
- Integration with the bank accounts of many financial institutions
- Setting savings goals
- Customizing budgets
- Real-time monitoring of certain expenditure packages
The main downside is that some features are only available to paid users. Additionally, the Pocketguard website can be difficult to use.
Why we chose it
The Goodbudget app can be a good option for people looking for an easy way to save money.
Goodbudget relies on the envelope method for money management. With the paper version of the envelope method, you set aside an envelope for expenses such as rent, groceries, bills, and entertainment. Goodbudget makes this method even easier by digitizing it.
The app also lets you set and track a family budget with other people in your home. This way, you are not the only one responsible for the household budgeting.
Among the advantages of the Goodbudget app:
- Budget using the envelope method
- Similar features in the free and paid versions
- Relatively inexpensive paid version
- Frequent app updates
The Goodbudget app has a few drawbacks. You are limited to logging into a financial institution in the free version. Also, it lacks some features compared to other apps on our list. For example, you have to manually add purchase transactions, which can be tedious.
Questions to ask when buying a budgeting app
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding which budget app to download.
1. What are my financial needs and goals?
Find out if the app will help you manage those needs and meet those goals.
2. How much does the application cost?
Some apps can be downloaded for free, while others may charge a monthly or annual fee. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor in choosing a budgeting app, but it is an important factor. However, you might find that paying a relatively small amount for an app ends up saving you more money in the long run.
3. What features does the application offer?
Decide what you need. You might be looking for an app that provides robust investment tools. Or you might need more help to reduce your debt. Look for an app that matches the goals you’re trying to achieve.
4. How secure will my data be?
Data security is essential these days as cyber crooks are constantly lurking the web hoping to steal your personal information. Therefore, choosing a budgeting app that offers a high level of data encryption and multiple ways to verify your identity (known as multi-factor authentication) is essential.
5. How does the app’s customer service compare to the competition?
Check online for reviews of the apps you are considering to see how each app performs in terms of customer service. You want to make sure that a real person can help you quickly if you’re having real-time issues with an app.
About our methodology
We looked at 15 financial management apps and rated each of them on 18 factors in these categories: consumer ratings (35% of score), app costs (25% of score), data security and encryption (15% of the score), account integration (10% of the score), office availability (10% of the score) and possibility to share the application with someone else (5% of the score).