The 7 Best UK Budgeting Apps to Track Your Money in 2022
8th December 2021
Budgeting is one of the best things you can do to change your financial life and help you leave your money worries behind, so why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, often it can be complicated and tedious, first to set up and then to continuously maintain and track your spending. Budgeting apps solve exactly that problem. With the apps on this list, you can track your personal finances on the go, giving you full visibility of your earnings, spending and what you need to do to save.
Many budgeting apps use Open Banking (like we do!) which means, with your permission, the apps have access to your banking, transaction and other financial data provided by your bank to create more personalised experiences. Then there are the apps that are hybrids and have multiple uses within the finance world. But where to start? Here we’ve compiled a list of the best budgeting apps so you can learn to manage your money this year.
Emma: The One That’s Easy to Use
Emma is designed to be your financial best friend, offering a huge variety of money management features including budgeting, flagging wasteful payments and subscriptions and notifying you when you’re reaching your overdraft. Using Open Banking, Emma brings all your bank credit card, savings, investments and pension accounts together for you to access in one place, giving you a complete view of your finances.
Emma’s user experience is where it truly stands out. Targeted at millennials, the app uses simple, casual language, features loud colours and is easy to navigate. You can view a list of all your regular payments before they come out of your account, as well as categorise your expenses across all accounts. Set budgets across all of these categories easily to start on your budgeting journey.
Other features include cryptocurrency integration, advice on how much you can affordably be saving each month and a fee tracker that tells you when and why banks have charged additional fees. This can help you decide if you really want to stick with that provider.
Yolt: The One All in One Place
Like Emma, Yolt gives you a single interface where you can see everything from current accounts and credit card balances to pensions and investments. Your spending is neatly categorised for crystal-clear visibility and you’ll also be able to set and track flexible household budgets all from one place. Yolt will send you insights into how you’re spending your money and what major expenses to keep an eye on.
You can set budgets based on categories like groceries, travel and takeaways and you’ll get a notification whenever you’ve reached that limit. One of its more standout features is that it offers a comparison service to help you find a better deal on your bills. For security, it’s worth knowing that Yolt is backed by ING bank, so you can expect the most up-to-date security systems and encryption.
Money Dashboard: The One That Predicts the Future
Money Dashboard is one of the UK’s more sophisticated budgeting apps and does exactly what it says on the tin: gives you a dashboard. Start by connecting all your accounts and track your spending from one place. Then choose from their four primary finance goals: buying a house, paying for a holiday, growing your savings or paying off your debts. The budget planner lets you set monthly limits based on your previous month’s spending while, with your savings, you can see just how much progress you’re making.
A highlight of Money Dashboard is its planner which is able to predict your future income and expenditure to take the guesswork out of your anticipated finances.
Cleo: The One with Personality
Cleo is here to help you budget and have fun while doing it, which is practically unheard of. Cleo is a one-of-a-kind AI (artificial intelligence) who knows all about how you should - and shouldn’t - spend your money. It works like an instant messaging service, answering your questions like “what’s my balance”, “how’s my budget” and “how much have I spent on McDonalds”. Cleo’s budgeting features are easy to use and modest in capability, just tell her what you’re trying to achieve.
Cleo is designed to empower you and your relationship with money, transforming finances into something worth engaging with. She’s quick, funny, savvy and ready to save you from your next financial hiccup. Why not let the AI do it for you?
Monzo: The One That’s Actually a Bank
While not purely a budgeting app, it wouldn’t be right to not mention Monzo bank. If you want full visibility and awareness over what you’re spending, this is the bank for you. You get real-time notifications every time money comes in or out of your account - even the unexpected ones - making you more conscious of your spending habits.
As a digital bank, Monzo offers an easy account summary, the ability to set monthly spending targets and allows you to switch over your full banking and salary to one place. For budgeting, you’ll be able to assign budgets to the various spending categories and receive warnings when you’re close to reaching the limit. Savings are easy with Monzo too, as you can set up savings pots and transfer into them or rely on their feature of rounding up to the nearest pound to fill your pots.
Goodbudget: The One for Couples
Thanks to the ability to seamlessly share and sync budgets with other people, Goodbudget is the perfect budgeting app for couples wishing to share their finances and goals. You’ll both get a clear view of how much your household is collectively spending, so you can cut back and save for what really matters. It’s also a good option for people with concerns about security, as it doesn’t use Open Banking and requires you to input your information yourself, meaning no personal details are shared.
Goodbudget uses the classic envelope method, where you set up multiple envelopes, divide your money between each one when you’re paid and use the money in each envelope for a different thing to create a proactive budget system. Here, categories are called envelopes and you’ll get up to 10 in the free version of the app.
You Need a Budget (YNAB): The One for Zero-Based Budgeting
YNAB is a fully hands-on approach to budgeting and is more complex than the other apps on this list, making it the best option for those dedicated to having a detailed budget. The app doesn’t simply passively track your past finances but focuses on proactively planning for the upcoming month. Features include being able to sync your accounts, set goals, customise your spending categories and the app even provides educational resources and workshops.
YNAB is all about zero-based budgeting. This is where you plan ahead and allocate each and every pound earned to a specific spending category, savings or investments, so nothing is unaccounted for. At the end of budgeting, your income minus your expenses should equal zero (remember this includes savings and investments). This makes you the CEO of your own money.
Choose What Works For You
Download any one of these apps and you’ll be a step closer to financial freedom and clarity - something we should all aspire to in the digital world. Managing your money can be difficult, but that’s just because you haven’t found the tools yet.