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The best budget apps for beginners


Photo of woman calculating expenses at a grocery store

Thinking about using a budget app for the first time? We recently wrote about the pros of using mobile apps to keep track of your finances. Here are four recommendations for free options that are awesome for beginners. They are easy to set up and easy to use, and none sync to a bank account.

Interested in some advanced features or want to sync your budget app to your bank? Check out our review of synced-apps.

These apps don’t sync

Don’t have a bank account? Don’t worry. You’ll add each income and expense to these budget tracking apps yourself. This has the benefit of raising your awareness of your own finances. The drawback is that you’ll need to stay on top of adding your expenses. If you forget to add one, your tracking will be off.

App: Presupuesto Diario Original

Excellent if you want to control your budget every single day


  • Spanish-language app for Spanish speakers
  • Very simple and intuitive to use
  • Does not require previous registration – just download and track!

The awesome part is that this app turns your finances into a game and “challenges” you to “win” by saving money every day.

The first time you log in, they will ask about your income and recurring expenses like rent and cell phone bill, and your monthly savings goal. You can change this information later if your financial situation changes.

Then, they will work out your maximum daily budget (i.e $50/day.) From there, you add each expense as you spend money, and it will calculate how much more money you can spend that day. You should adjust your spending so you don’t go over the daily maximum. However, the more you save one day, the more funds you will have in your budget for following days.


The app offers a limited choice of categories to classify your expenses (i.e. grocery, entertainment, rent…). Once you get the hang of using the app and you find you need more categories, you can consider upgrading to a paid account. It comes with some extra services, as well.

As with all free apps, you will see some advertisements when using the app.

App: Spending Tracker

Excellent if you want the big picture of your finances


  • Designed for long-term financial planning
  • Allows for customized categories
  • Can add recurring monthly expenses (rent, cellphone bill)

This budget app does a great job creating graphical views of your finances. Just turn your cellphone horizontally. You can also set an alarm through the app so you don’t forget to check your budget status. Finally, it enables you to export your budget tracker information to other backup systems like Dropbox.


The advertisements on this app are more frequent than other apps.

App: Receipt Box

Excellent if you think simplest is best


  • Super simple format
  • Two ways to view your budget: balance sheet and pie chart
  • More than 35 expense categories

Do you want a basic tool where all you do is add and categorize your expenses to see the final monthly balance according to your income? This app works like that, as if you were writing it down in notebook. Except you will use icons to represent your expense categories, for example, an eggplant represents the category of food.

It also allows you to track the way you paid, such as cash, PayPal, or your debit card. Finally, you can add notes to each expense. So, you can categorize a grocery run as food and tag it for something special, like you purchased cake for someone’s birthday.


This app does not allow you to plan future or recurring expenses, like rent, or to establish saving plans. It is also focused on a monthly budget instead of a daily one.

As always, it has ads.

App: Everydollar

Excellent if you use a desktop computer and mobile device


  • Syncs to an account that can be accessed from your computer
  • Many more services and customizations than the above apps
  • Allows you to track your debt

To use this budget app, you need to create an account. This is necessary to be able to access it through a mobile device or desktop.

Everydollar is a kind of “Spending tracker” with so many extra services and possibilities for customizing your experience.

App: Goodbudget

Excellent if you think in categories


  • Syncs to an account that can be accessed from your computer
  • Creates mini-budgets for your categories of expenses

You must create an account for Goodbudget as well, since it can be access from the mobile device or computer.

Goodbudget classifies your expenses by “envelopes” as if you had physical cash stored in envelopes with different labels. You set a maximum budget for each envelop and adjust your monthly spending to that envelope. For example, your food envelope might have a $300 per month max. Record all your food expenses in that envelope until the envelope reaches zero or the month ends. If you have money left over, add it to your savings!

Now it is time for you to choose the budget app that works best for you! Good luck!


The information in this site, including any third-party content and opinions, is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Oportun product or service to your unique circumstances. Contact your independent financial advisor for advice on your personal situation.

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