13 Best Budgeting Software Tools and Apps of 2023
Budgeting may seem like a chore to you, but maybe you just need a little help.
Thankfully, there are tons of budgeting apps available these days that help reduce the hassle of managing your money. Some of the available options even go beyond basic budgeting, providing other services like bill management, savings automation, and even investment advisory.
What’s great about budgeting apps is that most of them are available for free or at a low monthly or annual fee. So, cost shouldn’t be an issue for most people.
In this post, we’ve reviewed the 13 best budgeting apps to help you take charge of your finances. Whatever you end up choosing, you’ll be able to better manage your money and start building your savings so that you can achieve financial freedom.
Let’s dive in!
Best Budgeting Software Tools and Apps
Best Free Budget App.
Mint is arguably the most popular web-based personal finance management app in the world. It syncs all your financial transactions, as well as helps you create and stick to a budget and set financial goals and targets.
Mint gives you a complete picture of how much and what you spend your money on by syncing your information from multiple financial institutions with one login. You can track exactly how much money is going where and assign categories to your various purchases and expenses. Over time, you’ll be able to view charts and graphs that give you a clear picture of your spending habits.
After creating your account, you only have to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and bills to get started using Mint. Mint will work with any US-based bank account.
Mint can also track your debt (such as student loans and mortgages) and investment accounts (such as IRAs). It will pull in several months of data to better analyze your spending and give you a better idea of how you’re faring financially.
Mint is available for free; you only have to agree to give them your data. This might worry you but it shouldn’t — Mint is completely secure and will only use your data to make recommendations to help you save more money.
Mint earns a commission for these recommendations and that’s how it makes money.
- Completely free.
- Offers lots and lots of data to help you analyze your spending.
- Presents your data in attractive and intuitive charts.
- Collects a humongous amount of your personal data to make relevant recommendations. While this might not be a problem for some, it might be a deal-breaker for privacy buffs.
- Will lose a connection with one of your accounts every once in a while. But you can always reconnect the account if this happens.
Best Budgeting Solution for SMBs.
Scoro is a cloud-based ERP software designed with SMBs in mind. It offers features like collaboration, scheduling, tracking, quoting and billing, project management, customer relations management, and advanced reporting and dashboards, all in a single easy-to-use platform.
It provides robust budgeting features. For one, it allows you to analyze your forecasts or budgets against your costs, deals, revenue, profits, and more.
You can also control all of your sales and purchase invoices from one place, and send detailed invoices to your clients based on proposals you build in Scoro.
Additionally, you get powerful enterprise-grade reporting and powerful real-time dashboards through which you can discover new and latent opportunities. And with just a few clicks, you can create and render detailed financial reports at any time.
Besides, Scoro allows you to create separate budgets for each project and track them against your actual income and expenses. You can compare multiple budget scenarios with your actual revenues, costs, and profits, and you can get forecasts based on booked deals and scheduled invoices.
Scoro offers seamless integration with your accounting software, ensuring that your financial information is kept up to date.
Scoro is business-oriented and its pricing reflects that. It offers three pricing plans that range from $28 to $42 monthly per user, plus an Ultimate plan with custom pricing. All plans have a 5-user minimum.
- Complete ERP software
- Boasts a well-designed and intuitive UI
- Customer service is top-notch
- Regularly updated with valuable functionality
- PDF template for purchase orders, quotes, and invoices is limited.
- Phone and tablet apps are not as useful as the web version.
Best Budgeting App for Expense Tracking.
PocketGuard is a great option for those who love to track every penny they receive or spend. It is available for iOS, Android, and desktop.
The platform is available in both the US and Canada. Thanks to its ‘In My Pocket’ feature, it allows you to conveniently put all your incoming and outgoing financial transactions in a single place.
You can view how much spare money you have, create spending limits so you can better control your expenses, and set savings goals.
The free version of PocketGuard is fully loaded with useful features and tools to help you manage your finances. But if you’d like more functionality beyond those available for free, you can opt to pay $3.99 monthly or $34.99 annually to upgrade to the PocketGuard Plus plan.
