Contributor, Benzinga
January 17, 2024

Benzinga readers often choose You Need A Budget and Empower as the best budget apps.

If you’re looking for the best budget app, you know you can choose from an endless number of options available for download. But which ones warrant space on your phone? Budgeting software has to bring more perks than just organizing your personal finances to make our list. The best budget app takes into account the way you live and your financial situation in order to take up your precious phone space.

Benzinga’s compiled a list of apps to help you decide which budgeting software fits your needs, along with some additional tips to help you identify a good budget app when you see one.

Quick Look: Best Budgeting Apps

8 Best Budgeting Apps

Benzinga has compiled a list of the best budget apps to help you find the one most suited to your needs. While each app has its ups and downs, remember that the app you choose should suit your budget and situation. The list starts with Acorns; it can help you save pennies and invest. However, you might also want to look further for more resources depending on where you find yourself financially.

Take a look, download the apps, compare and take control of your monthly budget.

1. Best Overall: Acorns

Remember when you were a kid and you’d put all your loose change into a piggy bank? Acorns brings this process into the modern era with a digitized twist in its budget app. Acorns is more than just a budget app, however — it’s a savings and investment tool as well. The app helps you invest your money before you even notice it’s gone, aiding you in diversifying your personal finances.

It does this by connecting with your checking account and rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and funneling change into a robo-managed investment account. For example, if you purchase something for $1.75, Acorns will take the extra quarter and invest it for you. Perfect for mindless saving, Acorns is a good budget app for if you have a little money to invest but don’t have the time to commit to researching your investment options.

Acorns launched a new debit card that allows you to invest the extra change from transactions made with the card. This is a good app for kids who just got their first bank accounts, or it can serve as a passive savings app for adults who finally have money to save.

The app is available at $3 per month for standard Personal accounts, $5 per month for Personal Plus, or $9 per month for Premium accounts.



  • Offers budgeting tools, as well as savings and investment tools
  • Automatically rounds up purchases and invests spare change
  • Offers a diverse range of investment portfolios
  • Provides additional educational resources and tools


  • Does not offer free trial period
  • Charges a monthly fee for the service

2. Best Budget App for Investments: Empower (Formerly Personal Capital)

Looking for more investing help along with your budget? If so, Empower, formerly known as Personal Capital, may be the right budget app for you. The budgeting software focuses on providing high-profile clientele with comprehensive investment management using a mix of human and robot financial advisors, all from the palm of your hand. Empower works well if you’re an on-the-go professional who only has a few precious moments a day to manage your personal finances and investments. The app also offers clients a retirement planner to help you put your earnings to future use.

Empower requires a $100,000 account minimum. Financial advisory services come with a fee of 0.89% of total managed assets. However, for investors who seek hands-off wealth management and expert tax-loss harvesting in a budget app, Empower offers a great choice.


  • Free app for budgeting and investment
  • Provides access to personalized investment advice
  • Offers robust security features to protect user information and transactions


  • Has account minimum for investment services
  • High management fee compared to its competitors

3. Best Holistic Budgeting App: Monarch Money

When you visit Monarch Money, you will find that this app makes it easier to manage your money than ever. However, Monarch Money is much more involved than just budgeting. With the benefits listed below, you can get started with what Monarch calls “the modern way to manage your money”:

  • Reviewing your finances
  • Securely add partners, banks and investment portfolios as needed
  • Get personalized advice from an expert
  • Track all your money in one place
  • Customize your dashboard
  • Learn how to save more money
  • Watch your spending
  • Create financial goals
  • Always keep your information safe

You can set up a budget, invest, save and make all the right financial moves with just one app. Plus, you can share the account with your spouse, work with your roommates if you need to or turn it into a family affair.


  • Offers tools for budgeting, expense tracking, and financial goal setting
  • Allows for effortless bill payments and money transfers
  • Keeps all financial information in one place for easy access
  • Offers a user-friendly interface with customizable features


  • May require payment or subscription for certain features
  • May require a learning curve to fully understand and utilize all features

4. Best for Automatic Investing: Stash

  • Stash
    Best For:
    Casual investors
    securely through Stash's website

    For a complete list of fees please see the Deposit Account Agreement for details.

    All rewards earned through use of the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC and are subject to Terms and Conditions. You will bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the investments that you earn, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock rewards that are paid to participating customers via the Stash Stock Back program, are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. All rewards earned through use of the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC and are subject to Terms and Conditions. You will bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the investments that you earn, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock rewards that are paid to participating customers via the Stash Stock Back program, are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. 1% Stock-Back® rewards available only on Stash+ ($9/mo) and only for client’s first $1,000 of Qualifying Purchases in each calendar month program.

