The 5 best budgeting apps you can use at the moment

Here are the best budgeting tools to help you see how much you're spending.

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Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
Santander
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
Starling Bank
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0.05%
15% EAR variable
Seamless easy switching within 7 days
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
Cashplus
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
ThinkMoney
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Whether you’re living month to month, in debt, or saving towards a goal, everyone needs a budget.

Luckily we’re living in the space age now! There are loads of cutting-edge budgeting apps that will help you manage your spending. Some apps just look pretty, while others will tell you off for buying too many lattes, remind you when a bill is due, or take money and quietly stash it in a savings pot without you noticing.

We’ve rounded up what we think are the best apps out there so you don’t need to do too much leg work.

Yolt

Yolt - The smart money app | Free, simple & easy to use‎

  • See your accounts in one place & stay on top of your money
  • Connect your current accounts, savings, credit cards, pensions, and investments
  • Backed by ING Bank
  • Download for free on iOS or Android
Promoted

Why should I use a budgeting app?

You don’t have to. You could whip up a financial modelling spreadsheet instead to track your incomings and outgoings each month using an array of formulae…! You could even update your spreadsheet every day and keep hold of receipts and track your expenses.

Or if you’re a bit lazier, you could download a budgeting app today and it could take care of all of that for you.

The real benefit of these apps over manual budgeting and traditional banks is simplicity and ease of use.

The other benefit is that the apps are mostly free!

While some charge a fee, many banking apps don’t (such as Revolut, Monzo, Starling, Monese). For no money, you can visualise your spending on-the-go and in real time.

Picture not described: digitalbanking-1.png Image: Getty

If they’re free, how do banking apps make money?

A lot of banking apps are drawing in customers with free services, and the companies plan to diversify later with more traditional banking products (such as savings accounts, mortgages, loans, overdrafts). These products provide the apps with potential revenue in the future.

Some apps are partnering with other fintech startups, to cross-sell each others’ services. Head to our news section for the latest developments in digital banking.

What about regular savings accounts?

If you’re looking for interest on your savings, then these apps might not be for you. Though savings accounts might not be for you, either. Interest rates have been low for years, and that doesn’t look likely to change.

Low interest rates have played a part in driving people away from big banks and towards these newer startups.

While a few do offer interest (see below), most don’t.

The way these apps help you save is by acting as pocket accountants, automatically categorising transactions so you can budget better. If you think you’re spending too much on eating out, then take a look at the cold hard numbers. Some apps even provide graphs and charts to ram home the message.

In terms of helping you save up, apps like Revolut and Cleo use algorithms to work out how much you can afford to squirrel away. If you choose, they’ll also automatically transfer the money to a savings pot.

Which of these apps can I earn interest from?

Longer-term savers may be looking to earn interest from their savings pot. A number of these money apps don’t currently offer interest. However, there are some options.

Tandem offers a fixed savings account. Check out our Tandem review to find out more.

Starling offers some interest, so it’s definitely worth considering.

So does Monzo, but you need to be able to put aside at least £1,000 to open a Savings Pot.

Moneybox is an easy and simple investment app which works by rounding up your transaction to the nearest pound and investing the spare change in a share portfolio.

Nutmeg or Plum also offer investment options.

DIGITAL BANKING NEWS

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