The Four Best Budgeting Apps | Manage Your Money | Axos Bank

The 4 Best Apps for Budgeting Your Money


 
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When you take control of your budget and successfully manage your spending, you can begin living a healthy financial lifestyle. Depending on your goals, this may mean saving for a big item, getting out of debt, or simply having enough money set aside to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

A budgeting app may be just the thing to help you get started, particularly an app that offers automation and other time saving features. There are many budgeting apps on the market, but finding the one that best fits your unique financial needs will likely lead to more success.

Below, we’ve outlined some of our favorite budgeting apps to help you manage your money like a pro.

Mint Is One of the Original Budgeting Apps and It’s Still a Winner

Mint is a popular budget planner that allows you to sync with various financial accounts. Once synced, Mint automatically imports each transaction into the app so you can keep track of how your spending compares with your budget.

Here's Why We Love It:

  1. It’s free. Because Mint is ad-supported, it costs nothing to use.
  2. Mint automatically syncs all of your data from your financial accounts and each transaction is categorized by Mint’s software. Mint is able to connect to nearly every U.S. financial institution and can even track investment accounts for a complete look at your finances.
  3. You can schedule and keep track of upcoming bills to ensure that you don’t miss any payments. (However, you must enter payments yourself, as Mint does not automate this process.) You can also set and track personal financial goals.
  4. A highly visual app, Mint offers graphs that track spending by category. This allows you to get a complete overview of your spending trends. For example, if over-spending on restaurants is a weakness in your budget, you can visually track this information within a color-coded graph.

What We Don't Love:

  1. Mint is a passive budget tracker, which means – instead of logging each transaction manually – it simply reports where your transactions are going. This can be a problem if your spending frequently exceeds your income. Because Mint doesn’t allow you to log each transaction manually, you aren’t able to be as mindful about spending and are therefore less likely to curb overspending.
  2. Mint’s software can be glitchy, which can lead to the miscategorization of transactions or lags in reporting.
  3. Although Mint is free, its access to your financial information does mean that you will be subject to highly targeted ads based on your transaction history.

EveryDollar® Is Based on the Envelope System and Allows a Granular Approach to Budgeting

EveryDollar was built by financial planning personality Dave Ramsey and is designed around the zero-sum budget philosophy, also known as the “envelope system.” This type of budgeting assigns every dollar a job, so your incoming money equals your outgoing money, which includes savings and expenses.

In EveryDollar, you can create a master budget and manually enter each transaction. A Plus membership also allows you to import transactions from synced accounts. The EveryDollar app helps you stay on track by showing you what you’ve budgeted versus what you’ve spent.

Here's Why We Love It:

  1. There is no cost to use this app — and the free version is quite robust. The Plus version of EveryDollar, which has an annual fee, does offer some perks, including syncing with accounts and automatically importing transactions. However, manually entering your spending is often a better way to mindfully spend your money and maintain your budget goals.
  2. The EveryDollar app allows you to see a visual representation of what you’ve planned, what you’ve spent, and what you have left. This depiction can be very helpful if you’re looking for a direct view of your budget and spending habits. The app also helps you with setting and tracking your personal goals.
  3. The app is centered on Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps program, which is a helpful tool if the goal of your budget is to get you out of debt.

What We Don't Love:

  1. EveryDollar does not let you schedule upcoming bills. This puts the mental work of remembering bill deadlines on you, in lieu of automation or a reminder option.
  2. There are no consequences for overspending. If you overspend in a category, the software allows you to continue as if you haven’t, as opposed to other apps that require you to “borrow” money from another category and reconfigure your budget.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) Is Perfect for Highly Organized Budgeters

YNAB, like EveryDollar, is centered on the philosophy of zero-sum budgeting and assigns a job to each dollar. By understanding where every dollar goes, you are more inclined to carefully think about every dollar spent. The app also functions by creating a master budget and encourages users to enter each transaction manually.

