If the thought of budgeting and living within your means brings up feelings of hostility, then let technology become a soothing balm. The best personal finance app is out there. It’s just waiting for you to discover its features, helpful push notifications and awesome algorithms. The top 10 best personal finance apps range from Wally to Acorns.
Wally’s goal is to bring the details of your personal finances to light. It does this by giving you a tool that lets you track all of your financial accounts in one location. Use this app to balance your earnings and your expenditures. When it comes to your money, Wally will tell you:
• Where you spend it
• Why you’re spending it
• What you’re spending it on
• Who you were with when you spent it
Wally is more than just one of the best budget apps since it has the technical chops to become your own personal yearbook. To turn it into one, upload pictures and tag your family members and friends. It even has a feature that lets you add commentary to your spending records and pictures to enhance your memory of your daily life.
If you have concerns about government surveillance, then you may never use the app’s location-based feature. However, if you decide to embrace technology by activating this service, Wally will automatically determine where you are. The app will label the area leaving you with the easy task of just entering in the amount that you spent.
The app’s programming also comes with adaptable technology. This handy feature lets the app learn about your money handling ways and spending habits. It won’t order your favorite drink at dinner, but it will display a detailed infographic of how you spend your money from month-to-month. This app is available for both Android and iOS. It’s also free.
With its clean design and welcoming pie chart, BUDGT is the best personal finance app for you if managing money makes you impatient. Open the program to input new charges, update your income and stay on top of your daily spending activities. It will also display all of your month-to-date expenses. While the BUDGT app will help you manage everything that this type of program should, it doesn’t come with the extended features that many of the other apps offer. If an abundance of options and categories overwhelms you and discourages you from using a program, then you’ll appreciate the simple countenance of the BUDGT app. However, if you prefer a few bells and whistles, then this program may not be the right one for you. The benefits of this app are its:
• Intuitive navigation
• Customizable category option
• Pleasant presentation
If you consistently use the BUDGT app, it will help you stay current on your bills. Select this program when you want to keep your personal money management tasks as easy as possible.
BudgetBakers is the company behind the Wallet app, and it is glorious. This helpful financial-based app is available for Android and iOS. It will:
• Help you manage your budget
• Track your charges
• Make your financial status clear
Use the Wallet app to set your monthly income and build your budget. Once you’ve input your expenses, the app will oversee your regular bills. If you’ve chosen Android as your operating system, you’ll have access to the app’s better budget management version.
When you download the Wallet app, a few features are sure to stand out. One benefit is the app’s security setup. The company reports that all of the information that it stores on its servers is protected with encryption. To access your records through the program, you’ll need to create a traditional username and password. The cloud-syncing feature is another part of this app that you’ll especially appreciate. Cloud computing lets you sync your financial data online and across your devices, so you can manage your money whenever or wherever you are.
With Wallet downloaded to your smartphone, you’ll always know where you stand with your finances. It will also help you avoid the expense and discomfort that comes from getting behind on your bills. If you tend to be distrustful about the benefits of budgeting, then this app will change your mind.
With its useful family sharing feature and income syncing option, the Home Budget app will help you begin the quest of living within your means. Like many of the other personal finance apps, Home Budget has an easy-to-use budget system. This one will let you oversee your income. It will also track and categorize the purchases that you make over time. To help you see how you’re spending your money, the app uses a mix of charts, infographics and itemized purchase lists.
This app’s main benefit is the family sharing feature because you can use it to coordinate your budget and spending habits with other members of your family. The company exceeded our expectations with this option since not only can you align your budgets and expenses, but you can also do so through different devices like your iPhone, Android or iPad. Once you’ve activated the sync feature, your devices will coordinate automatically. Under the app’s expenses category, you’ll be able to:
• Form, modify and delete your monthly and recurring expenses
• Add photo receipts
• Review your expenses based on month or category
• Assign accounts to different family members
The Home Budget with Sync app will cost you a few bucks, but a sample version is available free if you want to try it.
Mint is an app that operates a lot like Quicken. To determine if this is the right app for you, Intuit lets you test it out with a few accounts before committing. This app requires major trust on your part because you’ll be sharing the details of your bank, credit card and loan accounts. However, by sharing this information, the app can update all of your data every time you access it. Of all the apps that we reviewed, this is the only one that offers this feature, so it literally has your most current financial information. Use Mint to:
• Develop your financial goals
• Budget your monthly and yearly finances
• Manage your accounts in one system
If you find it especially painful to budget and track your money, then this program is waiting for you to pass the baton. Once you download and coordinate your transactions, the app will automatically sort them into preset categories. If you want it to be more detailed, add a few of your own subcategories. You won’t be able to change the system’s main ones though. Mint is best for making financial goals and inspiring you to stick to a budget.
As one of the industry’s best personal finance apps, Spendbook makes it easy to record and track your monthly charges. With this program, you’ll be using a swipe motion to add or change your income and expenses. Like most of the other apps, you can take pictures of your receipts, and the app will manage them for you. Infographics and charts provide a visual of how you spend your money, so if you frequently give into your impulse to eat out, then you’ll have a clear visual of that on both your smartphone and scale.
