The best apps to help you budget

Oct 15, 2019
All you need is a mobile phone or tablet to download these helpful and easy-to-use budgeting apps. Source: Getty.

As you approach retirement, it’s important to plan ahead to make sure your savings will stretch far enough and ensure you can take any trips you’ve always dreamed of taking, make that sea or tree change, or simply be able to afford to spend more quality time with your children or grandchildren.

Creating and sticking to a budget is not always easy though and without a firm financial plan in place – not to mention one that’s not too restrictive and simple to follow – it can be easy for you to fall into the same old traps and bad habits when it comes to spending money.

Fear not though as in this modern age of technology there are some really useful apps that can help you to achieve your savings goals or simply budget better day-to-day. Here’s a rundown of some of the most simple and helpful mobile budgeting apps out there and how they work.


When you look at your bank account, it can be hard to see where your money is going and what you are spending it on, but apps like Pocketbook make it easier to keep track of your finances by sorting your outgoings into categories. While it isn’t perfect, any spends that show as ‘unclassified’ can be changed manually to fit the right category.

This function allows you to see whether you are overspending in a particular area, for example if you are spending too much on eating out, and you can also set spending limits to ensure your spending stays within your means. Even better, Pocketbook will also send you push notifications when you get too close to your limit or overspend.


The free Moneytree apps allows you to view all of your financial data, from savings and loans to credit cards, superannuation and investments, all in one place. It even accumulates the figures to generate your net worth, which can be pretty helpful when you’re considering how much money you have to fund your retirement.

The app, which launched in Australia in 2017 after enjoying huge success in Japan, connects to more than 50 financial institutions across the country and will notify you when large transactions leave or enter your account, such as rent payments and salary.

Another cool thing about Moneytree is that it also includes all of your loyalty points, such as Virgin Velocity points, MYER one points and even flybuys, so you can easily keep track of how many points you’ve accumulated, when you can use them and even warn you when they’re about to expire.

Moneytree also offers Moneytree Grow which can be accessed for a fee of $4.49 and offers more in-depth budgeting tools such as budget by category, and can even produce monthly spend reports.


Free2Spend from UBank is a real-time budgeting tool that helps you to reach your savings goal by allocating you a daily spend limit. However there is a catch – you’ll need to open a USaver account with them.

If you’re still in employment, all you need to do is transfer your income into your USaver account each month and the app will automatically transfer funds out to cover the cost of your regular bills, such as phone and utility bills, as well as other recurring expenses like gym memberships or subscriptions. If you’re not working though you can still use the app, as you can simply input the income you earn from other sources such as the pension, superannuation or investments.

You can then track your spending and keep tabs on how much you have left to spend, as well as how well you are tracking towards your savings goal. With your spending shown in real time on your mobile phone screen, you can see whether a purchase you’re about to make could be the one that breaks your budget for the day. It also shows you what transactions have left your account and can help you get back on track if you overspend.


With MoneyBrilliant you can link up all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and superannuation into one simple app, which its creators describe as a “personal financial assistant that never stops working for you”. While the Premium Plan will set you back $9.90 per month, there is also a free to download ‘basic’ version.

The app also boasts handy features such as Bill Watch which automatically detects your bills and reminds you before they are due. What’s more is the app will even keep an eye out for better deals on the market and send you a Bill Shock alert if you could be paying less for your utilities. While other helpful features include the ability to outline your desired budget and transaction categorisation, so you can easily see where all of your money is going.


While Goodbudget is an American app, it is also available Down Under. It may be a modern-day piece of tech, but the app’s values are very traditional in that it expects you to set budgets for your spending in certain areas and then limits you to only spending what you have.

You can set limits for the likes of groceries, shopping, travel and even how much you spend on coffee, and Goodbudget will document your spending – and more importantly, how much you have left that month – in easy to digest pie charts, simply by linking up with your bank accounts.

There is also the option to generate income and expenditure reports. And, if you’re not comfortable viewing the data on your phone, you can even export the charts and reports to Microsoft Excel and store them on your computer.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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