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Balancing checkbooks and planning budgets is less complicated than in past decades. You no longer need physical receipts or bank books, especially with the advent of online platforms and apps that link bank accounts, investment portfolios, and more. Often with just one tool, you can manage all of your finances in one place. Read our guide to find the best money management app that works for you.
Best Money Management Apps to Keep a Budget
You can’t be in control of your finances if you don’t know how much you have and where it is going. Enter budgeting apps. These apps can save you from having to log every dime you make and every cent you spend. They are often automated and can link all of your bank accounts. They can do all the work for you, showing you where you could save and giving you tips about how.
EveryDollar is a product of money guru Dave Ramsey. The app uses Ramsey’s methods and teachings. This free tool creates a monthly budget for you in less than 10 minutes. It’s easy to use. Simply enter your monthly income, plan your expenses using a customizable template, and track your spending. The tool is available for iOS and Android.
And with the premium version, tracking your spending is even easier because the tool does it for you when you connect the app to your bank account. It includes extra tools to learn more about budgeting, including creating good money habits and saving. You can try the premium version of the app free for 14 days, after which it costs $129.99 annually.
YNAB stands for “You Need a Budget.” Its software is aimed at teaching you the four rules of successful budgeting, which are:
- Give every dollar a job.
- Embrace your true expenses. (It’s eye-opening to find out where your money is really going.)
- Roll with the punches if you overspend.
- Age your money. (By spending less, your bank account balance grows over time; your money gets old. This means instead of living pay to paycheck, you try to keep your money in the bank for more than a month.)
The app includes a 20-minute video about how it all works with step-by-step instructions. There are free workshops and videos offered every month so you can learn the entire art of budgeting. You can try YNAB free for 34 days — enough time to let you see how an entire month looks. And then it is $11.99 per month or $84 annually.
Best Money Management Apps for Easy Saving
Once your debt is controlled and you are following a budget, the next step in financial freedom is building wealth by saving and investing. Here are our top recommended apps for saving and investing:
Like the spare change options for debt, Acorns does the same for savings, growing your spare change like acorns grow into trees over time. The money rounded up through Acorns gets put into a portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your pennies can grow into a true investment account. It’s just $1 to $5 per month to use this platform, depending on which features you sign up for.
The Personal platform, at $3 a month, includes an online bank account and access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs. This account comes with a checking account and a retirement account to really help you save.
This banking platform provides interest on your checking account — which is practically unheard of — along with automatic savings. You earn 0.20% APY as of Jan. 1, 2021, on all your money in the account. There are no minimum balances, no overdraft fees, and up to three fee reimbursements for ATMs each month.
As a banking app, it provides an accessible look at your spending by categories so you can keep track of your finances. If you set a savings target, Empower will automatically save for you. The app is free for the first 14 days and then $8 per month.
The Digit saving app helps you save for multiple goals. Your goals can include saving for a vacation or down payment for a house, paying down student loans and credit cards, and creating an emergency fund.
The app works by analyzing what you spend through the accounts you link to it and saves what you can afford — it does all of the work! There is no account minimum and you can withdraw your funds whenever you want. The platform is $5 per month after a free 30-day trial.
Best Money Management Apps to Track Expenses
Tracking your expenses is a big part of budgeting. The best money management apps will go above and beyond by categorizing your expenses for you and making sure you have receipts and itemized lists of where your money is going. Here are some of our favorites:
One of the top-rated money-management apps (also viewable on desktop) is Personal Capital. This app gives you a dashboard showing all of your connected accounts, including debts and investments. And with this snapshot, you will see your net worth on a daily basis.
Not only can you budget using Personal Capital, but you can also use its retirement planner tool with hypothetical scenarios to help you have a more realistic view of what you need to retire. For investing, the platform has experienced financial advisors who can provide you a free portfolio review. The app is free, although if you invest and need an advisor, you’ll pay fees.
Simplifi by Quicken
Simplifi was created by the folks behind Quicken — one of the oldest and easiest money-management platforms. So you know you can trust this personal finance app. It’s not Quicken, nor is it connected to any Quicken account you may have. Instead, this simple tool lets you see all of your accounts in one place and stay on top of your spending and saving.
With this app, you link your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments in one place. Then you get a consolidated look at your finances and can see where you are falling short and where you may be able to save. The app includes tools to help you reach the goals you have, such as putting money aside for a vacation or the down payment on a new home. The platform is free the first month, then it’s $3.99 per month or just $2.99 per month if you pay annually.
Mint is part of Intuit, the company behind TurboTax, QuickBooks, and ProConnect. The app makes managing your money easy. It consolidates your accounts in one place and shows you balances on each, as well as your daily credit score.
Create budgets easily using the guided software. And Mint’s algorithms watch your spending and make suggestions on where you can save. Beyond budgeting, Mint can connect you to credit cards, loans and investment accounts best suited for you. It’s all free, although you can upgrade to a model that provides credit monitoring services for $16.99 per month.
Best Money Management Apps to Get Out of Debt
While budgeting apps will be able to show you where your money is going, certain apps work with you to get your debt under control. These may simply set reminders and pay bills but some will feature debt payoff calculators to show scenarios to get out of debt fastest.
For those with student loan debt, ChangEd works to pay off this debt quickly by rounding up your spending to the next dollar and using all the “change” to eat away at your debt. Every time you hit $5 worth of change, ChangEd sends a payment.
Without even noticing it since its spare change, your debt will go away quicker than if you paid only the minimum payment. And you can track your progress using the app. Family can also contribute if they’d like. And you earn points when you reach milestones or refer friends. It costs only $3 a month.
Similarly, Qoins rounds up your spare change for any debt you want to target, helping you save 50¢ to $5 every few days to chip away at your loans or credit card debt. It claims its service pays off your debt 10 times faster than minimum payments. Qoins charges $2.99 every time it sends a payment.
Best Money Management Apps for Freelancers
If you are self-employed or freelancing, keeping track of your work finances can be harried work. You have to manage invoices, expenses and payroll (for yourself). Thankfully, there are apps that do the accounting for you, so you can focus on growing your business.
You don’t have to worry about your expenses when you use Expensify. Just scan your receipts into the app and it automatically categorizes them for you. The free accounts give you up to 25 scans per month plus automatic mileage tracking.
$4.99 per month gives you unlimited scans. Or sign up for the Submit Plan, also just $4.99 per month. This gets you unlimited scans, auto-categorization, and mileage tracking, plus a way to auto-submit reports to accountants, managers, and others.
To use the mileage tracking, hit a GPS button on your app and it records it for you. You can also receive travel notifications for flights, with delays or changes sent directly to your phone. It’s like having your own personal assistant.
Whether it’s just you or you own a small business, Wave is designed for entrepreneurs. This accounting software manages your income and expenses and can work with payroll, payments and invoicing — and most of its services are free.
You can work with Wave on your computer or your iOS or Android device. And your account has unlimited connections for bank and credit cards. Set up bill and invoice reminders and keep track of the status of invoices. The app even accepts payments and gives you your money within two days of receipt, although there’s a payment processing fee.
Find a Money Management App That Works for You
From budgeting to saving, from lowering debt to paying bills, money management apps take on the burden for you in easy-to-manage and understandable platforms for your computer, tablet or smartphone. Using these will make gaining control of your finances a piece of cake.