Are you looking for the best budgeting apps of 2020?
Looking for an application to help take the pain out of budgeting. Whether it’s getting out of debt, improving your relationship with money or saving for your future budgeting can help.
However, there’s a vast number of budgeting apps available. So it can be hard to find the best budgeting app for your needs.
Please note, while this list does also apply to the USA. These are the budgeting applications that are also functional for UK customers.
Sadly, most of these applications are developed with the US market in mind, and in some cases, applications have been further developed to allow additional currencies etc. that allows UK customers to use the functions of the software.
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 Review
- Moneywiz Review
- Banktivity Review
- Daily Budget Review
- MoneyHub Review
- Yolt Review
- You Need A Budget Review
- EveryDollar Review
Money Dashboard Review
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.
I’d go ahead and say that Money Dashboard is without a doubt 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.
While all this can seem rather overwhelming, you can have as much or as little on the dashboard as you like.
Having the option to add more information to see your future financial predictions or understand where your money is going is never a bad thing right?
As with all budgeting applications, security is of the utmost importance. In some cases, you can be giving away your bank and personal details to a website to help them track your spending automatically without you having to input each transaction manually.
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.
MoneyDashboard is a completely free service. They don’t charge you to download the application or subscribe to 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.
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.
If you’re wanting to take things to ‘the next level’ or have a large number of accounts or financial chaos (as in our case) then MoneyWiz helps you track this in what I believe to be a more simplified format.
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.
Banktivity has been around for years. However, I only found out about it a couple of months ago when researching the best budgeting apps in order to update this article.
I checked out the latest version 6.2 using the free trial and I have to say… I was impressed.
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.
Ease of Use
Much like Money Wiz 3, Banktivity does have a certain amount of flexibility that allows the software to be as easy or complex as you’d like depending on your requirements and budgeting needs.
We personally think this is great, as you tend to grow with confidence using the application over time you can begin to include additional features or tracking options from the functionality section relatively easily without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Ultimately, giving you a better insight into your finances.
Sadly, some of the most competent security information about Banktivity is now almost five years old and dates back to Banktivity 5 (at this time we’re on Banktivity 7).
However, that’s not to say that the security hasn’t continued to improve over time.
I’d believe it has, and there’s simply been no need or an issue with the supply chain of who updates such blog/document with the latest relevant information.
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!
Daily Budget Review
If you’re looking for something easy, straight forward and simplistic then the Daily Budget application is the budgeting application for you.
My wife Helen, and I chose to use this application while doing some long-term travel to track exactly how much we were spending on the go.
The application has increased its functional capabilities in the two years since we last used it. However, this is still an app that is designed to be minimalistic.
Therefore if you’re wanting a budgeting application with advanced functional capabilities, plan to track a large number of accounts, assets or debts then this application probably isn’t right for you.
Ease of Use
The minimalist approach by the designers at Daily Budget is to make the application easy for everyone to use, and as a result, create a better ethos around budgeting.
I believe the Daily Budget application is fantastic in achieving this, and it does it so fantastically well. I’m just sad that our finances are so complex that it makes this application almost impossible for us to use.
There’s no link between the Daily Budget and your bank accounts. Instead, you’re required to input each of your transactions manually. This automatically removes some level of security required.
However, there’s also the option to add additional security within the app so that you can ensure only you can access the details of your financial situation that are stored within the app. This includes the ability to password protecting the application specifically.
Daily budget is free to download, however, it does have some limited features. You can pay a small one-off fee for some additional features (solo) or £8.99 for all the additional features the application currently offers.
Both web and mobile-based, MoneyHub follows the majority of the formula we’ve seen from other open banking applications so far.
However, it does have one stand-out feature and that’s the option to talk directly with a certified financial advisor and share all your information from within MoneyHub with them in order to assist you in making further financial decisions moving forward.
We love that with MoneyHub you can include more than just a budget, and instead add in assets such as a pension or house alongside long term debts such as a mortgage that allows you to track your net worth in detail.
Again the majority of the functionality is in line with the other applications, you can see budgets, forecast your future based on your current level of spending and plan for large purchases etc.
Ease of Use
I definitely think MoneyHub is one of the easier applications to use. There’s as much or as little information as you need with a wide range of reporting that’s not essential but can certainly help to inform you of your predicted financial future.
MoneyHub is open banking supported, FCA regulated and like all the applications featured on this list comes with bank-level security and encryption technology.
You can read more details about MoneyHubs security policy on the FAQ page of the website.
MoneyHub is free for the first 30 days, after that, it’s £9.99 a year (billed annually) or £0.99 a month (billed monthly with no subscription)
If MoneyHub looks like the right application for you, then £9.99 is certainly on the lower end of pricing when it comes to the best UK budgeting applications.
