The Best (And Worst!) Budgeting Apps Of 2019
There’s never a bad time to start budgeting, and thanks to the constant updates in technology we’ve hundreds of budgeting apps to choose from. I’ve found that using a good Budgeting app take the pain out of budgeting and help you visualise where your money is going while setting yourself realistic goals.
Over the past five or so years now, I’ve tried every version of every budgeting app. UK based, USA based… You name it, I’ve tried it. So I decided to share my knowledge and opinions and provide you with a list of the very best budgeting apps available right now;
Money Dashboard is a personal finance application that helps you understand exactly where your money is going. Launched in 2010, the Money Dashboard application lets you monitor your online bank and credit card accounts, helping you keep in control of your spending.
- It’s Free
- Easy To Use
- Provides Information On Ways To Save On Certain Bills
- Lack of Personalisation & Customisation
I’d go ahead and say that Money Dashboard is without a doubt one of the most popular budgeting apps in the UK. So, what makes it so great?
Money Dashboard has both an online web-based platform and a mobile application. This makes it super simple for you to check your financial situation whether you’re at home or on the go.
When I first started using Money Dashboard they used to allow you to ‘tag’ expenses. With a selection of more than 50 different tags, you’d assume they’d be one for everything – but there wasn’t. However, our requests have been answered with the recent launch of Money Dashboard 6.0 and the ability to add personalized tags.
Ease of Use
Both the website and mobile app are about as simple as you can expect from a service like this. The site allows you to personalise your ‘dashboard’ or homepage in order to only show you the information you want to see when you log in.
A handy calendar allows you to see when you have money coming in and out and the projected balance helps you see your financial future up to six months in advance.
MoneyDashboard is a completely free service. They don’t charge you to download the application or subscribe the service.
Money Dashboard’s services are completely free thanks to their two sources of income;
Firstly, they sell your data to third parties. That sounds scary, but it’s not. You see, rather than you specifically the service will bundle their subscribers together to provide an insight into consumer spending habits and income. This provides marketers with information to help them make decisions when marketing products and services based on household income, location, age etc.
Another way in which Money Dashboard earns money is through recommendations. These are based on your current expenditure such as; mobile phone, gas and electric. Should you take Money Dashboard upon any of their recommendations then they will gain a referral or affiliate fee. This is the same as how this website makes money right through to popular sites such as; MoneySupermarket, Money Saving Expert and HotUKDeals.
By now you’re probably worrying about your security. You’re giving away your bank and personal details to a website to help them track your spending. If you weren’t worried you should be. However, MoneyDashboard knows you’re going to worry which is why they’ve put so much emphasis on how secure their website actually is.
The service has been running since early 2010 and in 2015 announced it had over 100,000 users. In that time there have been no reported hackings of the website. Better than that nobody has reported an incident of identity theft in direct relation to using the service.
MoneyWiz is a personal financial tracking service available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. With a recently released an iWatch application to allow you to access the basic needs of your personal finance in an instant.
- Customisable Catagories
- Direct Access Available
- Supports Multiple Currencies
- Costs $5.99 To Sync (back up to cloud or access on mobile & desktop etc.)
This is the exact software I’ve been using the most over the past five years to analyse how much I’m spending and pre-plan my budgets.
MoneyWiz is a paid service and therefore has very few restrictions. You can set up new accounts (for example I’ve set up an account for our mortgage).
This flexibility is great if like me you have a vast number of different accounts and income streams.
However, the fantastic functionality of MoneyWiz doesn’t end there. We have the ability to automatically import all transactions, and manually add transactions via the iWatch or mobile applications whilst out and about.
Ease of Use
The application is super straightforward and easy to use. The service makes it simple to track your income and expenditure every month. It also makes it really easy to edit transactions or import and export your transactions if that’s what you want to do.
The application’s functionality is certainly there, providing you with endless different filter and reporting options without feeling overwhelming.
MoneyWiz uses military-grade security via 3rd party data aggregation provides SaltEdge and Yodlee to ensure that customers information is kept as secure as possible.
All customer data is stored in the cloud using the SYNCbits service is encrypted with a password and security questions. The security is designed to email you instantly if there is any unauthorised access to your account. The SYNCbits service also comes with a lockdown feature. Enabling it to block data to avoid leaks during any potential hacks to the system.
There are two different price plans for MoneyWiz, however, I am only happy speaking about one which is by far the very best value for money. That is MoneyWiz premium.
