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There are tons of benefits that come from creating a budget and virtually zero downsides. A budget can help you to stay focused on your financial goals, avoid going into debt, plan for retirement, get through emergencies easier, and improve bad spending habits. These budgetary features will go a long way toward providing you with stable long-term personal finances. 

Creating a budget for yourself or your business isn’t particularly difficult. The problem is it can be time-consuming and a bit of a headache. You’ll need to dive into your finances to create an accurate budget, which might take some work. 

On the other hand, you could simply use an app to help you. You’ll be able to create a more detailed and accurate budget with a fraction of the work. 

Here are the five best budgeting apps to help get your finances in order for the foreseeable future:


You Need a Budget

Learn MoreOn YNAB’s Website

The You Need A Budget (YNAB) app offers some of the most comprehensive budgeting features on the app store. For example, your YNAB account includes access to dozens of weekly workshops, hundreds of articles and guides, an online forum, and the YNBA podcast. 

You’ll be able to learn how to use the YNAB app more effectively and create budgets that can save you money much faster. Another key feature is that you can sync your checking, savings, credit cards, loans, investments, and bills. Any events involving these accounts are automatically updated to the YNAB app and recorded into your budget plans. 

What’s incredibly unique about the YNAB app is that it’s primarily focused on creating proactive budgets. YNAB is not simply a method of recording your previously spent money but rather an opportunity to improve your future spending. 

The concept is modeled after the zero-based budgeting system in which you have to assign a specific purpose to every dollar you earn. You’ll learn how to create a budget that starts from scratch and is based on necessities instead of deducting money from your income.

The biggest downside of the YNAB app is that it’s much more expensive than the other options on this list. A monthly subscription for this app costs $14.99, or you can buy an annual subscription for $98.99. These prices are steep compared to the other apps, but the free 34-day trial makes it worth downloading. You may save enough money in that first month to cover the cost of an annual subscription. 



Learn MoreOn Mint’s Website

The Mint app is one of the most popular money management options on this list as it boasts a clientele of more than 25 million users worldwide. The interface is specifically designed to accommodate users that might not have previous experience with creating budgets. 

Mint also allows users to sync their bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and bills. Another key feature is that you can access your TransUnion credit which can help to monitor changes to your credit score. 

When using the app, you’ll see all of your linked accounts in one place and monitor your spending throughout the day. The app will organize the spending into your customized categories so you can know where your money is going. 

You can track your monthly bill payments and set reminders to ensure you never make a late payment again. You can also track your investments and monitor portfolio management fees. 

The combination of all these features is worth paying a monthly subscription fee. However, Mint is completely free, and no premium versions are available. The only downside of using a free app is that you’ll have to endure intrusive in-app advertisements and targeted offers. Additionally, the app is prone to encountering technical issues more often than other options on this list. 



Learn MoreOn Empower’s Website

The Empower app is technically more of an investment tool than a budget generator. However, it also includes several budgeting tools that can be useful for anyone looking to track their spending. 

These features help users build up their retirement savings and an emergency fund and pay down existing debts. Additional tools offered by Empower include investment monitoring, portfolio fee analysis, cash flow tracking, financial planning, and real-time net worth tracking. 

Many features come with the Empower app. Using the app isn’t as overwhelming as it might sound, but you might want to use the desktop version when diving deep into your financial information. Features such as the Retirement Planner (to save for retirement), Education Planner (to save for college), and Fee Analyzer (portfolio fee management) are much easier to use on a computer than on a smartphone. 

The good thing about Empower is that it’s entirely free to use. The problem is that it’s not nearly as focused on creating budgets as the other apps on this list. 

You’ll be able to use tools that allow you to see your monthly income and expenses, but the primary focus of this app is investment management. It’s a terrific app if you’re interested in improving your future net worth and retirement options. However, it might not be the right app for you if you’re more interested in focusing on your current budget. 



Learn MoreOn PocketGuard’s Website

The PocketGuard app is primarily suited for people who want to control their overspending habits. You’ll need to sync your current bank accounts and credit cards to the app. PocketGuard will then use an algorithm to track your income, expenses, and savings goals. You’ll be told how much money you can spend each day to meet these goals and inform you of opportunities where you can save more money. 

One of the best features of PocketGuard is that you can link information regarding your recurring bills. This isn’t a groundbreaking feature, but that’s just the first step. PocketGuard will use your information to find similar offers for cheaper rates or help you negotiate better rates. As a result, you might be able to save additional money on your insurance, phone, internet, or cable bills. 

PocketGuard comes with a free version, but you won’t have access to all the features. You won’t be able to track your cash flow or create your spending categories if you’re using the free version. 

The PocketGuard Plus subscription will include both of these features and the ability to export data, manage ATM deposits/withdrawals, and split up transactions. The monthly subscription fee is $7.99 a month or $34.99 annually. Alternatively, you could buy a lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of $74.99. 



Learn MoreOn GoodBudget’s Website

The GoodBudget mobile app is modeled after the principle of the envelope system. The idea is that you’d place physical money into envelopes with a designated purpose. For example, you might have a “dining out” envelope to which you would add money over the month. 

When you eventually dined out, you would bring the envelope and only be able to spend the money inside. If you saved $500, you could get a steak and an expensive bottle of wine. If you saved $50, you would need to be more tactful. You get the idea.

Using the GoodBudget will allow you to use the envelope system digitally. You wouldn’t have to withdraw all of your money and physically separate it. First, you would create the various “envelopes” needed, including essential expenses such as rent, groceries, bills, and debt payments. 

Then you would assign a specific amount of money you wanted or needed to have in your envelope to cover the costs. You would only permit yourself to spend the money in each “envelope” and avoid overspending.

One of the most significant downsides of GoodBudget is that you can’t sync up your financial accounts. You’ll need to enter each purchase that you make manually. Another issue is that there are two versions of GoodBudget. 

The free version includes the same features as the paid version but only allows one account and 20 envelopes for up to two devices. The paid version (GoodBudget Plus) costs $8 monthly or $70 annually and includes unlimited accounts and envelopes for up to five devices. 

The free version might be enough for you to create an individual budget, but you’ll probably need the GoodBudget Plus for creating a household budget. 

Use the best app for you to create a better budget

The list above features a variety of the best essential budgeting apps available in 2023. There isn’t one in particular that meets the needs of everyone. 

Some are a better fit for personal budgets that exist in the present, and others are a better fit for business budgets looking toward the future. You’ll probably need to download each and take advantage of the free trials. 

It might take a few weeks or months to figure out which is best for you, but the potential savings will be well worth the time.  

Information provided on Entrepreneur Guide is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, we do not recommend or advise individuals to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results

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