Make The Most Of Your Money With 5 FREE Budgeting Apps That WORK
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How do YOU budget?
We’d all like to be a little bit better with our money, right? But between the holidays to unexpected expenses, that goal can start to slip out of reach. Here are some awesome apps available to help you take control of your financial wellness… and the best part? They’re FREE!
For those looking to save more money
This is probably the easiest setup of all the apps mentioned in this post. After logging in, you connect your checking account… and that’s it! You can set your own goals, but you’re given a “Rainy Day” account by default – and in my opinion, one general account is really all you need. After analyzing your income and spending habits, the app secretly transfers bits of money from your checking account to your Digit account.
While I like the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality of this app, I was slightly worried at first how these savings transfers would affect my bank account. Thankfully, Digit has a policy of unlimited withdrawals and a no-overdraft guarantee, making this app perfect for anyone looking to save money without having to think about it.
User-friendly, engaging visuals, all-encompassing
Mint is my budgeting app of choice and I’ve been using it for around 8 years now! Just sync all of your financial accounts in the app (whether they’re checking accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, investments, etc.), and Mint streamlines them in one visible space. You can create budgets, set goals, monitor spending, view transactions, and review vital spending information in easy to use breakdowns and charts.
Hip Tip: With SO much information available at a glance, access account overviews on the website instead of your tiny mobile screen for a clear view of everything.
Based on the envelope budgeting method
What’s so good about GoodBudget is that it’s a virtual envelope system and it doesn’t require you to actually sync up your financial accounts. Having a digital envelope system is great for people who tend to make more purchases with credit cards rather than cash.
You simply open the app, create your envelopes (some example envelopes are pre-installed), and add transactions as they occur. You can also control when the envelopes are “refilled”. With your free account, you have 10 monthly envelopes for budgets like groceries, gas, and bills, along with 10 annual envelopes (great for vacation savings or holiday gifts). Adding the transactions is pretty simple, and you can even split the transaction between multiple envelopes. Once you log your transactions, you can view the breakdown of your spending with colorful, easy to read charts.
Aims to reduce subscription spending and expenses
Similar to Mint, Clarity Money gives you the full picture of what’s happening between all of your financial accounts. After downloading the app, you create an account and sync in your financials. From there, the main screen is a clear overview of your cash, debt, and recent transactions. Clarity Money also gives you your location’s weather right at the top – not really helpful when it comes to financial wellness, but it is convenient.
My favorite feature (and most guilt-ridden) is the “What did I spend on” block. You pick the store and the time frame that you want to analyze, and then you can view the total amount spent along with a breakdown of the transactions. This app’s real claim to fame is the helpful advice on how to rid users of wasteful spending, lower bills, and find better deals on credit cards and other services. The app even has a live chat feature should you need any assistance navigating the interface.
Simple budgeting with a clean interface
Treat your cash like, well, cash! PocketGuard takes the information from your synced financial accounts to give you the scenario of what “cash” would be in your pocket. Like the rest of the apps, adding financial accounts is pretty easy. Once added, PocketGuard helps determine which transactions are reoccurring so you can easily identify bills and subscriptions.
This app is pretty no-nonsense and straightforward, and I really like that you can categorize transactions with #hashtags to group spending that may not fall into a typical monthly budget. For example, you can use #DisneyTrip to categorize expenses for an upcoming vacation or #ChristmasGifts for higher-than-usual spending around the holidays. The basic version of the app is free (and really has all you need), but you can upgrade to add in a “Cash” account for any money you don’t have tied to an online banking system.
Do you find budgeting apps helpful? How do you manage your money?