Young man looking at best budgeting app on his phone.

What Are Budget Apps?

Updated March 18, 2024 . AmFam Team

If you’re looking for ways to control your finances, creating a budget is one of the best places to start. Budget apps simplify the process by helping you track your spending for improved money management.

The 6 Best Budget Apps for Saving Money

Budgeting doesn’t have to be overwhelming! It’s just a matter of taking that first step. We reviewed the best budget apps on the market and compiled a handy list to get you started.

1. Mint

Mint is a great app for monthly budgeting. It automatically updates and categorizes transactions, so you get a picture of your spending in real time. Mint suggests budgets for you based on your spending. By linking your bank, loan and credit accounts, the app analyzes the information in those accounts and lets you break out spending into categories like “Entertainment” and “Food & Dining.” That way, you can see how much you can save by cutting back in each category.

  • Best for: Financial Newbies
  • Cost: Free
  • Availability: iOS and Android

Learn More About Mint > (Opens in a new tab)

2. Acorns

Acorns gives people a way to save money without even thinking about it. The app automatically keeps the change every time you swipe a linked credit card. So, when you spend $4.72 on that latte, Acorn rounds it up to $5 and then sends the change to an investment portfolio for you. It’s a way to invest without even thinking twice, so you can start building up a nest egg.

  • Best for: New investors
  • Cost: $3, $5, or $9 per month
  • Availability: iOS and Android

Learn More About Acorns > (Opens in a new tab)

Woman on her smartphone with coffee in hand

3. PocketGuard

PocketGuard boils down your budget to the bottom line: how much you have to spend. Users connect their checking, credit, and savings accounts, and the app crunches the numbers to show what you’re spending. PocketGuard automatically pulls out transactions from linked accounts so you can see the categories, like “Travel” or “Utility Bills.” You can also set spending limits that trigger notifications when you’re about to cross the line so you can think twice. It’s one of the best budget-tracking apps out there.

  • Best for: Easy-to-understand budgeting
  • Cost: $74.99/year or $12.99/month
  • Availability: iOS and Android

Learn More About PocketGuard > (Opens in a new tab)


YNAB (You Need a Budget) is great for people who share their spending with a partner. The app gives you real-time access to what you and your partner are spending from any device, anytime. YNAB offers its members online, live workshops to help them master the art of budgeting. This app is more robust (you can use it with your Amazon Alexa!), but it does come with a higher price tag.

  • Best for: People who want a robust budgeting app
  • Cost: $99/year or $14.99/month
  • Availability: Browser-based. Apps for iOS, Android and Amazon Alexa devices

Learn More About YNAB > (Opens in a new tab)

Parents and daughter grocery shopping

5. Albert

Albert figures out your income by analyzing your transaction history over time (this is handy if your income isn’t always steady). The app automatically creates a personalized budget based on your past spending, recurring bills and income. Albert also sends you alerts about your spending trends and rising bills, so you don’t get taken by surprise.

  • Best for: Personalized budget advice
  • Cost: Free
  • Availability: iOS

Learn More About Albert > (Opens in a new tab)

6. Monarch

Monarch helps you track your account balances, transactions and investments in one place. It also lets you collaborate with your partner to help you reach your financial goals faster.

  • Best for: All-in-one budgeting app
  • Cost: $99.99/year or $14.99/month
  • Availability: Browser-based. Apps for iOS and Android     

Learn More About Monarch > (Opens in a new tab)

Find the Best Budget App for You

Now that you know about the best budget apps on the market, you’re probably saying, “Okay. But which one is right for me?” The answer is that it depends. How comfortable are you with the idea of budgeting in the first place? Do you share finances with another person, or are you flying solo? Do you prefer to budget on the go or at home on your computer? Think about the options to help you find the best budget app for you.

Coins in a jar

How to Budget as a Couple

Coming up with a budget together is one of the most important things you can tackle as a couple. Sit down to talk through your financial goals with your partner — you might be surprised to find out they think about money differently than you do. And that’s okay. Here are five tips for getting started.

Figure out Your Household Needs

The first thing you need to do is determine your household spending needs. This includes basic expenses like rent or mortgage payments, groceries, student loan payments and utility bills. You are tackling these payments together, and these obligations need to be met before you can spend on fun things.

Talk About Individual Wants

Now that you’ve determined your needs as a household, it’s time to look at each of your wants. You might be tempted to give your partner a hard time about their spending at this stage in the game. It’s important to recognize that your wants and needs aren’t the same, even though you are a couple. You can compromise by making sure each of you has money to spend on the things you value, as long as you stick to your budget.

Determine Your Financial Goals

Create a roadmap to get to your financial goals together. These long-term goals can make sticking to a budget easier because you know there’s a reward coming. Good beginning goals are saving up for a down payment on your first home or paying off your student loan. Once you have a goal, you can set up an action plan to help you get there.

Track Your Budget Together

Okay, so now you have a budget plan. What’s next? Here’s where the budget apps come in. Choose an app that works for you as a couple so you can track your progress together. That way, you’ll both be equally accountable for your spending and saving — and you’ll both have access to the same financial information.

These budgeting tips can go a long way. Over time, you’ll start to see some big savings! Take this one step further and read up on How to Make a Budget and 10 Ways to Save for First-Time Home Buyers.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available from sources not associated with American Family Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. nor its Operating Companies. While we do our best to provide helpful resources, we make no guarantees or promises about the reliability, accuracy, or any potential outcomes. This information does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. You should contact an appropriate professional for advice specific to your situation.

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