- Easy to use and master
- Mobile apps are great
- Platform is safe and secure
- Boasts an excellent alert system
- Better suited to those with basic financial management needs
- You may experience some hiccups connecting to banks
- Desktop experience is not as good as the mobile experience
- Does not offer phone support
Best Budgeting App for Detailed Budgeting.
If you want to organize your finances and keep them that way, then You Need A Budget (YNAB) is for you.
YNAB connects directly with your bank and credit card accounts and allows you to set money and financial management objectives with the Goals function. It is a good option for you if you’re looking to pay off debts or save money.
The YNAB interface is deceptively powerful and can be tailored to suit your needs depending on your overall financial picture. The platform revolves completely around your budget.
When you add your bank or credit card accounts, you can import transactions into the platform. The platform offers new features like the Age of Money feature which is essentially a measure of how prudent you are.
Your overall objective on the app is to keep everything in the green. Wherever you have a negative balance, the platform will show red. This visual system of organizing your finances makes operating YNAB simple.
YNAB offers a 34-day free trial, after which the service costs $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
- UI is decent
- Easy to use
- Works on all platforms, even on smart devices like the Apple Watch and Alexa-powered gadgets
- Free 34-day trial
- No phone support
- Not equipped for tax filing
- Offers no investment tracking
- Charges a monthly subscription
A Powerful Budgeting Tool for Enterprises.
Centage’s Planning Maestro is a powerful cloud-based financial planning and budgeting software that delivers enterprise-grade financial analytics to its users.
Targeted at SMBs, it provides users with a robust solution for financial planning and helps them create viable budgets and build reliable financial forecasts.
Planning Maestro leverages the power of financial intelligence to analyze your financial data and uncover insights and opportunities to help you stick to your budgets. These financial models eliminate the guesswork as far as your finances are concerned.
Centage also ensures frictionless synchronization between all your financial accounts. This way, you can more easily and effortlessly compare and reconcile data from across your financial accounts and statements.
The platform delivers a comprehensive financial planning package by offering the ability to generate actionable reports. With its rich analytics, you gain important insights into your performance so that you can address existing and future planning challenges.
For pricing information on the basic and enterprise packages, you’ll need to contact the vendor. You can also sign up for a product demo to test-drive the product and see if it’s the right fit for your organization.
- Customer support is great
- Training is superb and the trainer will set up your financial report formats to match your statements
- The software generates accurate reports, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
- Can be hard to generate financial reports and statements that use proper accounting rules within Centage
Best Budgeting App for Simple Budgeting Needs.
The name might seem unusual but this app is smarter than you might give it credit for. The app, available for iOS, has already garnered a sizable following and generous heaps of praise in the media.
However, it’s easy to see why it’s such a hit: Wally can track all your accounts and payments, is compatible with 15,000 banks, can handle 60 currencies, and is available in 70 countries.
While Wally is generally regarded as a personal finance app, it is so much more than that. It is multi-faceted and offers functionality that can be used by all and sundry, including families, individuals, workers, and employees. In short, anyone who needs to keep an eye on their spending can use this app.
The Wally Gold plan offers some advanced tools such as advanced budgeting, currency conversion, and the ability to handle foreign accounts. But even the free version is packed with useful features such as joint and individual accounts, budget sharing, automatic syncing, lists, reminders, notes, and comments.
Wally offers two plans besides the free pan: the Wally Gold plan — which costs $24.99 a year or $1.99 per month — and the Wally Gold Lifetime plan — which costs $39.99 for lifetime access. There are in-app purchases, too. These include multiple currencies for $7.99, custom budgets for $5.99, and various other such offerings. You’ll need to factor these add-ons into the price if you need them.
- Free version is powerful enough for most people
- UI is well-designed and intuitive
- Only available on iOS
- Some of the functionalities are only available as in-app purchases
Best Budgeting App for Envelope-style Budgeting.
Mvelopes is a budgeting app based on the cash envelope budgeting system. It was created by Finicity, which is a fintech company owned by Mastercard.
The app syncs to all your financial accounts, showing transactions whenever you shop online, pay a bill, or swipe your credit card. The safety of your information is guaranteed as the app uses bank-level encryption.
Once you assign a transaction to an envelope, it automatically shows you how much you have left to spend in that category. And if you use cash for anything, you can enter the transaction information into the app manually.
