If you have been following my blog for a while you will know by now that I am the saver and Michelle… well she is not.
Regardless of whose the spender… Michelle… haha, we know that it is extremely important to communicate about our finances. Finances can be the source of stress and can cause arguments in the relationship. That is why it is key to have strategies to manage your finances as a couple.
One of the benefits that Michelle and I have that our parents didn’t have…
iPhones and the rise of budgeting apps.
But what is the BEST budget apps for Couples in 2021???
Now I have to be honest with you…
For me the best budgeting app is… EXCEL.
I am one of those people.
So in order to get a more accurate idea of the BEST budgeting app for couples I have enlisted a special guest reviewer…
This is the first time Eric has let me touch his blog, so I better take full opportunity.
This is an extremely long article. Go ahead and Pin Me so you can come back later.
Let’s get into this:
Table of Contents
- 9+ Best Budget Apps for Couples in 2021
- Personal Capital
- You Need a Budget
- Every Dollar
- Are Budgeting Apps Safe?
- Why should couples budget?
- What is the best Free Budget App for Couples?
- What is the easiest Budgeting App?
- Summary of the Best Budget Apps for Couples
9+ Best Budget Apps for Couples in 2021
Let’s get this out of the way.
Cost: FREE! (There is a paid version, but for simple budgeting, you wont need it)
I know Eric is dancing in the streets reading that.
Personal Capital is a powerhouse budgeting app for couples. Think of it as a financial dashboard that can literally track all of your expenses.
If charts and graphs are your thing, it has it!
What makes this a great budgeting tool for couples is that it will aggregate everything from your bank accounts, to your retirement accounts, to your spending. It allows you to track your net worth in real time.
Eric definitely geeks out over that.
The Free version allows us to track your cash flow and review spending habits. As a couple you can also review spending by categories or by individual transactions.
Sorry no more stopping at Starbucks.
You’ll also get monthly summaries which helps us know where all of our money is going. This is one of the most important aspects because we can talk about it at the end of each month. For us, this helps to stay on the same page financially.
Michelle got the chance to review all of the budgeting apps. I thought it would be neat to add one the coolest money apps…
Trim tries to actively save you money.
What Trim is known for is bill negotiation. The app will negotiate with your subscription companies to lower the cost for you.
Trim will negotiate with your cable company, phone company, internet company, etc to try and lower your bill each month.
Literally, they are actively trying to save you money!!!
Another way that Trim saves you money…
Canceling those unwanted subscriptions!
Yes, all those pesky small subscriptions adds up and Trim allows you to save money by canceling them for you.
Best of all???
Trim is FREE for the bill cancellation services and basic budgeting tools!!!
Trim is one of most interesting and useful budgeting or money saving apps that couples can use today!!
Mint is owned by the same company that runs quickbooks and turbotax so you may see some crossover if you are familiar with those two products. It is a free budgeting app that couples can use to manage their finances.
Like all of the other budgeting apps and products that we have mentioned, Mint is a cloud based service that allows you to control your budget from any browser or the app.
The Mint budgeting app automatically downloads all the financial transactions from the accounts that you connected it to.
One of the neat things is that Mint will try to categorize the transactions for you. Now, I will say, that it did an okay job here. We did have to go in and re-categorize some of the transactions. I guess sometimes doing things manually just works better.
After we connected our accounts and downloaded the transactions, Mint created a budget for us based upon how much we had spent previously.
For us, we went and and modified our budget but it was nice to have a budget started. It saved us time and I would imagine for some couples, the first time they’ve had a budget.
Where Mint stands out from other budgeting apps is the ability to set up email or phone alerts based upon different criteria that you set up.
For example you can set up an alert to email you or your spouse when a category is over budget.
You also get a weekly summary report which is great for the data geeks out there looking for trends!
These alerts were great because it helped Eric and I stay on the same page financially throughout the month.
Overall Mint is great simple budgeting app for couples. It definitely has some great features that help us manage our monthly budget.
You Need a Budget
The You Need a Budget slogan is the budgeting app that changes lives… so does this budgeting app live up to the hype for budgeting couples???
The You Need a Budget (YNAB) software is designed around 4 key principles:
Give Every Dollar a Job
The principle here is similar to most zero based budgeting ideas. When your money comes in, you assign it a job. The money is either assigned to a bill, paying down debt or put into savings.
Embrace your true expenses
Did you know that Christmas happens every year???
So do most birthdays and anniversaries.
The idea behind this principle is to identify expenses like these. These are large one off expenses that happen yearly and then you budget for them monthly.
For example, if you typically spend 300 dollars on Christmas items, then you would have a category that gets funded 25 dollars every month.
