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Best budgeting and finance software available

As much fun as it is to enjoy the family, friends, food and gifts over the holidays, for most people, the hangover comes in January when all those credit card bills start arriving. Whether you stuck to a strict budget this season or maybe went just a little overboard, we have a great solution that can help you get a handle on spending plus help you save more to meet your goals.

The first question is, “Do you know how much money you are actually spending?” Finding out the answer to that one simple question could save you thousands of dollars. While you may have kept a spreadsheet of your finances in the past, that spreadsheet wouldn’t have actually lasted long for most people.

It’s a lot of effort to keep track of every purchase that you make. That’s why we’re bringing you this list of apps, downloads and cool sites that let you build a budget and stick to it every month.

The three that you’ll find on this list each provide different methods for tracking your finances, but all of them do one important thing: Let you visualize how much you’re spending and saving every month.

1. Albert

Need to save, pay off a credit card, get a loan or manage your monthly expenses? Albert is an app that makes it simple to keep track your finances.

The Albert app works with financial partners, such as banks and insurance companies so that the tools you need are right at your fingertips.

Start by connecting your accounts to the app. It works with thousands of U.S. banks, so you can sync your data easily.

Once synced, Albert reviews your finances and makes recommendations to help you get ahead. There’s even an option to save money automatically in your Albert Savings Account. This account is actually a Wells Fargo account that’s tied to the app. And, just like other savings accounts, the funds are FDIC insured.

What makes this app different is that it connects you with vetted companies, creating a resource network . That way, you always know your finances are in good hands. It also gives you reminders and real-time prompts to keep you on track with your goals.

Albert is a free download, but it’s only available for iOS at the current time.

2. Mint

Mint is one of the most popular online budgeting tools on the market. It’s an all-in-one platform that lets you keep track of your savings, investments and monthly expenses.

The site tracks your spending and savings to give you important tips on spots where you can save more money. Mint lets you set budget goals and tries its hardest to help you stick with them.

One of the reasons why Mint is so popular is that it boasts all of the security features that come with products under the Intuit brand. As one of the biggest accounting software providers in the world, any app released under the Intuit label is going to already know how to keep your information safe.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that won’t cost you a dime, then you might want to look at Mint for your budgeting.

3. You Need a Budget

While there are a bunch of free budgeting options that you can find online, very few of them actually manage to teach you how to budget your finances. One of the biggest features behind You Need a Budget is the tutorial programs that come with the $60 you spend on it.

YNAB tracks your finances, provides interactive money saving tutorials and claims to be able to provide its customers with a $200 turnaround in one month. The software comes with a 34-day free trial to drive that claim home.

The YNAB system operates on four principles:

  1. Give every dollar a job
  2. Save for a rainy day
  3. Roll with the punches
  4. Live on last month’s income

The company seems committed to teaching its customers how these principles can save them money. Who knows? You might just benefit from them!

Bonus: BudgetSimple

BudgetSimple does basically what the name suggests: Budget, simple. Its free offering is a little weaker than everything else you’ll see on this list. That’s mainly because it doesn’t automatically sync with your bank account unless you subscribe to the company for $5 monthly.

That’s not a hefty price to pay, though, and if you want a quick look into your finances then BudgetSimple might be a reasonable solution. The site also offers a mobile app to its paying users so you can verify that you’ve got the cash to pay for that big-ticket item that just went on sale.

One of the real features that we like about BudgetSimple is the design. All of these budgeting tools will help you build a budget, but the biggest difference between them is what they teach you about budgeting.

BudgetSimple seems to be built from the ground up to show you your budget and look nice doing it.

These tools will help you with your general budgeting. That might not be all of the help that you need. Click here to find 7 apps to help you with different financial issues.

Want more? Watch this video for 10 free money management apps: App background

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