There are various versions available to get started. For example, their Premier plan offers a Debt Roll-Down feature which allows users to input their debt total, and view several payoff options which you can then integrate into your envelope budgets.
The Plus plan offers financial advice from a personal financial trainer every quarter (that is, every three months).
Other benefits of the Mvelopes program include a comprehensive snapshot of your bank accounts and reports that detail metrics such as your envelope spending and funding, envelope balance, net worth over time, account balance, envelope spending per month, and many more.
Mvelopes comes in three plans: Mvelopes Basic, Mvelopes Premier, and Mvelopes Plus.
Mvelopes Basic costs $5.97 per month, while Mvelopes Premier costs $9.97 per month (or $99 per year); Mvelopes Plus costs $19.97 a month, or $199 per year.
Mvelopes offers no free plan but you do get a 30-day free trial of Mvelopes Premier.
- Mvelopes syncs with over 16,000 financial institutions
- Mvelopes is not free
Best Budgeting App for Couples.
Goodbudget is a budgeting software that’s accessible via a web browser and on mobile with iOS and Android apps. It helps you log and allocate your finances; all you need to sign up are an email address and a password.
The app is built on the envelope budgeting tactic. You start by creating your envelopes. Then you manually input your income, debts, cash amounts, and balances from each of your financial accounts. Finally, you’ll allocate money to each envelope.
Having set up the app, you simply log in the info every time you spend or receive money and see how it affects your budget in real-time.
The balance in each envelope is reflected by a colorful bar on the home screen that adjusts according to your activity. When this bar is green, it means there’s money left in the envelope. When it’s red, it means you’ve gone over budget.
Unlike most other budgeting apps, Goodbudget does not sync with your bank accounts or track transactions automatically for you.
However, you can still view transactions that you manually logged into the app and compare them to those in your bank statements. This way, you can spot discrepancies such as expenses you forgot to log or errors.
You can also schedule transactions for later and have email notifications sent to remind you of them.
Goodbudget comes in two plans: the free plan and the paid Plus plan, which costs $7 monthly or $60 annually.
The free plan allows only one financial account, two devices, 10 regular envelopes, 10 envelopes for goals and annual events, and storage for one year’s worth of transaction history.
The Plus plan allows unlimited financial accounts, five devices, unlimited envelopes, storage for seven year’s worth of transaction history, and priority support via email.
- Easy to use
- Breaks down your budget expense by expense and generates personalized reports
- You can access the app from multiple devices
- Free plan is restrictive
- Manually entering your transaction information is time-consuming and requires some diligence
Affordable Cloud-based Budgeting Solution for Businesses and Nonprofits.
PlanGuru is an affordable financial planning software for businesses and nonprofits. It helps finance professionals working on many projects or with many clients simplify complex budgeting and forecasting processes.
The on-premise accounting platform can perform projections and analysis that standard accounting software can’t. It can perform computations that are generally considered to be the preserve of full-scale ERP solutions that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and are complicated to install, use, and maintain.
You also have the option of cloud hosting, if you prefer that to on-premise installation.
PlanGuru offers out-of-the-box reports for budgeting & forecasting, profit & loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements that are highly regarded by industry professionals for their sophistication, accuracy, and customizability.
The software also handles accounts payable & receivable, depreciation, time & expense management, and general ledger pretty well. Plus, you can run projections or estimates of future staffing needs. This is something that most other accounting software can’t do.
It integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel and can help reconcile your banking records and credit card transactions to make sure that everything is accurate and up to date.
PlanGuru offers three packages that are available for a one-time licensing fee: PlanGuru Startup (which costs $99), PlanGuru Basic (which costs $399), and PlanGuru Enhanced (which costs $799).
- Offers powerful budgeting and forecasting features
- Offers a breakeven analysis feature
- Integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and Excel
- Requires some financial sophistication to use
Best Budgeting App for Managing Investments and Transactions.
Quicken is a budgeting app that’s been available for ages. In addition to a mobile app, it is also available on Windows and Mac, and there’s an online version if you prefer not to download anything to use it.
The Home Tab delivers a comprehensive overview of your finances. Newbies can learn how to get started with the wizard-style tutorial system. As you build up your data in Quicken, it becomes increasingly easy to manage your money.
