The Best Home Budgeting Software and Budgeting Tools for Your Life

By Josh Patoka   Updated 12/11/2019 at 9:25 pm

The best home budgeting softwareThe best home budgeting software and budgeting tools can help you track spending and monitor your goal progress. There are many free and premium apps out there that cater to (almost) any budget style.

They’re especially useful if you need help making a spending plan or figuring out how best to save for a large purchase. (Most of us are great at making goals like those, but need help starting a new routine and following through.)

Maybe you’re not sure if you like spreadsheets, money envelopes, or a basic spending comparison tool more. Those are all types of home budgeting software that can can help you manage your money better.

(Note: This article contains some affiliate links, so this site may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you if you use them to sign up for any of the services. For the paid software, prices are accurate as of the time of publishing, but always check for current pricing as they may change.)

With that said, here’s a list of some of the best home budgeting software to choose from.

YNAB

If you’re serious about making a budget and planning for upcoming expenses, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is probably your best option. They offer some of the most in-depth budget planning and expense tracking tools.

Because YNAB has an annual subscription ($84 per year), you get to build a more in-depth budget. Some of these categories will be expenses that other apps may not suggest. For example, how often do you think about setting aside a few extra dollars for car repairs?

The goal of the YNAB budget is to assign each dollar you earn to a specific budget category. The goal is to help you escape living paycheck-to-paycheck. Eventually, you can use last month’s paycheck to pay your bills for the current month. Although you can keep using YNAB even if you don’t struggle to pay the bills. It’s great for getting your money into shape and keeping it there.

YNAB syncs to your bank accounts for automatic updates. You and your spouse can sync your devices to log purchases, bill payments, and paycheck deposits in real-time.

Each day, YNAB also presents 20-minute live video workshops. These seminars cover topics including making a budget, paying off debt, and dealing with spending problems. If this is the first time you are using YNAB, these workshops can be very helpful. There are also some good “YNAB for beginners” tutorials online which can help you learn how to use it.

Best tools: In-depth budget, expense tracking, links to financial accounts.
Price: $84 per year; free for students.
How they make money: Subscription model.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web, Alexa.
Where to find it: Learn more & get YNAB here

Tiller

Budget spreadsheets can offer more customization than a run-of-the-mill budgeting app. The free budget templates you may currently use in Google Sheets or Excel require a lot of manual data entry.

But there’s an even better option. Tiller saves you time as their pre-made spreadsheets link to over 20,000 financial institutions for automatic account updates.

In addition to no longer having to enter each transaction, you can make multiple budget templates. You might try a classic strategy like a weekly spending plan, a monthly zero based budget, or a yearly budget.

Other templates you may enjoy include tracking Amazon purchases or comparing spending for two different periods. As a bonus, the people at Tiller are great.

Best features: Budget spreadsheets, links to financial accounts.
Price: $59 per year, free for students.
How they make money: Subscription model.
Available for: Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get Tiller here

Mint

Mint is a free budget app that links to most bank accounts, credit cards, and loan providers to track your expenses and income. The app also lets you create a basic budget (planned expenses vs actual expenses) and savings goals.

This is a good option when you want to track your purchases, savings goal progress, and making a basic spending plan. Mint also provides free credit score monitoring and bill payment reminders.

Best features: Daily financial account updates, basic budget and spend tracking, bill reminders.
Price: Free.
How they make money: Recommends products in their ways to save section.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get the Mint budgeting app here

EveryDollar

Dave Ramsey fans have likely heard of the envelope system. If you haven’t, here is a quick overview. First, you make an envelope for each monthly budget category. Then, you assign a certain dollar amount to each envelope. Each month, you only use the cash in those envelopes and don’t borrow from another if you overspend.

Like any spending plan, you will most like need to adjust your spending habits in certain areas. This strategy can be great if you like a “hands-on budget experience.”

As most of us rarely pay for purchases these days with cash, EveryDollar provides digital envelopes. There is a free and paid version of this app. The free version lets you track your spending with several envelope categories. Although you will need to upgrade to EveryDollar Plus ($129.99 per year) to link your bank account for automatic balance updates.

