Money Management

The Best Personal Finance Apps of 2021 (Budgeting, Investing + More)

The Best Personal Finance Apps
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When the now-ubiquitous budgeting app Mint launched nearly a decade and a half ago, it was one of the first software solutions that sought to give everyday users quick access to their personal finance and spending data in a single, easy-to-navigate interface.

But a lot has changed since September 2007.

Back then, not many people imagined that within a few years, spurred by the explosion in smartphone usage and major advances in financial technology, there would be specialized personal finance apps for almost every purpose imaginable — from simple ones that helps you make a budget to those that leverage artificial intelligence to help you optimize your spending, savings, investments and more.

Today there are even apps that employ robots to negotiate lower rates on your bills.

In fact, there are so many personal finance apps available that it can be hard to distinguish the good ones from the time wasters. And on top of that, there’s an unfortunate number of apps that exist entirely to mine your personal data or sell you unnecessary products and services.

So to help separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together this list of the best personal finance apps, which we’ll update periodically as new apps are released and features change.

This list is broken down into app categories, and you can jump directly to each by clicking on the table of contents button below.

Best Budgeting Apps

With new budgeting apps seemingly popping up all the time, it can be hard to choose the one that’s right for you. We’ll give you the quick takeaways you need to find the best budgeting apps for your needs.

#1. Truebill

Truebill is a budgeting app that can also help you reduce your monthly expenses by canceling unwanted subscriptions and negotiating with service providers (like cell phone, cable and internet providers) for a better deal.

What it does: Tracks spending, shows all recurring charges at a glance, helps reduce monthly expenses and offers budgeting features.

Why we like it: The simplicity. Key information, like spending and cash flow, is visible directly from the home screen.

Who it’s for: Those looking for a slick, simple budgeting app to track monthly income and expenses.

What it costs: The budgeting tool is free, but premium features (like subscription cancellation) have a small cost based on the amount saved.

Where to get it: Download Truebill.

Learn more: Can Truebill save you money effortlessly? Read our in-depth TrueBill review.

#2. Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a one-stop-shop for managing your personal finances. The app offers several functions, including budgeting, portfolio tracking, cash management and wealth management services.

What it does: Manage your budget and investments and use its tools to analyze various aspects of your spending, as well as the progress of your saving goals.

Why we like it: Personal Capital links all of your accounts and uses real data (not estimates) to help you understand whether you’re on-track to reach your financial goals.

Who it’s for: Those who have multiple investment accounts.

What it costs: Most tools are free. Wealth management services — which are only available to users with $100,000 or more invested on the platform, have an advisory fee ranging from about 0.5% to about 1%.

Where to get it: Download Personal Capital.

Learn more: Get to know the free app’s many valuable tools in our detailed review.

#3. Mint

Mint allows you to track your spending and create a budget. You’ll also get suggestions for products to help improve your finances.

What it does: Mint connects to your bank and credit card accounts and gives you detailed insights into where your money is going.

Why we like it: It’s incredibly easy to use. Transactions are automatically downloaded from connected accounts. It’s also owned by Intuit, the well-known and trusted financial technology company behind Quickbooks and TurboTax.

Who it’s for: Those who are new to budgeting, and those who aren’t especially tech-savvy.

What it costs: Mint is 100% free to use.

Where to get it: Download Mint.

Learn more: Read our comparison of Personal Capital and Mint.

#4. YNAB

YNAB — which is short for “You Need A Budget” —  is a zero-based budgeting system that gives each dollar a job. It helps users change their behavior around money and lower their expenses.

What it does: YNAB teaches you how to budget as opposed to just giving you a platform to create one.

Why we like it: YNAB teaches disciplined personal finance habits.

Who it’s for: Anyone who has tried and failed to budget in the past.

What it costs: $11.99 per month or $84 per year.

Where to get it: Download YNAB

#5. EveryDollar

EveryDollar is a simple budgeting app from Dave Ramsey that uses the zero-dollar budgeting principle to help control overspending and pay off debt.

What it does: EveryDollar helps you budget and follow the “Baby Steps” Ramsey is known for.

Why we like it: EveryDollar is simple to use with a clean interface.

Who it’s for: Those in debt, as the snowball method helps pay off debt quickly.

What it costs: Free, or up to $129.99 per year for additional features.

Where to get it: Download EveryDollar.

Learn more: Read through PCWorld’s quick review of the app.

