Where does all the money go by the end of each month? The best spending tracking apps for your smartphone will make it so that you no longer need to wonder.
A number of apps let you set a budget, log your expenses and even do some micro-investing — all from your iPhone or Android phone. We've looked through the iOS App Store and Google Play to find the best apps for tracking your spending. Here are our picks for apps that help you take control of your budget.
Apple Card (iOS: Free)
For iPhone users, any talk about tracking spending should start with the Apple Card. While it's a Goldman Sachs-backed credit card, not a budgeting app, Apple's latest service has a component that lets you keep track of your spending.
Besides an easy application process and a cash-back program, the Apple Card also breaks down your monthly purchases by category. You'll be able to launch iOS's built-in Wallet app to see your weekly and month spending patterns, with Apple using machine learning to identify categories for each purchase.
We've had a chance to review Apple Card, and we think it makes a lot of sense for people who regularly use Apple Pay and want an easy way to monitor spending, though users who like to earn travel rewards through their credit card may want to look elsewhere.
PocketGuard (Android, iOS: Free)
PocketGuard is an all-in-one bank account tracking and budget management app that shows you how much you've got in your accounts, as well as how much you can afford to spend for the day.
The app connects to your bank and card accounts through an encrypted, read-only connection, allowing you to quickly view the status of your accounts and transactions while remaining secure. From there, PocketGuard automatically sorts your purchases, subscriptions, and bill payments, and factors in your previous spending factors to provide you an estimate as to how much you can safely spend from your accounts without going into the red.
Wally (Android, iOS: Free)
Budget tracking app Wally gives you a free expense tracker that you can augment with extra features available through premium subscriptions. Users sign in with their email address, and can then set a savings target and daily budget, log expenses and income, track expenses over time, set reminders for bills and more, all presented in a timeline feed or in a calendar.
Premium subscription packages with Wally add features like group budget tracking, foreign accounts and currency conversions, and other features.
Wallet (Android, iOS: Free)
Wallet is another neat mobile budget and finance tool that touts a lot of best-in-class features, as well as support for multiple currencies. (iPhone users — don't confuse this with the Wallet app that's built into iOS for managing features like Apple Pay and digital tickets.)
This Wallet app includes automatic bank syncing for your balance and expenses. It also gives you the option to manually import entries manually, label transactions for easy tracking, and track budgets. Financial insight and other metrics and predictions display in easy visualizations to help you plan out your finances.
While the app is free, you'll want the $14.99 premium subscriptions to take advantage of features like bank syncing, widgets, and more detailed charts and reports.
MoneyStrands (Android, iOS: Free)
Link your existing bank accounts to MoneyStrands, and the app will help you track your balance, expenses and spending habits. Handy charts and graphs will show you where each dollar's going.
Users can set personal savings goals and build a categorized budget, quickly figuring out if they've got space in the budget to indulge on extras. A calendar feature also helps you figure out when you make most of your purchases and when your income rolls in.
The app is free to use, links with more than 500 financial institutions, and is a read-only finance and money management tool protected by 256-bit SSL encryption to keep your financial info safe from prying eyes.
Money Lover (Android, iOS: Free)
Money Lover is an all-in-one freemium toolkit that allows you to track your cash on hand and bank accounts, create a budget, view infographic breakdowns of your spending and more.
The free features already cover most of your basics, from entering expenses and building budgets to viewing and tracking your spending habits. With in-app purchases or a premium subscription, you get extra features, such as receipt scanning and automate expense tracking; you're also able to link your accounts to the app, saving you from manually tracking your bank account and related expenses.
Dollarbird (Android, iOS: Free)
Dollarbird takes a collaborative, calendar-centric approach to budgeting and expense tracking. You can add, remove and edit expenses and income past and future in a calendar-style view, with some AI help to categorize your entries. You can then view your expenses and income in calendar and timeline mode, or via a series of handy infographics on your mobile device or through a web interface.
Premium users can create multiple budgeting calendars and share them with other users to collaboratively manage and log finances and expenses — great for small teams or families.
Honeyfi (Android, iOS: Free)
Honeyfi is another app built around collaborative budgeting and households in mind. You can quickly set up a household budget as well as link your individual and household accounts to the app so that you can view all your expenses together. You can tag transactions, add comments, create categories, and have the app automatically recommend a budget and share financial insights that can help you and your partner come to grips with your expenses and plan out your finances together.
