CARE: Credit Abuse Resistance Education

7 Budgeting Apps to Help You Manage Your Money

We are happy to share a guest blog post by Arizona Central Credit Union about budgeting apps that will help you better manage your money!

Budgeting is one of the many tools available in the financial stability toolbox. However, it’s only useful if handled properly. Unfortunately, many Americans neglect to use this tool to its fullest capabilities. According to a 2020 survey conducted by Mint, 65% of Americans claimed they were unaware of how much money they spent within the last 30 days.

Budgeting properly can lead to greater financial stability later in life. Thankfully, numerous personal finance and budgeting apps are available on the market to help you manage your money. We combed through the various apps to provide you with a top seven list. Each of the financial apps listed comes with unique features and exclusive resources so that you can choose the best option for your current situation.

1. Mint (Presented By Intuit)

Mint , owned by the parent company Intuit, is the most well-known budgeting and personal finance app available on the market. With 25 million users, it is easy to see why consumers are flocking to this tool over similar applications.

Mint is not only the one-stop shop for personal finance, but this free budgeting app is suitable for all knowledge levels of financial literacy. Mint offers an array of features to monitor and explore your personal finances, but some of the most notable include:

      • Integration with financial accounts: This tool allows users to connect multiple financial accounts to see a complete picture of their financial situation.
      • Budgeting and expense monitoring: Budgeting and expense tracking are the main features of the app. Users can create customizable budgets, and the app will notify you when you start approaching the end of the budget. Additionally, this tool provides users with personalized recommendations to help them reach their financial goals quicker. 
      • Free credit score monitoring: Mint allows users to view their credit score and a summary report via TransUnion, one of the three main credit bureaus.
      • Bill payment tracking: Mint will track when your bills are due and alert you, so you never miss a payment again. Additionally, this tool will monitor your subscriptions for any monthly payment increases.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Mint

      • Free to download for iOS and Android
      • Desktop platform available
      • Free TransUnion credit scores
      • Customizable budgets and alerts for upcoming bills
      • Secure data protection


Cons of Mint

      • In-app advertisements
      • Some users have complained about technical difficulties


2. YNAB (You Need A Budget)

YNAB (You Need A Budget) comes in at number two on our list. YNAB is another great tool, but it isn’t designed for everyone. This application uses the zero-based budgeting technique.

The zero-based budgeting method has users allocate all of their money to expenses, savings and debt payments. The goal is to have your income minus the expenditures equal zero at the end of the month.

YNAB is the go-to app if you want to be proactive about your finances. YNAB offers two different subscription options—an annual subscription of $84 per year or $11.99 per month. However, they offer a 34-day free trial (no credit card required).

Users of this app can expect a range of features to help get them on the road to better budgeting. Some of the features include:

      • Sync with bank accounts: YNAB allows users to connect their bank accounts for efficient budgeting.
      • Partner budgeting: One of the special features YNAB offers is the ability to receive real-time information about your finances from anywhere, anytime. This means the opportunity to budget with your significant other and not overspend.
      • Goal tracking: YNAB believes budgeting is about setting and achieving goals. That’s why they’ve implemented goal tracking into their application.
      • Appealing reports: Budgeting can be very difficult if you aren’t presented with the proper information. YNAB offers easy-to-read and eye-catching reports so you can make informed decisions about your finances.

Pros and Cons

Pros of YNAB

      • 34-day free trial
      • Available on iOS and Android
      • Educational resources such as videos and articles
      • The ability to budget with more than one user
      • Desktop platform available


Cons of YNAB

      • $84 price tag may be too much for specific individuals looking to properly budget
      • Some users have complained about sync issues with their bank account
      • The user interface may not be suitable for certain people


3. PocketGuard

PocketGuard is perfect for individuals looking for a simple budgeting application. The goal of this app is to help users restrain from overspending. Similar to the other apps mentioned in the list, PocketGuard offers users the ability to sync their financial accounts, such as bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

Some of the other features PocketGuard offers include:

      • Personalized spending reports: Through a pie chart, users can see how much they spend per category. Then, users can decide what is eating up too much of the pie and work from there.
      • Bill tracking: One of the more unique features in this app is the bill tracking feature. This feature will track your bills and alert you when the payment is due, but it will also find areas where you can negotiate better rates on bills such as cable, phone or internet.
      • IN MY POCKET: This is another proprietary feature that this tool offers. This feature is an algorithm used to identify how much money should be allocated to spend based on your income, upcoming bills, recent spending, goals and budgets. The IN MY POCKET section is customizable so that you can adjust depending on your current financial situation.

PocketGuard offers two different subscription options. Users can choose the free route, which comes with basic budgeting tools, or users can sign up for PocketGuard Plus, which is $79.99 per year or $7.99 per month. The premium version comes with the IN MY POCKET tool, debt payoff plans and the ability to export transactions.

Pros and Cons

Pros of PocketGuard

      • Syncing with financial accounts
      • Free version for basic budgeting
      • Available to download on iOS and Android
      • Desktop platform available
      • Easy to use/sleek user interface on mobile
      • Customizable budgets and savings goals
      • Secure data protection


Cons of PocketGuard

      • Paid subscription for the premium version
      • Some users have complained about technical issues
      • The website and desktop version are often difficult to navigate


4. Simplifi (Presented By Quicken)

Simplifi by Quicken is a good option for individuals looking to manage their cash flow better. This application has similar features to the others mentioned in this list, but some stand-out features make it a good tool for budgeting. Some of the features include:

      • Financial account sync: This app can connect to more than 14,000 financial institutions. Once the user connects their financial accounts to the app, the algorithm will automatically categorize your transactions.
      • Personalized spending and budgeting plans: Based on your income and bills, the app will generate personalized spending and budget plans for you. 
      • Custom watchlists: This feature is one of the unique aspects of the Simplifi budgeting app. Users don’t need to focus on every penny that comes in or goes out with the custom watchlists. All the user needs to do is focus on the specific category, and the tool will do all the work. Users can turn on notifications to be alerted when a certain category is reaching the maximum limit.

