Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn More
Terms Apply
New 100K bonus point offer - highest bonus ever offered for the card!
Blue Cash Preferred® Card
Learn More
Terms Apply
$150 offer and, in the first 6 months, 20% back at Amazon.com, up to $200 back
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Learn More
Terms Apply
$200 bonus offer, no annual fee, and earn cash back for every purchase
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn More
Terms Apply
Earn 100K points plus, access to valuable travel benefits
$200 cash rewards bonus offer and unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Select’s editorial team independently created this content. We may receive a commission from affiliate partner links. Click here to read more about Select. Click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
Getty Images
Reviews

Here are the best expense tracker apps of 2021

Select reviewed more than a dozen expense tracker apps and found the top choices for monitoring your spending.

Share
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

Tracking your spending is often the first step in getting your finances in order. By understanding what you spend money on and how much you spend, you can see exactly where your cash is going and areas where you can cut back.

It's easy to make this part of your everyday routine thanks to expense tracker apps that help you manage your money on the go. These apps certainly overlap with budgeting apps, but while the latter provide a big-picture view of your finances, expense tracker apps put more of an emphasis on your spending. These apps usually categorize your expenses and help you get a good idea of your purchasing behavior.

Whether you want an expense tracker app that easily captures all your transaction data, one that automates the expense reporting process at your job or one that holds you accountable by requiring you to manually input each one of your transactions, there's an app out there for you.

To determine which expense tracker apps are the best overall, Select reviewed and compared over a dozen apps, looking at their pricing and features. To rank the top five, we only considered apps that focus on expenses, come with low (or no) cost to sign up, are easy to use and can be accessed on multiple devices. We favored those that have a considerable number of user reviews and high ratings.

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. They have tens of thousands of reviews in the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android) combined, as well as a rating of 4 stars (out of 5) or higher on both platforms.

Below, Select reviews the top five expense tracker apps. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best expense tracker apps.)

Best expense tracker apps

Expense tracker app FAQs

Best overall free app

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

Best app for beginners

Goodbudget

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

    Get 20 envelopes for free; for unlimited envelopes, you need to upgrade to Goodbudget Plus, which is $7 per month or $60 per year

  • Standout features

    Allows users to plan their household's spending using the "envelope method," where they allocate a certain amount of their income into categories like groceries, rent and debt payoff. Users are only supposed spend what's in their envelopes and if they go beyond their budget the envelope will show red to indicate that they overspent

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can customize

  • Links to accounts

    No, users manually create "envelopes" and input their transactions

  • Availability

    Has a web-based version, and also offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    256-bit bank grade encryption in a secure data center

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Free to use for creating 20 envelopes, one account user on up to two devices, one year of transaction history, debt tracking and community support
  • Envelope feature allows user to visualize their spending and prioritize meeting different goals
  • Users can customize the envelope categories according to their needs, such as saving for an emergency fund or a vacation
  • Requiring manual entry of data helps users to really analyze their spending habits versus it being automated (users can also download their recent activity from their bank’s website and import that into Goodbudget)
  • App provides real-time updates of how your transactions impact your budget and personalized reports
  • App offers educational resources like a blog, a podcast and online courses people can take
  • App plans to launch a pandemic-inspired feature allowing people to prioritize “envelopes” based on their most urgent expenses, such as housing, utility bills, etc.
  • Security features include 256-bit bank grade encryption in a secure data center

Cons

  • Costs $7 per month or $60 per year for unlimited envelopes with Goodbudget Plus, unlimited account users on up to five devices, seven years of transaction history, debt tracking and email support
  • Doesn't sync to your bank accounts or credit cards, which can be a downside for people who want automation
  • Requires that users use the “envelope method” to track their spending
  • Some user reviews report experiencing technical issues with the app

Best app for serious budgeters

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

Best app for small business owners

QuickBooks Online

On Intuit's secure site
  • Cost

    30-day free trial then plan options include: Simple Start for $12.50 per month, Essentials for $20 per month, Plus for $35 per month and Advanced for $75 per month

  • Standout features

    Tracks your business expenses as they happen, as well as your income. Users can use app to do invoicing, accept payments, manage their cash flow, maximize tax deductions, track travel miles, run reports, send estimates, manage bills and 1099 contractors, plus pay employees

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards, plus third-party apps like PayPal and Square

  • Availability

    Accessible from any web browser and also offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Verisign scanning, password-protected login, firewall protected servers and the same encryption technology (128 bit SSL) used by the world's top banks. QuickBooks also offers multiple permission levels that you can set for additional users' access

