With unemployment rates hitting record levels and the economy in such a fragile state, there’s no better time to start keeping better track of your income and expenses. There are many ways to do this, from a pen and paper or a spreadsheet to advanced budgeting software.
In most cases, though, a simple money tracker app is your best bet. This way, you can keep it in your pocket or purse all the time and have access to your budget any time you need it. Not sure how to find the best money tracking app? Start with this list of our favorites!
Long considered the “gold standard” of budgeting tools, Mint is a great choice for anyone who wants a comprehensive budget without the hassle. You can link your bank accounts and credit cards, then your transactions will automatically pull into the system.
Even better, Mint automatically categorizes your transactions in real-time, so you can get a picture of how you’re spending your money even when you’re on the go. For even more control, you can create your own categories and split transactions.
Want to stick to a pre-set budget? Mint allows you to do this and will send you an alert when you exceed the spending limits you’ve set. They also provide your credit score for free and offer credit score monitoring.
For advanced features on a free platform, consider Personal Capital. This is primarily an investment tool that uses both Robo-advisors and lives financial advisors. While you’ll pay for this service, the budgeting and tracking tools are free.
You can connect all of your bank and credit card accounts as well as your investment accounts, loans, and mortgages. This gives you the opportunity to track your net worth, view consolidated portfolio details, and track your spending by category. This is arguably the best expense tracking app for anyone with investment accounts.
You Need a Budget
The expense tracker app affectionately known as YNAB by its die-hard fans is so popular thanks to its unique approach to budgeting. It forces you to account for every dollar you make, which ensures you’re truly conscious about your spending.
It’s perfect for anyone with a “Type A” personality and works well for both individuals and couples who are learning to live on a common budget. You can use it on your desktop or mobile device and either sync your bank account or enter transactions manually. You can also set goals and track your progress and take advantage of the debt payoff feature.
Because you need to account for every dollar, it helps to reference your paystub when you’re setting this up for the first time. If your employer doesn’t provide you with one or you’re self-employed, you might want to consider using a pay stub creator, so you have a good record to reference how much you’re paying in taxes, contributing to your company retirement plan, and paying for other benefits.
You might know this app by its former name – Easy Envelope Budget Aid (EEBA). This is probably the best expense tracker app for couples who are learning how to budget together. It allows you to share your budgets and sync them across both Apple and Android devices.
Make no mistake, however, this app is perfect for individuals as well. In this app, budget categories are called “envelopes” and you can use up to 10 envelopes for free. When you receive your paycheck, add the appropriate amounts to each envelope and you can easily see how much disposable cash you have left for non-essential purchases.
The “envelope” system of budgeting works by putting money into envelopes for various spending categories. When an envelope is empty, you’re done spending in that category until your next paycheck.
While this method works great with cash, translating it to the digital world and adding things like credit and debit cards makes this more challenging. However, the Mvelopes app makes it easy.
This spending tracker app isn’t free, but a subscription gives you the ability to link unlimited accounts and also gives you real-time results. The basic plan starts at just $6 per month and you can get your first two months free!
This free app makes things just about as simple as they get. It crunches the numbers and narrows it down to what really matters – how much you have left to spend until your next paycheck. You’ll tell the system how much you need for bills and savings goals, and it will show you your “left in my pocket” amount for the day, week, or month.
If you want, you can also dial your budget further by tracking specific spending categories, like eating out, groceries, or clothing purchases.
This app is a bit different because it’s both a budgeting tool and an online bank account. Since everything is in one place, it’s easier for you to keep track of everything.
Simple automatically tracks your spending and income and also has a cool goal feature that helps you increase your savings. You’ll also love the “Safe-to-Spend” feature that will tell you if you’re on track with your budget or if you’re spending too much and might end up with a cash flow issue.
Choose Your Money Tracker and Take Control of Your Finances
There are so many options when it comes to choosing a money tracker app, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your needs. Once you know exactly how much you can spend, you’ll be able to enjoy recreation and entertainment without the guilt.
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