UPDATE: Check out our latest app recommendations in our new Best Budgeting & Saving Apps of 2016!
Happy New Year! The time has come for a clean slate, a year to top all other years in greatness. And that includes finances. Whether you’ve resolved to save more, get out of debt, or quit spending $1000/year on Starbucks, the key to sticking to those goals is a budget. Johnny and I are big fans of tracking every cent of spending, and budgeting and personal finance apps make it easy peasy to do just that. With a few taps of your thumb each day, you can stay on top of your finances.
And you’ve come to the right place because we’ve compiled the best budgeting and personal finance apps of 2015, just for you. And you. And you. All right, here goes…
NOTE: All apps listed below are for iPhone. We cannot speak to the availability or functionality on other phone platforms.
Paid Budgeting Apps
We know this is a budgeting site, and we’re usually all about free stuff. But sometimes paying for something can actually save you money. And in this case, we think these apps might just be worth the couple bucks.
HomeBudget with Sync ($4.99 – 4.5 stars)
Everyone has a budgeting system that works for them. For Johnny and me, this is the app that’s worked for us over the past few years. We manually enter our expenses and info, which is what we prefer. The design and flow is intuitive and really easy to set up. But the biggest draw has always been that it syncs our budget in the cloud to both of our phones so that we’re always on the same page.
Spendbook ($1.99 – 4.5 stars)
If you’re looking for a manual budgeting app with a beautiful design, Spendbook is the app for you. Their claim to fame is that they make budgeting an “enjoyable experience,” and its users seem to agree. If they had a sync option between devices, Johnny and I would switch to this app in a heartbeat!
YNAB (free* – 4.5 stars)
Johnny and I have been late to the You Need a Budget (YNAB) praising, but our readers RAVE about this app. Although the app is free to download, we’ve added it to the Paid category since using the app requires using the YNAB software — which costs $60 ($6 off if you order here) to buy. The software syncs between your computer and other devices, ensuring your budget is always up to date. If you want to be able to see your finances from the very broadest to the most granular points of view, this is the budgeting system for you.
Free Budgeting Apps
These apps are free, free, free. So if one of them fits what you’re looking for in an app, your budget’s already off to a great start.
Wally (4 stars)
If simplicity of use and design are your thing, look no further. Wally simply tracks your income and expenses and projects your savings each month. It takes out the tediousness of actually creating a detailed budget, and focuses solely on your spending vs saving vs income ratio. Personally, we enjoy the tedium when budgeting (because we’re weird and OCD), but something about the simplicity of this app is really appealing.
BillGuard (4.5 stars)
This app not only automates all of your budget, but it also alerts you anytime an unauthorized charge occurs on any of your accounts or credit cards. The user experience is both intuitive and enjoyable, and it’s a great app if you’re looking for a more automated budgeting system.
Dollarbird (3.5 stars)
Similar to HomeBudget, Dollarbird allows users to create a budget and enter expenses manually. The design is light, bright, and easy to use. This is an ideal manual budgeting app for a single person trying to stick to a budget.
General Finance Apps Worth Mentioning
We decided to include this category this year since there are so many incredible finance apps available now that aren’t necessarily budgeting apps. Here are some of our favorites:
Mint (free – 4 stars)
Mint takes you out of the budgeting equation, and literally does it all for you. And although you can create a budget in the app, we’ve found that expenses oftentimes get miscategorized. So while we don’t use Mint as a budgeting app, we love using it as a general overview of where our money stands. We also use it to keep track of our net worth at the end of the month since it tracks the balances of our various accounts. This is an app everyone should own.
Acorns (free* – 4 stars)
Acorns invests your spare change — automatically! It rounds up your expense to the next dollar and invests the extra into a diversified portfolio. Pretty nifty, right? And while the app is technically free, it does charge you $1/month once you start investing. Saving money doesn’t get any easier than this!
This is another great app for those whose savings need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Digit connects to your bank account (it’s safe) and analyzes your average balance and spending. After it figures that out, it uses an algorithm that moves a small amount (usually between $5 to $50) from your bank account and into a savings account. The magic behind it all is that you should never even notice it’s missing. Get $5 deposited into your account for free when you sign up here.
While you’re looking to maximizing your budget with a new app in 2015, be sure to maximize your savings with your online shopping, too. Our go-to site for every online purchase is Ebates. Why? Because they give you cash back if you shop through their site for most online stores. We saved a couple hundred bucks in 2014 from our normal, budgeted online shopping. There’s no catch, no strings attached, and joining the site is totally free. Free money doesn’t get easier than that, so take advantage of it and sign up to start saving dough!
And if you’re looking for apps that will help you beyond budgeting like saving and investing, check out our Best Personal Finance Apps of 2015 recommendations.
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We hope one of these apps fits your budgeting needs to a T. But don’t forget that an app is only part of the equation. Check out our How to Start a Budget guide to see what else is involved.
Here’s to keeping our best budgets yet in 2015! Any other apps you’d add to this list? How do you feel about paying money for an app that’s supposed to help you save… money?