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Are you and your partner unsure about how to start tracking your spending? Here are 4 budgeting apps that can help

Budgeting apps can do the grunt work for you — and some of them actually work perfectly for couples.

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Anchiy | E+ | Getty Images

Budgeting can be tedious and daunting, especially when there are so many different accounts to keep track of, like for savings, investments and retirement. So when you and your partner have to manage your money together as a couple, dealing with double the number of accounts can make budgeting feel extra stressful.

That's why there are so many budgeting apps designed to do the grunt work for you — and some of them actually work perfectly for couples.

To determine which budgeting apps are the best for couples Select reviewed and compared a variety of options, looking at their pricing, features and user reviews. (see our methodology for more information on how we choose the best budgeting apps.)

Best budgeting apps for couples

Best overall free app

Honeydue

Information about Honeydue has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by Honeydue prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free

  • Standout features

    Allows couples to see both partners' bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments (and each partner can select what to share with the other) so you can manage money together and see everything at one glance

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can customize

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, you and your partner's bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Data encryption, Touch ID and multi-factor authentication

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Helps couples manage their money together, track spending, coordinate bills
  • Syncs to you and your partner's bank accounts
  • Choose what accounts you want to share
  • Users set up monthly spending limits in each category and are alerted when they or their partner is reaching limit
  • Bill payment reminders
  • Chat and send emojis to your partner through the app
  • Offers joint bank account
  • Security features include data encryption, Touch ID and multi-factor authentication

Cons

  • Some reports of app being buggy and transactions not showing up immediately

Who's this for? The Honeydue budgeting app makes it easy for you and your partner to get a comprehensive view of your finances together without having to log into a bunch of different accounts every single time. In other words, loans, investments, checking accounts and savings accounts can all be shared with your partner, but the app allows both of you to choose which accounts you want to actually connect.

The app also allows you to track spending and coordinate bill payments so you're both on the same page. And with bill payment reminders and monthly spending limits that users set up in each category, the app helps couples make sure they aren't overspending. If you or your partner are reaching a certain spending limit, you both will be alerted. Partners can also split expenses with each other directly in the app.

And, Honeydue is also offering its own joint bank account. The account has free ATM access, a debit card for both partners and no monthly fees or minimums.  

Best for the envelope budgeting system

Goodbudget

Information about Goodbudget has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by Goodbudget prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free for 20 total envelopes; $70 annually for unlimited envelopes

  • Standout features

    Allows couples to use the envelope system digitally for budgeting, and allows couples to track their debt

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users must manually input transactions since the app does not sync to your bank account

  • Links to accounts

    No, users must manually input purchases and transactions

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android) and as a version for laptops

  • Security features

    Information is secured using bank-grade 256-bit SSL

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Free version of the app
  • Helps couples manage their money together, track spending and track debt
  • Ability to share budget with your partner
  • Digital envelopes help couples save for big goals that matter to them
  • Indicates when you've gone over budget
  • Money management courses and resources available

Cons

  • Can't connect bank accounts so users must manually enter transactions

Who's this for? The Goodbudget app allows users to track their household's spending using the "envelope method." The envelope method means that each month, users allocate a certain amount of their income into categories (or digital "envelopes") labeled for things like groceries, rent, date nights, travel and debt payoff.

This makes it easy to prioritize your spending and plan ahead. Users are only supposed to spend the amount allocated to each envelope, and if they go beyond their budget the envelope will show red to indicate that they overspent.

The envelope method is generally recommended for people who are new to budgeting, so if you and your partner need a way to ease into categorizing your spending, the app might be able to improve your confidence in that area.

Unlike most budgeting and expense tracker apps, Goodbudget does not link to users' bank accounts and credit cards. Instead, you manually input your transactions into each digital envelope. This actually forces couples to take a hands-on approach to managing their money since they'll have to actually check to see how much they're spending in order to upload purchases to the app. However, some people may find manually inputting their transactions to be tedious.

