It’s really important to keep track of what you’re spending, especially for those of us with a particularly loose grip on the old purse strings. We all think we know where our money is going, but it can be surprising to discover what (or who) we spend our cash on.
Thankfully, our friend technology has stepped in to make this easier than ever before and — dare we say it — even pretty fun… OK, maybe not fun, but satisfying, at least. Today, there are tons of apps to help you budget.
We rarely look for these apps “just because” — usually we are trying to fix a problem with our finances, or hit a savings goal. So it’s important to find one that’s right for what you want it to do. Importantly, although most come ready to hit the road straight out the box, you should make sure to keep them up to date with what you’ve spent. You should be able to do this as you go — they are mobile apps, after all — but if not, make sure you spend 5-10 mins updating at the end of each day.
To get you on the right track, we scoured the app stores for the best budgeting apps out there looking at user ratings, download figures and tech editor reviews to make an informed decision. Best of all, they’re all totally free to use. Here’s our top four.
4. Expense Manager
Play Store rating: 4.3 (42k reviews)
Downloads:1m – 5m
Coming in at number 4 we have Expense Manager, which is only available for Android. It’s extremely popular, being the second most downloaded free budgeting app in the store.
This has a staggering amount of features for a free app, including:
- Tracking expenses and incomes by week, month and year as well as by categories
- Multiple accounts in multiple currencies
- Schedule payments and recurring payments
- Payment alerts
This app is particularly good at managing multiple accounts, as you can use the app to transfer money between your various profiles. It comes with useful tools built in to help with this, such as a calculator and currency converter.
The charts are particularly useful, displaying your expenses for a given period in bar chart form and even giving you pie chart breakdowns by expense by type.
The drawbacks are that it’s not available on the App Store and, let’s face it, it’s ugly as hell. But look no further if you have an Android phone and prefer function over form.
Download for Android
Play Store rating: 4.3 (10k reviews)
App Store rating: 4.5 (2k reviews)
Goodbudget is designed for the whole family to keep track of their budget. It’s based on the envelope budgeting method, where money for certain activities is set aside at the start of the month to make sure spending doesn’t go out of control.
- Syncable across devices
- Data is automatically and securely backed up
- Download transactions to CSV
- In-depth reporting
The envelope system is really useful and the fact that accounts sync across devices makes it really easy to manage a household budget.
The only reason we haven’t rated this product higher is that you have to pay an additional £3.20 a month for the full version, which allows you to create an unlimited amount of envelopes and more synchronised profiles.
Play Store rating: 3.6 (999 reviews)
App Store rating: 4 (500 reviews)
Downloads:500k – 1m
OK, this one might have made the list purely because of its name — YOU WALLY!
Seriously, though, it is a cool little app. Somewhat of a newcomer, the Android version has only just launched and isn’t getting the best reviews at the moment. However, the Apple version has been around a while longer and has received a number of awards and media mentions.
Wally’s unique quality is that it’s focussed on spending as a social activity. You can track which of your friends owe you money and attach social profiles to expenses to see which of your friends you spend the most with. Making it easy for you to decide who you might want to spend a little less time with if you have some financial goals to reach.
Other features include:
- Smart notifications that tell you about upcoming direct debits and when you’re close to a savings goal
- Artificial intelligence that adapts to your behaviour
- Automatically categorises expenses depending on your location
Once some of the cracks are ironed out, we definitely see big things for Wally in the future.
Download for Android
Download for Apple