Do you track your spending? If you find yourself staring at an empty bank account a week before payday, then you need to learn some financial discipline. If you don’t respect money, then it won’t respect you, and you’ll find yourself always running short.
You might not realize where you’re spending money that you could be saving. Tracking your spending habits by setting a budget is the best way to remain accountable to yourself and your bank account.
In today’s tech society, keeping a budget is easy. There are a variety of tools available that can help you set and work your budget. These tools even integrate with your credit and debit cards, allowing you to categories your spending and receive cash back rewards on your purchases.
When you learn to control your spending, you’ll find that you never face any money shortages. Budgeting is a powerful financial tool, and you can start with it today using any of these top-rated software tools.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive software tool to track your finances, then Personal Capital is a great choice. However, this app doesn’t have the same diversity in its budgeting features as other apps like Mint. Still, with Personal Capital, you do get a reasonably handy budgeting tool.
The user-interface on this app is easy to navigate, and it’s an overall easy-to-use platform. Where Personal Capital excels is in its investment management. You can link all of your IRA and 401(k) accounts to this tool, and keep an eye on your net worth as it grows.
You can create a free account and link all of your credit cards to the app. Personal Capital gives you an overview of your financial position from a holistic perspective, allowing you to adjust your financial plan to suit your goals.
You’ll need to pay $9.99 per year to access this next budgeting tool, but you’ll probably make that in savings on your spending in the first month of using this app. CountAbout is one of the most successful budgeting apps available.
With the $9.99 subscription fee, you get to enter your transaction information into the app manually. However, if you want to connect your accounts and let the system do the work for you, it’s going to cost you $39.99 per year.
With this app, you can import data from Mint and Quicken, allowing you to build some historical data into your account.
With CountAbout, you get customizable income and expense categories, running balances that include any uncleared transactions, as well as set up for any recurring transactions. You also can customize your interface, dropping widgets onto your dashboard to get you a quick snapshot of your financial position and activities.
One of the best features for business owners is that you can generate invoices from within the app. Because it’s a paid service, you don’t get any ads with CountAbout. We think it’s well worth the money when you think about how many ads come up on the free apps.
This cloud-based budgeting app is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to access their financial data on the move. Pocketsmith connects to your bank accounts, credit cards, and personal loan accounts, giving you a big picture of your current net worth and financial position.
Some of the standout features you’ll find in this program include forecasting that projects your budget into the future based on your current spending habits. The AI in the app runs “what-if” scenarios to determine what your future balances will look like if you continue your current saving and investment plan.
You can also create budgets and alerts to let you know when your accounts are hitting predetermined thresholds that require you to cut back on your spending in that category. You also can use the calendar function to send you reminders on the days you need to pay your bills, avoiding any late charges on your accounts.
There’s a free version of Pocketsmith, but it comes with ads and limited functionality. If you upgrade to the premium subscription, you get an ad-free experience and more features to help you manage your money.
This free budgeting tool swept the internet. As one of the most popular budgeting tools ever, Mint is everything you need to track your finances. However, while Mint is free to use, you have to deal with adverts when switching between functions.
You’ll receive offers for low APR credit cards and loans, but we suggest you refrain from taking any in-app offers before talking to your accountant. With Mint, you can set up a secure account in minutes, and link all of your accounts, including your credit and debit cards.
Mint allows you to customize your budget. Create categories for your expenses, and then sub-categories to further define your expenses. Mint also imports 3-months of historical data into the app. This data shows you how you stack up against previous months, allowing you to improve your spending habits while tracking your progress.
The app also allows you to set goals for saving as well, and you also get some investment tracking, but its nowhere near the level of Personal Capitals offering.
Mint is our favorite free budgeting tool. If you want to track your investments, then we recommend you use Mint for your budget, and Personal Capital for your investments – there’s no reason why you can’t download them both.
This app allows you to enter your bills and your savings goals into the platform. The app tracks your spending automatically, and it shows you “what’s in your pocket” after you pay your bills and allocate funds toward your investment accounts.
This app is more about tracking your spending habits that running a budget. So, if you don’t want a budgeting tool, but you’re looking for software that can help you manage your spending and paying your bills, Pocketsmith is a good choice.
With Pocketsmith, the app makes suggestions on where you can negotiate on the bills your currently paying, showing you ways you can save money.
