Compare 19+ budgeting software in 2021 |

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Compare budgeting apps

Easily keep track of your personal and professional finances with this software guide.

Finder's pick for budgeting: Chime Spending account


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  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly service fees
  • Get your paycheck early with direct deposit
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Budgeting apps and software makes tracking your spending quicker and easier. You can use it to better understand your personal finances and adjust your habits so you can put more money aside for the things you need. We reviewed over 20 budgeting apps and software to help you choose the right one for your financial goals — whether that’s paying off debt, saving up for a big purchase or building an emergency fund.

Compare top budgeting software

Data updated regularly
Name Product Fee Service fee Platforms
Chime Spending account
Get rid of fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Get financial advice, pay off debt, create a budget and automate savings with this budgeting app. But be prepared to pay for extra features.
You won’t pay a dime if this company can’t lower your monthly bills. But you’ll pay a hefty fee if it does.
Emma helps you in avoiding overdrafts, finding wasteful subscriptions and giving you control over your finances.
Digit analyzes your spending and automatically saves an appropriate amount every day so you don't have to think about it.
$36 for the basic package, $48 for People’s Choice, or $96 for The Works
Cushion is an artificially intelligent robot that fights for refunds on your behalf.

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What is budgeting?

Budgeting is the act of tracking what income is coming in and what money is going out each month. By tracking your savings and spending expenses, you can get an understanding of the way you spend, the way you save and then identify ways to improve your finances. A budget can help, no matter what your goals are.

One of the main purposes of budget planning is to know where your money is going each week.

When you’re able to account for your spending, you can learn how to better manage your bills and living expenses. It’s also much easier to pay off debt and avoid accumulating it in the first place. There are several different types of budgeting methods. Choosing the one that’s right for you will help you stick to it.

How many budgeting methods are there?

Most people end up following one of these six popular budgeting methods.

  1. Zero-based budgeting. With this method, you take your income and divide it up between all your expenses, debts and savings goals until every dollar has a purpose.
  2. 50/30/20. This is a quick, simplified budgeting method where you take your income and set aside 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for debts and savings.
  3. Envelope system. Divide your money up among different physical or electronic envelopes based on your budgeting categories. Once you run out of money in one envelope, you’re finished until you get paid again.
  4. Line item budgeting. This is a traditional budgeting method where you list your expenses in a spreadsheet, estimate how much you’ll spend in each category, then review your progress at the end of the month.
  5. Reverse budgeting. Set aside a chunk of each paycheck for saving first, then use the rest however you want.
  6. Kakeibo budgeting. Uses a Japanese technique where you save first, then split remaining funds between Survival expenses, Optional expenses, Cultural expenses and Extra expenses.

Why is budgeting important?

There are plenty of reasons why budgeting is important, but here are the top three main ones:

  1. Spending awareness. If you don’t have a budget, you may be surprised by how much you spend on a daily basis. Things like a bottle of wine or new clothes add up. A budget shows you exactly how much you’re spending and what you’re buying.
  2. Improves financial control. People who budget regularly don’t count down the hours until payday. They’ve forecast their expenses and managed their money so they have peace of mind.
  3. Makes saving easier. Budgeting makes it easier to identify ways to save because you always know how much you’re spending. It also makes it easy to track progress toward your savings goals.

How can a budgeting software help?

A budgeting software allows you to quickly and accurately perform financial tasks such as bookkeeping, forecasting and financial analysis. Instead of having to do it manually on pen and paper, most budgeting software connects to your financial accounts for you and crunches all the numbers in record time. It’ll also automatically update as you use your accounts.

Is there a difference between personal and business budgeting?

Personal and business or corporate budgeting share the same basic principles. An effective budget will track your income and expenses and project what your finances will look like in the future.

Personal budgeting software will help you establish a better spending plan and put money aside for big purchases such as a home, car or wedding, or allocate more money toward fun activities like going to the movies or buying that surfboard you’ve been eyeballing. One popular budgeting option for individuals and families is YNAB.

Business budgeting software performs the same basic functions as personal software while also taking into account the complexities of running a business. Business budgeting software will consider fixed and variable costs, revenue, payroll and debt, and forecast company growth. Two popular budgeting options for businesses is Quickbooks Online and Xero.

Advantages and disadvantages of budgeting

Here are all the reasons you may want to start a budget and things to watch out for:


  • Helps identify poor spending habits. You can’t change your bad money habits if you aren’t even aware of them. A budget shines a light on the darkest part of your spending and helps you create a plan to fix it.
  • Empowers you to reach your goals. It’s possible to reach your savings goals without a budget, but you’ll get there a lot quicker if you have a budget — or roadmap — to follow.
  • Lowers financial worry. When you have a budget, you don’t have to stress every waking moment about whether you’ll have enough money to pay a bill or save for a goal. Your budget will tell you that.

What to watch out for

  • Overwhelming at first. Looking at your expenses for the first time may be stressful, overwhelming or even embarrassing. But remember, knowledge is power.
  • Takes time. You may not see amazing financial results the first month you budget. It usually takes months of evaluating and adjusting to feel like you’re making progress toward your savings goals and lowering your debt.
  • Involves trade-offs. You only have so much money each month. Inevitably, you’ll have to make tough choices about how you should spend that money.

5 things to consider when looking for a budgeting app

Whether you’re running a business or trying to get your personal finances in order, budgeting software can help make the process smoother and quicker. Here are some tips to consider when shopping around for a budgeting app.

  1. Free trials. Look for vendors that offer a free trial so you can test the software before you commit to a subscription.
  2. Manual vs automatic input. Most budgeting apps sync to your bank accounts to automatically import transactions, but some companies reserve this feature for higher subscription tiers only.
  3. Multi-platform. Most budgeting software programs are compatible across multiple platforms and can be available on multiple devices. Look for software offering desktop and mobile options. If you need budgeting software for your business, pick one that can be used on multiple devices at once and is compatible with any systems that your business uses.
  4. Budgeting methods. You’ll be more inclined to stick to a budget if you choose an app and budgeting method that works with your financial goals and lifestyle.
  5. Security. Any financial information you trust to third-party software or online stores is vulnerable to cyber threats and identity theft. To help protect your money, only give your financial information to reputable vendors.

      Bottom line

      Budgeting software is available for individuals and businesses to track spending. With the right program, you can make accurate predictions about the future and reach your financial targets.

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