#6. HoneyFi

HoneyFi is an app designed to help couples budget together, whether their finances are separate, partially connected or fully integrated.

What it does: Tracks multiple accounts, including checking, savings, investments and mortgages.

Why we like it: It helps to address the thorny issue of money in relationships.

Who it’s for: Couples who have tension around budgeting, or who simply want to be proactive about getting on the same financial page.

What it costs: $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Where to get it: Download HoneyFi.

Learn more: The company’s FAQ page runs down some of the most common questions.

#7. Tiller Money

Tiller is a spreadsheet-based budgeting program. It syncs your transactions with customizable Google Sheets, and your balances are updated automatically as they change.

What it does: Provides customizable spreadsheets that help you budget, track spending, and pay off debt with the snowball method.

Why we like it: All of the benefits of using a spreadsheet with none of the manual data entry.

Who it’s for: Old-school budgeters who miss using Excel to keep track of their financial life, and those want more customizable and powerful features than can be provided in a one-size-fits-most app solution.

What it costs: $59 per year.

Where to get it: Download Tiller.

Learn more: Read through’s review of the app.

#8. Mvelopes

Mvelopes is a cash-based budgeting system. Cash is divided into various categories and put it into digital “envelopes.” Once an envelope is empty, you’re done spending in that category.

What it does: Provides a digital version of the popular envelope budgeting system.

Why we like it: It instills a type of spending discipline that other budgeting apps don’t.

Who it’s for: Those who have trouble controlling their spending through traditional methods.

What it costs: $6 a month or $55 per year.

Where to get it: Download Mvelopes.

Learn more: Check out this review from Magnify Money.

#9. Goodbudget

Goodbudget is based on a zero-dollar budgeting system that uses the envelope method to help control spending. The app allows budgets to be shared across a household.

What it does: Each dollar has a job and is segregated into a digital envelope. Transactions can be added manually or imported from your banking files.

Why we like it: Manually entering transactions can make you more aware of spending.

Who it’s for: The sharing feature makes it great for roommates who split shared expenses.

What it costs: The base program is free, but the Plus features are $7 a month or $60 per year.

Where to get it: Download Goodbudget.

Learn more: NerdWallet has a super-concise summary of how the app works.

#10. Pocketguard

Pocketguard is a budgeting app that provides a broad overview of your income and spending habits and also has additional features. It can help lower your expenses and alert you to fraud.

What it does: Shows the big picture of your spending and creates a budget for you.

Why we like it: It can help cut costs by finding hidden fees, billing errors and forgotten subscriptions.

Who it’s for: Those unsure of how to budget their money, as the app can do it for you.

What it costs: The base program is free, but the Plus features are $3.99 a month or $34.99 per year.

Where to get it: Download Pocketguard.

Learn more: Read about Pocketguard’s features on the company’s official website.

Honorable Mention: Google Pay

Google recently re-imagined its mobile payment app, transforming it from a peer-to-peer payment platform and digital wallet into a feature-rich “Swiss army knife” for your personal finances.

In addition to the two features mentioned above, Google Pay now offers cash-back deals and an array of other tools, including a dashboard that pulls in all of your transactions from linked cards and accounts.

Currently, the app doesn’t do much with this information other than allow you see it; you can’t tag transactions or create categories, so it’s not very helpful as a budgeting tool.

However, it does allow you to quickly see your entire transaction history with a particular merchant, and it’s likely that its budgeting functionality will continue to be developed over time.

Learn more about how it works in our Google Pay review.

Best Investing Apps

Not that long ago, investing meant signing heaps of paperwork, having an in-person consultation with a financial advisor, hopping on a call every time you wanted to make a trade, and paying a boatload of fees.

And often, if you didn’t have much money to start with, those fees would make investing cost-prohibitive.

But today, you can get started investing in stocks and exchange traded funds with as little as $1, and there are many apps that can help you both manage your 401(k) and avoid overpaying on account maintenance fees.

#1. Webull

Webull is a free investment app that offers unlimited zero-commission stock and ETF trading. It also offers a wealth of advanced research tools, as well as a “paper-trading” platform (a trading simulator that lets you practice investing risk-free) and a bevy of educational materials.

Why we like it: It’s the most feature-rich free trading platform around, and you can get a free share of stock (worth up to $1,600) when you sign up and make an initial deposit of at least $100.

Who it’s for: Investors who generally understand how the market works and are looking for more advanced tools (like integrated stock screeners) than provided by other no-fee brokerages.

