5 Personal Finance Apps That Work
The best money management app is the one that you will use.
Test driving is fun. I took five personal apps for test drives, and like most vehicles they have their pros and cons. In my financial coaching experience, I’ve tried to fit one financial budgeting and tracking app to every client. But my coaching clients aren’t one-size-fits-all. I’ve realized that clients are on different stages of their financial journeys, and they need an app that meets them where they are.
These five personal finance apps are appropriate for different life stages and financial paths. I’ve ranked them by how much they cost just for organization. But every one of these apps will pay for itself, so don’t worry about the cost. Even the most expensive one doesn’t cost much more than a fast food restaurant meal for a family of four every month.
Free! Mint by Intuit
For a no-frills starter app, Mint is a simple budget and expense tracking app with monthly bill payment reminders. It also tracks savings and most investment accounts. If you use Intuit’s TurboTax to pay your taxes or Quickbooks at work, the interface is similar and easier. It won’t help you with advice but it will help you figure out where all your money went each month.
Financial Stage – Paying Off Debt, Budgeting, Tracking Savings and Investments
$ YNAB – You Need A Budget
A great app for young budgeters and savers, YNAB connects with most banks and credit card accounts, and allows imports and manual transactions. This app helps you budget and stay on track with good spending habits. It doesn’t go beyond saving to investing though.
Financial Stage – Paying off Debt and Budgeting
Designed for financial content with a Christian spiritual perspective, FaithFI includes budgeting, spending, saving, investing and giving. It also has a Q&A message board for financial issues, so that you can learn from others’ experience. This app connects with most bank and credit card accounts, but it’s not quite robust enough for investment tracking and trading.
Financial Stage – Paying off Debt, Budgeting, Saving and Giving
$$ Simplify by Quicken
A streamlined Quicken version, Simplify syncs bank accounts and has financial goals for handling debt and savings beyond a simple budgeting app. This app’s advantage is its basic analysis tools for cash flow and spending, so that you can fix what’s broken easier.
Financial Stage – Paying off Debt, Budgeting, Saving, Investing and Retirement
For experienced budgeters, and a dream for accountants and analysts, Quicken is like using a business software for your home finances on your phone. Pair it up with the Quicken software on you computer, and they will automatically update each other. Of course Quicken is much more powerful than Simplify, especially for analysis and charts, and it has options for small business owners / gig workers to add their business finances. It also connects to personal tax software as well as with all banks and investment accounts. If you are really ambitious, you can even pay your bills directly through Quicken.
Financial Stage – Saving, Investing and Retirement
Plus One More for Couples
And here’s one more app that I haven’t used, but it has potential to help married couples struggling with tracking their spending. With all of the apps above, you have to use the same user and password, one user per account. With this “marriage builder” app both spouses can be on the same account.
The Honeydue app Improves communication between spouses about budgeting with its chat feature between registered account spouses, as well as automated reminders to both spouses. Honeydue has an optional debit card feature that eliminates ATM surcharges and help you track cash purchases. If you're on the cash-only envelopes system to help stay on budget and get out of debt fast, this debit card feature might be better than carrying hundreds of dollars in your envelopes wallet.
Financial Stage – Budgeting, Paying off Debt, Saving