Click to toggle navigation menu.
Left Pattern Right Pattern

Make budgeting a sticky habit

  • 5-min read

It's the 21st century, and the summation of mankind’s intelligence is sitting in your pocket. Consider these personal finance apps to get your money moves under control.

Warner Bros / Giphy

We’re creatures of habit. Download these finance apps and use them habitually to strengthen and increase your net worth.

Do I need a budget if I make 6 figures?

Budgeting is more than a tool for someone struggling to save or track a specific goal. Budgeting is to investing success as water is to your health. Most of us only verbally commit to budgeting, just like committing to drinking more water. Most don’t follow through with budgeting and expense tracking because it feels like drinking saltwater from the Atlantic. 

According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, only 15% of people have more than $10,000 stashed away. That includes earners making over six figures, so whatever your income, you need a budget. 

Let the robots track expenses for you …

You can choose from hundreds of apps and thousands of ways to track your finances. Here are six personal finance apps that will take your net worth to the next level.

Mint by Intuit, your free comprehensive wealth tracker

Mint is my favorite personal finance app. It’s easy, FREE, and the ads aren’t intrusive. Mint by Intuit aggregates tons of data and organizes it into a sleek interface. The app’s core tracks expenses by syncing and categorizing all your banks, credit cards, bills, and loans in one place. Then dig into your own spending data through different reports such as “Trends.” What better way to visualize your subscription services and “just one more drink” bar tabs on a weekly, monthly, and annualized report? 

Mint predicts monthly expenditures you’d like to eliminate, helps you set parameters to curb them, and recommends goals to increase your savings! Mint pointed out a personal addiction: my late-night Baskin-Robbins runs. My favorite Mint feature is the net worth tracker, which helps you track year-over-year net worth growth. Mint is my go-to for a free and quick approach to budget tracking.

YNAB (You Need A Budget), the superman of budget tracking

Multiply Mint’s depth of detail and goal tracking tenfold, and you get YNAB. A paid-for budgeting service for a reason, its spreadsheet-like robot assigns a purpose for every dollar you earn. It’s reasonable at $14.99 monthly, or $8.25 per month billed annually at $98.99. Both offer a 34-day trial period. Like Mint, YNAB syncs all your bank and spending accounts to their secure servers. Most people graduate from Mint to YNAB because Mint’s free budgeting app isn’t seriously influencing their spending habits. YNAB has an excellent service team, and they even host online webinars! 

One big difference between Mint and YNAB is that Mint highlights past transactions analysis, while YNAB focuses on determining future dollar allocations. Choose YNAB if you want to be more methodical about your budgeting. 

Truebill is here to clean up subscriptions

If absentminded agreements to “30-day free trials” are your weakness, this is the financial app for you. Especially if the deep dive into your finances with Mint or YNAB sends you into a tailspin. Truebill helps you curb bad habits, including stress-relief spending.

My favorite Truebill features: the bill negotiator tool, subscription canceling tool, and its lighter version of transaction categorization. This app hits bad spending where it hurts and cancels unnecessary bills and services you probably forgot you’re paying for. Truebill organizes upcoming bills and gets you into the habit of planning your expenses and savings. 

Tab, your splitzies app with roommates, on vacations, and at dinners

Tab takes Venmo to the next level. It’s not so much about working on your budgeting skills, but it will save you time pestering friends and doing iPhone calculator math at the table. No more, “Can’t you just send me a Venmo request?” This little bill-splitting magician scans your bill, assigns ownership, and sends a corresponding request. 

Tab auto-calculates the tip and divides it among the table. Tab’s here to solve modern society’s dinner hang-ups so we can all go back to inventing flying cars.

CardPointers is here to max credit card points and rewards

Spend splitting and budget tracking are great, but you deserve an app with direct rewards. Most people run transactions on a credit card, because who doesn’t like free points? When’s the last time a debit card transaction excited you or the lady behind the counter gave you a free gallon of gas because you paid cash? Having one credit card is rare these days, and figuring out the benefits and rules of each is a lost cause. 

Hire CardPointers as your personal assistant to the credit card rewards game. This app compares side by side your card’s point goals and recommends the best card in every situation.

Can’t I just use a spreadsheet?

Remember that green Windows app that most refuse to reopen willingly after graduation? The simplest, yet most rewarding way to get in tune with your finances is budgeting in a spreadsheet. Not sure why, but there’s something about physically going line by line reconciling your expenses that whips your budget into shape. 

Spreadsheets are free and can do what most apps are churning in the background for you. This would be my pick for the data-heavy, fullyy autonomous kind of personality. I’d recommend the spreadsheet life to a person who doesn’t need an app to keep them on track.

Master everything with a dollar sign attached

It’s easy to overlook personal finance. Just like that mailbox you keep forgetting to check, it’s going to surprise you with notices that more money is being spent than saved. Depending on your level of transactional record-keeping, there’s an app or spreadsheet out there waiting to help you improve this vital life skill.