Choosing a Personal Budgeting App

When choosing a personal budgeting application, especially if you’re not very financially savvy, it’s important to understand the common features available across popular apps like YNAB, Mint, Credit Karma, Goodbudget, Everydollar, Honeydue, and Pocketguard. Here’s an overview of these features and what you should consider:

  1. Budget Creation and Tracking:
    All these apps allow you to create a budget and track your spending against it. This is the core functionality of any budgeting app. Look for user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to set up and adjust your budget categories.
  2. Account Linking and Automatic Transaction Importing:
    Most of these apps can link to your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts to automatically import and categorize transactions. This feature saves time and helps in keeping your budget up to date. However, if you’re concerned about privacy or security, you might prefer an app that allows for manual entry.
  3. Expense Categorization:
    Automatically categorizing expenses is a common feature. It helps you see where your money is going, such as groceries, utilities, dining out, etc. Choose an app that offers flexible and understandable categorization.
  4. Financial Goal Setting:
    Apps like YNAB, Mint, and others offer the ability to set financial goals, such as paying off debt, saving for a house, or building an emergency fund. This feature can be very motivating and keep you focused on your long-term financial health.
  5. Debt Tracking and Management:
    Some apps offer specialized tools for tracking and paying down debts. If managing debt is a priority for you, look for an app with robust debt management features.
  6. Reports and Insights:
    Most budgeting apps provide reports and insights on your spending patterns, income, net worth, and more. These can be invaluable for understanding your financial habits and making informed decisions.
  7. Bill Reminders and Payments:
    Features like bill reminders or the ability to pay bills directly through the app can be very convenient. They help ensure you don’t miss payments and incur late fees.
  8. Customizable Alerts:
    Alerts for overspending, bank fees, or suspicious activity can help you stay on top of your finances and address issues promptly.
  9. Couples and Family Budgeting:
    If you’re managing finances with a partner or family, consider an app that allows for shared budgeting. Honeydue, for example, is specifically designed for couples.
  10. Security:
    As these apps will have access to sensitive financial information, ensure they have strong security measures in place, like encryption and two-factor authentication.
  11. Price and Subscription Model:
    Some apps are free (like Mint), while others require a subscription (like YNAB). Consider whether the features offered are worth the price for your personal financial situation.
  12. User Experience and Support:
    Finally, consider the overall user experience, including the app’s interface, ease of use, and customer support. Reading reviews and trying out free versions or demos can give you a good sense of this.


When choosing a budgeting app, consider your personal financial needs, security concerns, and how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in managing your finances. Each app has its strengths, so the best one for you will align with your specific financial goals and lifestyle.

Want to know more about any two of these apps compared to each other? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve put a bunch of effort into writing up comparisons of every budgeting app we can think of. Check out the below table if you’re trying to pick between two different apps to help guide you to your final decision.

Best free budgeting apps

  1. Mint:

  2. Mint is free to use. It generates revenue through ads and partner offers within the app.

  4. Credit Karma:

  5. Credit Karma is free. It offers free credit score monitoring and reports, as well as some budgeting tools. It makes money through partner offers and recommendations.

  7. Honeydue:

  8. Honeydue is a free app designed for couples to manage their finances together. It offers various features without a subscription cost.

Note: the other 4 apps from the above list have either a free trial or a limited free version.

Best debt tracking apps

  1. YNAB (You Need A Budget):

  2. YNAB is highly regarded for its effective budgeting methodology, which can be particularly useful for debt reduction. It emphasizes giving every dollar a job, which includes allocating funds for debt repayment. YNAB also offers detailed tracking and reports to see your progress over time.

  4. Mint:

  5. Mint is effective for tracking debts, as it gives you a comprehensive view of all your accounts and liabilities, including loans and credit cards. It allows you to set up payment goals and tracks your progress. Its alerts and reminders can also be helpful in keeping you on track with your debt repayment plans.

  7. Credit Karma:

  8. While Credit Karma is primarily known for credit monitoring, it also offers insights and recommendations that can help in managing debt. It provides a clear view of your credit liabilities and can suggest strategies or financial products that may help in reducing your overall debt burden.

  10. Pocketguard:

  11. PocketGuard categorizes and tracks your spending, which can be helpful in identifying areas to cut back on to free up more money for debt repayment. It also shows your debts and helps in creating a plan to pay them off faster.


Best automatic budgeting apps

To be truly effective at helping you manage your finances, a good budgeting app must connect to your bank accounts as well as your credit cards, investment accounts, and other relevant financial services. These apps take care of all of that for you.

  1. YNAB (You Need A Budget):

  2. YNAB allows users to link bank accounts to automatically import transactions. This feature streamlines the budgeting process by updating your budget with real-time information from your accounts.

  4. Mint:

  5. Mint is well-known for its ability to connect to various bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts. It automatically imports and categorizes transactions, which is a core feature of the app

  7. Credit Karma:

  8. While primarily known for credit score monitoring, Credit Karma also offers some budgeting tools. It can link to your financial accounts to provide insights into your spending and financial health.

  10. Pocketguard:

  11. Pocketguard connects to your bank accounts and uses this information to help you track your spending and stay within your budget. It categorizes transactions and identifies areas where you might be able to save money.

  13. HoneyDue:

  14. HoneyDue is designed to help couples easily track and manage their financial picture together and connnects over 20,000 financial institutions across 5 countries.