We all want to save our money in theory, but the end of the month comes, and your savings account is exactly where it was last month. And you look around your house and realize that you bought a whole bunch of useless sh*t that you don’t need. I get it, we all want that new Xbox, that new pair of shoes, three Starbucks nitro brews every day.
But, if you’re really serious about saving, you’ve got to learn how to budget your money. Luckily, there are a ton of apps out there that will help you do just that! In this article, I’m going to run through the 6 best apps in 2021 that will manage your money for you, so you can watch your savings grow and keep your eyes on early retirement.
These are the 6 best money management apps in 2021. Lets go!
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
No, this is not me being your nagging mother. “You need a budget, young man!” No, no, that’s the name of one of the best budgeting apps you can get right now. You Need a Budget, or YNAB, is a great way to get a better understanding of where your money’s going, and then use that information to save as much as possible!
The app connects to your bank accounts and credit cards, and you can also import data files and individual transactions. YNAB is based on a zero-based budgeting system, which means it budgets for every single dollar you earn. It’s almost like getting a drill sergeant for your wallet!
No more useless spending, no more surprising credit card bills, just big savings. YNAB also budgets 30 days out, which means that every dollar you spend while using the app will be a dollar you earned last month!
YNAB has said that new users typically save $600 in the first two months and $6,000 in the first year! If your boss offered you a $6,000 raise, would you take it? Of course! So, why not get YNAB on your phone and start saving?
Unfortunately, a subscription costs $84 a year, or $11.99 per month. But, hey, $600 saved in the first two months, with a $24 subscription fee for two months. That’s a sound investment, baby!
However, if you’re saying, “No way, Jose, why would I pay for a budgeting app?” then this next one is for you.
Now, there are plenty of free budgeting apps out there, but Mint from Intuit is by far the superior one. That’s right, this app comes from the same angels that brought us TurboTax, the only reason anyone can successfully file their taxes, and Mint makes personal money management just as fast and easy.
The app is 100% free and very easy to use for first-time budgeters and experienced budgeters alike, which is probably why it’s become one of the most popular money management apps out there with over 25 million users.
Like most budgeting apps, Mint allows you to sync your financial accounts and track your investments and your spending. But, it will also send you bill payment reminders, provide you with your TransUnion credit score, and help you figure out how large of a mortgage you can afford, or what a loan repayment will look like.
Of course, any free app must have a drawback, and Mint is no different. Yes, it does have ads. I know, I know, ads are the worst thing ever, but if you can suffer through them, Mint could save you a whole lot of money.
So, the apps I’ve covered so far are great for personal finance, but what if you’ve got joint finances with your significant other? Let’s check out an app tailormade for all you lovebirds out there.
Now, let’s be honest, HoneyDue might just be the corniest name they could’ve possibly chosen for this app. But, before you laugh it off, imagine you and your partner sitting on a tropical island somewhere, sipping Mai Tais in the sweet island breeze. And how’d you get there? With all that money you saved with HoneyDue!
This app is relatively new and revolutionary. It allows you to see both you and your partner’s finances all in one big picture. If you’re worried about sharing some of your financial information with your partner, you can adjust the privacy settings so you both can see only what you want each other to see.
HoneyDue allows you to set limits on spending in certain categories and will alert you when you and your partner are nearing that limit. There’s also a chat feature, so you can send flirtatious emojis to each other through an app that’s supposed to be for finance. For some reason that makes it more fun…
HoneyDue is free to install and to use, so you know what’s coming next. Ads, yes, ads. But if you and your partner’s relationships can survive a slew of boring ads and the experience of sharing your finances, then you know you were meant to be together.
So, what if you feel like giving all your financial information to an app is a bit invasive? I get it, you can never be too careful with cybersecurity. Well, lucky for you, there’s an app that can help you budget, that doesn’t require you to sync your bank accounts at all!
Goodbudget is essentially the digital version of the envelope system of budgeting. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when you physically take your monthly income in cash, and portion it out into envelopes for different categories. $300 for food, $1,200 for rent, $20,000 for upkeep on my Porsche 911, you get the point.
But, obviously, most people don’t want to carry around that much cash anymore, so Goodbudget went ahead and fixed that problem. The app allows you to divide your monthly income into different virtual envelopes, and track your spending to see if you’ve spent over your limit in a certain category. If you’ve spent more than your allotted amount in a month, your envelope will turn red! Terrifying!
Goodbudget doesn’t connect to your bank accounts, but rather requires you to input your income and expenses manually. So, I guess its main drawback would be that you actually have to remember to track your own spending, which requires some discipline and can be difficult sometimes if you’re in a rush. Still, Goodbudget is a great way to get used to the concept of categorizing and monitoring your spending.
Goodbudget is free as long as you stay under 20 envelopes and use it on only two devices. If you want to upgrade, you can go for Goodbudget Plus, which includes more envelopes, more devices, and added features.
Maybe all these apps so far have seemed a bit juvenile to you, and you’re looking for something that’s going to help you grow your investments and watch your net worth keep climbing. Well, check this out, because this next app is for you.
Personal Capital serves primarily as an online financial advisor, combining algorithm-driven robo-advice with actual human advisors for a more personal experience. There’s a $100,000 minimum investment, and they take a 0.89% account management fee off that, with that rate going down for larger accounts.
If you don’t have $100,000 to throw around, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you. Personal Capital actually has a wealth of tools on their platform that are free to use for anyone. You can connect your checking, savings, and credit card accounts and track your spending by category. You can also monitor the growth of your IRA or 401K account, and even break down loan and mortgage payments.
If you are fortunate enough to have $100,000 to invest, you’ll get access to even more advanced investing tools as well as all the ones I’ve just mentioned. Plus, you’ll have a team of financial advisors working to grow your net worth.
Personal Capital is mostly an investment tool for high-net-worth individuals, but the free-to-access tools on the platform are also a great resource for people who just want to track their spending and budget their lives.
All of the apps we’ve talked about thus far require some level of financial responsibility on your part, but what if you just can’t stop ballin’ out at the club, shutting down the mall, or spending money on extra powerups in Candy Crush. Well, this next app will whip you into shape.
PocketGuard is probably the best app out there for chronic overspenders. This app makes it super easy to set limits on your spending by category and stop overspending quickly. You can set savings goals in PocketGuard and it will automatically move money to a savings account for you every month. You can also input your upcoming bills and PocketGuard will calculate how much money you can spend on everyday expenses by subtracting out bills and your savings contribution.
Of course, no one wants an app that’s going to withhold their money from them when they want to spend it, but if you’re out and about doing some errant spending, PocketGuard is going to make sure you hear about it.
There’s a free version and a paid, premium version called PocketGuard Plus, which costs $4.99 per month or $34.99 per year. While the premium version definitely gives you more flexibility when it comes to categorizing your expenses, I’d recommend just going with the free version.