What it costs: Free, unless you decide to use certain products like margin trading.

Where to get it: Join Webull.

Learn more: Read our in-depth Webull review.

#2. Robinhood

Robinhood was the first online brokerage to offer completely free stock trading to every user, and it remains the most well-known zero-commission platform. It also offers margin accounts, options trading, and a decent cash-management service that’s essentially a combination of a checking account and an interest-bearing savings account.

You’ll also get a free share of stock when you click our link and open an account.

Why we like it: Robinhood makes investing simple with an intuitive, streamlined interface. Most users can be up-and-running within minutes and will have no trouble navigating the platform. We also like that it’s a well-vetted, U.S.-based company that has already spent a number of years in the public eye.

Who it’s for: Beginning investors who might be overwhelmed by the amount of tools and information offered by more advanced platforms like Webull.

What it costs: Robinhood is free, but users have the option to join Robinhood Gold for $5 per month. Gold account holders have access to Morningstar ratings, a little bit of extra technical data, and up to $1,000 of interest-free margin.

Where to get it: Join Robinhood.

Learn more: Check out our comparison of Webull and Robinhood.

#3. Betterment

Betterment is a robo-advisor. It’s an easy way to invest for those who don’t want to research individual stocks, and it offers low fees. The service invests in a wide swath of stocks and bonds across various kinds of investment accounts, including Roth and traditional IRAs.

Why we like it: There’s no minimum, so you don’t need a lot of money to start investing.

Who it’s for: Beginning investors, as well as those who prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach over actively managing their portfolio.

What it costs: 0.25% of your account balance per year, or 0.40% of your account balance per year for the Premium plan (which requires $100,000 invested on the platform).

Where to get it: Join Betterment.

Learn more: Read our comparison of Betterment and Personal Capital.

#4. M1 Finance

M1 Finance is a hybrid of a robo-advisor and an investment brokerage platform. It offers a variety of account types, and is suitable for both beginning and veteran investors. It allows for hands-off investing through its robo-advisor function as well as hands-on investing through buying individual stocks.

Why we like it: Zero trading fees, set it and forget it portfolios, and the ability to contribute to an IRA.

Who it’s for: Ideal for those who like the idea of combining a passive investment approach, while also making a few individual investments in their favorite companies.

What it costs: Free, but there’s a $20 maintenance fee for dormant accounts (meaning no trading activity for 90 days).

Where to get it: Join M1 Finance.

Learn more: Read our detailed M1 Finance review.

#5. Acorns

Acorns is a micro-investing app that allows users to invest their “spare change” in the stock market through ETFs. It rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar, and offers cash-back at participating retailers; that cash-back then gets invested into your portfolio.

Why we like it: It’s a method of forced saving for those who otherwise wouldn’t invest.

Who it’s for: New investors who have trouble saving.

What it costs: $1 to $3 per month, depending on the plan.

Where to get it: Join Acorns.

Learn more: Read more about why Acorns is one of our favorite micro-investing apps.

#6. Qapital

Qapital is a micro-investing app that encourages users to save money based on various goals. The money can then be invested.

What it does: The app makes small investments with your goal money into pre-configured portfolios based on your timeline and risk tolerance.

Why we like it: It helps users meet goals and encourages them to invest.

Who it’s for: Those without a lot of savings, as there is no minimum to use Qapital.

What it costs: $3, $6 or $9 per month, depending on the plan.

Where to get it: Join Qapital.

Learn more: You can read more about how Qapital works here.

Besting Money-Saving Apps

These apps can save you money on everything from utility bills to groceries and everything you buy online.

#1. Trim

Trim is your financial personnel assistant. The app helps you save money, pay off debt, track your goals, and find forgotten expenses.

What it does: Trim finds recurring monthly payments (and can cancel them), and negotiates lower bills for some monthly services.

Why we like it: Trim helps cut down wasteful spending on things like subscription boxes.

Who it’s for: Those who don’t have time to deal with canceling subscriptions or negotiating prices on services.

What it costs: The basic features are free, but bill negotiation is 33% of the total annual savings and Trim Premium is $10 per month.

Where to get it: Download Trim.

Learn more: Read our in-depth Trim review.

#2. Ibotta

Ibotta lets users earn cash-back when shopping in stores and online. Think of it as digital coupons: all of the savings with none of the clipping.

What it does: It helps you save money at grocery stores on everyday items like food, cleaning supplies and personal care products.

