Best Free Budgeting Apps: Manage that Money, Millennials

Let’s face it: sticking to a budget isn’t exactly the easiest task. With rising inflation and the abrupt increase in living costs in many major cities, creating a budget has never been more necessary.

However, with the rise of personal finance apps and fintech products, creating and sticking to a budget has become a little easier. That’s why this Wealth Rocket article tackles the best free budget apps currently available in the United States of America.

Learn more about the best free budgeting apps below, and help make sense of your spending, saving, and borrowing habits.

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The Best Free Budgeting Apps for Americans

There are many, many budgeting apps and financial tools out there. In fact, the fintech market has become oversaturated with them.

Despite this, there are a handful of reputable, trustworthy, and, most importantly, free budget apps available, many of which are commonly said to be the best available. These apps are listed below.

Mint

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Clarity Money

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$95

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$95

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Personal Capital

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On Personal Capital Website

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1. Mint

Mint is one of the most popular free budgeting and saving apps available today. It’s earned its top ranking on this list due to several unique and enticing key features.

Mint allows its users to synchronize their bank accounts, credit cards, loans, or investments for intricate budget tracking. It then provides a comprehensive view of approachable graphs and charts that shows their spending, categorized to grant a good look into their personal finances. Mint also yields an up-to-date credit score. Not bad at all if you ask us!

Mint additionally provides credit monitoring and real-time updates. Your purchases, transactions, and financial decisions are all trackable when using Mint, meaning the days of going into overdraft are long behind you.

Mint is owned and operated by Intuit, a financial software company that also owns TurboTax. The app is available for free for both iOS and Android. You can download the app on both Google and Apple Pay app stores.

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2. Clarity Money

Clarity Money, from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, is another fee-free budget app option. It has two main functions: allowing users to track spending and the ability to eliminate unwanted subscriptions.

In addition to tracking spending, Clarity Money organizes spending by category, making it easy to see exactly where your money is going and in what areas you need to cut back on spending. It also offers credit score monitoring, which makes it that much more useful.

If you’re looking to jump-start your savings game, this free budgeting app also gives users the option to open a high-yield savings account with the online bank known as Marcus, which boasts an APY of 0.6%.

Put all of the above into an incredibly simple, minimalist, and user-friendly app, and you have one of the best free budgeting accounts currently available.

Clarity Money is free and available on iOS and Android. You can download the app on both Google and Apple Pay app stores.

3. Personal Capital

Consider Personal Capital the graduate school of budget apps. Sure, it offers all the usual functions one might expect from a budgeting app: expense tracking, easy cash flow monitoring, and foresight for upcoming bills.

It goes a step further and allows budgeters to see payoff details for debt like student loans, calculate your net worth, plan for retirement, and keep a close eye on hidden fees. The budgeting features of the app are free.

If you want to use it for money management and investment tracking, a month-to-month fee will apply. While a worthy spend, it is not necessary for basic budgeting. 

The Personal Capital budgeting app is free and available on iOS and Android. You can download the app on both Google and Apple Pay app stores.

If you’re looking to jump-start your savings game, this free budgeting app also gives users the option to open a high-yield savings account with the online bank known as Marcus, which boasts an APY of 0.6%.

Put all of the above into an incredibly simple, minimalist, and user-friendly app, and you have one of the best free budgeting accounts currently available.

Clarity Money is free and available on iOS and Android. You can download the app on both Google and Apple Pay app stores.

How do budget apps work?

Generally speaking, personal finance or budgeting apps use your financial information for your banking and investing account(s), including transactions, bill payments, credit card usage, and investment portfolios. Most budgeting apps then organize your finances into various categories.

These apps also aggregate all of your financial accounts which allows you to keep a close eye on what you have and what you owe.

What happens next depends on the budget app that you’re using. Some provide the option to alert you if you’re close to overspending, while other apps help you reach your long-term financial goals. In most cases, budgeting apps grant you the freedom to set goals and customize their features to your liking.

The basic premise behind budgeting apps is to provide its users with a more in-depth analysis of their finances while providing insight into credit card and bank account balances.

If you don’t want to sync your bank account with a third-party app, worry not. Many other excellent free budget apps allow you to input all of your spendings and savings manually. Some find this is a much better means of financial tracking, as it allows users to be more conscious of their daily spending categories.

Why should you use a budgeting app?

The old paper-and-pencil budgets are great but tend to be hard to stick to, and don’t offer many of the same features that fintech budget apps do. These features include an easy-to-use dashboard, instant budgeting, goal tracking, and a free credit score.

Budgeting apps also make your budget portable everywhere you go. For example, accessing your budget while at the grocery store can make your financial decisions that much easier when you’re on the go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not necessarily. Picking the right budget app is about your specific financial situation, how you plan to use the app, and your long-term financial goals.

For example, those more focused on their investments might benefit more from an app like E*Trade or Robinhood, while those looking to stick to a budget might benefit more from paid-services like YNAB.

Generally speaking, no. Most budget apps help you create budgets, monitor your spending, or help you reach certain financial goals to ensure that you have enough money in your account to cover your bills. You'll have to make transactions using your banking and investing products.

For many budgeting apps, yes. Because budget apps use information in your bank account to help track your spending, savings, and monthly bills, you'll need to synchronize it with the accounts you want to track.

Many use the same security and encryption level as your bank's app, though they aren't immune to fraud.

There are budgeting apps that do not sync with any accounts. These apps are more effective to some users, as it allows them to build a habit of knowing where their money goes themselves.

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