A budgeting app can be very helpful whether you’re new to budgeting altogether or your current method just isn’t working for you.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at six of the best budgeting apps and websites that can help you take control of your money.
I’ve downloaded each of these apps and tried them out myself. I’ve also looked into their ratings, reviews, security and more to ensure they’re safe to use.
This article was updated in May 2023 and I review it every year.
6 of the Best Budgeting Apps for iPhone and Android
Finding a budgeting method that works for you is an important step toward achieving your financial goals. It’s important to keep track of your income, expenses and other purchases. While you can set up a budget on your own, there are plenty of budgeting apps available that can set one up for you and help you stick to it.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal budget or budgeting app that’s going to work for everyone. Instead, you’ll need to find something that makes the most sense for you.
Here, you’ll find six of the best budgeting apps for 2023:
|App||Best For||Price||App Ratings|
|Mint||Tracking Expenses||Free||App Store 4.8
Google Play 4.3
|Empower||Investments||Free||App Store 4.7
Google Play 4.3
|You Need a Budget (YNAB)||Strict Budgeting||$14.99/month or $99/year|
34-day free trial
|App Store 4.8
Google Play 4.6
|PocketGuard||Avoiding Overspending||Free||App Store 4.7
Google Play 4.4
|Quicken||Premium features||Simplifi: $47.88/year|
Home & Business: $119.88/year
|App Store 4.1
Google Play 2.6
|Honeydue||Couples||Free||App Store 4.5
Google Play 3.5
Below, you’ll find more detailed information on each budgeting tool including what features are available, what makes it secure and how to decide which one is best for you.
Best free budgeting app for tracking expenses
Average App Rating: 4.6
Mint is a money management tool that’s owned by Intuit, which is the same company that owns TurboTax and QuickBooks. Mint has been around for more than a decade. It brings all of your accounts together to give you a snapshot of your financial life. Plus, it’s completely free!
Money expert Clark Howard has been a fan of Mint for years. In his opinion, Mint is the best of the best budgeting apps.
“Mint has stood the test of time and will help you categorize your spending in so many different ways, and so much of it is done automatically to help you get control of what you’re up to.”
If you’re curious about where your money has been going, looking for motivation to start saving, need alerts to remind you of upcoming bills or simply want to see all of your investments and net worth in one place, Mint may be the perfect budgeting app for you. It’s also the only app on our list that provides a free credit score.
When I downloaded Mint and set up a budget myself, here were the biggest benefits and drawbacks that I found with the app.
|Features: Mint offers a huge variety of features that hold up pretty well compared to similar budgeting tools.||Personal Info: You will have to enter usernames and passwords from your accounts to link them to Mint, but this data is securely stored and protected.|
|Alerts: You can set up alerts to help you catch unexpected fees, stay within your budget, and pay your bills on time.||Investments: You won’t be able to manage your investments with Mint. The most you can do is link your investment accounts so that they’re all displayed on the same page.|
|Price: The website and app are completely free to use.||Ads: Since Mint doesn’t charge a fee, you can expect to see some ads and promotions across the website and app.|
|Comprehensiveness: In addition to budgeting tools, Mint provides a full financial overview including investments, a free credit score and more.|
If you’re thinking about trying out Mint, you can read our full review here.
Best for tracking investments and net worth
Average App Rating: 4.5
It’s completely free to download for iPhone or Android, and its financial planning tools are available for anyone to use. However, if you want to invest with Empower, you’ll need at least $100,000 to start.
The free tools that you’ll find on the budgeting app include net worth tracking, a retirement planner, an investment/portfolio checkup feature, an investment fee analyzer, cash flow tracking and budgeting. If you invest through Empower, you’ll get additional features including tracking and help with college savings, insurance, home financing, stock options and more.
When Team Clark tried out the Empower app, we found the following pros and cons.
|Free financial planning tools. The large majority of Empower’s users aren’t paying customers. The firm’s free, visual and detailed financial planning tools are among the best you can find.||Budgeting tool not the strongest. Empower’s financial planning tools deserve plenty of praise. However, its budgeting tool has gotten some criticism for not being as strong as those of Mint and others — and also because some of its features aren’t available on mobile.|
|Financial advisor services. The company’s advisors can help with retirement, estate and tax planning, refinancing and even getting a mortgage. In that way, Empower more closely resembles a full-service financial advisor.||Relatively expensive management fee. Empower charges 0.89% per year for this premium service (not required to use the app’s free financial planning tools). That’s a good price compared to full-service financial advisors, but it’s expensive relative to other hybrid financial advisors (automated digital investing with access to human financial advice).|
|Monitoring/optimizing retirement investing. Empower’s free financial planning tools are good at guiding you toward your retirement goals by monitoring your progress. Its paid advisory services get you even more custom tips on how to optimize your retirement strategy.||Reputation for frequent solicitation. Empower has a reputation for using your personal information to contact you to pitch its investing and financial advising products. And there are complaints from users that it targets high-worth folks more frequently.|
|Unusually customizable portfolios. Empower’s portfolio options are much more customizable than the average robo-advisor and even the average hybrid financial advisor. Customers can even invest in individual stocks and bonds at certain investment levels.||Significant minimum deposit. You’ll need to invest at least $100,000 in order to become a customer (not required to use the app’s free financial planning tools). You’ll need to increase that number to $200,000 and then to $1 million to unlock significant features.|
If you’re interested in free financial planning tools that will help you work toward retirement, Empower can be a great choice. To learn more about the app, check out our full review.