Why we like it: Ibotta offers cash-back on staples like meat, produce, and dairy — not just junk food, like many paper coupons. Additionally, many of the offers are for any brand of a particular item (like $1 off any package of eggs), which means you often don’t have to go out of your way to find savings.

Who it’s for: Anyone who would like to save money on groceries.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Download Ibotta.

Learn more: We go over exactly how the app works in our Ibotta review.

Related reading: Learn how to eat healthy on a budget with these tips and a sample shopping list.

#3. Paribus

Paribus helps users get money back for price drops that occur after they purchase items at select retailers.

What it does: Paribus (which is owned by Capital One) goes through your emailed receipts to look for potential refunds you may be entitled to.

Why we like it: Price monitoring without the hassle of having to constantly check back for price changes. 

Who it’s for: Those who shop online frequently.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Download Paribus.

Learn more: You can read about how it works (and see the list of supported merchants) in our Paribus review.

#4. Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping is a browser extension that helps you find lower prices when shopping online. And you don’t have to be a Capital One cardholder or banking customer to use this free service.

What it does: It compares the price you’re seeing on one website to the other sites in its database. It also collects coupons and promotional codes from all over the web, and automatically tries to apply them to your shopping cart.

Why we like it: It saves you the trouble of searching for coupon codes (which often don’t work). It’s also especially useful for Amazon shoppers, as it places a widget directly on the product page that will let you know if the item is available elsewhere for less money.

Who it’s for: Amazon shoppers who don’t want to spend time comparing prices on dozens of other sites.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Get Capital One Shopping.

Learn more: We wrote in detail about everything Capital One Shopping has to offer.

Best Credit Management Apps

Monitoring your credit score is an important part of financial health. These apps can help you do it.

#1. Credit Karma

Credit Karma gives users their credit score and offers credit monitoring services to help prevent fraud and identity theft. It also gives tips on improving credit scores.

What it does: Users will see regularly-updated credit scores, weekly reports and suggestions for financial products. One unique feature is that with Credit Karma, you can see your chances of being approved for a loan before you apply for it.

Why we like it: It’s a high-quality free credit monitoring app with some additional services, like free tax prep and an unclaimed money finder.

Who it’s for: Good for those who will soon apply for a loan.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Join Credit Karma.

Learn more: Learn more on their website.

#2. Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame is an app that helps explain and monitor your credit score. Users can also see recommendations that will help them improve their credit scores.

What it does: Credit Sesame shows you your VantageScore 3.0, provided by the credit bureau TransUnion (which is a real score used by lenders).

Why we like it: Credit Sesame breaks down your credit score in simple terms and gives you actionable insight into how to improve it.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants tips to improve their credit score.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Sign up for Credit Sesame.

Learn more: Learn the seven habits that lead to a great credit score in our Credit Sesame review.

Best Miscellaneous Personal Finance Apps

These apps can help you save, organize bills, budget better and more. They may not fit neatly into the categories above, but they each offer at least one valuable benefit and are worth looking into.

#1. Cash App

Cash App, which is owned by the payment processing company Square, started out as a competitor to PayPal’s popular peer-to-peer payment app Venmo. While you can still use it to send instant payments, it now offers a number of additional features.

What it does: Cash App allows you to send money from either a linked bank or your account balance (which is called “Cash”) to other users.

However, you can also request a “Cash Card,” which is a physical debit card that gives you real-world access to your Cash. You can then apply “Boosts” to your Cash Card. Boosts (which rotate periodically) provide solid discounts at major retailers, with recent offers including “$5 off at any grocery store” and “5% off at Whole Foods.”

Cash App - Cash Card - Boosts

You can also invest in stocks with your Cash balance, including in fractional shares (with a minimum of $1 per investment). There are no fees for investing on the app.

Why we like it: Boosts offer some of the best point-of-purchase savings of any app on this list, and are typically for major merchants that you already shop at.

Who it’s for: Anyone who is willing to carry one more debit card in order to save as much as 10% per transaction on groceries and other items.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Download Cash App.

Learn more: Get to know the different features in the company’s FAQ section.

#2. Digit

Digit is an app that can help you save — even if it seems like there’s never any money left over at the end of the month.

What it does: Digit analyzes your income and spending habits and automatically moves money from checking to savings.

Why we like it: Digit helps users get into the habit of saving money.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

What it costs: $2.99 per month.

Where to get it: Download Digit.

