There are so many budgeting apps available that can help you manage your expenses and stay in control of your finances.
But which one is the best? Here is a list of the best budgeting apps for Canadians.
Mint is one of the best budgeting tools available. It is a free app that quickly connects your financial accounts to give you a quick overview of your money.
The overview screen provides a simple breakdown of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, loans and property. The daily graph lets you see your spending and net worth, so you can see where your money is going. You can also check your recent transactions.
Under the monthly tab, you can set up your monthly budget by adding your income and expenses. If you connect your financial accounts, you can quickly add expenses that you’ve incurred before.
Additionally, there are monthly graphs to understand cash flow better and help you avoid getting into debt. Transactions are automatically ordered into categories, which can be changed, customized with rules, or annotated with notes.
Another nice feature is the ability to set financial goals. Tell Mint what you are saving for, your target date and how much you can commit to saving each month. Mint works out how long it will take and will keep you in the loop as you work towards your goal.
While U.S. users can access their free credit score right inside Mint, this feature is not available in Canada.
Of all the apps reviewed, Mint has the best interface. We found that it’s intuitive and straightforward to use.
Cost: Free. Mint makes money from partnerships with other companies, which is why the app includes ads and offers for other financial services.
Apple store rating: 4.8
Google Play rating: 3.1
YNAB, or “You Need a Budget,” is a budgeting app that helps you track your spending and saving, set goals and stay on top of your bills.
It uses a zero-based budgeting approach, with every dollar allocated to different categories like bills, debt, and savings.
After signing up, you’ll receive a link to a handy YouTube video showing you how to use the app.
Once you open the YNAB app, you are prompted to enter your monthly bills, regular expenses, and non-monthly expenditures. Then it asks you to give estimates for financial goals and quality-of-life items like hobbies, entertainment, and health.
Once that’s done, link your bank and savings accounts. YNAB will sync your information (this took a little longer than Mint and PocketGuard, but no longer than a few minutes) to show you how much money you have in all of your financial accounts combined.
The premise is that you assign (or set aside) money for your expenses. Tap a bill, expense, or goal, and assign an amount to them. If money hasn’t been set aside for a specific category, it will appear grey. It will be yellow if you’ve assigned some money. And if you have allocated enough money, it’ll turn green. If you overspend on a category, it will notify you.
Similarly to Mint, transactions are easy to add and modify. You can assign it to an existing category or create a new one. You have the option of adding recurring transactions and memos.
The reports tab offers deeper insight into your spending, including the age of your money (how many days it takes you on average to earn and spend your money).
Cost: You can try YNAB free for 34 days with no credit card required. After that, you pay a monthly or annual fee. US$14.99 per month or US$99 yearly.
Apple store rating: 4.8
Google Play rating: 4.6
Goodbudget is a personal finance app that helps you manage monthly spending and saving through simple envelope budgeting.
You divide your bills and expenses into digital envelopes, ensuring you have enough money allocated to your needs every month while also helping you save money and pay off debt.
Instead of connecting your bank account, you must manually add your account balances, income, bill payments, and expenses. You can see your spending by envelope and income vs spending under the reports tab.
Once you register your household, your budget can be shared with the whole family by simply having the person log in on their device with the same login credentials.
Goodbudget also has easy-to-understand setup videos and a helpful community forum where you can ask questions and get advice from others.
Cost: Goodbudget offers a free version and a plus version (US$8 per month or US$70 annually). The free version allows one account, two devices and ten envelopes, while the plus version allows unlimited accounts, five devices and unlimited envelopes.
Apple store rating: 4.7
Google Play rating: 4.3
4. Money Manager
Money Manager is a personal budget app that tracks your income and expenses to help you understand your spending habits.
While you cannot import your financial accounts like Mint or YNAB, it does a good job of providing a snapshot of your finances through a simple calendar format, with preset categories for income, expenses and transfers. You can also filter your financial activity daily, weekly or monthly. The only downside is that you have to enter your information manually.
Although it’s simpler than most budgeting apps on this list, it still has some nice features, like being able to take a photo of a receipt and attaching it to an expense.
The stats feature in the app lets you see your income and expenses in an easy-to-read pie chart that shows the amount and percentage for each category.
While it doesn’t offer a raft of budgeting features, it is a free app that can help you manage your monthly budget and improve your cash flow.
Cost: Free with ads. You can make a one-time payment of CAD$9.59 to remove the ads.
Apple store rating: 4.8
Google Play rating: 4.7
PocketGuard is a budget app that helps you manage your money, spend wisely, and save.
PocketGuard will calculate how much money you have left in your pocket after budgeting for bills, goals and necessities. Simply link your bank, credit cards, loans and investments, then assign your expenses to categories. Alternatively, you can choose to input your information manually.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The free version is very basic, so to take advantage of the best features of PocketGuard, you need to upgrade to PocketPlus. Upgrading gives you access to the app’s better features, including:
- Unlimited, customizable categories, budgets and goals
- Debt avalanche payoff plan
- Longer transaction history
- Find and cancel subscriptions you might have forgotten about
- Cash spending features.
There is a feature that claims to help you lower your bills, but it only has U.S. suppliers available.
Cost: Free version with limited features. PocketGuard Plus is US$9.99 per month or US$96 per year.
Apple store rating: 4.7
Google Play rating: 3.9
Our pick for the best budgeting app in Canada
We compiled this list of the best budgeting apps in Canada by reading reviews in the iOS App Store and Google Play and only including apps rated highly by users.
It may not be everyone’s choice, but users will love Mint for the following reasons:
- It’s free.
- The app is fast loading, simple to use, with zero clutter and no fluff.
- It’s easy (and fast) to link and sync all of your financial accounts.
- Super easy to create and manage your budget.
- Completely customizable transactions and categories.
- You can plan ahead by creating goals.
- Reliable help and support.
A special mention goes to YNAB, which comes a close second and might be preferred by some Canadians due to its zero-based budgeting approach.
Before you choose, we encourage you to try them all and choose the best budgeting app for your needs.