Best for creating a strict budget
Cost: $14.99/month or $99/year after a 34-day free trial
Average App Rating: 4.7
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a budgeting app that stands apart from competitors because of its proactive system.
YNAB’s approach to budgeting requires you to be forward-thinking and intentional about every dollar. In this way, you’ll be able to take total control of your finances.
You can link your bank accounts and/or track your earnings, bills and transactions manually. Either way, as soon as you’ve earned a dollar, YNAB will ask you to assign it to a category: bills, savings, groceries, etc. This zero-based budgeting method paired with YNAB’s features is a great way to take control of your finances.
Unfortunately, YNAB isn’t free. It costs $14.99/month or $98.99/year, but you can try it out for free for 34 days before committing to a subscription.
When I downloaded the YNAB app for iPhone and tried it out myself, I found the following benefits and drawbacks.
|Active Approach: YNAB makes you designate each dollar to a budget category before you spend a dime. This forward-thinking approach helps you take control of your finances.||Price: While the first 34 days are free, YNAB costs $14.99 monthly or $99 annually afterward. Competing personal finance apps Mint and Empower are free.|
|Personalization: YNAB provides a budget with suggested categories, but you can edit them, delete them, reorder them and add new categories that make sense for your life. You can also create categories for cash spending, savings goals and accidental overspending.||Usability: The YNAB interface is a little overwhelming at first, and the system takes a while to learn. Still, there are helpful videos and articles on the website to help you get started. If this budgeting method works for you, it could be worth the time it takes to learn the system.|
|Easy Tracking: You can link your accounts to have your transactions automatically imported. You can also enter your transactions manually. Either way, the app makes it easy to keep track of how much you have available in each category.||Limited Features: YNAB doesn’t have as many features as some of the competing free apps. There are no bill payment alerts, and you can’t track your investments. Instead, the app focuses solely on budgeting.|
If you’re willing to pay for a budgeting app in order to take control of your finances, read our full review of YNAB.
Best budgeting app for avoiding overspending
Average App Rating: 4.6
PocketGuard is an excellent free budgeting app to try out if you struggle with overspending or meeting financial goals.
Its goal is to get you spending less than you earn, so it clearly displays how much money you have available to spend once you’ve set aside enough for bills, savings goals and other budgeted categories. As you spend money, you’ll get alerts to keep you under budget. The app also provides monthly insights on how you’re spending which could help you find areas for improvement.
You can link your bank accounts and PocketGuard will automatically determine a basic, customizable budget for you. You can also manually enter cash transactions.
It’s free to download the PocketGuard app and to create an account. There’s an optional subscription available for premium features that costs $7.99/month, $34.99/year or $79.99/lifetime. Still, the free version of the app has everything you’ll need to start watching your spending.
When I downloaded PocketGuard and tried it out myself, here were my favorite and least favorite features of the app.
|Easy Tracking: You can link your accounts to have your transactions automatically imported. You can also edit transactions and create a cash account to enter transactions manually. The app makes it easy to keep track of how much you have available no matter how you spend.||Limited Features: The free version of PocketGuard allows users to set one savings goal and two budget categories. Also, the free version tracks your spending only for the most recent three months.|
|Automatic Savings: With the free version of PocketGuard, you can set one savings goal in addition to your budget categories. You can also have your monthly savings contribution automatically deposited to a PocketGuard savings account that’s FDIC-insured. Otherwise, the app will track your savings contributions in your own bank account and deduct the total from your “In My Pocket” money each month.||Discrepancies: The amount of money you’ll see listed as available likely won’t match the amount you have in your bank accounts. That’s because this total is based on your budget and estimated income/bills as opposed to your actual available amount. For this reason, your “In My Pocket” money may be negative when you have money in your account. Also, you’ll have to check to make sure transactions are correctly categorized.|
|Avoid Overspending: After you set up the app, you’ll easily be able to see how much money you have left to spend. You can also set up alerts for your budget categories to let you know when you’re getting close to overspending.||Initial Setup: While the app is really simple to use once you have your income, bills and budget set up, getting to this point can take time and patience. Linking all of your accounts, recategorizing recent transactions and setting up an in-app budget that works for you can be tedious.|
If you’re thinking about downloading PocketGuard, here are five things to know about the budgeting app.
