Taking control of your finances is empowering and terrifying, especially if you’ve had your bank accounts managed by or shared with a parent for the majority of your life. It’s a big step on the way to becoming a responsible adult, but now you get to worry about whether your income is enough to cover your rent, utility bills, food, gas and travel, and fun, and still leave enough leftover so that you can put money into savings or retirement (and I really cannot stress how important this part is). The first time I saw how much I spent on groceries in a month was eye-opening, and it gave me heart palpitations, but with a few adjustments and some hard-core budgeting, managing your money and stretching it to fit all of your expenses isn’t too tricky. These free money management apps will help you stay on track.
Albert: Albert is an app created to give you financial advice, calculate your financial health, and give you ways to improve your financial health. It syncs with all of your bank and money accounts to help you make smart money decisions; it may notice that you don’t have renter’s insurance, are paying hefty fees, or haven’t started saving for retirement and will tell you how to fix these choices. Unlike all other money management apps included in this list, Albert partners with other financial institutions to give you access to loans, insurance, and savings plans without having to leave the app. Albert is available for Apple devices.
Goodbudget: Goodbudget is an app that uses the “envelope” method of budgeting. Each month, you assign a portion of your earnings to a certain envelope: groceries, transportation, movies, clothing, bills, or whatever your needs are. When you spend money, you can only take money out of the designated envelope; after the envelope is empty, you’ve hit your budget for that item. The app also allows you to save for big expenses, like buying a new car or paying the security deposit for a new apartment. If you share expenses with a partner, you can sync your budget across both of your phones, and purchases from both of you are reflected in your budget. There is an extended version of the app that allows you to sync more accounts and devices and gives you unlimited envelopes for $5.00/month or $45.00/year. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Level money: You can sync all of your bank and credit card accounts with Level, which will then go through your transactions to determine which are recurring, such as your paycheck or your electric bill. It then calculates how much money is leftover after all of your normal monthly transactions are accounted for and creates a daily spending guide so that you don’t overspend. While Level can access the transactions in your bank accounts, it cannot actually make any transactions of its own; the app is read-only, which adds a level of security to your accounts even while offering you budgeting services. Level money is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Mint: Mint allows you to see how much money you have in all of your accounts, including checking, savings, and investments; what you owe on your credit card; and what you owe on any other monthly bills that you input (from your phone bill to your electric bill). It will keep track of when each bill is due, remind you when the deadline is getting close, and prompt you to pay straight from the app. It will also track your spending habits and create budgets that fit your patterns; warn you when you’re over budget, and offer advice about how to save money in the future. The app (available for Apple and Android devices) and website are both secure and keep your sensitive data protected.
Mvelopes: Like Goodbudget, mvelopes connects to your bank account and tracks money that you earn and pay out. You can set up expenses (using the “envelope” method) as well as savings goals, and the app will calculate how much money you have leftover to spend or save. The app doesn’t actually move around any of your money; you still only have one account. It keeps track of where you are spending your money and your envelopes will reflect your expenditures. There are mvelopes subscriptions that you can pay for, but the simple app is free of charge. The higher tiers give you access to personal support, video content, and coaching sessions, among other things. It is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Pocket Guard: Pocket Guard syncs with financial accounts, including your bank accounts, PayPal, and Venmo and creates a budget based on your transactions. Unlike the other budget apps in this list, Pocket Guard will search through your recurring bills (cell phone, cable, internet, etc.) and find out if you are receiving the best deal; you may be able to save money each month without knowing it. You can also create a monthly savings goal in an account outside of your everyday bills and income; the app encourages you to choose a savings account so that you can begin to earn interest on this money. Pocket Guard is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Prosper Daily: This app went by the name Billguard until it became a part of Prosper (a personal loan provider). Prosper Daily syncs all of your bank accounts in the app so you don’t have to switch back and forth to check your balances. It watches your credit score and tracks all of your expenses; it doesn’t offer advice, but if you notice that you’re spending a lot of money at Starbucks every month, you can make changes and start having your coffee at home. It will also keep track of all of your subscriptions and recurring charges (like Netflix, for example) and alert you if those prices change. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Spendee: Spendee connects to your bank accounts to categorize your transactions into expense categories (or envelopes). It creates charts showing your expense breakdown, your average daily expenses, and when you are spending the most money; supported location services can show you where you are spending your money. The premium version of the app allows you to create more than one wallet, share them with your friends and family, and create unlimited budgets; this costs $2.99/month. Spendee is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Toshl Finance: Toshl Finance connects to your bank accounts to track your monthly and yearly expenditures. It creates graphs and charts to show you visually where your money is going and what percentage is going where. You can enter your expenses as they occur and categorize them to where they fit into your budget. Toshl free allows you to sync two accounts and create two budgets, but upgrading to Toshl Pro ($2.99/month, $19.99/year, or $59.99/three years) unlocks other features: the ability to take photos of your receipts, reminders to pay upcoming bills, and unlimited accounts and budgets. The app is available online and for Apple, Android, and Windows devices.
Unsplurge: Unsplurge is unlike the other apps in this list in that it relies on the honor system. Instead of actually having access to your bank accounts, it prompts you to input a savings goal and then set aside money toward that goal on your own. You can have more than one goal at a time, but you must tell the app when you are setting aside money toward your goal so that it can monitor your progress; there is no in-app accountability. There is a whole community of Unsplurge users ready to cheer you on in the forum; it’s kind of like a Facebook or Instagram for savings. The app is available for Apple devices.
Wally: Wally uses algorithms to create a budget that is personalized to you; you may just want to see where your money is going, or set and reach a savings goal. The app will help you do both all while monitoring your bills and sending you reminders when the deadline is approaching. When you input a transaction, you are able to upload the accompanying receipts so that all of your financial data is kept in one place. You and the app create a monthly budget, which is then broken down into a daily budget that you can track straight from your phone. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
It’s time to take control of your finances and start budgeting!