Best Budgeting Apps for Your New-Grad Budget


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While entrepreneur Trent Erwin was studying journalism and business at Auburn University, he never kept a formal budget. When he began working full-time on his first business soon after graduation, he learned he’d to change how he thought about spending.

“I knew if I didn’t obtain a good grasp on my money which i would get out of hand and spend too much,” says Erwin, who’s now owner of two small businesses. He quickly made a budget and started using Mint, an individual finance application, to tracks his expenses on all his financial accounts.

Mint wasn’t right for engineer and blogger Trey Henninger, a 2014 graduate from the University of Texas, however. He states he tried the app but wanted some thing customizable. Lucrative uses Excel spreadsheets to break down his expenses into flexible, broad categories for example travel which includes everything from gas and car maintenance to train and flight costs.

“Making i had some financial goals that I perform toward allowed me that you follow my budget,” he says.

Willpower is difficult, especially when you have that first job paycheck burning an opening in your wallet. It might not seem like it, but all of us have to budget their money. Rather than thinking of budgeting as a necessary evil, realize that creating one will empower you to moderate your post-grad financial life.

Creating a budget

Figure out in which you would like your money to go every month before you start choosing tools to make use of. Julie Ford, a financial planner in Nyc, says she advises 20-somethings to utilize a modified form of the 50-30-20 rule for spending income: 50% of your income should go toward basic needs; 20% should be employed for savings and debt responsibilities; 20% ought to be for wants; and 10% ought to be allocated to “generosity.”

Ford says grads are in a unique position to consider the life-style they would like to live right out of faculty and create goals for the lifestyle they’d enjoy having later on.

“You can be really thoughtful concerning the type of life you want to lead,” Ford says. “Being proactive with the way you spend your hard earned money and never reacting to how your peer group spends on money and entertainment is essential. Consider deeper money motivations before you decide to spend.”

Other budget musts include:

  • Prioritizing debt
  • Automating your bill payments
  • Identifying long-term savings goals
  • Creating a separate emergency savings fund
  • Living under your means. Ford says, “College students are thrifty and i believe it’s valuable to hold onto that poor-student mentality.”

Experts say it might take a couple of months to produce a budget that accurately reflects how much is originating interior and exterior your bank account. Once you have a collection income and know what your debts will be, you’ll be able to choose a budgeting tool that ensures you don’t spend more than you’re earning, says Niomi Sage Williams, a financial planner and associate program director of the University of Colorado Financial Wellness Program.

“Choosing one method to track your budget and staying with it really is important. There are so many options so select one that actually works best for you,” Williams says.


Being in a position to make your own budget and stay with it is no easy feat – it is also not probably the most fun utilization of your time. Just remember that managing your financial life is empowering. Regardless of how bumpy your post-grad life is in your 20s, at least you can preserve your money under control.

To help you produce a budget, here are some of the most popular free budgeting apps.

10 free budgeting apps for the post-grad life


iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Mint is the most popular budgeting app on the market. It is a web-based personal finance tool that brings together all of your financial accounts in one place, connecting directly to your financial accounts, including banking, credit card, student loans, car loans and more.

You can create all kinds of budgets as well as savings goals, then receive notifications on the way to let you know how you’re doing. You may also see your debts lenders and make reminders to inform you when bills are due.

You Require a Budget

iOS, Android

You Need A Budget (YNAB) offers easy money management and imports transactions from your financial accounts. You can create savings goals as well as put aside money along the way to pay for large infrequent bills.

The app stores data in the cloud so that your budget is up-to-date anywhere you are connected to the Internet.

The catch: To use YNAB on mobile free of charge, you’ll want YNAB 4 for Desktop, that is free for 34 days then a $60 one-time purchase.


iOS, Android

GoodBudget allows you to create monthly budgets using a system by which expenses are split into “envelopes” for each budget category, for example groceries or transportation. After this you spend out of the designated envelope instead of your general budget.

The system enables you to plan your spending before it takes place. The mobile app syncs up with your internet account.

Spending Tracker

iOS, Android, Windows Phone

This user-friendly expense manager tracks your spending to help you adhere to your budget, whether it’s weekly, monthly or yearly. You can also choose how you can categorize your expenses.

Spending Tracker is not connected to your accounts, so you manually log your personal expenses and income into separate personal, business and savings accounts. Although?this really is more tedious than automated apps, it’s the most precise method to include all of your transactions – including those made with cash. You are able to additionally export transactions right into a CSV to make a spreadsheet and examine your budget that way.


iOS, Android

Mvelopes can help you create and manage a budget, repay what you owe, create savings goals through the envelope budgeting system. You categorize your expenses and also the app helps you track how much money you have left in each envelope for that month.

You can easily capture receipts from your phone to add to transactions. Mvelopes connects your mobile and tablet app to Mvelopes Web so you can view your accounts on this page.


iOS, Android

BillGuard helps you not only track your spending based on categories month over month, but it also helps protect your cards from fraud and errors. The app connects to your financial accounts and tracks your spending habits.

Its transaction monitoring system alerts you when suspicious charges have been made making use of your accounts and informs you when data breaches have occurred. Additionally, it looks for web deals and coupons to assist decrease your bills according to your spending patterns.

Pocket Expense

iOS, Android

Pocket Expense enables you to set multiple budgets and move funds in one budget to a different, also it tracks your debts and sends alerts when payment due dates are near. The calendar feature shows you month-to-month when you have a tendency to overspend.

The app delivers statistics and reports of your transactions and has easy search capabilities to find specific transactions.


iOS, Android

Wally is really a streamlined management of your capital app that can help you to view where your hard earned money goes, set after which stick to budgets. It can save you transaction receipts along the way and manually enter how much money you’ve spent – debit, credit, check and funds – to make sure all of your expenses are tracked.

You’ll receive notifications for upcoming payments or when you have reached your savings goals. It also allows you to export your budget to an Excel file to determine everything in one place.

Level Money

iOS, Android

Level Money’s “money meter” supplies a visual representation of methods your financial allowance does in order to help you stay within the black. It connects to your accounts to automatically update your budget as you make daily purchases.

You can build a plan that permits you to figure out how much you really have to spend daily, weekly and monthly. You can track your spending month-over-month and according to what merchants you frequent or categories you use usually.



Unsplurge is an app for individuals who want to cut costs. You place an objective, then log your progress while you set money aside for the goal each month. Its community feature shows how other people are while using app to achieve their very own goals to motivate you to stay on track.

It’s not a strict budgeting app, by itself, but it will help you assess where your money goes so you can reach your savings goals.

Anna Helhoski is really a staff writer at NerdWallet, an individual finance website. Email: [email protected] Twitter @AnnaHelhoski.


More from NerdWallet:

Create a financial budget in 4 Easy Steps

NerdWallet’s Guide to Life and Money inside your 20s

What to understand Before You Switch Accounts After College

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