The Best Personal Finance Budget Software with Apps (In 2019)

 

Managing your money is a complex skill, especially now that you no longer have to leave the house or even pull out your wallet in order to spend money. That’s why it is more important than ever for you to track spending and stick to a budget.

But the old-school methods of budgeting can be far too onerous for the new Millennium. Hardly anyone wants to be carrying an old-fashioned ledger book around with them to record financial transactions.

Creating your own Excel spreadsheets sounds like the world’s worst homework assignment for some. That’s where personal finance budget software comes in. There are many different budgeting and tracking programs available to help both beginning and veteran budgeters get a solid handle on their finances.

Read our comprehensive list below to learn which program will work best for your financial situation.

Quick Links to Budget Software Reviews:

All-In-One Budget Software

  1. Personal Capital*
  2. Clarity Money**
  3. Mint
  4. Quicken

Zero-Based Budget Software

  1. YNAB (You Need a Budget)*
  2. Proactive Budget**
  3. Mvelopes
  4. EveryDollar
  5. SpendPal

Money/Budget Assistants

  1. Pluto
  2. Joy
  3. Pennies

Other Budget Software

  1. AccountMe

Budget Software Graveyard

  1. Change
  2. Hip Money
  3. Level
  4. Cashpath
  5. Unsplurge
  6. Penny

*Most Popular
**New

All-In-One Budget Software

Personal Capital

Personal Capital LogoOne way to describe Personal Capital’s If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. budgeting software is an “account aggregator.” This program allows you to track and understand every single penny in all of your financial accounts. Once you link up all of your various accounts, including your bank accounts, investments, mortgage, credit cards, and any other accounts, Personal Capital summarizes your finances and offers you basic investment guidance. More info…show

  • Pros: The most comprehensive aggregate of financial information, making this ideal for those with complex finances. Basic investment guidance is a major plus.
  • Cons: The program is not as customizable as some others–neither asset allocations nor spending categories are customizable.
  • Cost: Free
  • See our review of Personal Capital.

Learn more and get started with Personal Capital If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Clarity Money

Clarity Money

Clarity Money If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. launched in January 2017, and was acquired by Goldman-Sachs in the spring of 2018. Though it’s still a relative newcomer to this field, it has been quite the mover and shaker.

The company’s mission is to offer a service that will both watch your back when it comes to your money choices, and help you take control of your financial life. The founders of the app believe that consumers deserve nothing less than transparency and advocacy in their financial choices. They designed Clarity Money to provide exactly that. More info…show

  • Pros: Clarity Money takes care of everything within the app, which makes it easy to act on their recommendations. The app offers a fairly global look at your money, helping you cancel unnecessary recurring expenses, save more money, and understand your money habits better.
  • Cons: The automatic categorization of your purchases does not allow for split categorizations.
  • Fees: None. Clarity Money makes its money through the sponsored products and services suggested to users. You do not have to use any of the suggestions made to you.
  • Best For: Newbie budgeters or anyone who wants their money management to be easy and all in one place.

To learn more and get started with Clarity, visit www.ClarityMoney.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

Mint


Mint.com
Mint is the OG free web-based personal finance tracker launched all the way back in 2006 and has been a staple of modern money management ever since.

When you sign up with Mint, you provide the program with all of your financial accounts, including bank accounts, investments, retirement funds, credit cards, 529 accounts, and even real estate purchases. Mint allows you to see all of your financial information in a single dashboard, which also calculates your net worth. More info…show

  • Pros: Mint is completely free, very user-friendly, and offers balance and spending alerts to keep your money on your mind.
  • Cons: You have to manually track cash spending, some automatic expense categories are not useful/incorrect and need to be changed by the user.
  • Cost: Free

Check out our full review of Mint.

To learn more and get started with Mint, visit mint.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Quicken

Quicken If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. is the great-granddaddy of personal finance software–it was first introduced back in 1983. Though Quicken was owned by Intuit until a few years ago, the current version, Quicken 2019, has all the familiar tools and offerings that anyone who cut their teeth on the Intuit versions are used to. More info…show

  • Pros: Quicken is the most comprehensive personal finance software available. Security-conscious users can rest assured that their information is completely safe.
  • Cons: The sunset provision can be extremely frustrating.
  • Cost: Between $40 and $55, depending upon which specific software package you purchase. The price jumps to $105 if you get the “home and business” version. 

