Best Budgeting Apps to Try Now (2022 Edition)
How are you at keeping track of your spending? Do you often go over or find it a struggle to save? Budgeting apps can be a great tool: cutting down the time you might spend trying to work things out, so you can keep tabs on expenses, find ways to trim costs if necessary, and even get into good saving habits.
Thanks to the development of open banking – technology that allows apps and services to access their users’ financial data in a secure way - budgeting apps have risen in popularity in recent years, and make the process of financial management both easier and more efficient. It’s a one-stop shop for monitoring your finances: if you wish, most apps have the facility to link up your bank/credit accounts so you can view them all in one place. You can analyse your income and areas of high spend; categorise transactions to see where you could potentially cut costs; and even set up notifications (providing you with daily updates; notifying you about transfers; or when you receive a payment; or when you’re close to breaching your allocated spending allowance).
In this blog, we’ll look at some of the best budgeting apps in the UK – so that you can start budgeting with confidence.
With this app – which is completely free (unlike many offerings on the market, which consist of more limited free versions plus paid upgrades) – you can link your credit cards and bank accounts (current, savings and investments) to keep track of what’s going in and out.
In addition, there are a host of great budgeting features: a tracker that categorises what you’ve spent over the last four weeks (with options to compare month-on-month), plus the ability to set yourself a budget for each month. Money Dashboard will then keep tabs and let you know when bills are due and when your balance is low.
With mobile and desktop versions, a fairly easy-to-use interface (it’s not as easy to navigate as Emma – see below – but is still pretty simple), and the ability to link to cryptocurrency and major investment accounts (such as Nutmeg), Money Dashboard is one of the best free apps around.
Similar to Money Dashboard, Emma connects to your account and keeps track of income and expenditure (as well as allowing you to split these expenses into handy categories). You can set savings goals as well as spending limits, and Emma will list all your subscriptions, let you know where you might be wasting money, and suggest where to make cutbacks – very helpful.
There is a paid version, but - in our opinion - you’ll get everything you need on the free app, which is quick and easy to set up and use.
Snoop is a smartphone-based budgeting app that gathers all your financial information in one place. There’s a big emphasis on making savings, here: by giving you a complete picture of your finances and an enhanced ability to budget, Snoop aims to show you where you can save money.
As well as helping you better understand your spending, Snoop tracks your regular bills and alerts you when these are higher than expected. In addition, it gives insight into different providers – sometimes recommending those who are offering cheaper deals – and includes other features like an annual insurance checker, cashback offers, and discount codes (which are tailored according to historical spending information and where you like to shop).
The app is free, but you’re asked to give Snoop a ‘tip’ if it makes you a big saving.
Financial information is of course sensitive and confidential, so it’s important to ensure that any app with the power to peruse your accounts is trustworthy. However, even with sufficient security measures in place, there is a risk in using a third-party app (if the app was the victim of cyberterrorism, for example), so it’s worth bearing this in mind before you proceed.
To make sure your data is as safe as it can be, we recommend following these steps before downloading any app:
Check the company’s details on the FCA register. You should be able to find the trading name and their FRN/FCA reference number on the company website; armed with this, you can check the FCA register to ensure the company has the correct authorisation (the wording you’re looking for would be something like ‘payment initiation service providers’ or ‘account information service providers’).
Check Open Banking – and think about GDPR. There’s a helpful list of regulated providers on the OpenBanking.org.uk website – but do note that not all regulated apps are listed here, so if your preferred app isn’t, it may mean that it accesses open banking via another approved company. Check to see if the details are listed on the company website. In addition, bear in mind that any information you share via open banking is protected by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and any app that you use should be following the rules stipulated in the GDPR. If their data practices don’t appear to be up to code, we’d advise that you look elsewhere.