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9 free budgeting apps to help you manage your expenses (2024)

9 free budgeting apps to help you manage your expenses (2024)
PHOTO: Pexels

It's 2024, and if you're not using budgeting apps, you're missing out on a world of convenience when it comes to tracking your spending.

Whether you're looking for a basic app or want one that's packed with features, there's bound to be an app for you. Forget trawling through Excel spreadsheets — simply enter your expenses into an app and find out at a glance how much money you'll need for your upcoming holiday or home purchase. Goodbye tedious spreadsheets, hello sleek interfaces!

Oh, and did we mention that all the apps featured in this list are free, or include a free version? With a plethora of apps out there, it's never been easier to make a budget and stick to it. Read on to discover how to manage your expenses and take charge of your finances today.

Household Account Book: Simple and straightforward, for those who love cute cartoons

If you're a fan of cutesy stuff, Household Account Book wins for its adorable cartoon illustrations featuring its mascot Pisuke. The app is pretty simple to use; enter your income and expenses to see how much money you have at month’s end. You can also see a breakdown of your expenses in pie chart form.

One quirky feature of the app is a comic of two friends on their savings journey — the more you use the app, the more of the comic you can read. Plus, it even offers downloadable wallpapers for your phone. This is a great choice if you're looking for a user-friendly app that's not overly complicated.

Spendee: Manage unlimited wallets effortlessly on-the-go

For US$14.99 (S$20.14) a month, Spendee's Spendee Plus plan lets you connect unlimited wallets, including crypto and e-wallets, and provides a complete overview of your cash flow at a glance. You can set budgets to keep your spending under control, create customised wallets for specific events or categories, manage multiple currencies, and share your wallets with a partner or family member.

If you don't mind paying more, consider getting Spendee Premium, which costs US$22.99 (S$30.88) and gives you access to the full suite of features like bank account syncing, essentially automating your expense tracking.

If you just want a simple budgeting app, the free version is good enough if all you want to do is input your income and expenses. You get a 7-day free trial regardless of which plan you sign up for.

Wally: AI-powered finance app that helps you plan and set goals

Wally bills itself as the "world’s first AI-powered personal finance app" that lets you ask complex questions about your finances to get intelligent and tailored answers, plan and set goals, and learn more about markets and investing.

The latest 4.0 version of the app features a new redesign, connects your bank accounts, automatically tracks and categorises your spending, and shows upcoming bills and payments so you can stay on top of your expenses. It connects over 15,000 banks from 70 countries, making it a breeze to connect and track multiple accounts in one place. 

Apart from the usual charts and graphs, it also provides insights comparing your month-to-month spending across different categories to let you know how your spending has changed over time. What's more, you can rename businesses and transaction categories, set monthly bills and subscriptions to repeat, and personalise your budget period and type.

While Wally used to have a paid version, the app is now 100 per cent free with no subscriptions or hidden charges. Go on, download it and try it out for yourself.

Dobin: More than a budgeting app

Singapore-based Dobin aims to help you save, spend and track your expenses better through AI and data analytics to ensure you have a clear view of your finances.

The free app links your accounts and cards, automatically tracks your spending, and sees your monthly expenditure so you can spend smarter and adjust your goals accordingly.

It's not just a budgeting app — Dobin also collates and categorises thousands of discounts from brands, saving you precious time searching for shopping deals.

It plans to roll out a credit card recommendation tool based on your spending habits and financial goals, ensuring you'll find one that's suitable for your needs. Also in the works is a tool to browse and compare home loans.

An app that not only budgets for you but also aggregates deals and credit card promotions — what's not to like? 

Money Manager: Efficient and feature-packed

With its simple, no-frills interface, Money Manager is ideal if you're looking to budget efficiently with minimal fuss. Its double-entry bookkeeping system records all transactions across your accounts while its handy calendar view lets you review your spending weekly or monthly.

Clear and organised charts show categorised spending breakdowns like loans and insurance, and you can set budgets for each category. You can also arrange automatic debit for credit or debit card bills by linking your card.

New updates include the ability to edit currency exchange rates and delete your autocomplete history.

The free version comes with plenty of features already, while the paid version requires you to make a one-time in-app purchase-this gets you no ads and unlimited assets.

Monny: Where budgeting meets playfulness

Let's face it, budgeting isn't the most fun activity. Enter Monny, with its friendly namesake bunny mascot and whimsical graphics of an enchanting theme park that is guaranteed to make budgeting more pleasant.

Playful appearance aside, the app's simple dashboard that monitors expenses, comprehensive reports and customisable accounts make managing your finances, dare we say, a delightful experience.

Unlock the premium version with a one-time purchase to access charts of your top 10 expenses, annual spending trends graphs and pie charts of your monthly spending broken down by category.

MoneyNote: Embrace simplicity

Hailing from Japan, MoneyNote is a "simple household account book app" designed to be as easy and hassle-free to use as possible. There’s no need to register and no in-app purchases to make. Log your expense or income on the input screen and it automatically creates calendars and reports.

Generate annual and monthly analysis reports to learn your average monthly expenses and percentage for each category. 

You can also set fixed expenses and income, and export your reports as CSV files. With 20 colourful themes and 25 app icons, you can customise the app to your heart's content.

Ivy Wallet: Simplify your finances

Think of Ivy Wallet as a manual expense tracker that will replace the sea of spreadsheets you’re currently floundering in. Its simple and customisable interface helps you track your income, expenses and budget with ease. 

Organise expenses according to personalised categories, track your activity across multiple accounts and set budgets to manage your spending. The app's nifty widget lets you directly input incomes, expenses and transfers from the home screen. Monthly expenses are presented in beautiful categorised pie charts to help you understand what you spend on.

YNAB: Transform your relationship with money

Short for You Need A Budget, YNAB is more than a budgeting app — it aims to change the way you approach your finances. At its core is the principle of giving every dollar a job, which means assigning each dollar a savings goal. This helps you prioritise your spending and provides a buffer for unexpected expenses.

Its intuitive interface makes it easy to set and maintain budgets, track spending in real-time and adjust goals as needed. You can either add transactions manually or link accounts to see the big picture of your finances.

If you have loans, the app calculates the time and interest you save with every dollar paid, helping you to spend mindfully and live within your means.

YNAB stands out from the other apps on this list by offering tons of resources including a dedicated support team, live workshops, online tutorials, guides and more-truly an encouraging buddy on your financial journey.

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This article was first published in MoneySmart.

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