7 Best Free Budget Apps (Transform Your Finances in 2020)
The Best Free Money Management Apps (for iPhone and Android)
Need an easier way to keep track of your personal expenses this year?
Find the solution you’re looking for on this list of the best budget apps for 2020.
Okay, admit it!
It’s hard to not overspend when you’re living on a budget. And it’s even harder to stay in the green when you’re not keeping track of your budget.
While there are many different ways to monitor your finances, like with a personal finance app or a printable budget template…
Many people still fall into the trap of thinking – “I can stay on top of my spending just by monitoring my bank account online, no biggie.”
I’ve been there! And let me tell you that:
I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at my checking account, thought to myself, hey I have more money than I thought, and then proceeded to spend it on something unnecessary.
A day or two later I’d be thinking, yikes, when I peeked at my account again and the number was lower than I expected.
That’s because some purchases I made would be pending for days before they cleared. Leaving me with a higher account balance until then and luring me into a false sense of spending security…
To say the least, it was an annoying problem to have.
And, yet I never seemed to learn my lesson:
No matter how many times I told myself I would keep better track of my purchases next time, it happened over and over.
Does that sound like a familiar story?
Kind of makes you wonder if there’s a better way, and it turns out there is.
Apps for Managing Money
Thankfully by now, I’ve moved past that phase in my life.
I’m long over the flying by the seat of my pants budgeting method and I’ve moved on to more sophisticated techniques.
The best part is:
I can do it all from my smartphone with a good budget app.
In this mobile world:
Having certain apps can make your life A LOT easier.
There are TONS of apps for budgeting and saving. Where do you even begin to decide which ones are best?
I mean, if you look in the App Store…
There are OVER money management apps 700 options to choose from!
That’s way too many to try on your own and we all know that some apps are just a waste of time.
Better than Just Good Budget Apps
In today’s post, I’ve sifted through all those apps to bring you a list of the best personal expense tracking apps
You’ll find only the most useful tools for taking control of your finances.
And, even better:
All of the ones rounded up here are free budget apps, or at the minimum, they offer a free trial.
Some apps have a premium version available for a price, however, for everyday home budgeting – you can definitely get away with using just the free version.
Personal Expense Tracker Apps in This Post:
- Best “not too complicated, not too simple” app: Spending Tracker
- Best Premium Version personal finance app: You Need a Budget
- The best new app, it makes you actually want to budget: Pluto Money
- Best personal expense app for handling shared expenses: Splitwise
- Best versatile budget tool: Money Manager Expense & Budget
- App with the best track record for handling finances: Mint
- Best simplified budgeting app experience: iSpending
The Best (Free) Budget Apps
*This list is not in order from best to worst or vice versa. These are all great apps for managing money! I suggest choosing one that best fits your own personal needs and preferences.
1. Spending Tracker
First up on our list of the best money management apps is – Spending Tracker.
Spending Tracker is what I would call a to the point app for keeping tabs on your current balance. It provides a good all-around snapshot of your finances and allows plenty of room for customization.
- Easy to use with its user-friendly interface.
- Weekly, monthly and yearly budget tracking options.
- A summary overview which gives users the ability to check out previous spending/plan ahead for the future.
- Quick transaction entries for logging income and expenses as you go.
- It breaks down spending and income into categories for further personal finance organization.
- It creates visual reports with graphs and charts.
Who Would Love This Budgeting App: Someone who wants an app that can give them an in-depth look at their spending habits and is willing to put in the work to maximize their budget.
2. You Need a Budget App (YNAB)
The You Need a Budget app, also known as the shortened acronym YNAB, has all the bells and whistles when it comes to personal expense tracking software.
It’s a flexible tool that can help you tackle getting out of debt, break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and reduce money-related stress.
Essentially, it has users assign “a job” to every dollar as a form of category organization. It’s the ultimate plan ahead budget app.
Students can even get 12 months of use for free.
- Bank Syncing is an option that makes transactions tracking happen automatically.
- Can be used with a partner because your budget data is available across multiple devices (mobile & desktop).
- Allows users to track goals.
- Detailed reports give your progress a visual component.
- 24/7 customer support.
Who Would Love This App: Someone who wants to go WHOLE hog with their budget planning and management. Someone who wants no extra feature to be spared and appreciates not having to enter every transaction manually.
