Apps to Help You Stick to Your Budget

By Tracey Dowdy

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re the one trying to manage the family budget. Keeping on track while taking advantage of all the Holiday sales can be a challenge, but all is not lost – the following apps can help you both create and stick to your budget.

Paid Apps


goodbudgetAt $4.99 a month – not a one-time purchase price – GoodBudget is definitely one of the costlier options on this list but there is a “free forever” option that lets you manage up to 20 categories of expenses which is more than sufficient for the average household. Simply divide your money into customizable categories – e.g. gas, groceries, entertainment – and set the amount you can spend. Track transactions manually or import them as CSV files from your bank. The calculator-style interface and a home page that shows the total budget amount, total income and funds still available – plus cloud syncability – make it a very user-friendly option.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $4.99/month

My Budget Book

my-budget-book-1My Budget Book is one of the less expensive paid options. The home screen displays your spending goals vs. your actual spending and an easy to read bar graph measures your cash flow. The budget tab, which allows users to create categories, import transactions as CSV files and set reminders, is updated monthly and, because there is no personal or banking information, the app is relatively secure.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $3.49

Pocket Expense Personal Finance

pocket-expensePocket Expense Personal Finance features a home screen with an overview of how much money is available as well as a list of your recent transactions. Users input budget information into pre-set categories, set up reminders, and can check at a glance how much money is left in their budget. The one downside of the app is that all transactions must be entered manually as the app lacks the capability to import CSV or OFX files. If you’re not detail oriented or don’t have the time or patience to keep up, this may not be the best option.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $4.99

Free Apps


mintMint consistently ranks at the top of Top Budgeting App lists because it offers all the tools you need to manage income, spending, saving, and sticking to your budget. It tracks all transactions in real time, including cash purchases if you manually input the transaction. It even syncs bank accounts and mutual funds to your 401(k) or IRA. In Overview, users can see account totals, monthly budget, credit score, and alerts any time you go over budget. Mint also breaks down your spending by category, analyzes your spending habits, and offers money-saving tips based on your spending history.

Platform: iOSAndroidWindows



mvelopesMvelopes is like having a financial planner in the palm of your hand. Answer a few financial questions and sync with your bank account and Mvelopes will track every debit and credit transaction. Similar to GoodBudget, the app works with virtual envelopes, but users must first define income and create a budget to help set reasonable spending goals.

Platform: iOSAndroid


billguardBillGuard organizes all your transactions on your credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts into your Smart Inbox. The app offers fraud alerts, notifications on any new purchases, and one touch refund requests if you discover incorrect charges listed in the News Center. The app uses Tinder-like swiping to track each transaction. Swipe right if you actually made it, and the charge stays on your list. If you didn’t make the transaction, swipe left and a screen with the following options appears: Help Me Recognize, Report/Contact Merchant, or Follow Up Later. A red dot stays on your Home Screen until you address the issue.

Platform: iOSAndroid

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


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