Zero-Based Budget Software

YNAB

YNAB You Need A Budget If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. (YNAB for short) is an online budgeting program based on the envelope method, wherein budgeters set money aside for specific categories of spending. The program guides you through the process of budgeting, setting goals and sticking to them, and reconciling accounts. More info…show

  • Pros: YNAB is geared toward teaching users how to budget and make managing their finances a habit. The large online community can be very helpful.
  • Cons: The hands-on nature of the program might not appeal to all users. The cost is higher than most other personal software.
  • Cost: $84 per year

To learn more and get started with YNAB, visit youneedabudget.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

ProActive Budget

ProActive ProActive Budget If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. is the digital version of cash envelopes.

The cash envelope method of budgeting is the age-old technique for preventing overspending. The problem is that we live in an increasingly cashless society. It can be tough to apply envelope budgeting strategies to modern methods of spending. Proactive is a forward-thinking solution. It helps you make proactive decisions before purchases versus tracking your money afterward. More info…show

Check out our full review of ProActive here

  • Pros: Like traditional envelope budgeting, you cannot make a purchase with ProActive Budget unless you know which envelope the money is coming from. That’s the brilliance with this innovation. The credit card linkup allows you to enjoy the benefits of credit while making sure you set aside the money to pay off your bill each month.
  • Cons: The fact that you are unable to use your ProActive debit card if you do not have your phone available could be problematic. ProActive recommends taking a separate pay card to alleviate this concern.
  • Cost: The program costs $69 per year ($5.75 per month) for the primary card. To add a companion card, it will cost an additional $29 per year ($2.42 per month), and each kid card costs $24 per year ($2 per month).

Learn more and get started with ProActive Budget If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . Use the code PTMONY to get a $5 discount when you subscribe.

Mvelopes

MvelopesLike YNAB, Mvelopes is personal finance software that offers a 21st century method for following the envelope budgeting method. This online tool has both Android and iPhone apps that allow you to keep track of your spending on the go. More info…show

  • Pros: Mvelopes is set up to be interactive in order to teach users how to budget. The credit card spending envelope feature is a very helpful aspect of the program.
  • Cons: Multiple reviewers have stated that the program is not necessarily intuitive.
  • Cost: $4/month or $40/year for Mvelopes Basic, $19/month or $190/year for Mvelopes Plus, $59/month or $149/quarter or $549/year for Mvelopes Complete

Check out our full review of Mvelopes.

To learn more and get started with Mvelopes, visit mvelopes.com.

EveryDollar

everydollarDave Ramsey, the get-out-of-debt and budgeting guru, released his free online budgeting software in March of 2015. In keeping with his teachings, EveryDollar is focused on tracking every dollar. That way all of your money is accounted for and you know exactly where it is all going. According to the EveryDollar website (and borne out by multiple testers), you can create a budget on their intuitive and user-friendly online program in 10 minutes. More info…show

  • Pros: The program is very easy to set up, with an intuitive user-interface and well-thought-out defaults. If you are a follower of Dave Ramsey’s teachings, EveryDollar will help you meet the goals he suggests.
  • Cons: The free version of the software does not automatically add transactions, nor does it allow you to set up recurring transactions, which can cause some reconciliation headaches.
  • Cost: EveryDollar basic is completely free. EveryDollar Plus costs $129 per year.

To learn more and get started with EveryDollar, visit everydollar.com.

SpendPal (Formerly Envudu)

SpendPal was designed in collaboration with Dr. Dan Ariely’s Behavioral Science Lab at Duke University. SpendPal offers another option for envelope budgeters in the cash-free world. When you sign up, the program asks you to sort the money in your checking account into separate spending Categories. You give each Category a monthly allowance and rank your Categories in order of priority. Whenever a new deposit comes into your bank account, your Categories are automatically filled in order. More info…show

  • Pros: For beginning budgeters, the automatic filling of your spending categories can be an excellent introduction to money management. The fact that you can make “unverified” purchases without your phone available could be handy for the phone challenged.
  • Cons: The availability of “unverified” purchases without a phone could get some users in trouble. The lack of a credit card option might turn some users off.
  • Cost: Free for beta testers. There will be an unspecified monthly or yearly subscription fee once the program becomes fully available.

To learn more and get started with SpendPal, visit spendpal.com.

Money/Budget Assistants

Pluto Money

Pluto Money App Pluto If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. is an entirely free app is specifically geared toward helping “the Snapchat generation” get a handle on their money. Once you’ve downloaded the free Pluto app (which is currently only available for iPhone, although Android users can join a waitlist), the program will have you start by setting short- and mid-term savings goals, since having something to save for is such an important part of getting finances in order. More info…show

  • Pros: The app is very user-friendly and is geared toward both helping you learn more about your money and make better decisions with your money.
  • Cons: Currently, the app is only available for Apple, although an Android version is in the works.
  • Cost: Free

To learn more and get started with Pluto Money, visit plutomoney.app If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

Joy

Joy was created to improve your happiness by changing the way you choose to spend and save your money.