Best for premium features
Cost: $47.88-$119.88/year depending on the program
Average App Rating: 3.4
Quicken is another popular budgeting tool that offers five different products including apps for both iPhone and Android devices. However, none of Quicken’s products are free.
In this table, you’ll see each of Quicken’s products, what each is best for, how much it costs for the first year’s subscription, how much it costs each year afterward and which platforms the product is compatible with.
|Program||Best For||New Member Price (Billed Annually)||Regular Price (Billed Annually)||Platforms|
|Simplifi by Quicken||Managing your personal finances in a few minutes each week||$28.68||$47.88||Mobile & Web App|
|Quicken Starter||Organize your basic finances with a simple monthly budget||$41.88||$41.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Deluxe||Managing your personal finances and investments||$35.88||$59.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Premier||Maximizing your personal finances and investments||$50.28||$83.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Home & Business||Managing home, business and rentals||$71.88||$119.88||Desktop App (Windows Only)|
If you’re looking for a user-friendly Quicken mobile app for your iPhone or Android phone, I do recommend looking into Simplifi. While the other four products do sync with a Quicken mobile companion app for iOS or Android, you won’t have access to all the same features as you’ll have on the desktop app.
One of the biggest differences in Quicken’s products is the approach to budgeting. According to Quicken’s website, Simplifi by Quicken automatically generates a personalized monthly spending plan based on your income, bills and remaining available money. Alternatively, Quicken’s other products use a traditional category-based budgeting method with set amounts for spending in each category. Each product is highly customizable.
For a more detailed look at the different features available with Simplifi by Quicken, Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Premier and Quicken Home & Business, check out this detailed product comparison.
If Quicken sounds like a budgeting tool that you would use, here are five things you should know before you get started.
Best for budgeting with a partner
Average App Rating: 4
Watching your spending and meeting financial goals can be a challenge for anyone but especially if you budget with a partner. Honeydue is a free budgeting app that makes it a little easier.
You and your partner can both download the app and connect to share financial information like account balances and transactions. What’s great about Honeydue is that it can help create transparency between you and your partner when it comes to finances. Still, you have total control over what your partner can and cannot see.
You can link your bank accounts to the app to see recent transactions in the “Activity” tab where you and your partner can comment and react like a Facebook feed. You can also use the “Chat” tab to send messages to your partner.
Within the app, you and your partner can both check current balances, set a spending limit on budget categories, get reminders about upcoming bills and more.
When I downloaded Honeydue and tried it out with my partner, here are the biggest benefits and drawbacks we found.
|Designed for Partners. Honeydue is specifically designed for two people to use together. You can share balances and transactions, set goals together and chat about finances directly in the app.||Accessibility. You can’t access your Honeydue account from a desktop browser: You have to download the app for iPhone or Android.|
|Price. Honeydue is completely free to download and use, plus it isn’t ad-supported. Instead, you can choose to send an optional “tip” up to $10 monthly if you enjoy the app.||Set Up. Honeydue doesn’t automatically create a budget for you nor does it try to determine your income and bills based on recent transactions. Instead, you’ll have to sit down with your partner to set up your budget and create a plan you can stick to.|
|Bill Reminders. You can set up bill reminders in the app for you, your partner or both up to a week before a bill is due. You can also use the “Bills” tab to see upcoming payments on the calendar.||Planning. While the app offers an intuitive budget section, there isn’t a clear way to set up a savings goal, and Honeydue doesn’t prompt you to assign your money before it’s spent. While it makes communication easy, you will have to plan out your monthly budget ahead of time for the best results.|
If you think Honeydue sounds like a good fit for you and your partner, check out our full review of the free budgeting app.
No matter how you decide to budget your money, keeping track of your spending and expenses is a crucial step toward financial success.
After researching each of these apps and trying them out myself, I found that Mint is one of the best free budgeting apps for simple expense tracking. But if you’re more focused on watching your investments or planning for retirement, Empower will likely be a better budgeting app for you.
If you’re budgeting on your own and need an app to automatically set up a budget for you, check out PocketGuard. But if you’re budgeting with a partner, I recommend trying out Honeydue together.
Finally, if you’re willing to pay for a personal finance tool that will help you get your spending under control, YNAB and Quicken are both great budgeting apps worth checking out.
If you still aren’t sure which one is best for you, here’s a quick rundown of the features available with each budgeting app:
|Best for||Tracking expenses||Investments||Budgeting||Avoiding overspending||Budgeting with a partner||Premium features|
|Free to use||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Monthly budget planner||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bill payment alerts||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free credit score||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes|
Do you use a budgeting app to manage your money? Tell us which one in the Clark.com community!