My Four Favorite Budgeting Apps (and they are free!)

four favorite budgeting apps


As a finance professor, people ask me a lot of questions. One of the most common questions is about ways to make budgeting easier or if “there is an app for that.” There are two difficult parts to the budgeting process. The first part is sitting down to actually make a budget. The second part is knowing where you are in your budget and sticking to it. For me, this is by far the more challenging task because it takes time to record your expenses. I’m always looking for an app to help make my life more efficient, so I have actually tried a lot of budgeting apps over the years. Today I’ve decided to share four of my current favorites.


mint money budget app
Mint: Money Manager, Budget, and Personal Finance is a free app that provides a complete money management toolbox for users. You can connect all of your bank, credit card, and investment apps to your personal Mint account and let the app do the rest. Mint will keep track of your spending and income and even make suggestions for how you can improve your budget. If you want an app that will literally track and do everything for you, Mint is the way to go. Personally, I don’t want to use this app for security reasons. I don’t like the idea of tying all of my financial accounts into this one place. If you don’t mind, however, you won’t find anything better than this.


daily budget original money budget app
Daily Budget Original is a free app that provides you will a daily budget after you enter your monthly income and fixed expenses. Since it does not connect to your bank account, there is some work on your part. Each time you make a purchase, you’ll need to enter that into the app so that it can deduct that dollar amount from your daily allowance. However, the app is simple and easy to use.


mvelopes money budgeting app
Mvelopes is a nice, free app if you are fond of the envelope method of budgeting. You can set up the categories, or envelopes, of your monthly expenses as needed. These are fully customizable, so you can have just a few, broad categories or envelopes for individual expenses like cable, coffee, cell phone, gym membership, etc. Mvelopes will also connect to all of your financial accounts (like Mint) and automatically deduct your expenses. Again, this has the benefit of taking the work out of the equation for you, but be careful about keeping your accounts and identity secured.


wellspent money budgeting app
WellSpent is another free app also based on the envelope method of budgeting. Unlike Mvelopes, however, WellSpent does not connect to any of your financial accounts. So, you’ll have to be diligent about entering all of your daily expenses. Once you get into a habit of entering expenses as you go or at a certain time of the day (take a minute to do it while eating lunch or at the end of each day), you’ll find this is an incredibly useful budgeting app. You have the flexibility to add as many envelope categories as you want and track your spending in each category in real-time.

Do you use an app for budgeting? If so, do you use one of these or something else? If you do not use a budgeting app, which of these sounds the best to you?

Investing: The Next Generation. Five Apps Changing the Face of Personal Finance.

five apps changing personal finance and investing


The old world of investment involved handing your money over to a financial advisor. Investors would get a quarterly statement to check on their portfolio and had very little involvement in their personal investments. The Internet dramatically changed investment. Suddenly investors could easily access any information they wanted about a stock, bond, or mutual fund. Online brokerage accounts empowered individuals to take charge of their own investment portfolio.


Once again, technology is re-shaping the way investors receive information and view their finances. Mobile technology capitalizes on this information shift and makes personal investing infinitely more accessible to everyone. These are the top five new apps that are leading the way for next generation investors.


1. Acorns
Acorns makes the idea of investing your spare change a reality. Connect any debit card or credit card to your Acorns account, and choose one of the five investment strategies based on your personal level of risk tolerance. Every time you make a purchase with a linked credit or debit card, your transaction is rounded up to the next dollar and the change is invested into your Acorns account. Acorns is great because it is simple and literally takes just pennies to start investing. This is my favorite new app because I love how brilliantly simple it is.


2. Betterment
Set a long-term investment goal, set up automatic deposits into your investment account, and the Betterment financial experts set up a financial plan to help you reach your goal. You can specify your level of risk tolerance, but you do not have to pick any individual investments. Betterment allows you to set up a regular investment account, a Roth IRA, traditional IRA, or managed trust account.


3. SavedPlus
Like Acorns, SavedPlus takes money from your account every time you make a transaction and invests for you. SavedPlus, however, takes your specified percentage of each transaction. Money saved can be deposited into the bank account of your choice.


4. Scutify
Scutify is a great tool for hands-on investors because it scours social media and compiles what news outlets, financial bloggers, and other investors are posting. Users are able to interact with Scutify All-Stars through the app to seek advice on particular investments. More experienced investors can make sentiment calls and showcase their stock picking prowess to the community.


5. Shares 2
If you are already invested in the stock market, Shares 2 is a great way to keep track of your stock investments. You enter in your stock investment information, and the app will keep you up-to-date on the current stock price as well as your current investment gains or losses. You can’t search for other market information from the app, but it is a simple way to keep track of your stock positions.