Scott Saunders, CEO of Payoff, pulled together a team of talented psychologists, neuroscientists, financial service experts, designers, and technology professionals to create an app that focuses on the psychology of people’s relationship with money. Their objective is to help people develop a positive relationship with money so they can achieve their financial goals and dreams. More info…show

  • Pros: This app gives you the opportunity to improve your financial habits by asking you to think about how your spending makes you feel and by prompting you to set aside savings every day.
  • Cons: The app is not currently available for Android.
  • Fees: Free
  • Platform: Currently, Joy is only supported on iOS platforms and they are working on launching an application for Android in the near future.
  • Best For: Anyone who wants to improve their spending habits with strong support and encouragement from a coach’s feedback.

To learn more and get started with Joy, visit findjoy.com.

Pennies

penniesPennies is a very intuitive iPhone app helps even the most absent-minded of spenders to stay on budget. Pennies allows you to set a number of budgets (such as monthly fun money, weekly food spending, and the like), with a start date, length of budget term, and the amount available to spend. Each time you make a purchase, you enter the amount into Pennies, which will show you the number of dollars and days remaining in that particular budget. More info…show

  • Pros: This app is easy to use and offers a convenient method for tracking spending.
  • Cons: Pennies only tracks one source of money, which means it might not work for individuals with more complicated finances. The app is only available for iPhone.
  • Fees: $3.99 one time purchase fee.
  • Best For: Beginning budgeters.

To learn more and get started with Pennies, visit getpennies.com

Other Budget Software

AccountMe

Large corporations use generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in their bookkeeping–so why shouldn’t individuals do the same? GAAP allows for efficient, comprehensive, and consistent accounting, which would be a boon to the average budgeter. AccountMe offers users a customizable GAAP accounting framework that allows you to view, edit, and budget your finances using the same double-entry bookkeeping as multi-national corporations. This means users will have an incredibly accurate view of their finances. More info…show

  • Pros: Having a customizable GAAP accounting platform as an app on your smartphone is a major boon for anyone already familiar with GAAP.
  • Cons: If you do not already know GAAP, it is not necessarily easy to learn from a smartphone app. This is only available for Apple.
  • Cost: The AccountMe website is no longer functioning, although you can still download the app from the iTunes App store. It is unclear how much the app costs based on the information available on iTunes. When the website was still active, there were three levels, starting at $9.99 per month for the basic platform, $24.99 for the mid-level, and $49.99 for the highest level (nicknamed the Gordon Gekko level, which indicates the creators of AccountMe have a sense of humor).

To learn more and get started with AccountMe, visit iTunes.

Budget Software Graveyard

Change

Change (While Change is still active for current users, it is not accepting new registrations. You can enter your email to be notified when it begins accepting new users again).Change

The founders of Change started with a simple idea: the best way to influence people to save is to spark behavioral change. After all, consumers have 100% control over what they spend and save. Yet they do not necessarily make the best decisions for themselves. More info…show

  • Pros: Change is all about teaching users to be mindful spenders, which is the kind of long-term lesson that all consumers need to learn. There is no expectation that you will completely give up the spending habits that make you happy. These concepts are based on solid research in behavioral economics.
  • Cons: Change currently only supports financial institutions in the U.S.
  • Fees: None
  • Best for: Change’s creators are specifically targeting 25-35 year old Millennials, although anyone who is looking for more insight into their spending habits would get a lot out of this virtual financial assistant.

To learn more and sign up for notifications when they are accepting new customers, visit GoChange.co

Hip Money

Hip Money (Though the website claims that the Hip Money app is available, it cannot be found on either the iTunes store or on Google Play)

HipMoney

Imagine you had a financially savvy best friend who you could fold up and put in your pocket. He’d do all the calculations you’d need to figure out how to reach your goals (with his tiny pocket calculator), suggest an amount of money you could set aside every day to reach those goals. Then give you itty bitty high-fives when you saved money. More info…show

  • Pros: The app is designed to help you reach your goals without asking you to sacrifice your priorities or make drastic changes to your spending habits. It’s all about making saving money easy.
  • Cons: It’s not entirely clear how the program determines a safe amount for you to save each day, nor what safeguards are in place to protect you from a potential overdraft.
  • Cost: Once Hip Money launches, the app will cost $18 per year.

