One of the most stressful parts of being in a relationship has to do with money and how we manage it. A study conducted to understand how couples handled money found that the number one cause for tensions in any relationship was – you guessed it – MONEY! And not surprisingly, the survey also found that talking and sharing thoughts about money caused couples to say they had a “great” relationship.
While relationship-building has to do with more than just money management, it’s clear that making money decisions alone, without consulting one’s spouse or partner, can have a deleterious impact on the union. Working together as a team to meet your financial goals can act as relationship-strengthening therapy. And here’s more good news: By facilitating joint money-management, budget apps can help you hit your money goals.
However, that’s only possible if you pick the best budget app that fits your specific needs. And that’s exactly what we aim to help you to do today.
Best Budget Apps For Couples:
- Best Overall: Stash
- Best Free Trial: Tiller Money
- Best for Learning Your Spending Habits: Digit
- Best for Saving: Simplifi
- Best for Organizing: Honeydue
- Best for iPhones: BetterHaves
- Best Envelope Approach: GoodBudget
What is a Budget App?
So, what exactly is a budget app? Well, it’s a piece of software that allows you to create a budget, categorize your income and expenses, and then enter and track your transactions against your budget. The app then helps you see how you spend money against the budget by providing you useful reports and analysis.
Typically, the budget app runs on smartphones, but you’ll also find versions supported on desktops and other mobile devices.
What Couples Should Look for in a Budget App
So, what should the best-shared budget app offer couples? Unlike general purpose accounting or finance software, couples should look for some specific “shared” features in the app they choose to help them co-manage their finances.
Key amongst those features is the ability to sync budgeting data between devices owned by spouses. This allows both partners to know exactly what’s going on – ideally in real-time – with their finances. The need for multi-device support is also a good feature to have. That way, if both partners don’t own the same type of device (iPhone or Android), you’ll still be able to use the budgeting app effectively. Desktop support is also nice to have, especially if you like sitting at a desk and analyzing your transactions at leisure on a large screen.
Look for an app that allows you to customize your income and expense categories. Many couples would like the app to link to their external bank accounts and automatically download transactions. But if you aren’t comfortable with that, the app should at a very minimum allow you to enter account, payee and institution details while capturing transactions and use that data to track account balances. It’s always nice to see your budget and spending patterns illustrated graphically – either in pie-chart or bar chart form.
Additionally, if your app doesn’t store your data in the cloud (some couples might prefer local storage of data on their laptop/smartphone), then look for convenient features that make it easy to backup/restore your data.
Stash can be a great app for couples to budget and save because, although it does not allow for joint accounts, you can pay your bills, track your spending and make goals to save for all in 1 app.2 You can have access to this platform starting at just 1 dollar a month.1
To get started, head over to Stash and download the app. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. From there, you’ll be asked a few questions that will give insight into your financial goals.
Then you’ll pick a plan, add money to you Stash account and you’re well on your way to banking3, budgeting and creating as many goals as you wish.
2. Tiller Money
Did you know that disagreements about money are 1 of the top reasons for divorce? Yikes.
If you’re ready to get your money in shipshape alongside your partner, get Tiller Money. Known for easy collaboration, Tiller Money updates spreadsheets with your daily finances so you can see what’s happening to you and your partner’s financial life — all in 1 place.
Link your bank, credit cards and other financial accounts from 21,000 sources to Google Sheets and get:
- Flexible monthly and yearly budgets
- Free community-supported templates and reports for tracking net worth, saving goals, debt and more.
- Free templates, utilities and reports
- Your own custom dashboard
Tiller offers other perks, too:
- Automatic categorization
- Daily account summaries
- Weekly webinars
- Privacy and security
Tiller Money is completely free for 30 days. After 30 days, Tiller Money is $79 per year. It’s just $6.58 per month! Start your free 30-day trial.
From texting with iMessage to scrolling through your Instagram explore page, apps on your phone work daily to learn more about your habits in order to provide targeted results. Isn’t it time this automation moved to your wallet? Digit just does this.
When you sign up with Digit, which is free for the first 30 days followed by a monthly fee of $2.99, it learns your spending habits. By allowing a budget app like Digit to access to your checking account, it considers your upcoming bills (including credit card payments), your expected purchases (based on your buying history), and the minimum you need in your checking account in order to put money into your savings automatically. A good budget app means you don’t have to do a single thing to save.
Digit works with your spending habits in order to learn what safe, yet significant amount it can put towards savings for you, without you having to put thought towards it. Whether you’re saving towards an emergency fund, a birthday gift for a dear friend, a down payment, or even to finally join your friends at Coachella this year, Digit is here to automate your personal finances.
