According to a recent study, 68% of Americans are worried they won’t be able to cover just one month of living expenses should they lose their primary source of income tomorrow. And, with the recent verdict from the Supreme Court striking down student loan forgiveness, many people are worried about the state of their personal finances.
Personal budgeting apps can help you track your spending habits, learn about investing, pay your bills, and share expenses with a partner, family member, or roommate. Whether you’re looking to build healthy spending habits, pay down debt, or save for a rainy day, the apps below can help.
Mint, a personal budgeting app by Intuit, is free and easy to use. It can connect checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and bills in one dashboard to help you see trends across transactions. It also offers a credit score tracker to help you build your credit.
Mint works by categorizing every payment you make and receiving it into budget categories. You can use Mint’s pre-set categories or create your own based on your habits. Each month, you set a spending limit for each category. Mint will alert you if you’re getting close to that limit. Some users may find this unhelpful; if you prefer to plan ahead with your spending, rather than track it after the fact, you may want to use another app on this list.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
YNAB employs the inverse approach to Mint, using a method known as “zero-based budgeting.”
“Basically, you’ll set your budget categories after creating your account using default and custom options, syncing your bank accounts for accurate cash flow tracking,” according to Money Under 30. “Then, you’ll allocate a portion of your paycheck to each category until you’re left with $0. You’ll budget for monthly bills, savings goals, and anything else you want to prioritize.”
YNAB has a steeper learning curve than Mint. You will tell the app how much of your income should go toward expenses, savings, and other goals. The website offers resources to help you figure out the ins and outs of its personal budgeting app. But, YNAB is also more expensive than other apps on this list, starting at $14.99 a month.
If you like YNAB’s approach but don’t want to pay for a personal budgeting app, try EveryDollar. EveryDollar uses a basic zero-based budgeting framework. The free version won’t automatically sync your spending from your accounts. Instead, you’ll have to manually enter your incoming and outgoing payments. It offers ways to categorize your budget and set reminders for bill payments. Upgrade to the paid feature to get more capabilities.
Zeta is a free budgeting app designed specifically for couples, even if you don’t share joint finances. Whatever shape or form your family takes — partners who are living together, engaged, married, or new parents — Zeta is designed to suit an array of budgeting needs. It allows you to track spending, see your combined (and individual) net worth, manage bills, and sign up for a joint banking account.
Finally, PocketGuard can help you gain insight into your cash flow by syncing every bank account, credit card, loan, and investment account you have. “The company uses an algorithm to track income, expenses, and savings goals to tell you how much you can spend every day. These spending limits make it easier to quit overspending and take control of your financial goals,” according to Investopedia. PocketGuard is easy to use and has a free version. If you want a hands-off approach to managing your budget, it may be your best bet.