Several other tabs help form a clearer picture of your financial standing such as the Spending tab, Bills and Income section, and so on. All of these tabs are reasonably easy to get the hang of.
Additionally, you can make Quicken truly yours with the available customization options.
The Quicken Starter plan is available for $35.99 a year. The Deluxe plan costs $46.79 a year, while the Premier plan will run you $70.19. Finally, the Home and Business Plan goes for $93.59.
- Offers great security with 256-bit encryption
- Works on a wide variety of platforms and operating systems
- You have the option to sync your bank accounts or not
- Interface is a pleasure to use and a delight to see
- Has some annoying quirks
- Costs add up over time
- Quite a learning curve to it
- Many worthy rivals give it a run for its money
11. Personal Capital
Best Budgeting App for Investment Tracking.
Personal Capital is a hybrid digital wealth management firm that offers a free online platform and mobile app for personal finance and investment management. While it does aggregate bank accounts and credit cards, its development priority is investing.
To get started, you’ll need to link as many of your bank and investment accounts (such as retirement accounts) as you like. With these connections established, Personal Capital can begin to function.
The app offers a budgeting function that allows you to set a monthly spending limit and track your spending. You can also see your savings and spending by category, date, or merchant.
It also provides a personal finance manager that automatically consolidates your income and expenses and then displays your cash flow data in easy-to-read charts.
Also, it generates a net worth report that puts all your balances, cash flow, and investments in one place. This section integrates with Zillow to give you daily updates on the value of your property.
The app is completely free to use. But the wealth management services come with a small fee that ranges from 0.88% for assets below $1 million to 0.49% for assets that exceed $10 million. The fees are completely worth it.
- Easy to use
- Offers secure login with two-factor authentication
- Completely free to use
- The wealth management services come with some hefty fees, but they are worth it
- Personal Capital will reach out to you to try to sell its wealth management services when your assets reach $100,000
Leading Provider of Corporate Performance Management and Business. Intelligence Solutions for Enterprises
Formerly known as Adaptive Insights, Workday Adaptive Planning provides cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) solution for budgeting, reporting, and forecasting.
With Adaptive Planning, you get everything you need to create an efficient financial planning process. You can collaborate more easily with financial partners, and you can analyze, model, and report on your organization’s financial performance on an ongoing basis.
Creating and editing reports is easy with the software’s drag-and-drop interface. You can create reports that give users a holistic overview of the business and reflect real-time data.
Also, you can create allocation rules that allow you to streamline the chain of reassigning values from one part of the company to other parts by replacing several complicated formulas.
Prices for Workday Adaptive Planning are only available on request. You’ll need to contact the vendor for a custom quote. You can also test-drive the platform with their 30-day free trial.
- Offers advanced financial intelligence
- Drag-and-drop interface is intuitive
- Reports functionality has some limitations and can be slow at times
- Data and multi-currency conversions can be glitchy
A Smart and Simple Online Accounting and Budgeting Tool for Small Business.
Since its inception, QuickBooks Online has seen some dramatic changes and improvements. It has a lot going for it and boasts an impressive feature list that includes strong reporting, inventory capabilities, over 650 integrations, support for multiple currencies, and customizable invoices, among others.
QuickBooks Online includes support for multiple budgets. You can create monthly, quarterly, or annual budgets. The software also allows you to use financial data from a previous year as a basis for your budget and run several budgeting reports. This feature is only available on the Plus and Advanced plans.
The platform also includes expense tracking. You can manually import your bank statements, add individual expenses, or enable live bank feeds. You can sort expenses into categories, create rules, and even attach receipts to expenses.
Although you still have to approve them manually, QuickBooks can automatically match transactions. Also, there’s now a receipt capture feature on offer.
QuickBooks Online has three pricing plans. The Simple Start plan costs $8 per month. QuickBooks Online’s Essentials plan costs $12.50 per month, while the Plus plan costs $17 per month.
Before purchasing QuickBooks Online, you must know that services like payroll, payment processing, custom invoice templates, and tax e-filing all come at an extra cost, and these costs can quickly add up.
- Easy to use
- Offers over 650 integrations to third-party applications
- Mobile apps are great
- Customer support is fair at best
- There are several cheaper alternatives to QuickBooks.
