Budgeting is one of the hardest but most important parts of taking control of your finances. If you know how much you spend and where you do the spending, you can start taking steps to adjust your habits and reallocate your income for other purposes.
The problem with budgeting is that you have to design a budget and then follow it, which means tracking every single dollar that you spend.
There are a lot of apps out there, like the Level Money App, that help you build a budget and track your expenses. Unfortunately, the Level Money app was shut down in September of 2017, leaving its users to find a new way to develop their budgets.
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Top Apps Like Level Money
If you were a user of Level Money and need a new budgeting app or want to get started with using a budgeting app, these are some of the best options.
Mint is one of the most popular money tracking and budgeting apps out there. It comes from Intuit, the company behind programs like TurboTax and Quicken, so the developer is experienced with helping people handle their cash.
You can use Mint to build a budget based on types of transactions, such as “food” or “utilities.” Link your bank accounts and credit cards, and Mint automatically categorizes every transaction you make. However, you can tweak its categorization as necessary. It also offers basic investment and net worth tracking.
Because Intuit designs Mint, it integrates with the company’s other software. For example, you can sign in to your Mint account to preload some information when filing your taxes through TurboTax. Check our our TurboTax Review.
2. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is more than just a money tracking app, but it does the money tracking tasks quite well. When you sign up for a Personal Capital account and link your financial accounts, Personal Capital automatically builds a dashboard that shows you your net worth and spending habits.
You’ll get charts for your income and the different types of expenses you have each month. It doesn’t have many budgeting features, but it will let you see where you spend your money.
On top of its tracking tools, Personal Capital is a full-fledged investment management service. You can work with Personal Capital to get a cash management account or investment services. There is a $100,000 minimum balance before you can sign up for investment services.
With a solid 4.4 Trustpilot rating, you can trust Personal Capital with your budgeting tasks.
Wally is a budgeting app for people who like to do things manually. Instead of syncing with your bank and credit cards, Wally asks you to input every transaction yourself.
Entering every debit and credit by hand can be annoying for some people. Still, the added mindfulness that you need to input transactions might help you focus more on your spending habits.
Wally offers basic expense tracking features, including the option to upload pictures of your receipts for later reference. This aspect makes it a useful tool for people who want to get even more granular than just tracking where they spent money.
Wally is currently available on Android and iOS devices. Note that you cannot sign in to your account through the company’s desktop website.
To get started, tell Mvelopes how much money you have available to spend during a month and how much you’re allocating to different spending categories.
Mvelopes tracks your spending and forecasts how much you’re likely to spend by the end of the month. You can use that information to track how well you’re doing compared to your target.
Mvelopes only has a few ratings on Trustpilot, but it’s scored fairly well, so you can trust it with helping you with money. If you want a more proactive budgeting tool rather than one that only tracks your spending, Mvelopes might be the right tool for you.
Simple is an online bank and a budgeting app that encourages you to save. When you open a Simple account, you can sign up for both a checking and high yield savings account.
Simple automatically tracks your spending and can help you know when you have spare money by telling you what amount is safe for you to spend.
With Simple’s savings account, you can set custom goals, like the $1,000 savings challenge, and make plans to reach those goals. For example, you can set up automatic transfers from your checking account or have Simple round up your purchases and send the excess to savings.
Simple has a 3.5 Trustpilot rating but more good reviews than bad ones, which isn’t unusual for banks. Simple works best when you use your debit card for the majority of your shopping. If you’re a credit card user, this might not be the app for you.
6. You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (often stylized as YNAB) is a powerful budgeting tool that aims to educate its users on how to manage their money. It offers budgeting tools, goal tracking and easy access to your account from any device that you want to use.
The YNAB method revolves around the company’s Four Rules for managing money. The rules are:
- Give every dollar a job
- Embrace your true expenses by saving ahead for infrequent expenses
- Roll with the punches
- Age your money
You can use YNAB with both manual expense tracking and automatic import from your financial accounts.
YNAB costs $11.99 per month or $84 for an annual subscription. Many money tracking tools are free to use, but YNAB hopes that its approach is worth the cost. Its multiple 5-star reviews on Trustpilot show that most of its users agree.
Tiller is a budget-tracking tool that integrates with G Suite. It’s a great option for people who want to have all of their financial data in a spreadsheet.
When you link your credit cards and bank accounts to Tiller, the software automatically pulls transaction data into a linked Google Sheet. It uses the information in that sheet to build dashboards and reports for things like cash flow.
So if you desire to track your spending at restaurants, you can do that. And if you want to compare your monthly income and expenses over time, you can do that too.
If Tiller doesn’t offer a feature you want, you can build it yourself using Google Sheets. Any chart, graph, or formula you can create in the spreadsheet is fair game, making Tiller ideal for spreadsheet gurus who want a lot of customizability. Integration with Microsoft Excel is currently in beta.
Tiller does charge $79 per year (a bit under $7 per month) to use its service.
Goodbudget is a budgeting app that’s great for couples or roommates who maintain separate finances while having some shared expenses.
Like Mvelopes, GoodBudget uses the envelope method of budgeting, letting you set aside money for certain types of spending ahead of time. Once you empty one of your envelopes, you’ve exhausted your budget and can’t spend more on that type of expense until the next month.
GoodBudget makes it easy to link your account to another person’s so you can share some of your budgets with a partner or roommate.
Anyone you’ve shared your budget with can add expenses to that category, so everyone knows how much you’ve collectively spent. This feature is great for households that split expenses like groceries.
Goodbudget offers a free and premium service. The free service lets you create up to 10 envelopes and use two devices. It also tracks the past year’s transactions.
Goodbudget Plus costs $5 per month or $50 per year and lets you create an unlimited number of envelopes and sign in on up to five devices. The tracking history also extends out to seven years.
PocketGuard is all about helping you stop overspending by giving you a single “safe to spend” number based on your transaction history and account balances.
Once you link your accounts, PocketGuard will create a dashboard showing your account balances on one page. That makes it easy to see how much money you have on hand. It also has a dashboard for your spending showing where you’ve spent money during the month.
Based on how much you’ve made and spent, PocketGuard will tell you how much money is safe to spend, accounting for a bit of saving to help you build an emergency fund.
To take one step further than other expense tracking apps, PocketGuard analyzes your spending and helps you find opportunities to save. For example, if you spend $60 a month on internet service, PocketGuard might recommend a cheaper alternative that will save you money every month.
10. Clarity Money
Clarity Money is a budgeting app that integrates with your bank accounts, credit cards, and your monthly bills like online subscriptions, internet service and utilities. This helps it provide an even closer view of your finances than many other budgeting apps,
Like PocketGuard, Clarity Money goes beyond helping you track your money by helping you find savings opportunities. It automatically tracks your recurring bills, like subscription services, and builds a dashboard to show you the amount that you spend on subscriptions every month.
If you decide that you want to cancel a service, you can cancel by clicking one button in the Clarity Money app., and Clarity will handle the rest for you.
Clarity Money also offers a savings account directly through the app. The company partners with Marcus Online to give its customers high-yield savings accounts to stash their extra cash. You can use the account to build an emergency fund or save toward another goal.
Budgeting is hard, but technology can make tracking your spending just a little bit easier. While it’s up to you to keep your spending within your budget, these apps can help you know how much you’ve spent and how much you still have available.
If you stick to your budget, you can use these apps as useful tools to help you save toward goals like building an emergency fund or taking a vacation.
Do you have trouble building and following a budget? Have you tried a budgeting app? Let us know in the comments!