Price: Free for 30 days, and then $2.99/month
Simplifi by Quicken is a simple and effective platform for building enterprise mobility applications. This is the 1st application in that series. Using this you can submit your company expenses for reimbursement.
Simplifi synchronizes the data when internet is available, and its location tracking features work with and without the mobile network availability. You get automated alerts and notifications. Some notifications are system generated and doesn’t require internet connection for them to be delivered to you. There is a monthly subscription fee for the app after the 30-day free trial.
Once you create a Simplifi account, you’ll need to go through each financial account you have to register it within the app. Assign categories to all yourtransactions, so you know where your money is coming from and where it’s going.
Simplifi comes with a default set of categories like auto and transport, dining and drinks, entertainment, groceries and utilities. You can add, edit and delete categories on the master list, and you can change the categories that the site has already assigned to transactions.
Download Simplifi on your Android or Apple devices.
Honeydue is a neat budgeting app that couples can use to co-share the family’s money- management responsibility. It allows you to connect all your accounts – Bank, Credit Card, Loans – to the app.
You can tag each of these accounts as either individual or joint – so you and your partner/spouse know at a glance where you stand with “ownership”. Categorize your transactions and even create custom classes for your expenses.
You can annotate transactions with notes that both you and your partner can view. This is a great feature that not only serves as a reminder for future recollection but also fosters relationship-building by communicating about your money.
If you are just starting out in a committed relationship, but haven’t yet taken the final step of merging your finances, this app provides you the ability to split expenses and keep tabs on who owes what to whom.
All relationships harbor “secrets”, and Honeydue allows you to keep some accounts secret by hiding select accounts from your significant half – if that’s something that (both of) you want to do.
You can also set alerts and reminders that notify you and your partner so that you never miss out on a bill that’s due, or forget an upcoming expense. If you share responsibility for bill payment, you can also tag bills and invoices as paid, so you both know who has paid which bill and when.
BetterHaves is a budgeting app that’s specifically designed for couples, but it also supports individuals in budgeting and tracking their money. The app works using one of the oldest (before apps came around!) and most effective budgeting system: The envelope system.
Couples can use virtual envelopes to distribute their income and expenses into separate categories. This allows you to budget for specific events, such as entertainment, utilities, mortgage, dentist’s bills, and groceries. When you spend the money against each expense, the app withdraws the amount from its respective envelope, allowing you visibility into what’s left. You can visually track where the money from each envelope is going.
This system reinforces good budgeting behavior because you’re forced to stop spending on specific discretionary items – like dining out or shopping – as soon as that envelope is empty. You can also use the app to tweak your budget to divert more money into the “savings envelope”.
Couples have visibility into their finances using separate individual or joint budget and expenditure dashboards. Warning alerts and reminders help you stay on track with your budget while ensuring that you always deal with scheduled expenses in a timely manner.
While BetterHaves is a free app, the current version only works on and syncs between iPhones.
GoodBudget, formerly known as EEBA (Easy Envelope Budget Aid), is another envelope-based budgeting app designed to help couples stay on track with their finances. If you and your partner are skeptical about the envelope budgeting approach, you should know that noted personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey swear by the envelope system – so it really does works!
The app revolves around the concept of digital envelopes that you create for various categories of expenses – Entertainment, Groceries etc. You can personalize your envelopes according to your lifestyle, and tie them to your credit or debit card. Each time you incur an expense, you record it against that envelope. The app then updates your income, expenses, and balances and shares them in real-time.
You create and manage all your envelopes in the cloud – on GoodBudget’s secure website. You (and your partner) can then sync your envelopes to your smartphone. When you are out spending – say, for groceries – you record it in the app and that expenses will automatically sync to your partner’s smartphone so he or she instantly knows how much money is now available in the “grocery envelope”.
The app is available for desktops and mobile devices. You can download the app for free for either Android or iOS devices. However, there are other premium features that only come with a paid version.
Find Your Money App Today
The apps reviewed here make co-managing money with others a breeze. By linking your checking and savings account you can take the stress out of budgeting and tracking your expenses manually.
With the help of these apps, you’ll not only be able to collaborate better, but you’ll make more effective money management decisions – like agreeing on a cost-effective vacation or deferring the purchase of a new car – based on more financial transparency.
1 Stash offers three plans, starting at just $1/month. For more information on each plan, visit our pricing page. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
2 Stash offers access to investment and banking accounts under each subscription plan. Each type of account is subject to different regulations and limitations. See the Advisory Agreement and the Deposit Account Agreement for more information.
3 Bank Account Services provided by and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. Stash banking account opening is subject to identity verification by Green Dot Bank
Benzinga is a paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser.