Everyone struggles with money – even Kanye West. But the good thing about living in the future is that you can leave some of the more headache-inducing aspects of budgeting up to your phone. These apps may not make you a millionaire, but they can definitely help you improve your bank account a little more. And you might even boost your savings, too!
This popular app hooks right up to your financial accounts (it’s safe) and keeps track of each of your expenses and lets you know when you have a bill coming up. While you can make a budget for yourself within the app, its categorization capabilities aren’t perfect, but it’s a great way to stay up-to-date on your financial history and future.
This simple app helps you set a specific financial goal over the coming year and reach that goal by saving a little bit at first, and slightly more each week, for 52 weeks. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved nearly $1,400 (or more, if that’s what you want)! The only annoying thing is that you can’t reverse the spending pattern (i.e. you can’t save a lot at first and then decrease how much you put away each week). Still, it’s a relatively pain-free way to build up your savings.
3. Left to Spend ($6.99 – 3.5 stars – for iOS)
No, this app isn’t free, but its financial tracking makes it super simple to stay under budget – you simply tell it how much money you have to spend, then input every time you spend any money. Nearly $7 for such a minimalist app might be a bit steep, but you might not balk so hard when it keeps you from going into debt.
You may already use the envelope style of budgeting without really realizing it – it’s when you allot a certain amount of money for each category of expense, and can only spend money from those envelopes. GoodBudget takes the headache out of it for you, allowing you to create virtual envelopes for everything, and keep track of how much you can still spend in each category. The free version only allows for a limited number of envelopes, so if you want more, you’ll have to pony up for a monthly plan ($20.99 for three months or $32.99 for six months).
5. Spend Today – Save Tomorrow (free – 4 stars – for iOS)
So, you’re not worried so much about building up your savings or keeping track of budget categories. Really, you just want to make sure you can go out and have a good time this weekend. STST is perfect, as it simply tells you how much you’re allowed to spend all week so that you’ll have a respectable amount of money left over to have fun on Friday and Saturday. Even better, if you stay under budget one day, the leftover gets spread out over the remaining days of the week. (And yes, you can select which kind of currency you use.)
HomeBudget allows you to manually enter all your expenses and bills fairly easily (and if the price is too steep for you, they also offer a free version with slightly fewer capabilities). What sets this one apart from others is that any changes you input are updated to the cloud and then synced across multiple devices – perfect if you’re sharing a household budget with friends or family.
7. Digit (free – sign up here)
Not so much an app as an online service, Digit connects to your bank account, analyzes your spending and then automatically figures out ways to slowly move small amounts of money from your regular expenses into your savings. If it does its job properly, you don’t even realize it’s happening.
The ideal app for households with multiple bill-paying residents, SplitWise keeps track of which bills are coming up, how much each roommate owes, and whether you still need to pay Ted back for those beers he bought you last Friday. Now you don’t need any more passive-aggressive notes (except about the dirty dishes, because they’re not yours and you’re not cleaning them, goddammit).
9. Debts Break (free – 3.5 stars – for iOS)
Do you have multiple debts that you’re struggling to pay off? Debts Break will help you figure out the fastest way to pay each of them off while accumulating the least amount of interest. It also has a handy calculator to show you how your debts can decrease each month, how much of that goes to interest, and when you’ll finally be debt-free.
YNAB (or You Need A Budget) has a bit of a following online, because it helps its users assign a purpose for every single dollar they spend. If you overspend one month, the app will help you recover, but also encourages users to figure out how to live on the previous month’s salary. It does take some discipline to master, but your finances will never look better. Beware, though: YNAB is free for a little over a month, but after that, you’ll have to pay to use it.