When Christmas comes around you can spend the $300 without blowing the budget!
Roll with the punches
There is a type of person… Eric… that feels like each month they create the perfect budget and you should not deviate.
Then there are other people…me… that feels like a budget is just a recommendation.
In the world of budgeting you are going to realize things happen. If you planned on taking the kids to the beach but it was raining, you probably wouldn’t go.
The same is true for budgets. YNAB helps you identifies areas that need to be adjusted.
Age your money
The goal that YNAB has is to spend money that you earned last month on this month’s expenses… or in other words build a minimum of 1 month emergency fund.
Imagine the difference in your finances if instead of living paycheck to paycheck, your family has next month’s budget already in the bank account.
YNAB truly is one of the nicer budgeting software out there. Their support is hands down one of the best and they truly deliver financial education through videos, podcasts and webinars. The one drawback is that it does cost about 7 dollars a month.
They do offer a free 34 day trial which I would suggest to see if it’s for your family.
About a year ago, Eric reviewed Mvelopes budget makeover program. Part of the program was to use the Mvelopes Budgeting App.
If you are a Dave Ramsey envelope fan, then this is the budget app for you!
Mvelopes is a digital envelope system. Similar to physical envelopes, you and your spouse will allocate a certain amount of money to each envelope.
Throughout the month, as you spend money on items, you pay for it out of the digital envelopes.
As a couple, we have used an envelope system ever since we started to budget so this was an ideal budgeting app for you.
There is a learning curve to it, but hands down one of our favorite budgeting apps for couples.
Speaking of Dave Ramsey, the next budgeting app for couples was actually designed by Dave Ramsey.
Eric and I took one of Dave Ramsey’s courses before we got married and I honestly believe it is the reason that we are in the financial shape we are today.
Similar to Mvelopes, Every Dollar is a zero based budgeting system that uses an envelopes structure.
A little bit different than Mvelopes however is the focus on specific goals and of course getting out of debt.
Every Dollar also is tightly connected to Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, so if you and your spouse are making your way through his program, this may be a better option for you.
GoodBudget used to be known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid. Similar to the other budgeting apps, GoodBudget helps couples log and allocate your finances.
You can access it either by your web browser or by downloading the free app. All you need in order to get started is an email address and password. Your account syncs between the app and website, so you can easily manage your budget at home or on the go.
Just like Mvelopes and Every Dollar, Good budget is an envelope type of budgeting software. As you can see digital envelopes are sort of a thing in the budgeting world…
GoodBudget is a nice budgeting app for couples because it allows you to have multiple devices logged into the account. As a couple trying to budget together, this feature is great because Michelle or I can check the budget on the go straight from our phones.
We can then add transactions on the fly so we always know what our budget looks like.
Some of the drawbacks on this budgeting app is that transactions are not automated. You can download files from your bank and upload it to the platform but we found it was just easier to manually keep track of expenses as we made them.
Ideally this is the benefit of GoodBudget app. In a world where everything is automated, GoodBudget makes you pause and really understand your budget and spending habits.
Honeydue budgeting app was specifically designed for to help couples manage their budget together.
The app allows couples to share banking account information. While Eric and I have joint accounts, Honeydue works well for couples that don’t necessarily have joint accounts.
Through the app, one partner can select to share all of the information or just a basic or limited view known as balance only.
In the app, couples can can track not just their bank account balances but also credit card expenses. Unlike GoodBudget budgeting app, the transactions and balances are updated in real time. This is wonderful when you shopping by yourself and want to know exactly how much is left in the budget.
One of the features that Honeydue has that Eric and I really liked was Bill Reminders. Prior to reviewing the app we entered the days our normal bills were to be paid such as cell phone, car insurance, mortgage etc.
Honeydue would give us a snapshot of what bills were coming up. This was helpful because even though we budget each month, sometimes when you see money in the account you can easily forget that a bill is coming in a week or so. This handy little feature helped save the budget a couple of times.
As of right now, Honeydue is a free budgeting app for couples. This is definitely a budgeting app you should consider.
Pocketguard is one of the new budgeting apps out there and tackles budgeting a bit differently.
Similar to other budget apps couples may use, you connect your accounts to the software. After you connect your accounts, PocketGuard will try to automatically detect your monthly bills and monthly income.
The software does a great job here, but always check and make adjustments as necessary.
After your bills and income has been set, you will need to set a goal for savings. The minimum is a dollar a day, basically 30 dollars a month.
Once that is set, you will get what they call “In My Pocket”.
That is the amount of money that your family has left to spend after bills and savings are paid.
It allows you see quickly how much money you and your family really has left.
