UPDATED: May 18, 2023

Budgeting is an essential part of daily life. On a personal level, budgeting consists of assembling a financial plan to allocate anticipated income towards various outgoing expenses, savings or debt repayments. Without a budget, an individual may be at risk of overspending and potential debt. 

In recent years, smartphone technology has rapidly advanced and can now accommodate almost every facet of financial proceedings. For example, virtually every reputable bank offers a streamlined app, while innumerable budgeting apps organize your spending. 

Moreover, many discerning individuals asking what is the best app for sending money abroad can select from a myriad of new apps with low transfer costs and minimal fees. With such an abundance of apps on the market, this article will give an introduction to why budgeting is critical, followed by an overview of the numerous financial apps available. 

Why is budgeting critical?

In simple terms, a budget assists businesses and individuals to carefully scrutinize their income and spending. The creation of a budget is ultimately a plan to gain an overview of incomings and outgoings to adequately manage expenses, savings and debts. 

A common misconception is that you only need a budget if you are overspending or have too much debt; on the contrary, gaining oversight of these facets of personal finance can then facilitate individuals to plan for their specific financial goals. 

Ultimately, budgeting is an effective means of building a solid structure to support the financial side of life.  

Best smartphone apps for budgeting

In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in terms of how we conduct our finances. As previously mentioned, through smartphone technology we can bank online from virtually any location, make payments to businesses or individuals, and send money worldwide with only several taps on our mobile devices. 

Moreover, budgeting apps connect your bank accounts and savings accounts, offering a summary of saving and spending:

  1. Mint

Mint is arguably the optimal overall budgeting app for monitoring daily financial activity in a streamlined and usable interface. It is possible to synchronize all your accounts across multiple banks, checking, savings, investments and all extant debts (including loans, asset finance and credit cards). Mint can track expenses and allocate them to the correct categories, alerting you through smartphone notifications before you reach specified limits. Moreover, it is possible to set savings and debt reduction goals that Mint organizes through automated transfers based on income for that month. Mint is free to download and utilize and is an effective means of tracking expenditure. However, one criticism could be that it is not a particularly in-depth or hands-on app interface. 

  1. You Need a Budget (YNAB)

The YNAB app is free for the first 34 days and subsequently costs $14.99 per month (or $99 annually). YNAB is ideal for those primarily concerned with planning instead of simply tracking expenditure. Through YNAB, users allocate how much income is spread and where across multiple accounts and categories. Compared with Mint, YNAB is significantly more concise and analytical, requiring active decision-making. However, the most notable negative is that it is relatively costly at a minimum of $99 per year.

  1. Empower Personal Wealth (EPW)

The EPW app is designed for investments and savings, operating through a highly usable yet analytical budgeting app. It is possible to sync IRA and 401(k) alongside loans, mortgages, transactional accounts and credit cards while tracking your spending and receiving in-depth graphs detailing the total value of your net worth (assets and equity minus any extant debt). A major positive is that EPW is free to download, offers superlative investment tools, and is easily accessible via mobiles and desktops. A potential negative of EPW is it is more complex than the other apps outlined in this article.

Best apps for students

  • Squirrel – this app is effective and user-friendly for savings. Squirrel creates savings pockets that can be personalized with preset reminders. 
  • Wally – a notable feature of this app is its global network of 15,000 banks in 70 countries, making it ideal for international students, and facilitating smooth transfers to foreign banks.
  • Splitwise – This is a hugely popular app (and not just for students). It accommodates groups to budget and tracks expenditures with only several taps so that you can keep track of what you owe your classmates and vice-versa. 

Concluding remarks 

Budgeting is essential for everyone, from a $10 allowance to a six-figure paycheck – it is vital to effectively plan and manage finances. Budgeting from a young age can nurture good saving habits and preclude the possibility of debt issues later in life. In recent years this has increasingly been facilitated by our smartphones as applications become increasingly sophisticated and streamlined. Ultimately, in recent tumultuous economic circumstances, organizing and monitoring our individual finances has become of utmost importance, and budgeting apps can significantly support our endeavors.