Another benefit of EveryDollar Plus is membership in Dave’s Financial Peace University course. You can attend the course locally or online.

Best features: Envelope budget categories, sample income-based budgets.
Price: Free (EveryDollar Basic) or $129.99 per year (EveryDollar Plus).
How they make money: Subscription model.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get EveryDollar here

Mvelopes

Another envelope system tool is Mvelopes which can be more affordable than EveryDollar Plus. This budgeting app has three different subscription plans. The basic plan ($6 per month) connects to your bank account and automatically updates your envelope balances.

The mid-tier Plus plan ($19 per month) lets you talk quarterly to a personal finance coach. With the top-tier Complete plan ($59 per month), you get a dedicated coach who offers monthly coaching sessions and makes a personalized money plan for you.

Unlike EveryDollar Plus, you don’t get access to Financial Peace University. However, you may appreciate these one-on-one coaching options more.

Best features: Unlimited digital envelopes, access to a personal money coach.
Price: $6 per month ($55 per year) up to $79 per month ($790 per year).
How they make money: Subscription model.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get Mvelopes here

Simple

Simple is a fee-free mobile bank associated with BBVA that also offers budgeting tools. You will need to open a free online checking account to access these tools. You won’t pay any account maintenance fees or overdraft fees. Although you will pay for optional services like paper checks and non-network ATM withdrawals.

Budgeting tools include the Safe-To-Spend amount which helps prevent overspending. Creating goals also helps you set aside some of your spare income for the future.

Simple also lets you take pictures of your purchases and receipts to track spending. You can easily split expenses with friends using an app like Venmo and log your purchases in Simple.

This is a basic budgeting app but it’s effective at helping you live within your means. To get the most from this app, Simple should be your main spending account. This is easy as Simple provides a debit card and direct deposit. Online bill pay isn’t available which can make paying some bills a hassle. If you need a paper check, a book of 25 checks costs $5.

Best features: Safe-to-Spend tool helps prevent overspending, can take pictures of purchases.
Price: Free.
How they make money: Optional service fees like paper checks.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get Simple here

OnTrajectory

This financial planning tool takes your home budgeting software to the next level. If you already know how to spend less than you earn each month, it’s time to plan for retirement. OnTrajectory lets you enter your current income, expenses, and passive income streams to calculate your retirement savings.

You can run Monte Carlo simulations to see how changing your savings rate could affect your net worth. Some examples include owning rental property, changing jobs, and selling investments.

OnTrajectory doesn’t let you make a monthly budget or track spending. It also doesn’t connect to any of your financial accounts, but it does let you plan for the distant future. If you already have monthly budgeting down pat and are not afraid of manual data entry, it’s worth a try.

Best features: Retirement calculator, Monte Carlo simulator to project long-term net worth.
Price: $9 per month or $60 per year.
How they make money: Subscription model.
Available for: Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get OnTrajectory here

Personal Capital

Experienced budgeters who still want to track spending and use an interactive retirement calculator may like Personal Capital. You get free real-time expense tracking tools to make sure you spend less than you earn, and that can be useful because tracking is SO important. But you won’t be able to build an in-depth monthly budget.

You can also use Personal Capital to make basic savings goals and monitor your progress.

Personal Capital also provides an investment fee analyzer. This tool compares the fund fees you pay for your current investments. You can see if these fees are higher than similar funds. Over your investing career, these fees mean you earn less passive income as the fund managers collects more fees.

If you have more than $100,000, you can have Personal Capital manage your investments. This service is how Personal Capital makes money. (And they will likely call you to see if you want to use their management service.) However, anyone can always use Personal Capital’s financial planning tools free of charge.

Best features: Real-time expense tracking, investment fee analyzer.
Price: Free.
How they make money: Managing your investments.
Available for: Android, iOS, Web.
Where to find it: Learn more & get Personal Capital here

Budgeting Tools Make it Easy

These various budgeting tools make it easy to plan your short-term and long-term money goals. As your budgeting skills improve and your goals change, don’t be afraid to try another app on this list.

Which home budgeting software seems best for your goals? Have you tried any other budgeting tools that you think we should add? Let us know in the comments!

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