Budgeting

The 9 best budgeting apps for tracking + saving money in a new city

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Whether you’re moving to New York for cold weather or to the beach in Los Angeles, it is exciting to move to a new city. But, If you’re living in a new city, you might be having trouble sticking to your budget. Signing the lease on a new apartment—especially if you’re not living with roommates—can be a real financial strain, on top of all the normal costs of settling in. A budgeting tool or an expense tracker app might be of great help. 

To help ease the transition, we’ve collected 9 great budgeting apps. They’ll help you get a feel for spending money in the city, so the pinch isn’t quite so bad. Here are our 9 favorite apps to help start tracking and saving your cash:

1. You Need a Budget (YNAB) – Best Overall

YNAB app is built on the budgeting philosophy that every dollar needs a job. The money management app builds a strategy by establishing all of your expenses—those car payments, deductibles, or travel costs, for example. 

YNAB then asks you to allocate every dollar in your bank account to these expenses, offering budgeting strategies that help you pay off your debts and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

You Need a Budget offers a 34-day free trial, after which it costs $84 a year. While it is one of the more expensive apps on this list, YNAB makes up for the cost with budget makeovers that save you money—up to $6,000 in the first year on average. 

Pros include:

  • Free 34-day trial
  • Great resources on budgeting, including podcasts, videos, guides, etc.
  • Available across multiple platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Alexa, and Android 
  • Allows for account syncing
  • Provides a total budget makeover

Cons include:

  • Expensive monthly cost
  • Takes more time to learn

2. Mint – Best Daily Management

Mint app is not only free but one of the most popular budgeting apps available. Powered by the Intuit system, Mint can sync with all your accounts, allowing you to effortlessly track your finances from a single dashboard. 

Mint is intuitive, easy to use, and offers alerts when your bills are due or funds are low—so you can buy that cup of coffee without needing to worry about overdraft fees.

This is perhaps the best budget app you can find for free. What sets Mint apart is its customizable alerts and all-in-one tracking. With Intuit’s system, your data requires multi-authentication and is encrypted to ensure your information is safe.

Pros include:

  • Free
  • Customizable alerts 
  • Easy to use with intuitive tools
  • Customizable budgets
  • Can access TransUnion credit score

Cons include:

  • In-app ads
  • Some technical issues reported
  • Can’t connect multiple accounts for shared budgets

3. Pocketguard – Best Spending Tracker 

Pocketguard can quickly answer your most pressing question when you’re out and about: how much can you spend right now? Once you set up your account and sync it with your bank, the app will let you know how much money you have left after paying your bills and standing subscriptions. 

When you open the app, you’ll immediately see how much money you have left—so you won’t have to read any sprawling budget tables when you’re out on the town. If you’re an overspender, then this app is perfect to help curb your bad habits. Through its monthly bill tracking, the app can help you find better deals on your phone, TV, and Internet bills.

Pros include:

  • Ability to integrate all your accounts
  • See available funds at a glance
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Helps find deals on monthly bills
  • Can access TransUnion credit score

Cons include:

  • Requires you to sync accounts
  • Some features are locked for the free version
  • Slow transaction tracking

4. Personal Capital – Best for Investing 

Personal Capital is another budgeting app that takes a total approach to their users’ finances, with features that give insights into regular spending cycles and investment portfolios. The real emphasis for Personal Capital is investments, offering you a one-stop solution to track your net worth. 

You can access the app’s tools for free—Personal Capital only charges a 0.89% management fee on your first million dollars invested. This app is a great way to help manage investments for the future from a single, convenient information screen.

Pros include:

  • Net worth tracking
  • Extensive analytics for tracking investments
  • Tools to monitor investment performance
  • Educational resources

Cons include:

  • Minimum $100,000 balance to access portfolio management
  • Less emphasis on day-to-day spending
  • Limited customization options

5. Trim – Best for Reducing Bill Payments

If you need help cutting back on spending, give Trim a try. Trim is an AI bot that aims to improve your financial health, interacting with you via text to help you save. The premise is to create a virtual assistant that helps you “trim” off those extra expenses, with ways to help lower your payments and bill costs.

Trim charges you a percentage of the savings it helps you make. This means that they are aggressive about negotiating bills and getting credits for you when there are service outages. If you don’t have internet for a couple of hours, you’ll see credits added to your account—even if you weren’t home to notice. With their premium plan, Trim is also able to negotiate the APR on your credit cards down, helping you get out of debt faster.

Pros include:

  • Helps to negotiate your bills
  • Analyzes your spending habits 
  • Easy to use and get started
  • Free version available

Cons include:

  • Charges you 33% of what Trim helps you save
  • Access to medical bill and credit card negotiation is only available with a premium plan
  • No app (uses Google or Facebook signup)

6. Wally – Best for Creating Budgets

Wally is a personal finance app that aims to give you a 360° view of your finances. If charts and graphs are the best way to help you visualize your spending, Wally is the app for you. 

By manually tracking your daily spending, you get a much more accurate representation of your spending habits than automated apps like Trim. While those apps can see where you spend your money, they are only guessing at what you spend your money on based on the store. 