    Stash offers access to investment and banking accounts under each subscription plan. Each type of account is subject to different regulations and limitations. Stash Monthly Subscription Wrap Fee starts at $3/month. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of ETFs, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and/or the Custodian. Please see the Advisory Agreement for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement.

    Early access to direct deposit funds depends on when the payor sends the payment file. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

    This Program is subject to terms and conditions. In order to participate, a user must comply with all eligibility requirements and make a qualifying purchase with their Stock-Back® Card. All funds used for this Program will be taken from your Stash Banking account.

    Ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or its custodian are not included in the subscription fee.

Stash has two tiered plans to choose from. Stash Growth costs just $3 per month and works well for first-time budgeters and new investors. You’ll get:

  • Access to investing in fractional shares
  • A personal investment account
  • Access to your Stash banking account with no hidden fees1
  • Savings and budget tools
  • Advice and education
  • Paid up to 2 days early in your Stash banking account2

For an additional $6 per month, you’ll have the Stash+ plan, which may be better for families and knowledgeable investors. You’ll receive everything included in the Stash Growth plan, plus custodial (UGMA/UTMA) accounts for up to two kids and a market insights report delivered monthly.


  • Easy and user-friendly interface
  • Provides a variety of investment options
  • Offers automated investing features


  • Fees may be higher compared to other investment platforms
  • Not ideal for active traders or those seeking more control over investments

5. Best Free Trial: Tiller Money

Looking for the best free or low-cost budget apps for personal finances based on price, platform, customer service and software? Put Tiller on your list.

Link your bank, credit card and other financial accounts so you can see what’s happening to your financial life. It takes just three steps:

  • Step 1: Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Tiller Money.
  • Step 2: Link and securely authenticate accounts in the Tiller Money Console.
  • Step 3: Open Google Sheets or Excel to customize your import options.

You’ll get flexible monthly and yearly budgets, free community-supported templates and reports for tracking net worth, saving goals, debt and more. You can also find automatic categorization, daily account summaries and weekly webinars. Tiller Money makes privacy and security a priority as well.

Tap into Tiller Money for free for 30 days. After 30 days, Tiller Money costs $79 per year — just $6.58 per month! Start your free 30-day trial today.


  • Offers personalized budgeting and spending tracking
  • Offers free 30-day trial


  • Requires ongoing manual input and categorization of transactions
  • Can be time-consuming to fully set up and sync all accounts

6. Best Budgeting and Banking Combo App: Empower

Want to save more than ever before this year? Empower offers a budgeting and banking* powerhouse with the most comprehensive set of personal finance features in an easy, modern interface.

Having trouble staying on budget? Empower lets you customize budget categories for your lifestyle and set weekly or monthly spend limits. The sheer brilliance is that the app tells you in real time how you’re tracking your budget so you know when to rein in your spending. Empower classifies every expense and shares a monthly report with real insight into where all your money goes.

Want your money to grow faster? Enjoy an interest-accruing checking account that will grow your money far faster than it would with the five biggest banks in the U.S., all without the usual banking b.s. — no account minimums, no overdraft fees, no insufficient funds fees and unlimited withdrawals. Empower deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.*

Want to save more money this year? Set your weekly savings target. Every day, Empower studies your income, monitors your spending, and automatically knows when to save the exact amount of money you need at the right moment in time. The best part? There’s zero work on your part.      

Empower is the whole enchilada — the most complete personal finance solution when you’re looking to save for the future or a rainy day. And even with all these bells and whistles, the app is easy and intuitive to use.

* Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.


  • Easy-to-use and modern interface
  • Allows users to customize categories
  • Accessible anytime, anywhere on mobile devices


Some features may require a subscription or premium membership

7. Best Budget App for Paying Off Debt: You Need A Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget (YNAB) offers a great option if you want more control over your budget or need assistance dealing with changes in personal finances or overcoming debt. YNAB connects with your credit cards and accounts and imports all transactions into the budget app’s database. YNAB's budgeting software encourages you to assign a “job” to every dollar coming into your account, helps you identify places you can cut back in order to contribute to savings and offers a dynamic interface that can quickly adjust budgets when a financial situation changes. YNAB helps you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

YNAB’s most unique feature is its “budget inspector,” which gives users more direct control over their personal finances, specifically plans for upcoming expenses. The inspector feature allows you to quickly see a summary of your cash flow and expected spending if you’ve saved enough for a nonstandard purchase and where you can cut back to make it happen.

The popular budget app has a "debt paydown" feature that allows users to watch the amount they owe in debt dwindle with payments. The app offers free 34-day trial period, then $14.99 per month or $99 per year after.


