If you’re not making enough moolah (and let’s be honest, in this economy, who is?), the biggest favour you can do yourself is to pick up some financial management skills. Start by learning how to budget your expenses. Getting your spending under control does magical things, from saving you some bucks to letting you dream of retirement.
Good news, it’s 2023, so there’s no need to stockpile your receipts or pull out spreadsheets to track your expenditure. Let the apps do it for you. Here’s our list of free budgeting apps that can help you manage your expenses, whether you’re a sucker for cute graphics or want to plan with a partner.
16And yes, all apps listed in this list are free or at least come with a free version (not a trial one!). After all, it doesn’t make sense if you ended up spending more money while trying to budget.
9 Free Budgeting Apps to Help You Manage Your Expenses
Household Account Book
Need some kawaii cartoon characters to motivate yourself to budget? Household Account Book is so adorable you’ll be dying to save money together with mascot Pisuke.
The app itself is fairly simple—you manually log your income and expenses, and then see how much you have left for the month at the top of the screen, as well as the breakdown of your monthly spending with a pie chart. The app then sends you alerts to inform you how much you have left for the month.
What’s unique is its comic book feature which entices you to continue using the app in order to gain more access to its contents. You can also download cute wallpapers for your phone.
This is a great app for people who love cute stuff and aren’t looking for something particularly complicated.
Spendee has all the features you could possibly look for in a budgeting app, but at a price. The free version does not offer account syncing, so you’ll need to input and categorise all your income and spending info manually.
For US$14.99 (S$20.36) a year, you get Spendee Plus, which gives you an unlimited number of cash wallets and budgets, and can also import and export your transactions from your accounts so you don’t have to key everything in manually. Meanwhile, their top tier Premium account, which costs US$22.99 (S$31.22), lets you sync your bank accounts, which basically automates the entire process of tracking your spending.
This is an expensive but feature-packed option. But if you need extra help with reaching your savings goals but (like me) don’t want to pay, the free version works just fine as a basic budgeting app so long as you bother to input your income and spending.
Not only is Wally a budgeting app that can be linked to your bank account, it also acts as a digital planner. The main downside is that it’s only available for iPhone users.
Other than letting you log all your transactions and create budgets by category, Wally also acts as a document repository by enabling you to store scans of your bills, warranties and receipts. Another nifty feature is that you can set reminders to pay bills and create shopping lists.
If you have family or housemates who use Wally as well, you can manage shared finances, such as by creating group budgets and sharing documents like your rental contract or shopping lists.
The app is free, but you need to pay for certain functions. For instance, Wally Gold, which costs US$39.99 a year or US$8.99 a month, gives you access to functions like tracking of foreign accounts and currency conversion. If you just want monthly bank account linking, you pay US$2.99 per month.
That being said, basic account syncing is free, so you can still get quite a bit of utility out of the app without paying anything.
Zenmoney is a fairly basic expense tracker from Russia that can be linked to your bank account and tracks all your spending automatically. For a free app, it offers a decent selection of features.
Other than logging your spending and showing how much you have left for the month, the app has a fairly good selection of analytics. It can pull out statistics from previous months and provide financial insights, such as how much is needed for necessary expenses, and how much you can spend on non-essentials like coffee and books without busting your budget.
Zenmoney also lets you allocate your budget according to the 50/30/20 rule or any other proportions you choose, so you know if you’re on track.
You can also set notifications, such as credit card payment reminders or alerts about new bank transactions.
Money Manager is a basic, fuss-free app that does the job without the bells and whistles, all for free. All data is added manually, so you’ll need to be prepared to whip out your phone and enter an expense each time you spend money.
The app has a calendar view that tracks what — and when — you spend. You can also view weekly and monthly spending patterns, as well as a pie chart of your various spending categories. Spending and income can also be categorised according to type, such as cash, accounts, credit card, savings, loans or insurance.
Overall, it’s not the sexiest app, but it does the job for free and doesn’t take up much space in your phone.
C’mon, don’t tell me you aren’t sold but the cute theme park interface. Monny is an app that lets you log your spending, monitor your expenses for the month, and create budgeting and savings goals, all while being encouraged by their mascot, Monny the Bunny.
Beneath the unique gamified format of expense tracking, Monny is actually a fairly basic app. All data has to be entered manually, and the analytics generated are also straightforward. But that’s not a bad thing. If all you need is to track how much you’re spending each month, Monny lets you do it easily, pleasantly and for free.
Mint claims to be the world’s #1 most downloaded personal finance app. Whether that is in fact true or not, I have to admit, it is very feature-packed for a free app, so it’s worth a try if you want automated, account-linked expense tracking without having to pay for it.
The app tries to make your expense tracking as automatic as possible. You can link your account and track payments such as subscriptions and taxes.
But it’s more than just a simple expense tracker. Mint also tries to function as a personal finance manager of sorts, enabling you to set monthly budgets, calculate your net worth and manage your subscriptions, with an alert feature that pings you when rates go up.
If you’re looking for a free, feature-packed app, Mint is one of the best options out there. There are no annoying paid tiers to unlock in order to access certain features.
Budgeting as a couple is a different beast altogether. As if monitoring your own expenses isn’t difficult enough, imagine tracking shared expenditures. But it can get easier with Honeydue, a financial management app for couples.
The app lets you jointly track your account balances, spending and bills, as well as create shared budgets in different categories. It’s basically a pretty typical app, with the advantage that it can be used jointly (and lovingly, of course!) by two users.
If you live together with and/or share a joint account with a partner, Honeydue makes life a lot easier and saves you from having to do couple admin. Best of all, it’s free, so you won’t have to fight over the cost.
Feel like you’re drowning in a sea of subscriptions and bills? Welcome to the club. Now that the digital subscription model dominates so much of our consumption thanks to Netflix, Spotify and gang, having a system like Rocket Money’s to keep track of everything is even more useful.
Rocket Money has a free basic version, as well as add-on features that you can access by paying US$3 to US$12 per month. Most of us (myself included) are not going to pay good money to use a budgeting app, so I’ll focus on the free features here.
The first step is to connect your bank accounts and credit cards. The app will then analyse your transactions to pick out all the recurring bills and subscriptions, making it easier for you to see and, if necessary, cancel them.
You can also see at a glance your recurring bills that can be lowered, such as by downgrading your subscription. And of course, the app also has the all usual spending tracking and budgeting features.
The premium paid features include syncing your balance and having a concierge automatically cancel unused subscriptions for you. They also have a paid bill negotiation service which is like having a personal butler at your disposal should you be rich or important enough to not want to do the dirty work yourself.
Do you know someone who could really use a budgeting app? Share this article with them.