The first step of financial independence is knowing how you spend. If you feel broke towards the end of every month and can never remember what you spent on, try tracking with a free budgeting app.
Whether it's a coffee at Starbucks or your weekly groceries, each time you pay for something, record your expenses on the go with a budgeting app. This way, you can see the areas where you may be overspending. It's a good way to stay accountable and conscious of your spending habits.
How to save money with free budgeting apps
Whether your aim is to save more money, earn more income or clear more debt, a budgeting app helps you track your progress and makes you more accountable to yourself.
Sometimes, it's easy to forget how much we spent. But numbers don't lie. Recording every expense or income detail gives us valuable insights and data.
You just have to make it a habit. For a start, simply observe your spending over the current month without making any changes. Then, you can look at each category and see how you can further tighten your spending.
If you're spending too much on shopping, food or even financial products like car insurance, take the time to compare and choose the most value-for-money option on the market to streamline your finances even further.
Most of the free budgeting apps on the market help you track expenses, but there are some features that you may prefer over others. We’re here to help you review some of the budgeting apps available so you can find one that suits your needs. All the apps listed below offer SGD as a currency.
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Monefy budgeting app by Aimbity AS
Great for: Beginners
Monefy is set against a calming green background. Its default screen is a pie chart breaking down your top expenses into categories. A nifty calculator automatically appears when you add expenses or income. You can also file into two categories depending on whether the expense is paid by cash or charged to your credit card.
It allows you to view your expenses in different time frames, from daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to custom time intervals. It’s also helpful that they have a Budget mode, where expenses are deducted from a set budget rather than total income. You can also set recurring expenses — things like your phone bill — so you don’t need to manually key in every month.
The only downside to this app is that there are only 15 categories that are free to use. A “Baby/Child” category is sorely missing - although users who are parents can lump such expenses under “Household”. If you want to add more categories, you would have to pay for the Pro version, which is $4.48 for unlimited use. With the Pro version you can password protect the app, track several accounts and add as many categories as you want.
Money Manager budgeting app by Draw Puzzle Game (Yellow)
Great for: Minimalists
The next app that is great for beginners is the Money Manager app. Its icon is a piggy bank against a yellow background.
With a white background, it does the job perfectly without too many unnecessary functions. The default welcome screen shows all your latest recent transactions. It’s two clicks to get to “Chart” to display the breakdown of your spending into categories. The app doesn’t have ads and it’s not based on a free-mium model either, so it’s either a passion project or... they may be farming your data.
The first downside to this app is that you can't add recurring expenses. There is no divide and multiply button in the inbuilt calculator, which is minor, but just a tad inconvenient when you are buying multiple items or keying in bills that you split with your friends. You can’t password protect your app too.
There are also reviews that say that users face login errors and one lost his data when he changed his device. But, there is an export function so if you are changing your device, you can export your expenses using CSV.
Money Manager budgeting app by Realbyte (Red)
Great for: Detailed statisticians
The next app on the list also goes by the name Money Manager, but the icon is red in colour. Although they have the same name, they are not by the same company.
The interface looks vastly different too. The welcome screen displays recent transactions as well but the look and feel is more corporate and “wordy”. It’s one click to “Stats” that shows the category breakdown.
For that reason, this app is great for accountants and engineers who love to see all data and stats. There also are additional features like a calendar view to see expenses in the whole month, as well as weekly and monthly views. The pass code feature is free to use and you can also customise the background with a choice of 12 colours.
Upgrading to premium allows you to add unlimited accounts and you can also manage your expenses on the PC. There are different options to backup your data using Google Drive or exporting an Excel sheet.
Wallet by Budgetbakers.com
Great for: All-in-one solution (but not cheap!)
What’s different about Wallet from the other apps is that aside from basic tracking, you can add in savings goals as well as debts, be it lent or borrowed. And when you add an expense to pay your debt, you can assign it to “Payee” (creditors). The debt amount will reduce correspondingly. You can lock the wallet with a pass code as well.
The Wallet app is one of the more complex ones on the market. With the paid version, you can manage finances together as a group. There’s even shopping lists and loyalty cards functions. This is for the complex budgeter who wants to put in all the information here at one go. It can even be linked to your bank account.
Take note though, the paid version costs $5.99 a month or $31.98 a year. If you still prefer a free budgeting app, go for the rest on this list!
Bookipi budgeting app
Great for: Self-employed individuals
Bookipi has a clean blue-green interface. One of the differentiating features of Bookipi is the ability to record using multiple wallets and also select if the spending is for personal use or business.
This is great for self-employed workers who need to note down their entertainment expenses. Better yet, you can take a photo of receipts when you add expenses.
The expense category button was not immediately intuitive, but after you get used to it it should not be a problem. Creating new categories is easy. You can also export the data using CSV when needed.
Give budgeting apps a go. It's a good (and free!) way to get disciplined with your spending. You will then have more to put towards savings, debt repayment and investments.