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10 Best Budget Apps for Your New Year Savings Goals
“What is my credit score?”
“Should I start investing or planning for retirement?”
“Are my spending and saving habits off-balance?”
“Can I afford to splurge on a vacation this year?”
If you’re struggling to answer these questions and take control of your finances, then budgeting is an important skill to prioritize in 2018. Even if you’re out of practice or have no experience in this area, anyone can learn to create—and stick with—a monthly budget.
If you’re too uncertain to jump in with a spreadsheet and raw data, use the following apps to get started with the basics, organize the information, and teach you the finer points of money management as you progress—all from the convenience of a mobile device.
This app is a cash envelope system in digital format. Within this framework, money is allocated into various categories such as groceries, insurance, mortgage, utilities, transportation and entertainment. Once the set amount has been used in a given category, that area of spending is no longer available to you until the budget starts fresh next month.
Dividing up your expenses will minimize the risk of overspending and help you track where each dollar goes. The free version of Goodbudget offers 10 envelopes, while the $6-per-month option has unlimited envelopes and an entire suite of other budgeting tools.
This app is ideal if you have multiple streams of income or various accounts to manage. For $5.99 per month, you’ll access a wide range of features such as the ability to import, export and edit all transactions, as well as monitor your online banking from one user-friendly platform.
MoneyWiz is also extremely secure and protects your data in a cloud encrypted storage sphere, which reduces the likelihood of identity theft. In addition, this app is compatible with any computer, tablet or smartphone operating system, and it even has an Apple iWatch function, so you can monitor finances on-the-go.
This app makes sure that all money, both coming in and going out each month, has a specific purpose. Whether your goal is to eliminate debt, purchase a new home, or fund a trip overseas, you’ll learn how to curb frivolous spending, so you can plan ahead and save for major milestones.
The free EveryDollar platform equips you with the resources to create and operate a budget, while the paid version syncs with a bank account to monitor your balance and cash flow.
This app is geared toward financial planners, business owners and independent contractors. With numerous functions and advanced capabilities. As such, a one-year subscription is $44.99 in addition to an upfront charge of $64.99.
This app can be well worth the cost if you have a variety of accounts to manage, including the more complex pensions and investment portfolios. Another unique feature is the currency tracker, which can be an asset if you work with overseas clients, or if you’re traveling abroad and need to know the exchange rate. For a more experienced budgeter, this app is worth the money.
This app is helpful if you need extra spending and saving accountability. Personal Capital helps you see whether you’re spending more than you’re earning with real-time alerts when transactions are processed and interactive resources that pinpoint where outgoing money is headed.
In addition, the app offers a host of tools that increase your net worth over time, such as updates on investment holdings, allocations and performance, home equity, credit balance and other financial growth opportunities. This can help you prepare for big, long-term objectives like retirement or buying a house.
This app is perfect for striking a much-needed balance between spending and saving. If you want the freedom to make spontaneous purchases, but are also working toward making big investments in the future, PocketGuard offers the flexibility to manage both. For example, you can consult the built-in “I want to buy” feature before heading to the cash register to see if you can afford the expense without going off budget.
This free app gives you more freedom in terms of spending than most others, but still protects you from overdrawing. This makes it an excellent primer for budget novices.
British Bank Awards named Money Dashboard the “Best Personal Finance App” of 2017. The app is known for merging bank-level security with an easy to navigate interface. That combination makes it both a safe and effective one-stop-shop for organizing your finances.
The Money Dashboard uses color-coded graphs to help you visualize all incoming and outgoing money. It also uses previous purchase trends to estimate future spending patterns, so you can make plan ahead accordingly. This app is free to download and will customize a budget for your specific household needs.
This app is structured like a calendar to remind you of upcoming expenses before they occur. In addition to calendar mode, you can toggle between a timeline of income received and recurring payments. This is presented through an interactive diagram format that’s laid out for the entire month, so you won’t lose track of how much has already been spent and what is still available.
The basic version of Dollarbird is free, and the premium costs $39.99 per year. With the paid subscription, you can collaborate and share the budget, which is practical for family members, married couples or business teams.
This app is goal-oriented and motivates you to set aside money for a future “splurge.” Choose a personal target, like paying off student loans, taking a European vacation, or upgrading to a new car, and then use the savings plan, designed by Unsplurge to reach it. Whenever you resist an impulse purchase and take the more frugal approach instead, you can log that success and share it with the app’s mobile community. This unique social aspect gives you additional support, encouragement and accountability, all of which is crucial when reaching a goal and boosting accountability.
You Need a Budget
This app is more than just a tool for budgeting—it explains why budgets matter in the first place. This idea is simple: once you understand the importance of managing finances, you’re more likely to stick with this practice long-term.
Anyone who is used to living from paycheck-to-paycheck will find this app helpful because it portions out money into three basic groupings: what is budgeted for, what is spent during the month and what is leftover. You Need a Budget (YNAB) simplifies this often confusing process, so you can distribute income evenly rather than spending each paycheck in one week and then pinching pennies at the end of the month.
Start Budgeting Now
Make 2018 the year of financial freedom and begin putting that money to work for you instead of feeling restricted by the pile of bills on your counter. Use these apps to learn how to budget, organize your finances, and take your first step toward financial freedom.