Clarity Money (Android, iOS: Free)
Clarity Money is a free personal finance app backed by Goldman Sach's online Marcus bank. The app incorporates a variety of methods to help you manage your budget and save money.
Link your bank and card accounts to the app, and Clarity then analyzes your spending behavior, identifying opportunities to save money, such as discounts and coupons for your bills, pointing out subscriptions that you might not be using, and helping you build a budget and track your spending. You can also set a savings goal, with Clarity Money taking a set amount from your bank account periodically to deposit in a savings account.
Fudget (Android, iOS: Free)
Many mobile budgeting apps throw in everything and the kitchen sink when it comes to features. Fudget, on the other hand, is all about hard-and-fast simplicity, and being able to use the app on the go.
One button lets you add income, another expenses — all of which can be labeled and reordered on a simple timeline that displays your balance at the bottom. Swiping each entry lets you either set it as a recurring entry or delete it. And that's it. No folders, no savings categories, photos, graphs, or other gimcrackery.
Power users will be left wanting for more, but for fast expense logging, Fudget is a nimble and easy to use app. An in-app purchase provides themes and a built-in calculator, while removing advertising.
Spendee (Android, iOS: Free)
Spendee features a brightly colored, user-friendly interface that comes with great budgeting tracking tools, whether you're a free user or a subscriber. Users can easily input and categorize expenses, complete with receipts and photos. You also can quickly view your expenses in a feed view, while the Overview mode offers useful infographics on your spending over time plus a breakdown of what items and categories you're spending your money on.
Spendee has also added a budget creation tool, elevating it from spending tracking to a proper budgeting app. Premium users get even more love, with bank account syncing for automatic expense logging, as well as multiple budgets, shareable savings wallets, and cross-device syncing.
YNAB (Android, iOS: $5 per month)
A companion app to the popular You Need A Budget personal budgeting platform, YNAB keeps your personal budget at your side at all times.
The YNAB mobile app allows you to quickly refer to your accounts, budget categories, enter new transactions, and modify your budget categories on the fly with your mobile phone. The app syncs with your other devices, allowing you to keep your budget data up to date on Android, iOS, and web versions of You Need A Budget, and the web version also contains a variety of educational tools and guides aimed at helping users build good budgeting habits and financial discipline.
IOU - Debt Manager (Android, iOS: $2.99)
For a budgeting tool that's a bit more focused, check out IOU - Debt Manager, an app that helps you keep track of who owes you what (or what you owe to other people).
Three simple tabs let you keep track of what people owe you, what you owe other people and a contacts page with summaries of what each individual owes in their contact profile. Users can set up partial or periodic payments, recurring debts, create non-monetary loans (such as say a loaned book) complete with pictures of the item, set a payoff date and more.
The app syncs between platforms and devices, and in addition, you can view a history of past debts settled.
Mint.com Personal Finance (Android, iOS: Free)
Intuit's Mint Personal Finance not only helps you track your spending, but also your financial state as a whole. Besides allowing for in-depth personal budget management and expense logging, the Mint app lets you sync your bank and card details for an up-to-date and secure look at your financial state.
It's overkill if all you're looking for is a little help with simple budgeting, but Mint Personal Finance is great if you're looking for more features.
Mvelopes (Android, iOS: Free)
The best spending tracking apps let you see just how your behavior affects your bottom line. At the end of the month you may be surprised at how much went toward your morning lattes (not kidding).
Mvelopes gives you the tools to track your daily spending while keeping your weekly or monthly budget in focus. The app features an “envelope budgeting” system that helps you plan as well as get feedback on how you spend your money. A universal accounts screen lets you view checking, savings and credit card balances in one place. You can even sync the mobile app with the Mvelopes web app.
GoodBudget (Android, iOS: Free)
Think of GoodBudget as an envelope-based budgeting tracker that doubles as a finance manager, checkbook ledger and household budget planner. The app lets you manage your bills and finances while syncing across devices and the Web to share with family members.
GoodBudget facilitates saving with Goal and Annual Envelopes, giving you tools to plan your spending or create a budget. The app is free and ad-free, but subscribers get additional benefits like Unlimited Envelopes and additional syncing and transaction history.
Expensify (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're a business traveler, then Expensify is easily your best friend when it comes to making easy expense reports. It allows you to manually track expenses, photolog receipts and even import purchase info from your credit card for IRS validated eReceipts.
