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8 Best Budgeting Apps in 2024, Finance Experts Say

Get your finances under control with these user-friendly apps.

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Over the last year, job market strength and salaries have been on the rise—but so has inflation. This has led plenty of people to feel like they're working at maximum capacity yet unable to afford life's necessities. In fact, according to the Mind over Money survey, conducted by Capital One and The Decision Lab, 77 percent of Americans say they feel anxious about their finances, and 68 percent say they worry that they won't have enough money to retire. Developing a budget won't necessarily solve your money woes, but getting organized with one of this year's best budgeting apps can certainly help you form a strategy to start meeting your financial goals.

"A solid budget is the foundation of your entire financial life, so getting it right is crucial," says Todd Stearn, founder and CEO of the personal finance site The Money Manual. "A good budgeting app can alleviate the intimidation some people feel trying to pin down all the moving parts of their finances by simplifying the process of setting it up—and it can help you stay on track, too."

Ready to take control of your finances? These are the eight best budgeting apps of 2024, according to money management experts.

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Your bank's app.

wells fargo logo on smartphone
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If you're looking for a streamlined budgeting experience, your bank is always a good place to begin. Many banking apps now provide useful budgeting features that can utilize and analyze your financial data in real-time.

For instance, if you bank with Wells Fargo, there are two financial planning tools within their main banking app: Fargo, an in-app virtual assistant, and LifeSync, which provides holistic budget management and goal-setting assistance.

"Fargo, the in-app virtual assistant, offers users a personalized experience to help [customers] simplify their finances and give a comprehensive overview of their financial health," explains Michelle Moore, EVP and head of digital for consumer at Wells Fargo.

"The LifeSync app provides the roadmap to financial freedom by 'syncing' your financial objectives with your values and aspirations. It's not just another budgeting app; it's your personal finance concierge, guiding you through life's most important decisions with ease and precision," she notes.

Monarch Money

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The popular budgeting app Mint closed its doors in March of this year, and many of its users are now in the market for alternatives. Monarch Money offers easy import services, so you don't have to start from scratch.

However, the app is also thriving based on its own merits: The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called Monarch Money "the best overall budget app for 2024." They say it's ideal for people looking to trim their budgets while focusing on savings—"especially couples or families."

"The app includes just the right blend of automation and manual work, which means that it won't take up too much of your time but will require you to be proactive. That helps make it habit-forming, which is just about the most important trait a budgeting app can have. After all, a budget you never look at won't do you much good," the WSJ review notes.

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Rocket Money

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Rocket Money is another budgeting app that allows you to "save more, spend less, see everything, and take back control of your financial life," the company says. Stearn endorses the app for everyday beginner budgeting.

"Rocket Money offers a free version to get you started with the basics of setting and following a budget. The paid version lets you pay what you feel is fair, between $4 and $10 monthly, for added benefits like subscription cancellation and bill negotiation. The paid version also comes with a free seven-day trial period," says Stearn.

YNAB (You Need a Budget)

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Some budgeting apps offer more than just a way to view and organize your financial data—they offer an ethos to help guide you to your money-saving goals. If this interests you, Stearn recommends YNAB, formerly known as You Need a Budget.

"It doesn't offer a free version, but its free trial period is 34 days. The cost is $14.99 per month, or you get a discount by paying annually at $99 per year," shares Stearn. "YNAB follows a financial philosophy that some users find helpful in the way they think about money."

This "philosophy" is centered on the company's "four rules for less money stress." These are: Give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches (meaning acceptance of those moments where you have to break budget), and age your money through investments to maximize returns.

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Close up of hands holding mobile phone with application to receive money.

Expensify is an expense management app that lets you track, transcribe, and reimburse receipts. It's an ideal budgeting app for small businesses or "entrepreneurs with a lot of side hustles," says Liam Wilson, editor-in-chief of Lottery 'N Go.

"I would highly recommend small businesses and freelancers alike adopt Expensify as a budgeting sav(e)ior," Wilson tells Best Life. "This ingeniously streamlined platform singlehandedly eradicates the headaches of diligent expense tracking that so often stifle your cash flow, especially if you've got a lot of balls in the air."

Wilson uses this "indispensable financial concierge" in his own business. "It's got deceptively powerful reporting dashboards. At a quick glance, I gain an overview and command over all spending patterns, which then also provide me with potential cost-saving opportunities across all my businesses from affiliate sales gigs to editorials," he explains.

Quicken Simplifi

Two young women looking at cell phone while smiling

Stearn also recommends Quicken Simplifi, which provides spending insights, investment reports, real-time alerts on bills and subscriptions, credit score monitoring, and automated transactions.

Kristen Dillard, VP of product management for the app, says there are a handful of other features that set Simplifi apart from competitors.

"Quicken Simplifi users can share their financial information, including Dashboards, Watchlists, and Savings Goals, with trusted parties and loved ones to better align budgeting plans and increase financial transparency to achieve goals," she tells Best Life.

"Quicken Simplifi's 'Spending Plan' shows users what they have left to spend or save each month based on projected income and bills. Users can track progress against an unlimited number of short- and long-term financial goals," she adds.

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Woman working remote while typing on her laptop and holding her smartphone sitting on a sofa in a bright living room

Copilot can also help you track and organize your budget while providing a "stellar" user interface, wrote Katie Gatti Tassen, founder of Money with Katie, in a glowing product review.

"Everything works the way you expect it to: Want to change something? Just tap it. Options pop up. It's not hard to operate, which is crucial for an app that facilitates something as painful for some as budgeting," she says.

Stearn also recommends the app, noting that "it makes it easy to sync up your various accounts, set savings goals, and see what's going on with your finances vs. what should be going on with them and what you can do differently to improve your financial life."


Mature businessman working at home using smart phone

For many people, the primary goal of budgeting is saving. Though the Acorns app isn't a traditional budgeting app, it does offer a shortcut to automating your investments.

"It's a set it and forget it account. The app really does 99 percent of the work for you, and it allows one to determine what level of aggression they would like to apply when investing," says Reem Khatib, a partner at Tax Law Advocates, which specializes in tax debt resolution and financial management.

She adds that the app itself is very intuitive: "Even the least tech-savvy person would be able to use the app with ease. It allows one to enter into the stock market without spending all day and night researching or monitoring their stocks. I really recommend this application to beginners, those who want to dabble in stocks and see some return on their investments, and who simply don't have the time to research stock performance on their own."

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more