Almost every aspect of personal finance—budgeting, behavior modification, saving money and changing your spending habits—starts from one place: Tracking your expenses.
After all, if you don’t know where you stand from the beginning, you’re going to have one heck of a time making things better.
Back in the day, tracking your expenses involved bank statements and paper and pens and long, hand-written addition problems in the margins. But today we don’t face any of those same annoyances.
All we have to do is link our financial accounts up to an app and we can magically view charts and graphs that convey our financial realities.
Top Spending Tracker Apps of 2021
1- Tiller Money
We may be partial, but we designed Tiller Money to be the best money tracking tool available.
Using Tiller, you can easily view what’s going on with all of your financial accounts in one place, whether you’re looking at your checking account, credit cards, bill payments, and more.
You can customize your sheets or even individual line items as much or as little as you desire.
Once you’re set-up, Tiller Money automatically imports your latest spending each day. You can visualize trends with customizable charts and graphs. See where your money is going, how your money habits have changed over time, and how your actual spending has lined up with your financial goals.
You’ll also have easy access to visuals for cash flow, net worth and even debt repayment progress bars.
The first month of Tiller Money is free, after which it’s $79/ year ($6.58/month).
2 – Mint
Mint is one of the oldest budgeting tools, and it’s still around for a reason.
Mint is free, allows you to link all of your financial accounts and allows you to get a quick idea of where you stand financially very quickly. It’s a format that has helped a lot of people over the years as they budget, track expenses and more.
Mint does have some shortcomings. If you are with a smaller bank or credit union, you may have trouble synching your account. That means your transactions won’t be logged in real time. This can be said of many spending tracker apps, but Mint has another detraction that makes it stand out. While it is free to use, you will be inundated with ads. If you’re willing to accept these drawbacks, Mint’s proven format and ability to link all of your accounts may be another good fit.
3 – Personal Capital
Personal Capital can do a lot that Mint can do, but it is extremely user-friendly, built specifically with investors in mind. While you’ll be able to track your expenses and view beautiful graphs, you’ll also have robust options for data drawn from your investment accounts.
The software itself is free to use, but if you’re looking at your long-term financial goals, Personal Capital makes money off of its investment recommendations. If you have $100,000 in assets, you can get a free consultation with a fiduciary. Aside from that, annual fees are 0.89% when you choose to use Personal Capital to invest.
4 – Clarity Money
Clarity Money is a free money manager app owned by Marcus—an arm of Goldman Sachs. With this spending tracker app, you can link accounts from most major outside financial institutions. You will be able and likely prompted to open a high-yield savings account with Marcus through this app. It’s not a requirement, but the sale will be pushed.
Clarity Money does let you view your expenses in an illustrative chart by month, broken down by category. You can also view your expenses by store—a feature we think is so cool we have built this capability into Tiller Sheets.
You’ll also be able to easily view monthly subscriptions you may have forgotten about, enabling you to cancel any that are unnecessarily sucking the life out of your budget. Your credit score will also be accessible.
5 – Dollarbird
Dollarbird is an app that syncs with Calendar to help you plan and track your expenses. The layout is simple, but it will allow you to see how you’re spending your money compared to past months across categories. Dollarbird is free unless you want to buy the version for couples ($3.33/month) or the higher-priced Business version.
Bear in mind that while Dollarbird is free, tracking of your expenses isn’t automatic. You will have to manually input them, unlike Tiller and other tools listed above that pull data directly from your bank or credit union into your spreadsheet.
6 – Goodbudget
If you are a couple or someone working their way out of debt, Goodbudget has unique features that might be a fit for you. The free version of this budgeting app includes the ability to have two devices under one account so you and your partner can stay on the same page. The debt tracker helps you visualize how much you’ve chipped away and how much more you have to go to get back in the black.
Goodbudget uses a digital envelope system to help you budget. The free version gives you 20 envelopes and stores your past spending and budgeting data for a year. If you need more envelopes or want to track your expenses over a longer period of time, Goodbudget will charge you $6/month for unlimited envelopes and budgeting history going back seven years.
7 – Mvelopes
Mvelopes starts at $6/month. For this premium, you get access to their digital budgeting app which links with your bank account. Higher levels of membership give you access to more records, resources and personal coaching either four times per year or once per month. There is a premium for these additional features, though; expect to find yourself paying between $19-$59/month.
If establishing better money management habits with professional help is your goal, the extra spend might be worth it. However, if your primary goal is tracking your expenses, you might not want to pay extra for services superfluous to your personal aspirations.
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to budgeting apps that will give you access to expense reporting. Which one is best for you will depend on your goals. If you love the idea of a digital envelope system, Goodbudget’s free option may be a good match for you. If you want something simple and to the point, Clarity Money may be a great fit.
If you want something highly customizable, automatic and easily accessible, we hope you’ll give the Free Tiller 30-Day Trial a shot.