3. Pluto Money
Pluto Money is a newer app for managing your money.
It launched in 2017, but it’s already been a hit with the college crowd. It takes a new spin on budgeting apps by including challenges and a gaming or social media type feel to it.
And for being completely free to use, it offers a lot of value. The biggest drawback is that, at this point in time, it’s an iOs app only.
- Anonymous comparisons to peer finances, a tool that can be used for motivation.
- Automatic transaction tracking and spending categorization.
- Tailored challenges to help you progress towards your goals.
- Allows users to easily search for transactions and see their totals.
- Alerts for payday reminders, bill due dates, goals, challenges and how many more times you can spend before you go over budget.
Who Would Love This App: It’s meant for college students, but really it would work for anyone who particularly appreciates a visually pleasing user experience. Great for beginners who are intimidated by more technical looking apps, the interface makes budgeting look more appealing and manageable to younger generations.
Splitwise is a great app to use when you share expenses with someone/s, like roommates or friends.
Keeping the who’s responsible for what record straight can save you a lot of grief and arguments. It’s a useful way to make sure everyone gets paid back.
- Integrates with PayPal and Venmo.
- Each user can add expenses and keep track of their balance.
- Allows users to keep track of any expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, etc.
- Friendly email reminders and notifications.
Who Would Love This Expense Tracker App: Someone often splits bills with other people and wants an easy way to introduce accountability with a neutral, third party system.
5. Money Manager App
It’s not all that well known, but at the time of me writing this post – it’s actually the first budget app that appears in under Top Apps in the Google Play Store.
It’s easy to use and allows you to customize the settings to your liking. The app focuses on creating visuals instead of just numbers.
It has many rave reviews saying this is the app they’ve been searching for all along!
- Has the ability to output data into an Excell sheet.
- Allows linkage to credit/debit cards for automatic expense tracking, plus you can connect multiple accounts (up to 10 for the free version).
- Features are highly customizable.
- Support for multiple currencies.
- PC management is available for the Pro version.
Who Would Love This App: Someone who has tried a few budgeting apps but hasn’t been 100% satisfied yet at the selection of features other apps offer. Someone who deals with money in foreign currencies and wants one app that can manage it all.
The Mint app has been around the block and it’s a top contender in the popularity contest, if not THE top contender.
Including it on my list of the best budget apps for 2020 was a no brainer. The value it offers for users is undeniable.
It has a beautiful, user-friendly interface that includes many different tools for handling your finances with ease.
But it was developed a while ago and it’s not without its bugs.
- On the go app version and a desktop version are available.
- Bill reminders to help you avoid missed payments/late fees.
- Offers a more complete picture of your financial standings with credit scores, account balances, spending, net worth and more.
- Allows you to link accounts for auto tracking of expenses.
Who Would Love This Personal Expense Tracking App: Someone who prefers to use tried and true, beaten paths over newer ones. Someone who uses a mainstream bank and phone that can easily link up to the app.
iSpending is a budgeting app that is simplicity at it’s finest.
It has a no-frills approach to handling money.
It doesn’t offer syncing with bank or credit card accounts, but it does get the job done. It’s a good option if you prefer to take a more hands-on approach.
- Not confusing, very straightforward to use.
- Customizable categories.
- Data can be exported through email.
- It has a search tool to make sorting through transactions a quick process.
- Generates multiple graph reports.
Who Would Love This App: Someone who wants functionality without all the extras. Someone who’s liked using Excel sheets for tracking their finances.
I searched long and far over the expanses of the internet to bring you not just good apps for managing money, but the best apps for budgeting.
I sifted out the ones that had lots of bad (recent) reviews, too many complaints of bug/issues and ones with exorbitant or funky fees. I didn’t want to include any apps that were, well for a lack of a better word – just shit.
Doing all that research and compiling it certainly took me a minute to complete.
There are SO many apps out there, it’s hard to know which ones are best. So it’s possible I may have missed a diamond in the rough.
Let me know how I did or if I missed a really great app by leaving a comment below.
What’s your pick for the best budget app this year?
Related articles about budgeting & saving money:
- Free Budget Template for College Students (4 Colors!)
- Budgeting for college students: 12 actionable tips
- 5 Apps That Will Save You a Ton of Money
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- 50 budget-friendly date ideas for a fun night in
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