Essential Apps for Budgeting

In this article, we offer insights into several leading budgeting apps so you can make an informed decision and start your saving journey.

A person holding a phone looking at a banking app
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the age of smartphones, personal finance has been revolutionised by a wide range of money-managing apps. Designed to help us manage our finances more effectively, these tools offer features ranging from expense tracking to investment management. But with so many options available, which one should you choose?

Plum

Plum is a UK-based financial services company offering an app to automate user savings and investments. The app safely connects to your bank account using open banking technology. 

It uses artificial intelligence to analyse your spending and saving habits. It suggests saving and investment levels that are unique to you. You can set these suggestions to be as frequent. The basic version is free, but there are options for paid accounts with extra benefits.

  • FSCS Protected
  • FCA Regulated
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Plum Plans
FreePlus £1/monthPro £2.99/monthUltra £4.99/month
Automatic DepositsAutomatic DepositsAutomatic DepositsAutomatic Deposits
Round UpsRound UpsRound UpsRound Ups
2.75% Interest on savings3.05% Interest on savings3.05% Interest on savings3.51% Interest on savings
InvestmentsInvestmentsInvestmentsInvestments
Personal PensionsPersonal PensionsPersonal PensionsPersonal Pensions
1 Interest Pocket15 Interest Pockets15 Interest Pockets15 Interest Pockets
XPocket GoalsPocket GoalsPocket Goals
XCashbackCashbackCashback
X12 Mutual Funds12 Mutual Funds12 Mutual Funds
XXPlum CardPlum Card
XXXPriority Customer Support

Moneybox

Moneybox is a personal finance app that makes it easier for people to invest in their future. It taps into the concept of “micro-investing”, making the world of investments more accessible to everyone. One of Moneybox’s standout features is its integration with everyday transactions. The round-up feature encourages a saving habit that you barely notice, making it a painless way to build up a pot. 

The app offers three simple investment investment investment starting options: Cautious, balanced and adventurous. This simplifies the usually complex decision-making process associated with investing. Your savings can be added to several account types, including general investment, Stocks & Shares ISA and Junior ISAs, each with its benefit or government incentive. However, all forms of investment carry risks, which is important to note before diving in.

  • Moneybox Pensions
  • Mortgage advice
  • Earn interest
  • Round up spending into saving pot
  • Deposit and savings calculators
  • FSCS Protection
  • Stress-free investing
  • Government incentives
  • FCA regulated

Emma

Emma is a comprehensive money management app designed to help users take control of their finances. It is a budgeting tool, financial tracker and savings assistant all-in-one place that provides a good view of your financial situation. One of the greatest strengths of Emma is its ability to synchronise multiple banks and accounts into one; all of your transactions and balances are shown in one place, making it easy to keep track of spending habits and budgeting.

Emma automatically categorises transactions making it easy to see where your money goes each month. It also has a subscription tracking service which identifies recurring payments ensuring you are aware of all your commitments and helps cut back on subscriptions you no longer use. But all this comes with a small cost; Emma does have a free plan but has three subscription plans ranging from £4.99 to £14.99 to get the total value out of the app.

  • £30 free for each referred friend that joins.
  • FCA regulated
  • FSCS protected savings 
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Emma Plans
FreePlus £4.99/monthPro £9.99/monthUltimate £14.99/month
Combine AccountsCombine AccountsCombine AccountsCombine Accounts
Payday TrackingPayday TrackingPayday TrackingPayday Tracking
Monthly BudgetsMonthly BudgetsMonthly BudgetsMonthly Budgets
Subscription TrackerSubscription TrackerSubscription TrackerSubscription Tracker
XCashbackCashbackCashback
XPriority SupportPriority SupportPriority Support
XBill RemindersBill RemindersBill Reminders
XFraud DetectionFraud DetectionFraud Detection
XCustom IconsCustom IconsCustom Icons
XPay Bills & TransfersPay Bills & TransfersPay Bills & Transfers
XXSavings GoalsSavings Goals
XXSplit TransactionsSplit Transactions
XXCustom CategoriesCustom Categories
XXNet Worth CalculatorNet Worth Calculator
XXRolling BudgetsRolling Budgets
XXXBusiness Accounts

Money Dashboard

Money Dashboard is an excellent finance and budgeting tool that offers a broad view of your financial situation, making it easier to track spending, budget and save. One of the most appealing features of Money Dashboard is its ability to connect accounts from different banks. Once connected, it provides a combined view of all your transactions and balances, making it easy to understand your outgoings. 

Like competitors, Money Dashboard also automatically splits your spending into categories from groceries to entertainment. In addition, Money Dashboard considers regular bills and income and allows you to set budgets. This then helps the app project your balance into the future based on your spending trends which is excellent for managing debt. However, Money Dashboard may be free but has targeted offers based on spending habits.

  • Voted best personal finance app in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021
  • Automatic categories
  • Shows all transactions on all accounts in one easy place
  • Spending is clearly shown in graphs and dashboard
  • Predicted balance
  • FCA regulated
  • Track subscriptions

Moneyhub

Moneyhub is a comprehensive financial management app. From budgeting and spending to investment monitoring, many features are designed to help users gain control of their finances. The app can combine all your bank accounts under one account, providing a unified view. Then once linked, Moneyhub also categorises your transactions for easy budgeting, allowing you to set individual budgets for each. 

You can also connect investment accounts on the app to track performance and receive insights. This feature could be a game changer for more seasoned investors. However, Moneyhub does cost £1.49 or £14.99 a year which is reasonable considering the perks.

  • Spending goals
  • Forecasting
  • Nudges before payments are made
  • Spending Analysis
  • Access to Financial Advisors
  • FCA regulated

Each app has unique strengths and weaknesses that will appeal to different types of users. It is also worth noting the above apps are just there to assist you in making money management more straightforward; they cannot do it for you. 

Looking for more ways to save? Check out our guide to saving money with reward schemes.

Nathan Walters
Editor

I joined MyVoucherCodes as a Deal Expert, searching the web and sourcing the best deals, discount codes and sales to benefit our readers. I decided to combine these money-saving skills with my love of writing and become an Editor, sharing what I have learned to help you get the most out of your money. Having been a student for four years, I understand the need to budget and get more for less.

In my spare time, I love playing video games and later writing reviews at GameReport. I also enjoy anything to do with technology and cool gadgets, and I'm constantly adding extras and components to my home gaming computer. Additionally, I love DIY, having worked in a tool store as a student, I have grown to enjoy fixing things, whether it’s my car or home.