Top 9 Expense Tracking Apps to Budget Your Money

With all of the expense tracking apps on the market today it can be difficult to know which provides the most benefits.

The best ones let users create budgets for specific grocery, gas, and entertainment expenses. Plus, they allow tracking of past transactions and trends in spending habits over time, which is helpful if you're trying to stick within a specific budget each month. Apps can be updated automatically by linking your credit cards and bank accounts or manually.

Budgeting apps are typically free or have a nominal cost compared to other financial management tools such as Excel spreadsheets or Quicken software packages.

But which is the best budget app for you? Here are the best apps for budgeting and tracking your expenses.

The Best Expense Tracking Apps of 2022 

1. Personal Capital – Best for Seasoned Users

Personal Capital can be on multiple platforms and devices.  It's free for tracking your finances but does charge above-average management fees on the investing side.

The Way it Works:

  • Budget and wealth management tool, offering portfolio tracking, 401k analysis, and the like.
  • Helpful with retirement planning
  • Investing requires management fees that may be out of reach.


2. You Need a Budget (YNAB) – Best for Beginners

YNAB offers a free 34-day trial, and then costs $14.99 a month or $98.99 a year.  YNAB is unique in that it only budgets money you already have in your account instead of forecasting your budget into the future.  It can have a bit of a learning curve but quite simple once you get the hang of it.

The Way it Works:

  • It's ad-free, thus providing a better user experience than other budgeting apps.
  • Track your spending-income ratio to know how much money you have available each month or week ahead of time. 
  • Set up budgets for categories like groceries, gas, and entertainment expenses.
  • They offer tutorials on budgeting appropriately based on your needs and financial goals.


3. Mint – Best Free App

Mint is the number one most downloaded budgeting app based on all-time downloads. With Mint, you can link all your accounts in one place. They are able to offer services for free by earning income through strategic partnerships with other companies. For instance, they offer a bill negotiation feature that notifies you if bill sharks can save you money.

The Way it Works:

  • Create budgets for specific categories, set financial goals, and track net worth over time.
  • Analyze historical spending habits
  • Set up alerts for particular actions like transferring funds from one account into another
  • They also offer investment accounts

The last bullet point offers a great perk, allowing the consumer to track, spend, and invest all in one place.

4. Cleo

The Cleo app is free to use, with the ability to opt-in to premium services. These services include tracking your credit rating and cashback offers.

The Way it Works:

  • Fun, easy-to-use interface that connects to Facebook messenger
  • Ask questions in real-time about your finances

5. Good Budget

This new player on the market is also free to use and has gained popularity due to its ease of use. 

The Way it Works:

  • There is an envelope system to label your budget categories, i.e., gas or groceries. 
  • Set up your app envelopes and see precisely how much you have to spend at the start of the month.
  • Allows the consumer to create specific budget categories
  • Track net worth over time.

6. Zeta Money Manager – Best for Couples

Another free expense tracking app that is beneficial for couples, especially if you have a joint account.

The Way it Works:

  • This app works with over 10,000 US institutions, making it easy to get all of your bank accounts in one place. 
  • It is designed for couples who prefer to manage their finances together
  • Allows consumers to send unique messages to their partners about specific spending.
  • Information sharing is 100% in the control of the user. 

7. Pocket Guard – Best for Handling Debt

Pocket Guard has many of the same features as the apps mentioned above for tracking expenses and setting up categories. In addition: 

The Way it Works:

  • You're able to sync all of your accounts with the app
  • Assists with debt-repayment plans
  • Provides education on popular debt payment methods
  • It gives an estimate of how long debt repayment may take

8. EveryDollar – Best for Dave Ramsey Fans

If you're a fan of Dave Ramsey, then this Dave Ramsey creation is for you. This service is free to start with, and if you're interested in premium features, it'll cost you $129.99 annually.

The Way it Works:

  • It helps consumers understand and implement zero-based budgeting.
  • To use the extra features, such as audiobooks and courses, you must join Ramsey +.
  • For those who prefer not to share their financial information, it's not necessary to sync accounts 
  • Allows consumers to set reminders for budgeting and bill pay

9. Wally – Best for Personalization & Travel

This app allows the user to pick and choose which accounts, expenses, and information to track specifically. It's free to start, and an upgrade to Wally Gold will cost $8.99.

The Way it Works:

  • Set up specific categories of spending you prefer to track
  • Exclude information you don't want to budget for
  • Easy to set up reminders for when bills are due, new transactions, and if a change occurs, that affects how much money is available.
  • Get notifications about large purchases that may be out of your budget range.
  • Excellent for creating specific travel budgets and tracking expenses in different countries.

The Bottom Line

Budget and expense tracking apps are one way to help manage finances, understand your habits, and improve how you spend your money. However, with all the options on the market, it's important to find one to best suit your needs. Doing so will bring the most benefits and allow for the most financial growth.

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Featured image credit: iStock.

Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success.

With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top.

Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.