We’ve teased about doing a post like this a few times now. For anyone interested in financial health, expense tracking is an essential first step. If you’re just getting started, check out our post Budgeting for Beginners and you’ll see what basic steps you should take before tracking expenses. Now that you have the basic knowledge for starting a budget, it’s time to act.
There are a few key factors we’ve looked into to determine the most effective expense tracking apps for personal use. Those key factors are cost, reviews, and ease of use/features. We’ve compiled the information in this post so you can make a decision that works for you.
Mint is by far the most popular expense tracking app. While it is possible for all 442 thousand reviewers to be wrong, the widespread use is a testament to Mint’s utility and versatility.
Reviews: 4.7 stars from 442,000 people
Utility/features: Mint utilizes cards you can swipe through to access their different features. The features include total account tracking (you can add multiple bank accounts from different banks), spending details, current budgets, future budget planning, bill planning, credit card usage, and credit score tracking. Mint really is an all-in-one app for all things pertaining to financial health. As for cons, I did have trouble finding my banking institution. If you have a smaller bank it might take a while for you to find the right one link to.
TheBalance.com voted Wally as the best expense tracking app for Millennials. Currently, Wally has two free versions. Wally Lite is the original and they recently released a new and updated app called Wally Next.
Cost: Free!! With some available add-ons that most users won’t need.
Reviews: Wally Lite – 4.2 stars from 560 people
Wally Next – 4.1 Stars from 834 people
Utility/Features: The original Wally was mainly for expense tracking. You would need to manually input your expenses and Wally would configure them into easy to read and aesthetically pleasing cards, graphs, and charts.
The new Wally has moved towards a more encompassing role. You can add accounts, set payment reminders, and they’ve updated their expense tracking features. Adding expenses is much easier with Wally Next. Their easy to use interface and well-designed charts make Wally one of the easier apps to scroll through for financial insights, even if it’s not the easiest to use.
ClarityMoney is easy to use and they have an excellent aesthetic to their app.
Reviews: 4.7 stars from 45,300 people.
Utility/ Features: IMO the coolest thing about ClarityMoney is they help you keep track of your monthly subscriptions and offer you the opportunity to cancel them easily through their app. When you’re sending money away for products or services you don’t use, an easy way to cancel makes a big difference. Their app is fairly easy to navigate. It’s not nearly as intuitive as Mint but still pretty solid. Linking to my bank account was easy, but they can’t seem to recognize all my secondary income. Between Mint and Clarity Money, Mint’s insights are presented on cards that you can scroll through left to right, whereas ClarityMoney uses up and down scrolling. I personally prefer the left and right scrolling.
Albert is probably the most advanced option on this list. If you want something that walks you through your finances step by step, Albert is for you.
Cost: Can be free, but if you want all the features you must pay at least $4/month. (They ask you to compensate them fairly. They suggest $6/month)
Reviews 4.6 stars from 25,500 people
Utility/Features: Albert is designed to help you save. They open an “Albert Savings Account” on your behalf, then they take a variable (usually $25-$50) amount from your checking account and deposit it into the Albert Savings Account. That has freaked out a lot of people that didn’t do their research so they’ve left a lot of one star reviews.
Albert also has a text option where you can text with a team of “geniuses” about financial decisions and how to reduce costs. Albert also makes recommendations in the app on how to decrease costs and where you can look for less expensive options. Their AI is very intelligent and is always learning from your texts, actions in the app, and spending habits.
Cost: $6.99/month billed annually which is 83.99/year
Reviews: 4.8 stars from 12,300 people
Utility/Features: YNAB offers the most user-friendly interface out of any listed here. The budget creation features are easy to use and manage. Many reviewers say there is a learning curve so give yourself about 3 months to figure out the process before you give it up. YNAB requires that users apply every single dollar to a specific spot in the budget. They then provide insights and restrictions on how to stick to those budgets.
Another cool Finance App you might be interested in is Digit. Similar to Albert, Digit uses AI to track your income and expenses first. Then it will start moving small, manageable amounts from checking to savings, and it does this every few days. You can chat with their AI bot to give Digit instructions to “Save More” or “Save Less.” With a 4.8 star rating, Digit users often comment on how easy Digit makes it to save for vacations, or pay off credit cards. You hardly notice the money leaving your account but when you check your Digit savings, you definitely will see the difference it makes.
The only drawback to digit is it does charge you $2.99 a month after your 30 day trial. Might as well give it a shot for those 30 days to see if it’s worth it.
So there you have it. 5 expense tracking apps and some information to get your research started. This is definitely not a full review of all of these. If you are serious about starting a budget and getting your expenses in order, you should do some further research. This post is just a starting point to find something that works for you.
When unexpected expenses pop up, Kornerstone Credit can help with payments that fit into your budget. If you need us, you can always apply here on our website, or go one of our retail partners to get your no credit financing for furniture, tires, appliances, and more.