Let’s get this out of the way up front: just as home mortgages are not “must-haves” for purchasing a house, no budgeting app is actually a “must have” to help you save for a down payment. However, trying to go it alone without either of these two options is quite simply way more trouble than it’s worth for anyone who isn’t a lottery winner.
Since buying a home is likely to be the longest, most expensive purchase you’ll make in your lifetime, why not make it easier on yourself and take advantage of one of the budgeting apps listed below.
If You Want the Best Overall
MINT (iOS, Android)
Mint is one of the oldest budgeting apps out there. It’s a free, market-leading app that syncs with your financial accounts to track your spending and help you create and stick to a budget.
You can use prepared spending categories or create your own for a real-time view of your finances.
ACORNS (iOS, Android)
Acorns automatically rounds up to the next dollar for every purchase you make and invests the change for you. “Double-round-ups” and automatic weekly investments (in increments of $5) are also available.
Cost: $1 a month for most users.
If You Just Want a Simple Budgeting App
POCKETGUARD (iOS, Android)
PocketGuard is another free app that focuses on just the basics: how much money you’ve already spent and how much you have left to spend for the week, month, and so on.
You can also break your spending out into categories such as utilities, food, etc.
If You Just Want to Track and Pay Bills
PRISM (iOS, Android)
Prism offers a free, one-app-view of your account balances and bills which you can pay right away or schedule for later. Prism also offers notifications for due dates and payment confirmations.
If You Need An App to Handle It All for You
ALBERT (iOS only)
Albert not only tracks all of your accounts and spending and creates a budget, but it also offers helpful tips and tricks for improving your finances.
The basic app is free, but if you’re willing to pay a monthly subscription fee, you’ll have access to Albert Genius and be able to text real financial experts for help with investing, paying off debt, how best to save for things like a down payment on a home and so on.
If You Just Want a Budgeting App
WALLY (iOS, Android (available as Wally+))
Wally is a free, one-trick pony that does its trick very well. It’ll keep track of your income and expenses to help keep you from ending up in the red each month.
If You Want to Save as a Couple
GOODBUDGET (iOS, Android)
Goodbudget is the app for couples who want to save as one, but it also works well if you’re a solo act.
And since it works with both iOS and Android it’s great for people who share a life together, but aren’t in lockstep when it comes to their choice of electronics.
If You’re A Cash-Only Sort
MVELOPES (iOS, Android)
Mvelopes isn’t free, but it’s the app for you if you prefer to put cash into designated envelopes each month so you have an immediate idea of what you have and haven’t got left to spend.
Obviously, there are some adjustments necessary to account for debit and credit card spending, but Mvelopes makes it easy to transition over.
If You’re a Power-Budgeter
YOU NEED A BUDGET (YNAB) (iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa)
YNAB isn’t cheap at $6.99 a month ($83.99 a year), but if you eat spreadsheets for breakfast, YNAB offers a system wherein each and every dollar is tracked and assigned a role by you. It forces you to become a hyper-aware budgeter.
Many Sizes to Fit All
As you can see, there’s an app out there for every type of saver and a saver for every app. You’ll still have to do the work of not spending, but with one of these electronic assistants at your side, you’ll be well along the path to home ownership in no time.
Want to learn more about saving for a down payment or home mortgages? Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you!