The goal of YNAB is for you to eventually accrue enough savings to live on last month’s income instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Luckily, YNAB’s software is brilliantly designed to help you get there.

Here's Why We Love It:

  1. YNAB saves time and worry by allowing you to schedule recurring bills.
  2. One of the unique features of YNAB is that there are consequences for overspending. If you overspend in any category, you must borrow from another one or adjust your budget accordingly. Until you zero-sum your budget, a red bar appears, reminding you that your budget is not accurate.
  3. YNAB has a Reports feature that allows you to slice and dice your budget by category, timeframe, and account. For example, the grocery tab of your budget can be broken down by which store you frequent most often. This, in turn, allows you to determine whether you need to shop at a store that offers better values or if you are on the right track. Being able to look at spending trends and habits is helpful when you are trying to make a sustainable budget.
  4. In addition to tracking your budgeting accounts, YNAB also allows you to track additional bank accounts, investments, and loan accounts. These appear in the Net Worth Report feature on YNAB and can be useful if you’re interested in a more holistic view of your financial growth.
  5. YNAB’s Age Your Money feature is based on one of the four basic principles of YNAB. It means that, if you effectively budget, you should be spending last month’s income, because your current money is at least 30 days old. Getting to this place with your budget is an essential part of goal-setting with YNAB.

What We Don't Love:

  1. YNAB is expensive. For $84 a year, much of what YNAB accomplishes can be achieved with similar apps that are free, such as EveryDollar.
  2. While moving money around in the app is easy and efficient, there isn’t an option to look at what you spent versus what you planned. Without this original blueprint, it can be hard to see how your goals have changed or where you may have made a spending mistake.
  3. Users have reported keeping a separate spreadsheet along with YNAB, in order to get a better sense of where they didn’t allocate enough money in the budget.

Honeyfi Is a Good Option for Millennial Couples

Honeyfi is a budgeting app for couples, and it uses several of the features tech-savvy millennials have become comfortable with such as commenting and tagging. Honeyfi is app-based only, but it offers the same capabilities as apps that have web-based options. The Honeyfi budgeting system works by linking to your bank accounts then building and categorizing your transactions into a budget.

Here's Why We Love It:

  1. By relying on your own spending habits, the Honeyfi budget makes it harder to fib about where and when you “cheat” your budget. (Although you are able to make changes to the budget as needed.)
  2. You can have as many categories and subcategories as you want by creating your own or using those suggested by Honeyfi. You’ll also be able to track your net worth, which gives you a broader picture of your financial health.
  3. Honeyfi automatically identifies recurring bills, and you can manually add other bills. Honeyfi’s software also allows you to decide which transactions you want to share with your partner.
  4. Setting goals is easy because the app allows you to choose the method that works best for you and your partner, such as setting aside a percentage of your income or a fixed amount each week.
  5. By budgeting and setting goals together, you and your partner may be more likely to stick to the plan. The app’s messaging feature also allows for healthy financial conversations between the two of you.

What We Don't Love:

  1. Although basing your budget on past spending is a good starting point, without allocating the money into a granular system such as the ones found in the previously mentioned apps, it’s hard to truly keep track of your spending in the long run.
  2. Honeyfi can also be glitchy, particularly with respect to recurring bills. This means the app requires more upkeep than promised. Connectivity and account linking have also been problematic for users in the past.

The Best Budgeting App Is the One that Works for Your Budget Goals

In the mobile marketplace, there are a lot of diversity and many resources for managing your finances. Thanks to apps such as Mint, EveryDollar, YNAB and Honeyfi, you have many options for choosing an app that works best for your needs and circumstances.

Whether your goal is organizing your spending, getting out of debt, or saving for long-term goals, the right budgeting app can help you get there. A healthy financial future is the greatest benefit when you choose the budgeting app best suited to your needs and successfully manage your money.

At Axos Bank, we take pride in offering high-yield savings accounts that help customers make real progress toward their financial goals. To learn more about our high-yield accounts, we invite you to take a look here.

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