The Goodbudget app has a free version which lets you create 20 envelopes, use the app on up to two devices, track one year's worth of transaction history and track debt. Some couples may find that 20 envelopes aren't enough for them, in which case they may consider upgrading to the premium version of Goodbudget for $70 a year or $8 a month; the premium version allows the use of unlimited envelopes, access to the account on up to five devices, access to seven years' worth of transaction history and debt tracking.

Best for tracking your spending

Mint

Information about Mint has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by Mint prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free

  • Standout features

    Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investments, net worth

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Syncs to your bank accounts and credit cards
  • Users can create savings goals, track investments
  • Customized alerts when over budget, for large transactions, ATM fees, etc.
  • Bill payment reminders
  • Credit monitoring service
  • Offers blog and education tools, such as a loan repayment calculator
  • Security features include Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

Cons

  • Some user reviews complain of ads, glitches in app, expenses assigned to wrong category

Who's this for? While the Mint app isn't actually targeted toward couples, the fact that it allows you to connect several different accounts can make it easier for couples to categorize their spending automatically. Mint syncs to your bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts to track your income, purchases and savings. And it'll automatically categorize all transactions so you and your partner don't have to manually enter purchases and deposits, but you'll also have the option to revise and add categories as needed. You can also create your own savings goals as a couple and track your investments in the app.

The app will even send alerts if you're being charged an ATM fee, going over budget or if there's been a large or suspicious transaction on any of the connected accounts.

The app also has a monthly bill payment tracker allows you see all your bills at one glance, and you can get reminders on upcoming due dates and alerts if your funds are low. These features make Mint a solid pick for couples but unlike Honeydue, Mint doesn't offer the option to create a joint checking account for you and your partner.

Best for zero-based budgeting

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Information about You Need a Budget (YNAB) has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by YNAB prior to publication.
  • Cost

    34-day free trial then $84 per year or $11.99 per month (students who provide proof of enrollment get 12 months free)

  • Standout features

    Instead of using traditional budgeting buckets, users allocate every dollar they earn to something (known as the "zero-based budgeting system" where no dollar is unaccounted for). Every dollar is assigned a "job," whether it's to go toward bills, savings, investments, etc.

  • Categorizes your expenses

    No

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Encrypted data, accredited data centers, third-party audits and more

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Offers a 34-day free trial, and students get 12 months free
  • Designed to help you get out of debt
  • YNAB website claims average user saves $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 in their first year
  • Syncs to your bank accounts and credit cards
  • Users can set goals, customize spending categories
  • Offers educational resources, such as budgeting advice and 100+ free workshops offered every week
  • Personal customer support
  • Security features include encrypted data, accredited data centers, third-party audits and more

Cons

  • Costs $84 per year or $11.99 per month
  • Customer reviews note that it takes longer to set up than other apps

Who's this for? You Need A Budget (YNAB) is best for couples who want to find a way to give every single dollar a job to reach their goals a little faster. YNAB automatically syncs to your bank accounts, credit cards and investment accounts once you link them to the app.

Unlike other budgeting apps which usually categorize your spending for you, YNAB users themselves choose where every dollar gets allocated according to their priorities and what is important to them. Couples who have a joint checking account can sync the account to YNAB to allocate their money to different spending categories.

For these reasons, the app is favorable for anyone trying to get out of debt. According to YNAB's website, the average customer saves $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 in their first year of using the app.

YNAB also offers educational resources, such as a budgeting blog, and superior personal customer support. Another big perk is YNAB's 100+ free, live, online workshops offered every week by expert teachers.

Our methodology

To determine which budgeting apps offer the best user experience, Select analyzed over a dozen apps offered by the top companies in this market and looked at their pricing, features, user reviews and ratings.

We narrowed down our ranking by only considering apps that sync transactions from users' bank accounts, come with low (or no) cost to sign up, are easy to use and can be accessed on multiple devices so are accessible and compatible for most.

The five apps we selected for this ranking are either free, offer a free version or have a free trial for users to test out before signing up.

All of the apps in our round-up have a sizable number of user reviews and high ratings. Each app on this list has at least 1,000 reviews in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android), as well as a rating over 4 stars (out of 5) on both platforms.

Other factors we looked at included apps' security features, user customization and educational tools offered.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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