Building andcan be overwhelming, whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out on your financial journey.
With hundreds of budgeting apps available online, we've narrowed down the best options for you depending on your financial position. We evaluated many factors, including each app's methodology, user interface, how it categorizes transactions, if it allows for personalized goal setting, its forecasting abilities and any additional resources available.
All of the apps we're recommending have multiple levels of security to better protect your banking information. And most of them are free or haveso you can test the app before committing. Here are our top budgeting app picks for 2022.
Best budget apps
Mint is one of the highest-rated budgeting apps on the market, and for good reason. This budget app not only lets you set your own savings goals by linking multiple banking and credit accounts, it also offers free access to check your credit score and allows you to manage your bill payments from one spot. With 25 million users to date, we think Mint is the best budgeting app for most people looking to take control of their finances.
While Mint's basic account is more than most people will need to manage their budgets, Mint does offer a Premium, ad-free experience that costs $5 per month. Mint Premium also gets you access to its subscription cancellation service, spending projections and other money insights.
Cost: Basic: Free; Premium: $5 per month
Building a budget for the first time can feel overwhelming. Goodbudget utilizes the "envelope method" of budgeting, a decades-old finance strategy that encourages you to split your income into separate envelopes or categories. You might have envelopes for rent, bills, groceries, gas, nonessential purchases and savings, for example. If you like the visualization of keeping your money in separate envelopes or compartments, Goodbudget lets you employ this method, digitally. You choose envelopes from a list of predesignated goals and deposit money into them every month. One downside? You can only use Goodbudget's preset envelope goals -- you can't design your own.
If your budget is relatively simple, Goodbudget's easy user interface, preselected goals and visually pleasing envelope method can help you create good budgeting habits.
Personal Capital is one of the only budgeting apps on the market with extensive investment forecasting capabilities. This app is perfect for the long-time investor looking to track their investments, net worth and personal portfolios, while setting and tracking long term savings goals, like retirement. Personal Capital's charts make it easy to track your everyday expenses and cash flow from month to month, while still working toward long-term goals. It also offers recommendations for improving your portfolio, specifically with its Smart Watch feature that points out the best options to take advantage of from your employer's retirement plans.
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is meant for people who like to sweat the details. Its strategy encourages you to give every dollar a job, assigning all income to categories you set, like specific bill payments and savings goals, to avoid overspending. However, it lacks forecasting abilities, so if you want to save for a future vacation, you'll need to set that as a goal and assign money to it every month.
Cost: YNAB offers a free year for college students and a 34-day free trial for all users, but afterward costs $15/month.
Merging expenses with your partner can be tricky – and managing a budget together can be downright frustrating. But if you're looking to build a joint budget, Honeydue makes the process a little easier. It lets you link all your bank and investment accounts you want to include in one app, then it tracks all of your combined transactions and savings. It also includes a chat feature that allows you to ask your partner about unusual or suspicious transactions. However, Honeydue does not offer goal setting, just tracking – so you can't contribute money from any account toward a specific goal.
What is a budgeting app?
A budgeting app is a digital application meant to help you plan, track and manage your finances. Budgeting apps are not a digital wallet, do not generally offer credit or debit cards and generally do not let you pay bills through them. Budgeting apps are designed to help you see how much money is coming in each month and how much is going out, so you can better track expenses, plan for purchases and create savings and debt repayment goals.
Some are affiliated with banks or credit unions, though you don't need to have an account with the bank to use the app. Other budgeting apps are unaffiliated with banking institutions.
How do budgeting apps work?
Every app has its own process and methodology, but generally, they allow you to link your bank accounts and set personal savings goals. The app will then track and categorize all your spending and create reports to help you better understand your current financial position. Once you know where your money is going, you can change your habits and allocate money toward specific goals.
How do I choose the right budgeting app for my finances?
To pick the right budgeting app for you, consider your current financial status and set money goals for the short and long terms. Once you know where you stand financially and what you're working toward, you can compare features and see which app best fits your budgeting style.
CNET reviews financial apps by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria. We consider the features and functionality of each budgeting app, including the user experience, the interface, support options, and overall value compared to the price. We also evaluate key features, including the ability to set savings goals, connect to multiple bank accounts securely.
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