If you’re into micromanaging, then you’ll want this app for its subcategories feature. This part of the app lets you tag expenses with specifics. For instance, if you pay for transportation, you can record it as a bus, taxi or subway ride. If you order a drink, then you can label it as alcohol, soft drinks, tea or coffee. Every transaction is:
• Displayed in chronological order
• Titled with its name
• Labeled with an icon
This detailing makes it easy for you to stay on top of your money. If you’ve added notes to any expense, it will appear beneath the name of the transaction. A downside of the app is that if you add a photo receipt, you won’t be able to see it on the transaction list. Despite a few negatives, the Spendbook app is practical and easy to use. If your operating system is offering a promotion, you may be able to download it free. Otherwise, this app is $1.99.
7. Level Money
Even if your finances are relatively straightforward, you can benefit from a personal finance app. Level Money is the program for those with basic expenses. Once you input your income and outgoing charges, the program will make a budget for you. The app will even determine the amount that you can safely spend each day, week and month. Level Money has a handy feature that allows it to connect to your:
• Checking account
• Savings account
• Credit card accounts
It uses the connection feature to calculate each month’s key figures. When you access the app, it will also display a clear comparison chart. Use this diagram to see the amount that you’re spending from month-to-month. For instance, you can check the chart to see how much those green tea Frappuccino’s from Starbucks set you back this month compared to last.
For security, the app has read-only access, and it won’t be able to move your money around to different accounts. You can feel secure with this program because it cannot record your credit card or checking account numbers. Level Money’s biggest shortcoming is that is doesn’t give you a way to track and oversee your financial goals, but it is a good choice if your finances are simple. This app is available for Android or iPhone, and it is also one of the top free apps.
While the personal finance industry has programmed a large number of apps for the iPhone, if you’re still searching for a favorite, then Spendee is worth checking out. Its user interface is truly awesome. In fact, as the app’s bright colors and custom buttons appear, you may actually enjoy activating it to see how much money you don’t have. The program’s clear formatting makes it easy to add new expenses or income, and once you tap in a dollar amount, just assign it a category from the app’s list. Spendee also has a recurring expense option for convenience. The app’s nifty features consist of its:
• Multiple currencies option
• Custom wallet category
• Joint account component
Consistent use of the program will net you a nice financial history that shows you where your funds are going and if you have the regular income to cover them. Charts and graphs provide a visual element while the photo receipt feature is a real boon if you tend to rely on your smartphone to manage your daily life. As one of the best budgeting apps, this may be the one that puts you on the right financial track.
You’ll want this one if you travel for business. Expensify is all about expense reports. Use it to track:
• Photo receipts
• Credit card charges
The app has an option that lets you import travel expense charges from your credit card. You’ll need this feature for IRS verification purposes. While this feature is handy, the program’s best element is called Smart Scan. You’ll use this clever tool to take a photo of a business receipt. The program will then read it and automatically formulate the transaction as a business expense. It will process a few of these free each month. If you complete a lot of business travel, you may want to spring for the upgraded version of the program to get more. With the app, you’ll also gain input selections for:
• Travel mileage
• Rate-based expenses
• Currency conversion
The app comes with a tag feature for expenses, and this makes them easier to categorize. If your employer has a specific report for you to use for business travel expenses, then you can just transfer them from the app to your report. Expensify is downloadable on your Android or iOS device.
This app is different from the other personal finance apps that we’ve reviewed, but we decided to include this one because it can help you manage your retirement. For many people, investing is intimidating. It’s complicated, and it requires you to know the rules. Acorns does away with all of that by suggesting specific portfolios and maintaining them with automatic rebalancing and through dividend reinvesting.
The app lets you link a credit or debit card. It will then accumulate your “spare change” from the purchases that you make every day. To do this, it rounds up every charge. The app combines this extra money and invests it for you. Five different investing goals are available. They are:
• Short-term investing
• Long-term investing
• Major purchase
You can choose to invest conservatively or aggressively. You will also need to share your social security number with the program for verification, fraud prevention and tax reporting purposes. If it’s time to start considering how you’re going to pay for your retirement years, try out the Acorns app. It may give you the push that you need to get started.
To find the best app for your lifestyle, experiment with a few to see how they work. Since most personal finance apps are free or reasonably priced, it won’t be a big loss to delete one from your smartphone or wireless device if it just isn’t working out for you. Just like life, the apps on this list are only as good as you make them.
1. Charissa, “Wally App Review, Personal Finance App,” genxfinance.com, 2014
2. Thorin Klosowski, “BUDGT is a Simple Budget-Tracking App that Easily and Quickly Manages Your Expenses,” lifehacker.com, February 21, 2013
3. Jordan Minor, Jeffrey L. Wilson, “Google Wallet,” pcmag.com, December 15, 2015
4. Lance Davis, “Best iPhone Personal Finance Apps,” bankrate.com, 2016
5. Larry Ludwig, “Review of Mint.com – Should I Use Mint?,” investorjunkie.com, March 7, 2016
6. 4. Spendbook—Christine Chan, “Keep Tabs on Your Money with the Beautiful Spendbook on iPhone,“ appadvice.com,” June 10, 2014
7. Jill Duffy, “Level Money (For iPhone)," pcmag.com, January 28, 2016
8. Shep McAllister, “Spendee Tracks Your Expenses with a Gorgeous, Frictionless Interface,” lifehacker.com, July 21, 2013
9. Toni McQuilken, “Expensify is one of the Best Expense Account Management Apps out There!,” androidtapp.com, October 3, 2012
10. Carrie Smith, “Acorns App Review - Using Your Spare Change to Invest,” investorjunkie.com, March 21, 2016