  • Tracks your expenses in real-time
  • Can sync with multiple bank accounts and credit cards for easy tracking
  • Offers helpful educational resources and support
  • Offers free version for 34 days


  • Requires time and effort to set up and maintain
  • Monthly subscription fee may deter some users
  • Mobile app may have limited functionality compared to the web version

8. Best for Learning About Spending Habits: Oportun (Formerly Digit)

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? Oportun just does this. Oportun, free for the first 30 days followed by a monthly fee of $5, learns your spending habits. Oportun 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.

Oportun works with your spending habits in order to learn what safe, yet significant amount it can put toward savings for you, without you having to put thought toward it. Oportun can automate your personal finances.

Not only does Oportun move your funds during the week for you, but you have unlimited withdrawals and overdraft reimbursement if Oportun saves too much.


  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Provides access to financial services for underserved communities
  • Requires minimal documentation for loan applications


  • Limited loan options and higher interest rates compared to traditional banks
  • Availability may be limited to specific regions or countries

Things to Look for in a Great Budget App

Whether you're budgeting for travels, saving for your dream wedding or planning to buy a house or car, a budgeting app can help you manage your savings and expenses more efficiently. Though every app differs, you can hone into a few key characteristics that the best budget apps share.

1. Fits Your Needs

Just like every other personal financial product on the market, a budget app appeals to a specific user. Whether you're Benzinga recommends writing a “wish list” of every feature that you’re looking for in a good budget app and read app reviews online. A budget app can offer the following:

  • Some were created to appeal to hardcore organizers who want to label every one of their accounts and purchases.
  • Others take a more proactive approach and do the work for you.
  • Some budget apps aim toward helping consumers learn how to reinvest their money.
  • Finally, some budget apps work much better than others with foreign currency conversions. If you have friends or family members outside of the country that you send money to or you’re a forex investor, you may not have total control over your finances with every app.

2. Offers an Intuitive Design

An app isn’t good for much if you can’t operate it! Some budget apps may have improved compatibility with certain devices. For example, a budget app may not work on an iPad or another brand of tablet. Before you commit to a subscription, see if your budgeting software of choice offers a free trial version to play around with to ensure that you like its platform.

3. Plenty of Customer Service Options

Let’s face it. Sometimes technology refuses to cooperate. The best budget app understands this and offers a number of options to contact customer service should something go awry. Use your search engine of choice to research the customer service and tech support options for your budget app.

Companies that value their customers offer at least two avenues (email and phone) for users to contact customer support. If you are very technologically challenged, you may want to search for budgeting software that offers extended customer service options, like service in the evenings and on the weekends.

Choose the Best Budget App for You

The right budget app for you depends on what your financial situation requires. Are you looking simply to manage your cash flow or are you looking to make your money work for you through investments? Don’t be afraid to try out multiple apps on your search for the right fit. Promotions and trial offers appear on a daily basis so it’s worth it to take the time to find an app that suits all of your needs.

Want to learn more? Check out Benzinga's picks for the best budget spreadsheets, the best savings accounts and the best personal finance software.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best budget app?


The best budgeting app can vary depending on personal preferences and needs. However, some popular and highly-rated budget apps include Acorns, YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Empower (formerly Personal Capital). These apps offer various features such as expense tracking, goal setting, bill reminders, and budgeting tools to help users effectively manage their finances.


Is using a budgeting app worth it?

Using a budgeting app can be worth it for many reasons. Budgeting apps offer a convenient way to track expenses and income, set financial goals, and stay organized. They also provide bill reminders and spending categorization, helping users manage their money effectively and identify areas to cut back on spending.

What is the best free budgeting app?


There are many free budgeting apps available to choose from. To find the best app that suits your personal financial goals, consider downloading a few and testing them out for yourself.


Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Investing involves risk and investments may lose value. Holdings and performance are hypothetical.

Nothing in this material should be construed as an offer, recommendation, or solicitation to buy or sell any security. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.

Stash offers three plans, starting at just $1/month. For more information on each plan, visit our pricing page.

Stash Subscription fee starts at $1/ month. 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. Please see the Advisory Agreement for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement.

Bank Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC.

 For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

1 Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement for details. If applicable, your Stash banking account is a funding account for purposes of the Advisory Agreement. Your Stash subscription fee may be deducted from your Stash banking account balance.

 2 Early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period.

“Retirement Portfolio” is an IRA (Traditional or Roth) and is a non-discretionary managed account. Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.

Roth IRA: Withdrawals of the money (Contributions) you put in are penalty and tax free. Prior to age 59½, withdrawals of interest and earnings are subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. All earnings are tax free at age 59½ or older, assuming your first contribution was more than 5 years prior. Income Eligibility applies.

Traditional IRA: Withdrawing prior to age 59½, generally means you’re subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. Withdrawals after age 59½ are only subject to income tax but no penalty.

“Kids Portfolio” is a custodial UGMA / UTMA account. Money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. This type of account is a Non-Discretionary Managed account.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.