MoneyWiz Premium allows you access to the software for free, with unlimited use on any device and/or platform. Major updates such as MoneyWiz 3 and access to online banking is either; $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
While MoneyWiz is a paid service I feel that you certainly do get what you pay for. Be sure to let me know what you think of this MoneyWiz review in the comments below. If you have any MoneyWiz alternatives you think we should check out then be sure to let us know!
Banktivity has been around for years. However, I only found out about it a couple of months ago when researching for this article. I checked out the latest version 6.2 using the free trial and I have to say… I was impressed.
- Supports Multiple Currencies
- Direct Access Available (limited in UK)
- Supports Multiple Currencies
- Costs To Buy The Application
- Costs To Have Direct Access
- Some Bugs Still Need Ironing Out
Over the course of the 30-day free trial, I continued to be blown away. For me personally, Banktivity ticked all the boxes that the previous two applications didn’t. Most importantly, flexibility. Between Helen and I, we own around eight bank accounts. Then there’s pensions, investments etc… Tracking it all is something that’s so difficult. However, Banktivity has integrations with some of the biggest players in the world including NS&I (so you can track your premium bonds) and Nest Pensions.
Finally, there are multiple currencies. I seem to get paid in Euros and Dollars at least three times a month for various projects. Tracking the conversion rates etc. Is a REAL pain. However, with Banktivity having an international focus, they support multiple currencies with ease.
It’s expensive. Banktivity 6 is $64.99. Then a years subscription to direct access (optional) is $44.99. Direct access is what’s responsible for importing your transactions directly from your bank into the applications. You can manually import them but time Vs money and everything, for me. It works out better to pay them to do it.
Banktivity has a lot of bells and whistles, so it’s probably not for everyone. However, if like me you are tracking multiple bank accounts, maybe a PayPal account, doing eBay and basically have money scattered just about everywhere. It’s a must!
You Need A Budget
Every now and again I find myself browsing the market for a new set of budgeting apps. Checking out the updates on similar applications I know about and so on, and so forth.
Yesterday, I found myself checking out You Need A Budget (YNAB). It’s an application I’d heard of before, but like many, I’d been put off due to the lack of support for UK customers. However, I decided to give it a go regardless.
YNAB is free for the first 34 days (such a random amount) and then $50 for the year. It’s recently been re-built from the ground up and is no longer held in an application and instead is based inside of a web browser. A problem for some, but in this case, not for me. I’m not bothered either way.
I did, however, find some flaws with YNAB which made it inoperable for me and likely others. Certainly to the point in which it’s not worth $50 for the year.
So, here’s everything wrong with YNAB for UK based users;
Lack of Support For American Express
Being an American based company you’d think the first bank YNAB would work on would be the UK based Amex. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Upon inputting my Amex details into YNAB it wouldn’t load up my accounts.
I tried different browsers, clearing cookies… everything… after 10 minutes I gave up and moved on.
No Windows & Mac Application
While YNAB is available from the app store for mobile devices. To access the application on a desktop requires you to do so via a browser. Every other application I use is a true application, it stands alone within my computer. So the fact I have to rummage through my 50 tabs to find the budget is sometimes frustrating.
Difficulty Supporting Scheduled Transactions
YNAB is very much a ‘play with what you’ve got’ kind of budget. That means it’s very hard to include balances that haven’t cleared or scheduled transactions without over-budgeting or under-budgeting.
Lack of Support For Previous Budgeting Software
I’d estimate that around 30% of YNAB users whether UK based or otherwise are coming from some alternative software to the YNAB service. Yet the lack of support for importing old transactions from alternative software is scarce.
Instead, I found myself having to manually export from MoneyWiz, edit the CSV file to the requirements of YNAB and then manually reconciling every single transaction into categories. There surely must be an easier way?
Lack of Support For All UK Banks
Despite being a bit of a financial nerd I’m sure I’m not the only one with more than one bank account. In fact, I believe anyone looking into a service similar to YNAB would only be looking at such if they did have more than one bank account.
So, it’s kind of expected that YNAB would have availability for all UK banks right?
Of just the bank accounts Helen and I have between us we found no support for Halifax or Santander UK.
In conclusion, I love the style of YNAB. I think it’s got great potential. However, until it fixes some of the fundamental issues for UK consumers I’d advise you to find an alternative.
I can keep this ‘review’ pretty short. You see while the functions of the budgeting app Mint are exceptional, they don’t accept UK users (boo!) so for now, they are a loser in my books.
If they do come to the UK I’ll be sure to update this. I know many of my personal finance friends in the states use and heavily recommend Mint so I do hope this happens sooner rather than later…
Money Dashboard is a fantastic free web and mobile service that allows you to synchronise your spending and track your financial goals.