Yolt is a mobile budgeting application only. Personally, I wanted to see my budget on the big screen (desktop) so a mobile-only budgeting app wasn’t right for me.
That said, it’s the most highly rated mobile-only budgeting application on iOS (at the time of writing) so it’s certainly popular with those who are looking to budget on the go!
Personally, I found the limitations of the functionality to be down to the fact this application is mobile-based.
However, that aside, it offers some incredibly intuitive features that are in fact only possible due to the mobile nature of the application.
Something we’ve specifically not seen on other applications is the Yolt Pay feature which is currently in beta.
It allows you to initiate money transfers between your multiple banking accounts and pay others (friends, family etc) using Open Banking API’s. All of this without leaving the Yolt application.
Ease of Use
Yolt is really easy to use. The modern functionality of the application makes everything clean-cut and very easy to understand and customise based on your requirements for the application.
Yolt is part of ING Bank, so it comes with bank security as standard. There’s a whole host of security information regarding Yolt on the website if you’re interested in learning more.
For an extra level of security access you’re provided with a unique recovery code should you lose or forget your password.
Yolt is completely free. There are no upgrades or add ons to the application available at the time of writing, so you can be sure that you’re getting the very best of the application all of the time.
Yolt makes money the same was as MoneyDashboard. The application provides you with recommendations based on your bills, if you switch providers or take them up on one of their suggestions then they will recieve a small commission in return.
You Need A Budget Review
You Need A Budget (often abbreviated to YNAB) is completely different from any other budgeting software I’ve ever used. However, it’s incredibly powerful and a budgeting application you should definitely consider.
As of mid-2019, this is the budgeting app we are now using.
YNAB is web-based, there’s no applications for Mac or Windows however there is a mobile application for iOS and Android.
As I mentioned in the introduction to You Need A Budget the app is different as it looks at budgeting differently to the other applications I’ve reviewed so far.
The preview of the You Need A Budget book explains this really well. The functionality of the application is limited by the YNAB belief system that you should only be budgeting the money you have.
Not the money you’re going to have in the future. However, many believe (myself included) that this is what removes the stress from budgeting as you can’t go over budget if you’re not budgeting the money you don’t have yet.
Ease of Use
While the application is very simple, understanding the YNAB method and therefore the way YNAB works can be incredibly hard to understand. When I first found YNAB in 2016 I couldn’t understand it and completely gave up.
Luckily, the second time around I found videos by Nick True of Mapped Out Money. He has created an incredibly in-depth video guide to YNAB that will help you set up your accounts, your budget and understand the power of the You Need A Budget method.
Without once again getting too techy here, I’m going to cover the safety and security of sharing your data with YNAB.
So, YNAB has bank-grade encryption (that’s equal to you login into your bank online to view your balance, pay someone etc).
YNAB forces your browser to use an encrypted connection during your time on the app.
As a new YNAB user, you’ll get a 34-day free trial. YNAB will help you to budget enough money to pay for the annual subscription of $83.99 after that (however you’ll get an additional free month if you sign up using our link)
The team at YNAB are incredibly confident that the application will help you save money and offer a competitive money-back guarantee if you’re at any point unhappy with the service.
After your one year is up they’ll give you a further 10% off your annual subscription.
EveryDollar was designed by American financial advisor Dave Ramsey and is in a very similar format to YNAB in the way it’s designed to help you give every ‘dollar’ a job.
While the website is in dollars, you can use the manual transaction input to input your personal transactions and simply treat the dollar sign as a pound sign instead.
The functionality of Every Dollar is designed around Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step principles. If you’re not looking to follow these principles then this application probably isn’t the right one for you.
The application is web-based for desktop, however, there is a mobile application for iOS and Android which is perfect for checking your budget and updating transactions on the go!
Ease of Use
EveryDollar is very much like YNAB without the complexity. However, with the lack of complexity comes a lack of intuity and extra features that once you gain an understanding of YNAB you can achieve.
There’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the more detailed features of EveryDollar and answer any frequently asked questions.
Otherwise the brief step, by step, walkthrough when you first join the application online should be enough for you to gain an understanding of how everything works.
Much like the other applications featured on this list, Every Dollar has a multi-layer security system featuring; firewall barriers, data encryption techniques, authentication procedures, data transmission encryption, among other hardware, software, and procedural methods.
EveryDollar is completely free.
You can upgrade to EveryDollar Plus which is $129 for the year (15-day free trial available). This upgrade also comes with access to Dave Ramsey’s course Financial Peace University.
However, the EveryDollar Plus service is designed to synchronise your bank accounts to EveryDollar.
Given the fact EveryDollar is designed for the US market, you won’t find any UK primary banks on there, making it worthless for UK customers at this time.