As your family spends money, those transactions are updated in near real time. Pocketguard allows not only for categories but also allows hashtags for more granular descriptions plus the addition of spending limits.
The spending limits feature is nice because it notifies your family if you are close to overspending in type of category. These notifications can help change your spending behavior if you listen.
Pocketguard has a 100% free version of the software which is a good place to start. Their paid subscription is 4 bucks a month, but the free version is probably all you need to begin with.
The Wally app is an interesting addition to the other budget apps that couples may use. Unlike most of the others, Wally is manual.
It does not connect to your bank accounts or credit cards, so everything that is done on the app is hand entered.
Where Wally tried to separate itself from other budgeting apps, is simplicity. The goal is to be a simple budgeting app that allows couples the ability to track daily expenses.
Currently Wally is free, so there is no harm at giving it a whirl if you are looking for just a simple budget and expense tracker.
Are Budgeting Apps Safe?
One of first questions that Eric and I get when we share these budget apps with other couples is:
“Are they safe?”
Well here is the truth…
We live in a digital world and business, servers, and banks get hacked or exposed all the time.
With that being said, all of the budgeting apps that we reviewed use at least 128-bit SSL encryption, as well as monitoring through third-party sites like TRUSTe and VeriSign. Companies like Mint also use 256 bit encryption to protect files on the company’s servers.
Most of the apps also have additional security built into them such as Touch Id or 2 factor authentication.
For us, having all our accounts managed through one app and the ability to quickly manage our budget outweighs the risk of any issues.
For those who would not rather expose themselves to risk, we would recommend the following apps:
- You Need a Budget
These are the budgeting apps that you do not connect to any bank account.
Why should couples budget?
Eric will often share the story about taking a Dave Ramsey course before we got married. He says that the course did not necessarily get us on the same page financially but got us in the same book.
According to study done by Money, 70% of married couples argue about finances. This percentage goes UP to about 80% if you have kids.
This is HUGE!
Like I mentioned earlier, Eric and I took a Dave Ramsey course before we got married and we began to talk about money, finances, and budgeting.
When we first starting talking about money as a couple, it was uncomfortable. We both had various debts from before we knew each other. I had student loan debt, a car payment, and a handful of credit card debt.
Eric had a ton of student loan debt, a car payment, plus a rooms to go payment.
Looking at our debt at the beginning, we could of easily of said
“That’s your debt, not mine”
But being married meant that we are now one, which included money.
At the start we didn’t use any of these fancy budget apps. For one, some of them were not even made yet.
We made our monthly budget the old fashion way.
Neither Eric or I will tell you budgeting as a couple is easy.
Because in reality it is not.
My family likes to go out and get food for every small occasion, whereas Eric would much rather save money and eat in.
Budgeting as a couple is hard, but over the last 9 years, we have never argued about a single purchase either of us has made.
We both know our monthly goals and our long term goals which helps. Monthly budget discussions can get interesting but that is the time to give our dollars a purpose. After that meeting we try our hardest to stick to it.
As a result, over the last 9 years we have been able to pay off all of our cars, pay off over $100,000 in student loans, plus eliminate all credit card debt.
Over the last 7 months we have been completely debt free minus our mortgage and I believe that is in large part to budgeting as a couple.
What is the best Free Budget App for Couples?
Personal Capital is hands down the absolute best free budgeting app that couples should use.
Eric and I have tried a lot of budgeting apps and Personal Capital has everything that we are looking for in budgeting software.
It has both a wealth tracker and a budgeting aspect which allows us to fully understand our financial picture.
The value that Personal Capital offers for free is beyond what other budgeting apps charge for. Personal Capital is just in another league when it comes to financial management software.
What is the easiest Budgeting App?
If we had to pick the easiest budget app for couples to use, Eric and I would say that Mint is the winner here.
Mint is a tried and true budgeting software that has been around for a long time. It comes with a wide range of features but the focus has always been on budgeting.
However if you are looking for the easiest…
We would recommend paper and pencil.
Sometimes even the easiest software gets in the way of creating a budget. Eric and I found that moving from a paper based monthly budget allowed us to already have a good handle about our categories and some basic budgeting principles.
It allowed us to really know what we wanted to see in the budgeting app.
Summary of the Best Budget Apps for Couples
Eric and I truly believe that it is important to budget as a couple. It has helped not just our relationship but it has also helped us become financially healthy.
Budgeting apps are helpful for couples because it allows a real time understanding of your family’s budget. Many come with bells and whistles that help you really get a handle on your family’s finances.
For best overall budgeting app we would recommend Personal Capital. This is the powerhouse budgeting app that will meet all of your needs.
For the easiest budgeting app we would recommend Mint.
Let us know what is your favorite budget app for couples?