You can use Wally to take an active part in your finances by setting savings goals and assessing where you spend the most money, so you know how to balance your budget better.

Pros include:

  • Graphics to help visualize your spending
  • Built-in features for all currency
  • Streamlined features make budgeting easy

Cons include:

  • Minimal financial tools beyond budgeting
  • Can be pricey to add on additional features
  • Requires manual tracking

7. Acorns – Best for Small Sum Investment

Acorns isn’t a budgeting app in the same vein as these others. Instead, it focuses on helping you save money like using a digital piggy bank. Every time you spend money on your card, Acorns will round up to the nearest dollar and invest the change into stocks. It’s completely free for college students, so it’s a great way to get a head start while you’re still in school. 

Acorns also gives you access to stock investments without having to buy full shares. This allows you the opportunity to increase your money’s worth at a much faster rate than a savings account. The app lets you control the types of investments you make, so you can decide how much you’re willing to risk in return for greater rewards potential.

Pros include:

  • Great educational content
  • Automatic investment saving
  • Easy to use and start investing

Cons include:

  • Expensive costs per ETF transfer
  • Limited portfolio options
  • Management fees

8. Digit – Best for Saving

Digit is an automatic budget app that helps track your purchases and finds ways to help you save. Digit syncs with your checking account and makes automatic transfers to your savings account based on the money you won’t miss, allowing you to automatically save without needing to constantly check on your budgets. 

Digit also has built-in goals and deadlines features, letting you customize how much you’re wanting to spend—so you can budget for that trip to the Bahamas. The app also provides overdraft prevention, which will instantly transfer money if you’re about to go under.

Pros include:

  • Automatic transfer tools make saving money easier
  • Ways to customize saving for different goals like travel and emergencies
  • Algorithm helps find you ways to save
  • Free 30-day trial

Cons include:

  • Potential overdraft not recommended for freelancers or contractors
  • Not suitable for budgeters who work on a month-by-month basis
  • $5 monthly fee after the free trial

9. Honeydue – Best for Shared Expenses

Honeydue helps you and your partner stay on the same page with your finances. The app offers ways for households to chat about expenses within the app, helping you decide responsibilities and ways to split bills. If you’re wondering who is in charge of the upcoming gas bill, Honeydue offers you and your partner a way to schedule and track that payment.

The app integrates with your bank account—and if you’re worried about privacy, you can choose which accounts are visible to your partner. If you’d like even more integration, Honeydue offers a joint bank account that is FDIC insured by Sutton Bank. 

Pros include:

  • Chat features within app to talk about expenditures
  • Joint bank account with free debit card
  • Easy to integrate financial information
  • Free

Cons include:

  • No desktop version
  • Limited long-term planning tools
  • No spending analytics features

Other resources for living in a new city

What is the best budget app? Well, that greatly depends on your financial needs and goals. Choose a budgeting tool or service that you feel comfortable using for the long run, so you can achieve long term financial stability.

While it’s paramount to budget, it’s also essential that you have a little fun too—especially when moving to a new city. Eventbrite is a helpful resource when looking for fun things to do in your new stomping ground. You can easily browse free events and filter by category to decide what you want to experience on your night out—from low-cost open mic nights to extravagant dance parties.

When embarking on a night on the town, splitting expenses for cab rides and late-night eats can get tricky. Venmo takes the hassle out of sharing money with your friends. If your friend buys you a movie or concert ticket, you don’t have to stop by the ATM before you meet up. Instead, you can use its in-app features to connect your bank account and pay your friends back digitally. 

When deciding to move to a new city while tracking monthly expenses, you can ask yourself, “what city should I live in based on my monthly budget?” This is a great way to track the average monthly expenses of each city to see if it’s the right move for you.

Budget for adventure with Common

Sometimes, all you need to have fun is the right company. When you live with Common, you’ll gain access to our built in community that makes it easy to enjoy the city on a budget. Attend a free event with other Common members (everything from wine tasting to Broadway shows!) or host a gathering in one of our home’s beautiful amenity spaces.  

Stay connected to your new city with Common — book a tour today!

 

Sources: 

  1. Moneyunder30. Do Money Better With Trim, Your New ‘Personal Finance Assistant’. https://www.moneyunder30.com/trim-review 
  2. clark.com. Acorns Review: How It Works, Pros & Cons. https://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/investing-retirement/acorns-review/ 
  3. CNBC. This is the best budgeting app for over-spenders. https://www.cnbc.com/select/pocketguard-budgeting-app-review/ 
  4. Forbes. Best Budgeting Apps Of November 2021. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/banking/best-budgeting-apps/ 
  5. Haven Life. Review: The best budgeting apps and services in 2021. https://havenlife.com/blog/best-budgeting-apps-2021/ 
  6. Investopedia. Best Budget Apps. https://www.investopedia.com/best-budgeting-apps-5085405#best-for-overspenders-pocketguard 
  7. thebalance. Best Budget Apps. https://www.thebalance.com/best-budgeting-apps-4159414#best-for-just-budgeting-wally 
  8. Business Insider. The best budgeting apps of November 2021. https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/best-budgeting-apps 

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