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Offers a 30-day free trial
  • Syncs to your bank accounts, credit cards and third-party apps like PayPal and Square
  • Offers real-time dashboards so you can stay updated on all financial transactions related to your business
  • The most basic "Simple Start" plan tracks income, sales and expenses, organizes receipts, creates invoices, helps you prepare your taxes, categorizes your business and personal trips, offers a QuickBooks Cash account, runs reports like P&Ls and balance sheets and includes 1 user
  • "Essentials" plan, in addition to the above, helps you pay your bills, clock employee time and billable hours and includes up to 3 users
  • "Plus" plan, in addition to the above, lets you oversees projects, track inventory and includes up to 5 users
  • "Advanced" plan, in addition to the above, provides business analytics and insights, speeds up transactions, gives users access to VIP service QuickBooks Priority Circle that includes a dedicated account team and free online QuickBooks training, includes up to 25 users
  • QuickBooks offers a fourth "Self-Employed" plan for freelancers at a low $7.50 per month
  • All QuickBooks users get fast, customized setup of their QuickBooks with a certified bookkeeper for an additional $50 one-time live virtual session
  • Full-service payroll plans start at $22.50 per month
  • Security features include Verisign scanning, encryption technology (128 bit SSL) used by the world's top banks and customized access for other users

Cons

  • Costs range from $12.50 per month to $75 per month, depending on the plan
  • Some user reviews complain of glitches in app and a not so user-friendly interface

Best app for business expenses

Expensify

On Expensify's secure site
  • Cost

    Free for up to 25 SmartScans of receipts per month. For unlimited SmartScans, pricing is as follows: six-week free trial then for employees, individual pricing is $4.99 per month. For companies, group pricing starts at $5 per user, per month

  • Standout features

    Individuals can track receipts and submit expenses to their employer. Users scan their receipts and the app will automatically read the receipt then translate it into a logged expense. Also offers mileage and GPS tracking and automatic credit card importing

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can customize

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and personal/company credit cards

  • Availability

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

  • Security features

    Two-factor authentication so users input a generated code when logging in; banking data is protected by world-class security standards and compliant with Privacy Shield and GDPR requirements

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Free to use for up to 25 SmartScans per month
  • Offers a six-week free trial for unlimited SmartScans
  • Designed to help you get your expenses done quickly while on the go and in real time
  • Expensify website claims expense reports with Expensify take 83% less time
  • One-click receipt scanning and SmartScan automatically transcribes receipt details with the date, merchant and amount
  • Receipts are automatically coded and categorized once user takes photo and assigns to a report or emails their receipts to receipts@expensify.com
  • Users can split their expenses by using the ExpensePoint feature to split the cost
  • Allows users to track their mileage by manual entry, odometer readings or by using the GPS
  • Web dashboard shows spending by different categories and uses time references
  • Automatically generates and submits expense reports for automatic next-day reimbursement
  • Users can share or print documents/expense reports from the app for review
  • Syncs to your bank accounts and credit cards
  • Lets users send and receive money via Venmo
  • Connects to apps like Uber, Lyft and HotelTonight for automatic receipt import and transcription
  • Security features include two-factor authentication, world-class security standards and Privacy Shield / GDPR compliance
  • With a group plan, employers can integrate with their accounting software, including QuickBooks, Xero, NetSuite and others
  • Two plans offered for individuals: "Track" is $4.99 per month, with unlimited SmartScans, automatic mileage tracking and categorizing expenses; "Submit" is $4.99 per month and, in addition to the above, automatically submits reports for reimbursement, submits receipts
  • Two plans offered for groups: "Collect" is $5 per user, per month and, in addition to the above, automates receipt collection and reimbursement, auto-syncs to accounting software and offers free Expensify card with auto-reconciliation; "Control" is $9 per user, per month and, in addition to the above, manages approval workflows

Cons

  • Costs $4.99 per month for individuals and starts at $5 per user, per month for groups
  • Some user reviews report that the interface isn't intuitive

Expense tracker app FAQs

What is the best way to track your expenses?

There's no perfect expense tracking plan that fits everyone. Each person has their own method — unless of course you have no method at all.

While some people may find looking at their monthly credit or debit card statements enough to keep their spending in check, others need something more hands-on. You can opt to track your transactions daily in a spreadsheet or to use technology like an expense tracker app. If you're not sure which is the best program for you, try out a few different methods to see what sticks.

Should I use an expense tracker app?

Keeping track of your expenses is an important part of managing your overall finances. While you don't need an app to help you record your purchases, it can certainly come in handy.

Some expense tracker apps automatically sync to your bank accounts and credit cards, which can save you time instead of you having to manually gather all your different credit card statements and such. Other apps help you categorize your spending so you can better understand your purchasing habits. Plus, some of the best expense tracker apps offer educational tools like blogs and courses to help you learn more about budgeting and your money.

Our methodology

To determine which expense tracker 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 primarily focus on expenses, 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. The apps on this list have tens of thousands of reviews in the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android) combined, as well as a rating over 4 stars (out of 5) on either platform.

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

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.