Simplifi is a paid subscription of $35.99 per year or $3.99 per month. For individuals that are curious and want to test the app out, there is a free 30-day trial.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Simplifi

      • Available on iOS and Android
      • Desktop platform available
      • Free 30-day trial period
      • Unique features such as watchlists
      • Ability to sync with 14,000 financial institutions
      • Secure data protection


Cons of Simplifi

      • Paid subscription
      • Some users have complained about technical issues


5. Honeydue

Since household finances are a pain point for many couples, Honeydue aims to make budgeting and managing your finances with your significant other easier than before.

Like the other apps mentioned above, Honeydue allows you to connect your financial accounts. Honeydue supports more than 20,000 financial institutions across five countries. While many of the features are similar to the other apps mentioned in the list, here are the features that are specific to Honeydue.

      • Coordinating Bills: When it comes time to pay for a bill, the app will notify you and your partner. Users can decide if one person will be responsible for the payment within the app, or users can split the bill with their partner.
      • Chat function: Instead of texting back and forth about bill payments, users can chat within the app to discuss finances with their significant other.
      • Banking together: This app allows users to upgrade to a Honeydue joint bank account.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Honeydue

      • Free download on iOS and Android
      • Easy to use/sleek user interface
      • Ability to sync with 20,000 financial institutions across five countries
      • Upgrade available for a joint bank account
      • Secure data protection


Cons of Honeydue

      • Desktop platform not available
      • Some users have complained about technical issues
      • Lacks the features to track and set financial goals


6. Personal Capital

While Personal Capital is mainly an investing tool, it made the list because it offers users some interesting budgeting tools. This app gives users a complete picture of the financial situation with the ability to connect your financial accounts such as IRAs​​, 401(k), mortgages, loans, checking and savings accounts and credit cards. Here are some of the features that make Personal Capital one of the best wealth management and budgeting apps on the market.

      • Connecting with a financial advisor: Out of all the applications on this list, Personal Capital is the only one that gives users the ability to connect with a financial advisor to discuss investing strategies, spending habits, net worth and setting financial goals. Additionally, the financial advisors will help you formulate a retirement plan.
      • Customizable categories: After you’ve connected your financial accounts, Personal Capital allows you to adjust budgeting categories to your specific financial goals. Also, users can see the total percentage of monthly spending per category.
      • Money tracking dashboard: The free version of the app allows you to view a money tracking dashboard. Within the dashboard, users can access a range of budgeting tools.

Personal Capital offers a free subscription that gives users a glimpse into the full capabilities of the app. The free version offers enough to make it a solid budgeting app. However, if you wanted to explore the app even further and use it as a wealth management tool, the account minimum is $10,000.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Personal Capital

      • Free version available to download on iOS and Android
      • Desktop platform available
      • Easy to use/sleek user interface on mobile
      • Ability to sync with financial accounts
      • Secure data protection
      • Financial advisers available to help
      • Features that help short-term and long-term financial goals


Cons of Personal Capital

      • Designed more for investing
      • Requires $10,000 minimum to access all features


7. Goodbudget

Goodbudget is a perfect option for individual budgeting or budgeting with your family or partner. 

Similar to YNAB, Goodbudget is not designed for everyone because of its approach to budgeting. Goodbudget uses the envelope system, where users portion out their monthly income into specific spending categories.

Here are some features that you can use on the Goodbudget app:

      • Multiple device sync: Goodbudget offers the ability to use multiple devices, so it is easy to budget as a family or with your significant other.
      • Debt Payoff tracking: This app provides an easy way to track your debt and plan to become debt-free.
      • Manual spending and expense entering: Unlike most other budgeting apps, Goodbudget doesn’t allow you to sync with financial accounts. Users will have to enter accounts balances and debts manually.

Goodbudget offers a free subscription where users receive 20 total envelopes, one account, two device integration, debt tracking and community support. The paid subscription costs $ 7 a month or $ 60 per year. You’ll receive unlimited envelopes and accounts with the paid subscription, five device connections, debt track, and email support.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Goodbudget

      • Free version available to download on iOS and Android
      • Affordable paid option
      • Easy to use/sleek user interface on mobile
      • Ability to sync with multiple devices
      • Secure data protection


Cons of Goodbudget

      • The free version has limited capabilities
      • No financial account sync is available. Users have to enter information manually


Honorable Mentions

Below, you’ll find some other budgeting apps that are great and worth checking out.

      • Arizona Central Credit Union’s Money Management Tool : For members of ACCU, they offer a great personal finance management tool where users can get a glimpse into transactions and spending categories. You can create a monthly budget based on your spending history and track your spending trends to see where you spend the most money. Additionally, you can manage your debts, monitor cash flow and set savings goals.
      • Zeta : Free budgeting app for couples. Some of the features include the ability to sync multiple accounts, track spending and manage bills with your significant other.
      • Mvelopes : Similar to Goodbudget, Mvelopes uses the envelope approach to budgeting. However, this app provides the ability to sync with financial accounts for easier and more efficient budgeting.


Learn More About Money Management

Establishing a household budget can be difficult to get started. With the applications suggested in this article, budgeting has never been easier.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.


About the Arizona Central Credit Union 

Arizona Central Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service, financial institution that is locally owned and operated by its members. They operate nine, full-service branches throughout the Greater Phoenix area, Tucson, Flagstaff and Show Low and offer access to more than 5,600 branches nationwide through the CO-OP Shared Branching Network.

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