The 3 Best Personal Finance Apps To Help You Manage Your Money

I’d been getting a lot of emails asking about the best apps for managing money and the best personal finance apps. I’ve tried out a whole bunch of apps and here are my favourites. My only criteria for liking/recommending an app is this: Does the app make me want to come back? Using an app to track your money requires you to cultivate the habit of recording your expenses and incomes as and when they happen. So, it is important for the app and its interface to be addictive, in a way. These are the best apps among those I tested to help you track your expenditure and create budgets. They’re all American made but they all support the Rupee symbol as well.

(There are apps for investing – but they’re an entirely different beast. I’ll talk about them in a separate post)

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So without further ado, here are my picks for best personal finance apps –

Dollarbird – Most Straightforward

Among the apps I tested, Dollarbird was the most straightforward and easiest to use. The app follows a calendar format and I thought that was really clever because you get a visual representation of how much money you have left on that day. So each day you can enter how much you’ve been spending and the category in which the expense falls. You can also enter credits as and when you get them.

The app also shows you your expenses category wise so you can see what you’re spending money on.

The way I would use this app would be to set myself a spending budget on the day that I receive my salary and go on reducing expenses from there.

The app is free on both iOS and Android. It has a pro version with multiple calendars, which I don’t think is really necessary if you’re only on a lookout for an app only to track your expenses.

 

Fudget – Most Customizable

Another app I really enjoyed using was Fudget. Fudget was also the most powerful of the apps that I tested simply because of how customizable it was. The app allows you to create multiple budgets in an easy-to-use interface.

Unlike Dollarbird, Fudget doesn’t pay much attention to dates, but is more focused on categorizing expenses and incomes together. I would recommend this app for those who want to clearly demarcate the ways in which they use their money. It’s also great for those who want to ensure that they don’t want to spend more than a certain amount each month. For example, you could create a monthly grocery/provisions budget from which you can deduct every visit to your supermarket. Or you could create a ‘socializing’ budget from which you can deduct the money you spend each time you meet with friends. The app displays the balance left so you’ll instantly know if you are on track.

The app is free for both iOS and Android. There is a pro version for Rs.299/- that gives you features like exporting data to Dropbox, colourful themes, a calculator and a sorting feature that can categorize expenses based on date, amount spent etc. I think the pro version is worth the money if and only if you find yourself using the app every single day.

 

DailyBudget – Most Beautiful

DailyBudget, without a doubt, was the most beautiful app among all those that I tested. The interface is just magic and the premise is so simple but effective. The app asks you how much you earn (per month) and how much you want to save (per month). Based on the data you’ve given it, it’ll tell you how much you’re allowed to spend each day, i.e. your daily budget. You can reduce what you spend from the amount that is your daily budget. If you spend over your daily budget, you’ll be shown a negative balance and the number of days it’ll take you to regain a positive balance. The app also allows you to select the category under which the expense falls under.

This app is so great because you think ok, I earn five figures a month, I can spend on whatever – but five figures a month (after savings) isn’t much at all per day! If you’re looking to cut down on your spending, this is the app you should download.

DailyBudget is free, but is iOS only. The free app only allows for 4 categories – General, Household, Groceries and Transportation. Additional categories, data encryption, analysis graphs, dropbox sync and ad blocking is available for Rs.699/-. I’d recommend creatively organizing your expenses under the given categories when you begin using the app and then purchasing the Pro version if you find yourself loving it – and this is an app that’s really easy to love!

 

So these are my top 3 personal finance apps! Do you use an app to manage your money?

8 Comments

  1. This is great stuff, Lavanya! Could you make a post on best apps/portals for direct investments like SIP, mutual funds etc?

  2. I jus started working and its great deal for a beginner to keep a look on the spending n savings in a handy way..tnx lavanya

  3. Thanks for writing about these apps. I would like to share my own experience tracking expenses for the past 3.5 years.

    I initially did try using apps for managing expenses and even looked at the ones that would read credit card transaction SMS’es. However, it was hard to reconcile all expenses including cash at the end of the day. Since then I have slowly evolved a very low-key but effective solution that works for *me*.

    It is a simple Google Sheet for every month. Start of every month, I add my salary. Each day, I add date, expense, amount spent, mode (cash, cc, Sodexho), category and a column for tagging that expense towards a budget. I then have a formula that keeps deducting these expenses from the monthly salary.

    I added some simple script (very easy to code 1-2 lines from a simple google search) to automate some mundane data entry.

    This helps me remember all the expenses. I share this sheet with my wife alone so that she can also add entries. Google Sheets has a very robust permissions model for every sheet. One can also add expenses via Google Sheets mobile app, though it requires a data connection bare minimum.

    I now have all the raw data on which I can run any sort of pivot table or charts to understand how much I spend for every category.

    This also allows me to have the flexibility to allocate budgets for Travel, Education.

    It took its own time but I find the setup very flexible for me. It takes patience and time, but very effective.

    • Awesome! I maintain monthly payments and bank accounts in excel since college days. I always thought about tracking our expenses but never came around.
      Not a big fan of apps.
      But I think you gave me the perfect idea.
      Thank you!!

  4. May I also add “Walnut”.. This is an app which analyses the msgs I receive on my phone and debits and credits accordingly to my account..multiple cards are linked to that and it’s easy to rename the spends also..it also tells you if you have spent over or below your weekly/monthly avg ..makes charts about ur spends.. it’s a good way to track where you spend your money and acts like a quick account statement on the phone itself

  5. I have used mint.com, you can link credit cards and bank accounts and even 401k type investments. You can categorize your spending and it shows in red if you have over spent.
    Of course cash expenses need to be diligently entered but I rarely use cash so it works.

    Need to try these apps, will check them out!

  6. Hello, I am looking out for an app for sharing a common tracker of expenses between me and my partner. Would you be able to recommend an app that also has that feature? Thanks in advance!

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