Learn more: Dig into the details of how the app works in our Digit review.

#3. Qoins

Qoins is an app that helps people who are struggling with debt pay off their balances more quickly.

What it does: Qoins is similar to Acorns, except that instead of rounding up your purchases and investing the spare change, it applies that spare change to your debts. This helps you pay off your principal faster, potentially saving significant amounts of money on interest over time.

Why we like it: Qoins helps you make eliminating your debt a priority without dramatically impacting your day-to-day budget.

Who it’s for: People who are only making the minimum monthly payments on their credit card bills.

What it costs: $1.99 per payment sent to each lender (i.e., $1.99 per month, per debt).

Where to get it: Download Qoins.

Learn more: Read all the details in our in-depth Qoins review.

#4. Privacy

Privacy helps you avoid fraudulent and unwanted charges by letting you create virtual debit cards that you can use when shopping online.

What it does: After linking your checking account, you’ll be able to create and configure “burner” debit cards. These cards can have spending limits (per day, per month or total), can be linked to only a single merchant, and can be set to close after a single use. You can also pause and close cards at will, preventing future charges.

Why we like it: Using virtual debit cards means you no longer have to give your real credit card number when shopping online, which makes it easier to prevent fraud; if one merchant’s data gets hacked, the thief only has the details for that particular card, which limits the amount of damage they can do to your bank account.

Additionally, burner cards are great for using on sites like Swagbucks, where you may sign up for free trials in order to earn rewards. With Privacy, you can set a spending limit to make sure you don’t get charged if you forget to cancel the trial before the deadline.

Who it’s for: Frequent online shoppers — especially those who purchase items on less-than-well-known e-commerce sites that may not have stringent security protocols in place.

What it costs: Free, although paid subscriptions — which allow you to create a higher number of cards every month — are available.

Where to get it: Sign up for Privacy.

#5. Tally

Tally is an app that helps users pay off their credit card debt through the avalanche method.

What it does: Tally gives you a line of credit and then uses it to automatically pay off your debt, starting with the highest-interest balances first.

Why we like it: The app uses a proven debt repayment strategy, and while it is a form of debt itself, you can save significant money if the interest rate is lower than what you’re currently paying.

Who it’s for: Those with especially high-interest credit card debt.

What it costs: It depends on the interest rate Tally gives you.

Where to get it: Download Tally.

Learn more: Go over the details in our in-depth Tally review, which provides specific examples of when it can and cannot save you money.

#6. Prism

Prism organizes your bills in one place. Users can review, manage, and pay their bills through the app.

What it does: Prism allows you to pay bills from a central location, sends reminders of when they’re due, and makes sure there’s enough money in your account to cover them.

Why we like it: It makes paying bills simple, which can help you avoid late-payment fees.

Who it’s for: Those who have the money to pay their bills, but are frequently late anyway.

What it costs: Free.

Where to get it: Download Prism.

Learn more: Haven Life — which is one of the companies covered in our life insurance beginner’s guide — wrote a detailed review of the app.

#7. Spendee

Spendee is a financial dashboard that provides users a set of financial tools including spending tracking, currency exchange rates, and more.

What it does: Spendee is fundamentally a budgeting app. It can also alert you to payment due dates, and allows users to create shared wallets.

Why we like it: It’s an easy way to split expenses with a partner or roommate.

Who it’s for: Those who deal in more than one currency.

What it costs: Free for basic use, $1.99 per month, or $14.99 per year for additional features.

Where to get it: Sign up for Spendee.

Learn more: Read up on the features in the company’s FAQ section.

Summary of Best Personal Finance Apps

This list covers the best personal finance apps, with a focus on budgeting, investing and overall money management. But as I noted in the intro, there are dozens upon dozens of high-quality apps that can help you make and save money.

Here are a few more articles that may be of interest.

When choosing whether an app is worth downloading, make sure you weigh the costs versus the benefits. In some cases, even a small monthly subscription charge will eat into the savings the app provides, or even leave you with a net negative.

That can even be true for free apps. If something takes up too much of your time and only saves you a couple of bucks, it may not be worth the hassle or distraction.

And if it could encourage you to make bad decisions — like spending over your budget to score a great cash-back deal or investing too much of your income in individual stocks — then you’re best to steer clear.

As with any decision in your financial life, the key is having a plan. So think about specifically what needs you have and then opt for the best apps that help you address them.

*Paribus and Capital One Shopping compensate us when you sign up for each service using the links we provided

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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