best budget planners

The 5 Best Budget Planners for 2021

The 5 Best Budget Planners for 2021

Budgeting is like a workout. We all want it and know its benefits but find it difficult and overwhelming to start. Luckily, with the best budget planner, budgeting doesn’t have to be a pain anymore.

If you’d like to put your personal finances and spending under control, a budgeting app might be all you need. Most budget planners can help with general personal budgeting, but each offers something unique.

One budget app may send you alerts when you’re about to overspend. Another can assign every dollar you get a specific job, providing a unique money management system.

There are many budget apps out there, so it’s crucial to know which ones are developed to meet most users’ needs and have exclusive tools to address the unique needs of some users.

We’ve done the hard yards for you by researching the best budget planners.

The Best Budget Planner – Which One Should You Use?

The budgeting apps reviewed below are either free, have a free version, or come with a free trial so users can test things before signing up.

In addition, each of these apps has over 1000 views on Google Play and the App Store. They also have a rating of at least 4 stars (out of five) on both platforms.

1. Mint – Best Overall

financial budget planner with the most users

Mint is among the most popular budgeting apps and has well over 15 million users. It’s owned by Intuit, the company that makes TurboTax and Quickbooks.

Mint has an array of powerful features to enable you to track and manage your finances from a long list of banks, lenders, credit card providers, brokerages, and you name it.

The budgeting app has numerous features, with the most important being the budgeting tools that appear at the center and in front once you log in.

The app automatically categorizes your transactions from any linked debit and credit cards. It then tracks these cards according to a budget you can customize or tweak according to your needs.

You’ll receive notifications whenever you go above your budget. You can also track your spending by category.

Besides, you can look at the overall cash flow to understand where your funds go every month.

Mint Pros

  • Free
  • Credit monitoring that gives you access to your credit score
  • Syncs to your credit cards and bank accounts
  • Real-time alerts for going over the budge, ATM fees, or large transactions
  • Monthly bill payment tracker with due date reminders
  • Top security features, including Verisign scanning, Touch ID mobile access, and multi-factor authentication
  • You can track investments and set savings goals
  • An educational blog and other handy tools, such as the home repayment calculator

Mint Cons

  • Some users complain of expenses assigned to the wrong category and ads.

2. PocketGuard – Best for Over-Spenders

PocketGuard app for budgeting

This budget planner helps you guard against overspending. PocketGuard links to your financial accounts and tracks your spending against your budget for the whole month.

The budgeting app is among the easiest to set up and link to your bank accounts. PocketGuard tracks how much you earn and keeps tabs on the money dedicated to recurring bills and daily expenses.

Most importantly, the app tracks the deposits that go into your savings account for a specific period.

This best budget planner has a feature that helps you track every bill and find possible opportunities to save.

Not only does PocketGuard track your budget, but it also helps you minimize your spending.

Pros

  • Has a free version
  • Syncs to bank accounts
  • Setting up and using the app is a cakewalk
  • Automated savings feature where you can set your goals and deposit into a linked bank account
  • Sets spending limits, thus helping you to avoid overspending
  • Bill payment reminders
  • Graphs and charts make it easy to visualize cash flow and spending
  • Displays areas to make possible savings
  • Educational blog

Cons

  • Switching to the premium version requires that you shell out $34.99 per year

3. You Need a Budget (YNAB) – Best for Serious Budgeters

budget planner app that assigns each dollar a job

You Need a Budget uses an approach that’s different from the other budgeting apps. Instead of going with the conventional budgeting buckets, you create a budget based on your income, assigning each dollar a specific job.

The jobs may include things like savings, debt payments, living expenses, and investments.

Since each dollar has something to do, you’re left thinking about how you spend whatever you earn.

Couples who like budgeting together will find this budget planner a great asset. It has both mobile and desktop interfaces, an option to automatically link bank accounts, and add expenses manually.

There are goal tracking and debt payoff features to motivate you to achieve your money goals.

Pros

  • There’s a 34-day free trial, but students have 12 months of free use
  • Syncs your credit cards and bank accounts
  • Created to help you overcome debt
  • Users can customize spending and set goals
  • Security features include third-party audits, accredited data centers, data encryption, and more
  • Educational resources and weekly (free) workshops
  • Personal customer support

Cons

  • Costs $11.99 a month or $84 a year
  • Setting up the app takes longer compared to other budgeting apps

4. Honeydue – Best Budget Planner for Couples

Honeydue is a household budgeting app

Honeydue is a free online budget planner that allows you and your significant other to see your financial pictures from one place, including credit cards, bank accounts, investments, and loans.

However, the app allows you to choose how much you’d like to share with your partner.

This budgeting planner automatically categorizes your expenses, but it also lets you set up any custom categories. As a couple, you may create monthly limits on each category, and Honeydue will send you alerts when one of you is nearing the limits.

Moreover, Honeydue sends reminders for any upcoming bills and allows chats.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Syncs to your account and your partner’s
  • Sends bill payment reminders
  • Choose which accounts you’d like to share
  • It helps a couple to manage finances from one spot, coordinate bills, and track spending
  • Chat and send some emojis to your significant other through the app
  • Set up a spending limit for each category every month
  • Security features include multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and Touch ID

Cons

  • Some reviews state that the app is buggy, and transactions don’t appear immediately

5. Personal Capital – Best for Investors

personal capital simplifies budgeting

While Personal Capital is mostly an investment app, its free app has features that help budgeters track their spending.

This app allows you to connect and monitor savings, checking, credit card accounts, as well as loans, mortgages, 401(k)s, and IRAs.

The budgeting app lists your latest transactions by category and offers a spending snapshot for the same. You may customize the categories to see the actual percentage of your monthly spending for each category.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • It comes with free investment tools like an education planner, retirement planner, and free analyzer for checking portfolio fees
  • Includes a net-worth tracker and money-tracking dashboard
  • Syncs to bank accounts
  • Offers security features, such as fraud detection, data encryption, and user authentication

Cons

  • The budgeting features aren’t very comprehensive like in the other apps
  • Sales calls to try wealth management services

Final Thoughts

After downloading the budgeting app to your device, the app lets you track your spending habits.

The best budget application will show you the amount you earn and organize your spending into different categories to help you see how much you spend and on what.

However, most budgeting apps offer more than the basic budgeting functionality. A good app will also allow you to monitor your debts, investments, and savings.

Besides, the apps will send alerts when a bill is due or suggest ways to save. Choose the best budgeting app today to take full control of your personal finances.

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