If you’ve been married for some time or have been in a long-term relationship, you’ll probably agree that money matters can cause conflicts and stress between couples. Arguments about who’s going to pay the bills, unending debt, undisclosed expenses, and different spending habits can take a toll on a relationship. This is supported by study findings showing that money is the second-leading cause of divorce next to infidelity.
The good news is these fights can be avoided if couples are more transparent and organized about how they manage their money. You don’t need a financial advisor or a money manager to do this, nor do you need to have brilliant budgeting skills. With the help of technology, you can be more open about managing your finances together by downloading shared budgeting apps for couples.
There are different budget apps for couples with varying budget management systems. Some of the common budget systems are the following:
These apps require you to sync your financial accounts so it can give you an overview of your entire financial spending. Based on your spending habits, the apps usually recommend a budget for you.
Cash Envelope System
This is the digital version of allocating budgets to individual envelopes and the envelopes are then assigned to different spending categories like bills, shopping, travel, etc.
Zero-Based Budget System
This is a system where your income minus your expenses should be equal to zero. In this system, every dollar is allocated so it suits people who need to strictly keep track of their money.
Some of the budget apps on this list have their own budget systems. It really depends on your financial habits which one will suit you better.
Here is the list of the best budget apps for couples.
If you’re looking for an app specifically designed for couples that can do it all, then Honeydue is the app for you. It is considered as one of the best budget apps for couples. First off, the app is free so you don’t need to pay anything but you can voluntarily donate a monthly tip if you like.
When you open a Honeydue account, you can connect the app to all of your financial accounts like savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments as it supports over 20,000 financial institutions in 5 countries: US, UK, Canada, Spain, and France.
The transactions will sync and be automatically categorized into pre-configured categories like “Food & Drink”, “Travel”, “Shopping”, etc. You can then assign a spending limit for each category and the app will notify you when you’re 75% near the limit or you’ve reached that spending limit.
Looking at the app’s features, this is great for couples who have individual incomes but pay joint expenses. The app allows you to tag expenses as either individual or shared. It even allows you to split the tab!
The app has a notification feature that prompts you when bills are due and you can also chat with your partner within the app. This app also allows you to keep some accounts secret from your partner and you control what you want to share with each other.
Zeta is another favorite for the title of best budgeting app for couples. Zeta is a personal finance app designed for couples that allows you to maintain shared and individual accounts. You have to create an individual account first then invite your partner for a shared account.
While Zeta gives you a single view of your shared finances, you can always control what you want your partner to see. You can opt to track individual spending and also your shared expenses at the same time. There is also an option to split bills and payables with your partner. This is a good feature because it does not always assume that every expense is a shared expense.
You can link your financial accounts for automatic syncing as it supports over 10,000 financial institutions in the United States, however, you can also choose to manually do the updates. Zeta also has features like bill reminders, memos, financial goals, and custom categories.
Honeyfi is another app that is designed for couples as it allows you to link and share your finances with each other. It supports over 10,000 financial institutions in the United States so you can link and automatically sync all of your bank, cards, loans, and other accounts to the app.
If you don’t have any idea how to create the budget, Honeyfi makes it easier for you because it can recommend a budget based on your past spending. This can be customizable if you want to alter the budget. With this app, you can control what you share with your partner and it also has a chat function so you can communicate within the application.
HomeBudget prides itself on its Family Sync feature which allows multiple devices within a household to sync and exchange information within a single budget. This allows couples as well as other family members to work within one budget app.
HomeBudget can track your transactions from your financial accounts and group them into categories and even sub-categories. You can also associate an account and a payee with a specific expense. You can even upload photos of receipts within the app. Another great feature is that it supports multiple currencies so you can set the currency you want.
HomeBudget also has a reporting tool. It can give you a trend report of your expenses, budget, and income for the past 6 months.
Spendee is an app that will analyze your financial habits and will let you create “smart budgets” to help you avoid overspending. With Spendee, you have a digital wallet where you can manually add expenses or link to your financial accounts for automatic syncing of transactions into categories.
The app has a shared wallet feature that allows couples and family members to share expenses. However, this feature is only available if you get the paid Plus or Premium plan. The free plan is also not that comprehensive as you only get the other advanced features if you pay.
Splitwise is an app that is specifically designed for people who need to split or share their expenses with other people. At the moment, it does not sync to any bank account so you have to manually enter the transactions and add people to split the expense with. It can then keep track of what money is owed and who owes who.
