Managing your money isn’t always easy. Not only do you need to ensure you have enough money to last until your next paycheck, but you also need to pay all of your bills. It’s a skill you need to do well to succeed financially.
Free budget software can help you keep your finances in order. While there are many budgeting tools that can help you, there’s no need to spend loads of money to use them. Thankfully, there are affordable, and free, options to help manage your finances.
Best Free Budget Software Tools
Free budgeting tools often come with different resources. Before choosing an app to manage your budget, you need to know how each one works so you choose the best program for your needs.
1. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is one of the top personal finance software options on the market. Many online budgeting tools only allow you to monitor your bills and bank account balances.
However, Personal Capital takes budgeting to the next level by allowing you to track your net worth, monitor your investment accounts, and more.
The platform syncs with your bank, investment, and other financial accounts to help you monitor all your finances in one spot. The service is free to use. The only time you pay is if you utilize their optional wealth management service.
Personal Capital offers many investing tools if you’re new to investing. The service, like all others on our list, offers bank-level security. You can also access the platform on desktop or mobile via their Android or iOS-based app.
Mint is one of the most popular free budget apps. The platform, created by Intuit, can be accessed via desktop or their Android and iOS apps.
Most people use Mint to track their expenses and create budget categories.
Mint also offers the following features:
- Bill payment tracker
- Free credit score
- Bill payment alerts
- Track your investments
- Financial goal setting and tracking
You can even create notifications to alert you if you overspend in a particular budget category.
Despite all its features, Mint’s budget tools are where it shines. While it does allow you to track investments, Personal Capital is a better choice.
PocketSmith is a free budget software option that allows you to create as many as 12 budgets. At the same time, you can manage two different bank accounts and project your budget up to six months in advance.
There are no contracts to sign with PocketSmith and you can upgrade to a paid plan at any time. What’s more, if you deal with multiple currencies, PocketSmith has automatic currency conversion based on daily rates.
You will have to manually import your banking transactions with their basic plan. However, using the Premium plan for only $7.50 per month, if paid annually, your transactions can be imported automatically instead. With the plan upgrade you’ll get additional features as well.
PocketSmith also has a Super plan for $19.95, or $14.16 per month if paid annually. This plan has everything in the Premium plan plus a little more.
You can get 50% off the PocketSmith Premium Monthly plan for the first two months if you use the code: 50OFFPREMIUM-F4RG.
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a terrific resource to manage your budget. It belongs higher on our list, but only it offers a free one-year subscription to college students.
If that doesn’t describe you, the service costs $11.99 per month or $84 if you sign up for the annual plan. They do allow you to test the service for free for 34 days.
Despite the cost, YNAB is designed to help you pay off debt and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. According to the YNAB site, the average user identifies at least $600 in savings within the first two months of using the service.
YNAB promotes four ideals to manage your money. These are:
- Give every dollar a job
- Know your true expenses
- Roll with the punches
- Age your money
Through these ideals, YNAB teaches you how to use zero-sum budgeting to pay your current bills with last month’s paycheck.
Similar to some Mint.com alternatives, you can sync financial accounts with YNAB. It also has a full suite of educational tools to help you learn more about wise money management.
You can access your account information in a variety of ways, from your desktop to their Android and iOS-based apps.
5. Google Sheets
Good budget software doesn’t require a lot of bells and whistles. You can manage your money using something as simple as Google Sheets.
If you’re a spreadsheet lover, you can create your own or use a pre-made one from Google Sheets. If you’re married or share a budget with other people, you can give them access so you can manage your money together.
While this option will require a bit of manual work, you can use a service like Tiller to automate it for you.
Tiller can securely connect to over 21,000 types of financial accounts. Once it’s connected, the service will automatically update your Google Sheets spreadsheet.
You can try Tiller for free for 30 days. After your free trial, you’ll pay $79 per year
If you want to include small business income and expenses in your budgeting process, GnuCash is the best budget app.
The platform includes the ability to monitor your bills, track your investments, and create reminders. It also allows you to view accounts in multiple currencies and print checks.
One unique feature of GnuCash is that it’s open-sourced. This means users can add new features to enhance the platform. The budget tool is free to use, though it does accept donations to help keep it running.
GnuCash is available on most operating systems.
GoodBudget is a personal budget app that’s based on the envelope budgeting system. This is where you take a few envelopes and label them by spending category.
When you get paid, you allocate the cash among your envelopes then spend it accordingly.
GoodBudget digitizes this system by allowing you to put your money in virtual ‘buckets’ for each spending category. Then, you can track your spending along with your progress towards your financial goals.
The app even helps you create a debt snowball if you’re working to pay off debt. It does this by identifying savings to throw at debt.
GoodBudget has a free version that allows you to set up a maximum of 20 digital envelopes and use one account across two devices. The free version only tracks your financial history for the last 12 months.
The premium version of GoodBudget costs $60 per year or $7 per month. This plan gives you unlimited envelopes across five devices and tracks up to seven years of financial transactions.
Similar to other budget apps, this service works with any device that has an internet connection.
If you’re a Damsey Ramsey fan, you should consider EveryDollar to manage your money. It’s comparable to Mint and follows a zero-sum budget system philosophy.
The app is perfect for beginners since it provides a free budget template to help you get started. It also allows you to create a debt snowball plan to attack your debt.
The one major drawback to EveryDollar is that the free version requires you to manually enter all your data.
You must upgrade to the paid version, which is $129.99 after a 14-day free trial, to have the option of automatically entering your financial information.
Included in the cost is access to Financial Peace University, EveryDollar, and a Dave Ramsey Baby Steps tracker. You can access this program using any device that has access to the internet.
Wally is another free budget app that requires you to manually input your information. You can get financial account automation by paying $1.99 per account per year.
Like other budgeting tools, Wally will show you when you’re getting close to a particular spending category’s limit. It also lets you sync up to your savings, checking, credit card, and loan accounts.
The app allows you to take photos of receipts and upload them directly to your account. Another cool feature is that Wally is ad-free. While many other platforms use ads to earn income, Wally does not.
Wally Gold, the premium upgrade, is $19 for a lifetime membership and includes free account linking, historical tracking, and currency conversion.
The app only works via Android and iOS-based apps.
*Related: If you want to make informed financial decisions, check out Quicken. With the Quicken app not only can you create a budget, you can also see your banking, investment, retirement, and credit card accounts all in one app.
PocketGuard is a progressive app that focuses on helping you optimize your savings and identifies ways you can achieve your goals.
As the name suggests, the platform guards the money that’s in your pocket, wallet, or bank account. It keeps you updated on your current spending power for the day, week, or month.
The app analyzes your spending habits and suggests areas where you can save. If you need to negotiate better rates on your bills, PocketGuard can work on your behalf.
The app has a free version that offers plenty of features. You do have the option of upgrading to PocketGuard Plus for $3.99 per month or $34.99 per year. The added tools are nice, but the free service is sufficient.
Similar to Wally, the app only works via Android and iOS-based apps.
When it comes to managing your money, knowing where your money goes each month is critical. There are numerous good budgeting apps that can help you with this process.
If you’re new to budgeting, it’s not as difficult as it might seem. Choose a free budget app so you can harness the power of wise money management and improve your financial health today.
How often do you monitor your finances? What’s one area of your finances you want to improve this year?