What is a Budgeting Software?
Budgeting software is any software that’s designed to help you create, manage, monitor, and make changes to your budget. Budgeting software examples range from the simplistic — such as Microsoft Excel — to the advanced — such as a full-blown ERP software from SAP.
Most people don’t often think about budgeting software, but they are one of the most important tools to help you achieve financial success.
Creating and sticking to a budget is notoriously difficult, and this is why budgeting software is useful for both individuals and businesses. They can help you reach financial goals, give you a long-term view of your financial position, analyze and keep track of your spending habits, and help you save for a rainy day.
Most budgeting software connects directly to your bank account. They essentially work like smart checkbooks that can automatically balance your accounts and help you find ways to save money.
Budgeting software has existed for a long time. Spreadsheets were one of the first computer programs ever created and they were quickly adopted as tools for balancing checkbooks. Since then, a lot has changed and budgeting software has now become more accessible, with offerings that allow access from any device at any time and place.
Benefits of Using a Budgeting App
If you’re still not sure of the importance of budgeting software, here are just five benefits for your consideration.
1. See All Your Financial Information in One Place
Nowadays, people have several financial accounts, including checking accounts, online savings accounts, emergency funds, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and even credit cards (on average, an American has four credit cards).
Keeping track of so many accounts can quickly turn into a nightmare without any tools to help you. Budgeting apps pull information from all your accounts and consolidate it onto a single dashboard. This way, you can see where you stand financially in a single glance.
2. Set Automatic Alerts
What good will budgeting apps do if you don’t remember to look at the app regularly? This is why most budgeting apps come with the ability to set automatic reminders that inform you of important events, even if you do not open the app.
A budgeting app can send you a notification if it notices an unusually large transaction on an account, helping you check for fraud.
Budgeting apps can also help you avoid late fees or missed payments that can affect your credit score negatively by sending an advance notification for impending due dates on bills.
Plus, they can also alert you if your checking accounts fall below a specified threshold that could lead to costly overdrafts.
3. Simplify Budgeting
Building a budget can be hard and following it, even more so. Besides the iron will you need to stick to your budget, you also need to track your spending, making a note of every expense or purchase.
With a budgeting app, half the job is done for you, as they automatically track your spending and neatly categorize your expenses. This frees you up to focus on staying disciplined with your budget.
4. Track Your Progress
Budgeting apps will help you keep track of your financial progress over the long term and also towards specific financial goals that you may have set. Some will even track your net worth over time so you can see how far you’ve come since you began using the app.
5. Avoid Errors
Financial mistakes can be very costly. A budgeting app can help prevent mistakes by giving you a greater awareness of your finances. You can better keep track of due dates for payments, track your checking account and credit account balances, and so on. Taking advantage of this benefit of budgeting apps is a smart idea.
Which Features Should I Look for in the Best Budgeting Software?
So, you understand the importance of budgeting and have joined the 74% of Americans that track their expenses with a budget. You also realize that budgeting by yourself without some help can feel like a course in high finance.
But no two budgeting apps are exactly alike, and they all come with different features that may or may not be useful to you. How then do you go about choosing a budgeting app that’s right for you?
To help you make the right choice, we’ve outlined the 12 must-have features of budgeting software below.
1. Syncing Data from Several FInancial Institutions
You can’t plan your finances if you don’t know where all your money is. With most people owning several financial accounts, manually keeping track of all your money across all your accounts can quickly become a nightmare. This is why it is important to choose budgeting software that automatically and seamlessly syncs information from all your accounts into a single dashboard.
2. Custom Reporting
With customizable reports, you can do everything from checking your net worth and investments to comparing your cash flow with your spending in real-time. You can subdivide your spending into categories like groceries, bills, etc., and sort transactions by payee, time, or account. Custom reporting can help you identify where you’re spending most of your money and where you can cut down on your spending.
3. Expense Tracking
Tracking your expenses in real-time is also very important. These automatic updates to your financial information are not only useful for reporting purposes but can also help you quickly respond to fraudulent activity on your financial accounts by deploying measures such as immediately alerting you to unusually large transactions.
