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9 Apps That Help You Budget Money (Pros and Cons)

As freelancers and digital nomads, being in charge of every penny we make and having dreams to work from anywhere requires a degree of financial responsibility that many of us have had to develop as we go. The good news is that there are so many tools out there that can help you budget your money and many of them are free.

These apps help you budget money, check your credit score, and track your spending habits, making the task of budgeting attainable allowing you to make the most of your income. They can also streamline finances between couples, making shared expenses more manageable. They can even help you save up for something fun!

Continue reading for our list of top budget apps from free to advanced paid versions and their pros and cons.

Why Use Apps That Help You Budget Money?

Budgeting life as a digital nomad takes some work, especially if you want to take full advantage of exploring new places. If you’re working as a freelancer, you’re in charge of every penny you make and your income can fluctuate often.

One month, you may have so much work you have to force yourself to take a day off. The next month, you may have a lighter workload, making planning ahead essential. Many freelancers like to abide by the 50/30/20 rule which gives you a realistic plan for your needs, wants, and savings.

Obviously, if you’re currently looking to manage and pay off your debt. you will need to take from the needs and savings pots to achieve this but knowing what you’ll have to yourself once you have paid off those debts can give you some comfort.

With that said, let’s take a look at top budget apps so you can easily get those numbers in front of you and working for you.

Top Budget Apps for Digital Nomads

Coming up with and following a budget can relieve any stress that may come with an unpredictable paycheck. These days, there are tons of apps that help you budget money to make this much simpler.

Quick Budget App Review:

Best for New Savers: CLEO
Best Overall: Mint
Best for Advanced Features: YNAB You Need a Budget
Best for Finding Good Deals: Emma
Best for Couples: Honeydue

1) Mint

The Mint budget app and tracker prompts you to connect your financial accounts, then tracks what you spend. It’s also one of the few completely free budget apps.

Pros

  • It’s 100% free to use.
  • It alerts you when you’re over budget.
  • It allows you to track your bills in one place.
  • It reminds you when bill due dates are coming up.
  • It features a credit monitoring service meaning you can check your credit score whenever you need.

Cons

  • It doesn’t offer a bill pay feature.
  • It sometimes interrupts you with in-app product ads.
  • It allows you to assign only one saving goal to an account.
  • Not currently available in the UK

2) You Need a Budget (YNAB)

YNAB’s mission is for you to gain control of your money and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. It makes it easy to see and manage your finance in real-time.

Pros

  • It allows you to connect your bank accounts and categorize spending.
  • It gives you the ability to set multiple budgets and easily switch back and forth.
  • You can see your financial data in the form of graphs
  • It syncs with multiple devices.
  • It lets you track investment accounts.
  • It offers a free 34-day trial.
  • It comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • It provides budgeting support through online classes and a user forum.

Cons

  • It costs approximately $84 per year (after the free trial). However, it does allow you to pay monthly.
  • It doesn’t offer a bill tracking or bill pay feature.
  • It takes time to learn how to use it effectively.

Read More: 9 Best Banks and Credit Cards for Digital Nomads

3) EveryDollar

Like YNAB, EveryDollar is a zero-based budgeting app. It tracks spending, savings, and debt.

Pros

  • It’s straightforward and easy for new budgeters who want to organize their finances.
  • It has a free version.
  • It offers a free trial for the paid version (which comes with more features).
  • It allows you to connect your bank account if you purchase the upgraded version.
  • It provides additional help through contact with financial experts.
  • It doesn’t bombard you with ads.

Cons

  • It doesn’t offer investment monitoring or retirement planning.
  • It doesn’t have a bill pay feature.
  • It does offer a free version, but the more advanced one costs $99 per year.

4) Simplifi by Quicken

Simplifi allows you to view your finances in one place, stay on top of spending, and build up savings.

Pros

  • It’s user-friendly.
  • It offers a customized spending plan.
  • It provides real-time updates of your spending balances.
  • It connects to your financial accounts.
  • It tracks your bills.
  • It offers a free 30-day trial.

