The 6 Best Budgeting Tools of 2022
345K people follow Lily, a registered nurse, on TikTok for her budgeting skills. She transparently breaks down each paycheck, neatly logs figures on her iPad with her stylus, and narrates — seemingly calculating at math-whizz speed. She aims to help others organize their finances too, but the comments section makes it clear. Lily makes this look easier than it is.
Users consistently ask “Which app do you use?” and “What are you using to track all this?” The reality is that the right budgeting approach is different for everyone. It depends on where you are financially, what your goals are, and the method you prefer that realistically aligns with these elements. For Lily, a manual process works because she has her own budgeting know-how to rely on. For those without any background in budgeting, a tool with helpful auto-features is probably most effective.
If you’re looking for an app that lends a helping hand in the new year, hurdle number two is deciphering which ones actually deliver what they claim. There are so many out there. We’ll highlight the top 6 apps that really work and are user-friendly. We’ll also consider fees, special features, and critical aspects like security so that you can pick the right one for you. 2022 is the year to invest in yourself and these budgeting tools are a great way to kick off your financially fearless year.
Top Budgeting Tools
- Mint, for everyday budgeting
- Why we love it: Mint is highly reviewed, trusted, and completely free.
The app enables you to track expenses, check your credit score, and set reminders to make on-time bill payments. It automatically highlights small recurring fees, like subscriptions, that you might want to eliminate. There are also investment features to help you grow your money in the future.
- You Need a Budget (YNAB), for the committed budgeter
- Why we love it: YNAB delivers measurable results.
This app teaches you to face your financial fears and become intentional about your spending. It helps people get out of debt and save more money with a proven method. You have to assign a job to every dollar earned. It does cost $11.99 monthly after a 34-day free trial, but the cost could be worth it considering new budgeters save an average of $6,000 in their first year.
- PocketGuard, for the overspender
- Why we love it: PocketGuard tells you how much you can actually afford to spend.
This is perfect for impulse buyers. This app allows users to easily understand how much money they have in their pockets on a daily basis. This way they can make informed spending decisions. The app also offers an overview of the places you spend the most money to help you clearly identify and cut unnecessary costs. Plus, its auto-save feature empowers users to start setting money aside.
- Goodbudget, for multiple users in one household
- Why we love it: Goodbudget’s paid plan supports multiple users, perfect for couples.
This digital envelope system brings new-school ease of use to an old-school method of divvying income into categories (or envelopes). The app provides visual reports so that you have a clear overview of financial progress. It’s free to use for one account and two devices, but the paid plan supports unlimited envelopes and accounts at $7 per month.
- PersonalCapital, for building wealth
- Why we love it: Personal Capital’s investment options help budgeters take the next step.
This app helps those who want to do more than just track expenses by taking leftover money and helping you grow it. There’s a free version of the app as well as add-on services. You can connect with an actual real, living advisor who can help you understand and plan toward your retirement. Capabilities like the fee analyzer tool can also help you spot unnecessarily high expenses on your 401(k) or other investments.
- Zip, for education and integrated shopping
- Why we love it: Who would we be if we didn’t love ourselves? Our favorite part about Zip is that it’s much more than a buy now pay later platform.
The app can be used to pay for anything you need online or in store, from groceries to vet bills, and breaks payments into four manageable ones. It reminds users of upcoming payments, and rewards good payment behavior. On top of helping you stay on track with budgeting, the app also helps you find great deals and provides knowledge to help you save so that you can gain control of your financial future.
Invest in You
There are key differences in these top budgeting tools, but they all made our list because they keep you, the budgeter, top of mind. Each intuitive app offers unique value, so before you choose which one you’ll ring in the new year with, make sure it aligns with your specific needs. Common goals include:
- Paying off or eliminating debt
- Saving for an expensive event, like a vacation
- Managing money during a big change, like marriage or pregnancy
Our advice? Once you download your app of choice, don’t overdo it. It’s good to be eager, but make sure the plan you commit to is sustainable and easy enough for you to track on a regular basis. We can’t wait to see you make your financial resolutions a reality.
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Zip’s editorial content is not written by a financial advisor. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.