4. Automatic Budget Creation
A good budgeting software should be able to automatically generate a budget for you based on your income and expenses, differentiate special investments from income, and even factor in retirement account contributions.
5. Exporting Financial Data to a Spreadsheet Software
Though this comes down to personal preference, there should be the option to export your data to spreadsheet software like Excel. Some people are just used to using spreadsheets, having spent the better part of their careers manipulating, filtering, and sorting data with spreadsheets.
6. Web and Mobile Applications
The convenience of being able to access your data from anywhere cannot be overstated, especially considering that we live in a mobile world. This explains why 63% of smartphone users have at least one financial app on their mobile devices. It is important to be able to move seamlessly from viewing your financial data on your mobile phone to a desktop or web browser.
7. Custom Alerts
Remembering to check your budget every time can be a draining chore and an unnecessary inconvenience. The ability to set custom alerts that remind you when you hit certain benchmarks — such as when you’re about to overspend or miss a payment — is a feature that any good budgeting software should have.
8. Bill Payments
A good budgeting software should provide a single interface from which you can pay bills from any of your financial accounts. It should also come with the ability to schedule recurring payments or make one-off payments.
9. Investment Management Features
Just like being able to track all your spending across accounts in one place is beneficial, being able to track all your investments across multiple brokerage accounts in one place is also beneficial. You can monitor the performance of your investment portfolio without having to switch platforms.
10. Net Worth Tracking
Net worth tracking is another important function. It can be overwhelming to manually compute your debt and assets in a bid to estimate your net worth. Having your budgeting app do that for you can be a time and effort saver.
11. Cash Flow and Balance Projection
Once you get comfortable with creating and using budgets, you may want to take things a step further by preparing cash flow and balance projections. Beyond automatically creating a budget based on your income and expenses, your budgeting software should also be able to forecast how much you’ll have saved by a certain date. This way, you can time and hit your financial goals.
12. Ease of Use and Simplicity
The importance of this cannot be overstated. What good are all the other features if you’re discouraged from using the app because it’s not easy to use? Your chosen budgeting app must be reliable, easy to use, and simple to understand.
Budgeting Software FAQ
A budgeting app can help you rein in your spending and get your personal finances in order. There are several options for budgeting apps, and each offers a unique feature set designed to appeal to a specific audience.
While they’re all designed for general personal budgeting, each one of them has something unique to offer. Some may specialize in expense tracking, while others specialize in forecasting. Some may be better at assigning a job to every dollar in your financial accounts, others may be better at alerting you when you get dangerously close to overspending.
Budgeting app prices range widely. There are completely free budgeting apps such as Mint and Personal Capital which respectively make money by recommending financial products and charging a fee for investment management services.
Then there’s full-scale ERP software that’s designed to meet the budgeting needs of large organizations and costs tens of thousands of dollars. In between, there are several other options, all of which come in at different price points.
A budgeting app helps you plan your financial future while accounting software helps you look into your financial past.
In other words, budgeting software is forward-thinking, while accounting software can help you analyze how well you’ve stuck to your budget in the past.
If you use a reputable budget tracker, then your information is perfectly safe on budgeting apps. While these apps generally sync with your financial accounts to provide up-to-date information on the app, they only have “read-only” access.
So, they can see your financial information but can’t make any changes (such as transferring money without your consent).
As a security measure, budgeting apps store your financial information on their company servers. This is to ensure that if someone were to steal your phone, they won’t have access to all your financial information.
The app may show your budget and financial history but not your login details. Even if someone were able to hack into your app, they still won’t be able to hack into your bank accounts.
Which Budgeting Software Tool Should I Choose
The budgeting software or app you should choose ultimately comes down to your needs. What features are most important to you? Expense tracking or custom alerts? Financial projections or investment management?
Whatever your needs are, you must compare the features of each option that’s available to you and choose the one that most closely matches your needs.
These are our recommendations:
- Our overall top recommendation for personal finance is Mint. For free, it offers a feature set that rivals many other paid options out there.
- For investment management and net worth tracking, it’s hard to beat Personal Capital.
- If expense tracking is a priority to you, you should consider PocketGuard.
- SMBs will have a hard time finding a better alternative to Scoro for their budgeting needs.
- And if simplicity is paramount to you, then Wally may just be the best option for you.