Level

Level (Level is no longer active)

LevelThe Level Money app syncs with your bank account and determines how much will be left in that account after automatically deducting upcoming bills, recent purchases, and your savings goals. It then gives you an estimate of the amount of money that’s safe for you to spend over the next day, week, and month. More info…show

  • Pros: The app makes spending decisions incredibly simple, and since it is synced with your accounts, you do not have to remember to enter in new purchases.
  • Cons: Setting up the app can take some work, particularly if you have irregular income. In addition, some recent purchases can take a little time to show up in the app.
  • Fees: None
  • Best For: Beginning savers and/or budgeters, or those who hate dealing with money.

Cashpath

Cashpath (Cashpath is no longer active)

For the budget-averse, it can seem like handling money is about constantly juggling and never getting ahead. That’s where the free app Cashpath can help. Once you securely link the app to your bank and credit card accounts, the app uses your past transactions to predict and adjust your cash flow every day, showing your discretionary money as “Free Cash.” The program will help you split your Free Cash between Save and Spend. The app is designed to show you your money in real time. Therefore, it is able to automatically adjust your Spend amount each day in response to unexpected bills or over-spending. More info…show

  • Pros: This is a gorgeous and easy-to-use interface. The program offers a simple method for on-the-go budgeting for individuals who break out in hives at the idea of a spreadsheet.
  • Cons: The program is still new, and not all of the potential options are available yet.
  • Cost: Free

Unsplurge

Unsplurge (Unsplurge is no longer active)

UnsplurgeWould-be savers who would like some community encouragement will love Unsplurge. This iPhone app asks you to choose a goal and upload a picture of your goal. Once you have set your goal, it can then be shared with “Town,” which is the community platform for Unsplurge, where users can see others’ savings goals and cheer each other on. You (and Town, if you choose) will get to see your progress as you put money aside for your goal. More info…show

  • Pros: Both the progress bar and the community aspect of Unsplurge can be very motivating and help you to establish a habit of saving money.
  • Cons: Unsplurge does not help you budget or identify money that it is safe to put aside in savings. Also, the app is only available on the iPhone.
  • Fees: None
  • Best For: Those who are comfortable with budgeting but need additional motivation to save money.

Penny

Penny (Penny is no longer active)Penny

What if you had a money-savvy friend who could look over your finances, put the information into an easy-to-read graph, and even give you financial advice? That’s the idea behind the newly released Penny 2.0. It’s the personal finance app that feels as easy as texting with a really helpful friend. More info…show

  • Pros: This easy to use app takes a great deal of the intimidation out of finance. In addition, Penny’s pre-written questions allow new budgeters to know what to ask even if they would otherwise be confused.
  • Cons: The pre-written questions might be annoying to a more advanced budgeter.
  • Fee: None
  • Best For: Beginning budgeters.

Do you have a favorite financial app? What do you love about it?

 

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Comments

  1. Countabout is amazing. It’s my favorite budgeting software and has replaced mint for me.

  2. Bridget Sullivan Mermel says:

    Wow, this is really comprehensive. I’ve got a financial planning practice and get asked about tracking software periodically. Thanks for putting together this list!

  3. This shows it was last edited June 22, 2018. However it is saying that EveryDollar is not available for Android. That isn’t the case. I have had this app on my phone for over a year.

  4. If goodbudget offered bank syncing options, it would be the best. I’ve tried Mvelopes, PockeySmith, YNAB, Mint, Everydollar and they all have something lacking. I was never so in control with my budget then when I used good budget, but downloading my bank statements from multiple sources every week or two to reconcile is too much work.

  5. When a user is required to sign up to the company web site and hand over his/her account numbers, user name, password etc …it raises a major concern about security and data usage.
    I believe that perhaps private information should remain private and not stored or viewed by anyone else than the actual owner of the information.
    That is why i use Geltbox Money – it doesn’t use any third party Aggregation site.
    Moreover, Geltbox is the only personal finance software that has the ability to work with any financial institution in the world.

  6. Final Salary Transfer says:

    A great list, all of which are worthwhile looking at. At first glance though YNAB definitely looks the most promising.

  7. Dirty Fingernails says:

    Thanks for this much needed review for our family. YNAB seems to meet our needs the best, however when I went to find it on the App Store there is more than one YNAB. Is your article about classic or 4?

    • Emily Guy Birken says:

      YNAB 4 is the the most recent version, and that is the one reviewed here.

    • I use YNAB and love it a lot! They make it so easy to stay on track without overspending. You can also set up savings goals for anything – furnishings, new car, vacation, wedding, etc. It’s also safe and secure when importing transactions from your accounts using your login credentials. Set up your categories, your budget and accounts and the rest is pretty much automated. One of the absolute best software for the money – pays for itself, too….