This app is great for couples who do not necessarily want to combine their finances like new couples or partners who just moved in together. The downside of Splitwise is that you cannot currently enter individual expenses. You can only track shared expenses you need to split with another person.
EveryDollar is an app that uses the zero-based budgeting method. To use the EveryDollar budgeting app, you must input your expected income and expenses for the month. Then, every time you spend money, you have to create a transaction so it can be accounted for in your budget. The advantage of this budget is you can exactly see if you’re going over budget and do necessary adjustments so you’ll not spend more than you’ll earn. If you get the EveryDollar Plus paid plan, you can connect this app to your bank account.
This app is suitable for couples who like to track every single expense and see clearly where their money is going. For this to work, you have to be diligent in inputting each transaction to have an accurate outlook of your budget. This is not for you if you can’t be bothered to do this every time you spend money.
8. You Need a Budget / YNAB
YNAB is an award-winning software that aims to help you prioritize and plan your finances. The app also uses the zero-based budgeting system and lets you connect to your financial accounts. Because of this, it can automatically sync your transactions instead of doing manual entries. However, this is not a requirement.
YNAB is said to analyze your spending and let you know which areas you’re overspending. It can also help you save up for your future financial goals. According to its website, new budgeters using the app saved $600 on average in their first two months and more than $6,000 in their first year.
The Goodbudget app is based on the cash envelope system where you allocate your money in virtual envelopes. Each envelope will be your budget allocation for different types of spending like utility bills, rent, eating out, shopping, etc.
The free plan allows one account to be shared on two devices, making it suitable for couples. It also gives you 20 free envelopes (10 regular and 10 more envelopes). If you go for the paid plan, you get unlimited envelopes and up to 5 devices. This is great for larger families who need multiple access to the home budget. One downside, however, is that it does not have a bank account sync feature yet.
Mvelopes is a paid budgeting app that uses a simple cash envelope system. Even if you have the Basic plan, you get unlimited envelopes but you have to pay after the free 60-day trial.
Mvelopes offers real-time budgeting because it automatically syncs to all your financial accounts. The advantage of this is you can immediately see what you have already spent which can prevent you from overspending. If you sign up for the Plus plan, you get a personalized financial plan with the product.
11. Personal Capital
If your goal is to see your overall financial picture and go beyond day to day spending and bills, then Personal Capital is the app for you. This is for couples who want a long-term view of their finances because its primary focus is on how to invest your money. However, while it can monitor how much you’re spending, it does not really have a feature that will create budgets for you. Instead, it gives you an overview of your cash flow and current financial status, which could help you manage your money moving forward.
Aside from being able to connect to your financial accounts, you can also connect your IRAs and 401(k)s and use the retirement planner. The app also allows you to create hypothetical scenarios to see how this financial decision will impact your current financial situation. This is useful for couples who are deciding on a huge investment like starting a business or buying a property.
12. Mint by Intuit
Mint is one of the well-known budget apps that can connect all of your bank accounts, cards, and bills all in one place. Once synced to your accounts, Mint’s budgeting feature can automatically categorize transactions, making it easier for you to see where your money is going.
With Mint’s budgeting function, it recommends a budget based on your past spending patterns which you can adjust and even customize. The problem with Mint is that you cannot link your individual account to your partner’s account. You have to create a new account together, which means you’ll lose all past financial history if you used to have an account.
PocketGuard is another budgeting app that will help you build a budget based on your personal income, bills, and the goals that you set. This is a good app if you don’t have an idea of how to create your own budget. This app can also link to your various financial accounts so you can see your money in one place.
PocketGuard will also help you find ways on how and where you can save money to improve your finances. There is also an “in pocket” feature which shows you how much money is left over for you to spend after paying your bills.
14. Clarity Money
Clarity Money is an app where you can link your financial accounts and it can then automatically track and categorize your expenses. Based on your transactions, it will give you personalized insights on how much money you’re spending on every category. It will also give you an idea of how much money you have left in your budget. Another feature of Clarity Money is identifying all your recurring payments and subscriptions so that you can cut recurring expenses that you don’t need.
Choosing The Best Budget App For Couples
There are many different apps you can choose to manage your budget and each of these apps has their pros and cons. The best way to test whether an app works for you is to try them out for a month and check which suits your financial lifestyle better.