Perhaps the best feature is Smart Scan, which allows users to photograph a receipt and have it read by computer and automatically generated as an expense. The app includes input options for travel mileage, time and rate based expenses, as well as automatic currency conversion.
Credit Karma (Android, iOS: Free)
Whether you’re asking the bank for a loan or trying to rent an apartment, your credit score matters. Credit Karma is a free app that retrieves and monitors your credit scores from credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion.
But there’s more to life than raw numbers. The Credit Karma service enlightens you on what your scores mean and offers product recommendations — credit cards, insurance and loans — tailored to your financial circumstance.
Even without punching in your credit card number, Credit Karma lets you monitor your credit with weekly and daily updates and notifications.
Digit (Android, iOS: Free)
Digit may be the easiest way to sock away a few extra bucks without even trying. Every few days, Digit checks your spending and tries to salvage a few dollars from your checking account, if you can afford it.
After you connect your checking account to Digit, the app analyzes your income and spending in search of small amounts (most often between $2-$17) to set aside and transfer to your Digit savings. The app never transfers more than you can afford, so no worries about over-drafting — the app has a no-overdraft guarantee.
Robinhood (Android, iOS: Free)
Robinhood positions itself as a disruptive service for small-scale traders, offering commission-free trading for stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. In addition to the trading, users can view information on shares, stocks, and the latest news affecting the markets and their investments. You can also browse collections of stocks and ETF options based on your interests and current portfolio.
Robinhood offers a premium Robinhood Gold service that gives access to margin trading (loans for the purpose of trading) starting at $6 per month for an extra $1,000.
Qapital (Android, iOS: Free)
Qapital is another banking app that aims to help automate your saving and budget goals, with smart, user-defined rules that automatically deposit a small amount into your Qapital Goals Account based on your transactions and purchases. These can include shaving off your change after every purchase, or depositing $10 to your vacation account every time you visit the gym.
Once you hit your saving goal, such as the price of a vacation or new gadget, you can transfer the money back into your funding account to spend. Alternatively, you can also get a few more perks with Qapital's spending accounts and the Qapital Visa Debit Card.
Acorns (Android, iOS: Free)
Acorns takes micro-investing mobile, grabbing the spare change from your purchases and investing it into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to slowly build up seed money for your future.
Once you sign up with your bank account or card details, Acorns provides you with a questionnaire to flesh out your financial situation and goals, and then the app will recommend a mix of ETFs for you to invest in. Every time you make a purchase with your linked card or account, Acorns takes the spare change (rounding up to the nearest dollar) to invest, building up your portfolio over time. Users can also manually set up one-time investments and recurring investments.
Rather than charging you per transaction, Acorns charges a nominal monthly fee of $1 a month for accounts less than $5,000, or 0.25 percent per month for accounts greater than $5,000.
Stash (Android, iOS: Free, with account charges)
Stash is another mobile micro-investing app that's all about setting aside small amounts for long term investment.
Stash employs fractional shares in order to allow its investors to get their foot in the door even with $5, with a variety of investment strategies and ETFs along with a built in "Stash Coach" to help you strategize.
The first month is free, after which accounts are charged $1 per month, or 0.25 percent of account value per year, for accounts above $5,000.
Personal Capital (Android, iOS: Free)
The more complex your financial life, the more help you will need to manage it. By linking together all your investment accounts, the Personal Capital finance app lets you see everything in one place, offering an overarching vision of your income, spending, and investments.
The app helps you control spending and finances with interactive cash flow tools, ensuring that you do not spend more than you make. Advisors are on hand to dispense investment advice as you use the app to track investments and review asset allocations.
Expense IQ (Android: Free)
Expense IQ (formerly EasyMoney) combines an expense tracker, budget planner, checkbook register and bill reminder to allow you to easily track daily expenses, create monthly budgets and analyze spending via customizable reports.
The app’s Smart Overview shows account balances summary, critical expense reports, upcoming/overdue (be it one-time or recurring) bill reminders and budget warnings. It also features repeating transactions, transfers between accounts, and detailed, interactive reports.
Download Expense IQ: Android
Prism (Android, iOS: Free)
If you need your banking account manager in your pocket, Prism is there to help you pay bills and monitor bank and credit card balances without the tedium of logging into individual financial sites. You can monitor upcoming bills due and make payments directly from the app.
Prism supports a huge roster of financial institutions, letting you add your bank accounts and bills to ensure that you never miss a payment, exceed credit limits or overdraft. Listings are localized to your area, so familiar vendors automatically pop up.