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The Best Budgeting Apps for 2024

Lyle Daly

Our Personal Finance Expert

Ashley Maready
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

If you constantly find yourself wondering where your money is going, a budgeting app may be just what you need. Whether you're looking for a budget app for iPhone or Android, there are more great options than ever.

We've analyzed all the most popular choices and narrowed them down to this group of the best budgeting apps for 2024.

Best budgeting apps:

Rocket Money

Rocket Money
Best for simplifying financesRocket Money

Bottom line: Rocket Money consolidates financial accounts, budgeting, and credit tracking in one place. But to gain access to its rich feature set, including bill negotiation, be prepared to subscribe to the Premium version, as the free version offers limited functionality.

  • iOS app rating: 4.3/5 stars
  • Android app rating: 4.4/5 stars
  • Cost: App is free to download and basic features are free. Premium features require a subscription. Cost is $3 to $12 a month depending on billing choices.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget
Best budgeting app overallYou Need a Budget

Bottom line: YNAB sets itself apart from other budgeting apps with its unique system of giving every dollar a job. It uses your current, actual income and requires that you allocate all your money toward bills and spending goals.

There's a greater learning curve and more time involved with YNAB than with most budgeting apps. That time commitment is, however, also a reason why this app is made for those who need to take more control of their money. In particular, it's excellent for people living paycheck to paycheck or who are struggling with debt.

  • iOS app rating: 4.8/5 stars
  • Android app rating: 4.8/5 stars
  • Cost: Free trial for 34 days, then $14.99/month or $99/year


Best budgeting app for investorsEmpower

Bottom line: Empower, formerly known as Personal Capital, lets you put all your financial accounts onto its handy dashboard. From there, you can track your net worth, your retirement savings, and your current investments.

The investment and retirement planning tools are what makes this free app special. You can see at a glance how your portfolio looks and how it compares to recommended asset allocations based on your target retirement date. Empower can also save you money on your investments by uncovering hidden fees.

  • iOS app rating: 4.7/5 stars
  • Android app rating: 4.3/5 stars
  • Cost: Free to download; tiered fees charged for wealth advisory services based on amount invested


Best budgeting app for simplicityGoodbudget

Bottom line: Goodbudget brings the popular envelope budgeting system to the digital age. It still involves assigning an envelope to different spending categories and then filling those envelopes with money. The difference is that Goodbudget allows you to create virtual envelopes. Since you can enter everything manually, this app is perfect if you'd rather not link your financial accounts.

  • iOS app rating: 4.7/5 stars
  • Android app rating: 4.2/5 stars
  • Cost: Has a free and a paid plan; the paid plan is $8/month or $70/year.


Best budgeting app for over-spendersPocketGuard

Bottom line: The name says it all for Pocketguard, which aims to help users avoid overspending. It lets you connect all your accounts so that you can track balances and transactions in one place. Pocketguard's spending reports are particularly useful, and you can easily group expenses together using hashtags. And while this is one of many budgeting apps that tracks your bills, it goes a step further by helping you negotiate better rates.

  • iOS app rating: 4.7/5 stars
  • Android app rating: 3.7/5 stars
  • Cost: Free for the basic version of PocketGuard; PocketGuard Pro has a flexible pricing model, and you can choose to pay $7.99/month, $34.99/year, or $79.99 for a lifetime plan where you own it forever

How do budgeting apps work?

Budgeting apps organize your income and expenses for you. They can do this through records you add manually or by linking to your financial accounts and pulling the information automatically.

With the manual method, you're responsible for adding every paycheck, bill payment, and purchase to the app. It's like a digital version of a traditional budget spreadsheet. Linking financial accounts is easier, but consumers often wonder what exactly is happening behind the scenes.

Budgeting apps that let you link financial accounts almost always work with a third-party data aggregator. In this case, information in the app won't be quite as up to date as information in the account itself. Approved transactions can take a little time (usually no more than 24 to 48 hours) to reach your budgeting app.

How to pick the best budgeting app for you

Here's what you should do to pick the best budget app for you.

  1. Figure out the main reason you need a budgeting app. That could be because you have spending problems, to get out of debt and avoid bankruptcy, to increase your credit score, or to manage money with a partner, to give a few common reasons.
  2. Decide which type of budgeting app to use. For example, if you're prone to overspending, budgeting apps for overspenders or zero-sum budgeting apps would both be good for your situation.
  3. Get the app. Download one or more of the best budgeting apps in the category you selected.
  4. Try out the budgeting app you downloaded and see if you like it. If you downloaded multiple budgeting apps, pick out the one you like the most.

Are budgeting apps safe?

Budgeting apps normally have very high security standards. If you want to learn about the safety of a specific budgeting app, look for a security page on its website. Trustworthy apps will have this information readily available.

To provide a few examples of budgeting app security, YNAB uses bank-grade or better encryption for all data sent by its customers. It uses a method called OAuth to access your account and transaction data without needing your online banking credentials. Empower uses encryption that passes U.S. military standards and operates a security bounty program.

How budgeting apps can help your finances

There are several ways that budgeting apps can help you with personal finance.

  • Track expenses: Budgeting apps show you exactly where your money is going. You'll be able to see how much you're spending in different areas each month. With that information about your spending habits, you can figure out whether you're overspending and what you need to do to correct it.
  • Set savings goals: Just about every budget app allows you to set savings goals and make financial plans. This is good motivation to put more money away every month.
  • Reduce your spending: In addition to tracking your expenses, the best budgeting apps also provide tips on how you can spend less. Some even offer features that can keep you from overpaying on your regular bills, either by alerting you if a monthly bill goes up or helping you negotiate with bill providers. Zero-sum budgeting apps that require giving every dollar a job in your budget planner are also great for spending less.
  • Improve your investing: There's more to budgeting apps than just a simple budgeting tool. Many also help you invest better through advisor services, recommended portfolio allocations, and uncovering any hidden fees you're paying.

Keep Reading: How to Set Up a Budget

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  • There are both free and paid budgeting apps available. Most budgeting apps are either free or offer a free version.

  • Budgeting apps are generally as secure as the apps offered by major financial institutions. If you choose a reputable budget app and practice good cybersecurity, including not reusing passwords and keeping the app updated, your information should be protected. For added security, you could also pick a budget app that lets you enter your information manually instead of linking your financial accounts.

  • Budgeting apps can help you monitor your spending, set savings goals, and keep better track of all your financial accounts. The biggest benefit of budgeting apps is that they give you a clear picture of where your money is going and how you can improve your spending habits.