This app allows you to set spending limits on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Therefore, you might set your monthly limits for spending on groceries, weekly budgets for eating at restaurants or takeaways, and yearly budgets for home renovations or big-ticket purchases.
The software automatically tags your transactions as they happen, and sends you mobile alerts when you overspend on your limits. You can also use the calendar function to set up alerts for coming bill payments as well.
Similar to Mint, the tool focuses on your budget more than your investments, but it does pull in data about your investment accounts as well. Use the reports function to generate data that give you an idea of your spending and saving habits over time. Buxfer is one of the better free apps on offer in the personal financial management space.
This app is another example of a free budgeting tool that’s worth adding to your mobile device. Budget Tracker has more of an “old-school” feel to its interface. As a result, its more popular with the older crowd. However, you do get some exciting functionality with Budget Tracker.
Schedule out your expenses and income and set your goals to become debt-free. You also get a few financial calculators to help you set your financial goals as well. This tool is ideal for helping kids learn about budgeting because the interface is basic and user-friendly.
Give your kids a section within your expense categories to help them monitor their spending. You can track all of your kid’s individual spending within the app. making it the ideal choice for parents trying to give their kids financial education.
Some people might hesitate to hand over their credit card details and information on their savings accounts to software programs.
We can understand your fears. If you want a useful budgeting tool that lets you enter your transaction information manually, then we highly recommend Budget Pulse. It might take some extra time to enter all of your transactions, but you’ll know that all your accounts are secure from the prying eyes of hackers.
This financial management app allows you to get an overview of your income and expenses in a calendar format. Through the user-interface, you can see your annual spending habits in broad categories.
MoneyStrands users get to track their cash flow, allowing you to identify times during the month or week where your funds might start running low, allowing you to prepare for the coming cash crunch. You also have the option of setting your savings and investment goals within the app as well.
The budgeting feature isn’t as powerful as what you get in CountAbout or Mint, but this free service provides you with an amount that’s okay to spend based on your budget settings.
This app is a great budgeting tool for those individuals that feel otherwise overwhelmed by the task of budgeting. It’s a great choice for people that are new to the skill of budgeting as well. This app hosts spreadsheet templates you can use to track your spending across different categories.
The software uses the traditional “envelope” method of saving and budgeting. Back in the 90s, it was common for households to stuff cash into envelopes marked for individual expenses.
When the money in the envelope runs out, your budget for that expense is running dry. PearBudget uses an electronic version of this budgeting system, helping keep things simple for newbies. When you run out of budget in any category, you have to stop spending; it’s as simple as that.
PearBudget costs a monthly subscription fee of $4.95, but it’s well worth it when you consider how much you’ll save on your spending habits in just the first month alone.
Other Options – Free Excel and Sheets Budget Templates
Some people can’t embrace or trust mobile technology. For those people that prefer budgeting on a laptop or PC, you can download some interesting and useful budgeting templates from Microsoft or Google Sheets.
Why Do You Need a Budget?
In today’s economy, you need a budget if you want to keep up with your financial commitments. Mobile payments, credit cards, investment allocations, and savings – there is so much more to personal finance than what our parents had to deal with a few decades ago.
Keep up with the evolution of the world financial system, and use technology to make things easier for you. Any of these budgeting tools can help you track your finances and prevent shortfalls in your cash flow.
Creating a budget puts you in charge of your money, creating a system that holds you accountable towards your spending habits. With these budgeting tools, you can create a budget and a financial plan, and then have access to that information in real-time, anywhere you have an internet connection.
In Closing – What’s the Best Budgeting Tool in this Review?
It’s challenging settling on a clear winner for this review. While we think all of the apps and software in this review bring something to the table, there are a few standouts.
If we wanted to take the free route with budgeting software, then we would have to declare Mint as the winner of the best budgeting tool.
The user-friendly interface of the app, along with high levels of functionality, making it the clear winner. Some of the drawbacks of using Mint include the ads on the platform and its lack of investment tracking.
If you want the best free overall financial tracking software, then we have to give the title to Personal Capital. This software has everything you need to track your investments. It’s a touch light on the budgeting features, and you also get ads in the app interface as well.
However, if we’re picking a paid service as the winner, then we think CountAbout is the true standout in this review. Download the app and try it for yourself.