Cons

  • It’s 35.99 per year (a lot less than other budget apps, though).
  • It doesn’t offer bill or credit score tracking.

5) PocketGuard

PocketGuard allows you to get on top of your spending and build your savings (so you can travel more places!).

Pros

  • It makes it easy for you to avoid overspending by tracking your finances and giving you an idea of how much you should be spending each day.
  • It’s on the list of free budget apps (unless you upgrade).
  • It’s easy to use.
  • It lets you see your finances in one glance.
  • Its upgraded version (PocketGuard Plus) provides additional features such as spending categories, managing deposits and withdrawals, and exporting data.

Cons

  • It costs $34.99 or $4.99 per month to upgrade. Again, this is less than many other budgeting apps and offers useful features.
  • It doesn’t let you create a budget. Instead, you have a limit for every budget category or ‘pocket.’

6) Goodbudget

If you’ve heard of the cash envelope system for budgeting, Goodbudget does this in a modern style.

Pros

  • It allows you to create digital envelopes for each of your budgeting categories to help you prevent overspending and going into debt.
  • If you overspend in an envelope, it allows you to transfer money.
  • It offers a free version.
  • It allows you to pay monthly or yearly for the upgraded version.
  • It provides an interactive forum where you can chat with other users about technical questions or financial advice. Goodbudget employees offer their insight, too.
  • It gives you reports of your income and spending trends.

Cons

  • It costs $60 per year to upgrade. You can also choose to pay monthly.
  • It connects to your bank account to keep your account balance updated, but it doesn’t sync your transactions.
  • It doesn’t track investments.

7) Honeydue

Did you know managing money with a partner doesn’t have to be so tricky? This is one of the top budget apps for couples. 

Pros

  • It’s free and easy to use.
  • It automatically puts expenses into categories, then lets you customize them.
  • It allows you to set up monthly limits for each category.
  • It lets you create shared budgets and bill calendars.
  • It alerts you when bills are due and lets you pay each other on the app.
  • It has a chat feature for you and your partner to discuss finances (or whatever else).
  • It lets you link an unlimited number of accounts and credit cards.
  • It also lets you hide personal accounts from each other.

Cons

  • It only shows monthly spending.
  • It requires you to log in to your online banking in order to use it.

8) CLEO

A sassy award-winning budgeting app, CLEO attempts to make things a bit more fun and personal with text messages and comments on your saving and spending situation

Pros

  • You can send messages to the app such as ‘Can I afford to order a takeout?’ and the app will respond
  • The app will send funny memes to make tracking your finances a more pleasant experience and occasionally roast you if you’ve been overspending
  • The app will let you know your bad spending habits, perhaps ones you haven’t picked up on yourself
  • You can make separate saving pots and goals
  • It’s totally free
  • You can apply for interest-free salary advances if you’re a little short that month

Cons

  • It only shows monthly spending
  • A lack of features compared to some other apps on here so ideal if you want something stripped down to get you started with budgeting and saving.

9) Emma

Emma is an ideal app if you’re confused about all your different outgoing and want to sync them with your payday and make sure you’re getting value for money.

Pros

  • You can track and cancel any subscriptions you have and negotiate better deals
  • Syncs your outgoing to payday, if you want, to get a better idea of your outgoings
  • Free with a pro version available
  • Connects to all your bank accounts with a few taps, including cryptocurrencies and pension
  • A detailed financial analysis made available
  • Exclusive cashback, offers, and deals for Emma users

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer a ‘week-to-week’ or ‘month-to-month’ comparison feature if you’re looking to track your habits over time
  • Not as user-friendly as some others
  • Many of the most exciting features are for pro users (around £30 a year)

Final Thoughts on Budgeting Apps

Budgeting doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it provides great peace of mind and allows us to live much more meaningful lives as digital nomads.

We hope you found this guide for apps that help you budget money useful! Check out more tips on how to budget as a freelancer and digital nomad here.

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