13 Best Expense Tracker Apps That Are Absolutely Free and Effective
The worst financial decision I have ever made for my wallet was to subscribe to promotional emails from online stores and services. Every other day, temptations arrive in my inbox or mobile in the form of a new promo code or discount from your favourite online stores like ASOS or Lazada, and as much as I would like to believe that I am saving money, I know that I am all too likely to fall into the black hole of overspending.
In order to combat my less-than-ideal spending habits, I decided to try out 13 expense tracker apps to see what each could offer, and which one was the best at helping me to manage my expenses. All the apps that I tried are available on both the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. They’re also free to use, though some have paid versions that you can upgrade to.
Each of these apps has their pros and cons, of course, so I’ve outlined the interesting features of each expense tracker app that would make it suitable for every type of user.
Best for: Those who need a basic all-in-one expense-tracking app
The Good: Spendee has a minimalistic and intuitive interface which gives you a comprehensive overview of your monthly spending, starting from the most recent expense or saving. Choose to view your spendings over the week, year or a custom period of time and in a bar graph or pie chart format.
Create an account to back up your data into your computer, though you can also use the app as an unregistered user. Pictures of receipts can also be attached to each expense, so you don’t have to hold on to the physical copies of all your receipts.
You can also share your expenses with others by adding them into your account, or by exporting the data as an Excel file. Multiple bank accounts can be added as well, to track all of your expenses, whether it’s for work or personal expenditure.
The Bad: Nothing! A very good app, all-in-all. It has all the functions you need and it’s easy to use.
Best for: Conveniently keeping track of daily expenses
The Good: Wally allows you to input the time and location of each expense. The banner on top of the main page makes it useful for keeping track of the remaining budget you have for the day and month. It’s also super convenient to add a new expense in this app: you can set the app to open with the “Add an Expense” screen, or just pull down and release on the main page.
The interface is most helpful for those who want to stick to a daily budget, since it shows spendings per day.
The Bad: The app tried to allow for more flexibility in categorising expenses, but it ended up with a repetition of many of the categories. This made the categorising process a bit more tedious and confusing than necessary.
Also, the scanning function for receipts did not work for me. The app showed an error message when I tried to scan some of my receipts.
Wally has a paid and updated version of their expense tracker app, called Wally N, that integrates multiple accounts and provides additional features.
Best for: A comprehensive view of your monthly expenses across multiple bank accounts
The Good: I really like the minimalist, uncluttered interface of this app. The naming of the categories were clear and intuitive. The overview page is comprehensive and it gives me all the details I need about my monthly spending. You can sync the app with multiple bank accounts, set up budgets, and create a password to protect whatever data you’re keying into the app.
The Bad: This is a small point, but the way expenses were listed under the “Transactions” tab were a bit too cluttered for me. Perhaps some sort of visual cue that grouped them according to days would be more helpful.
4. Pocket Expense
Best for: Keeping track of bills and expenses with multiple bank accounts
The Good: Pocket Expense integrates your expenses with the calendar, so you can easily see how much you’ve spent for each day. You can input more than one bank account and keep track of your bills in each account, to ensure that you always pay them on time.
This app doesn’t have the most intuitive interface, though it does have a lot of useful functions, such as a budget tracker and a graph for charting your cash flow.
The Bad: You’re only allowed to input a limited number of transactions for the free version, and you have to pay to upgrade the app for unlimited transactions.
Best for: Working adults who need to keep track of work/company expenses, especially for travel
The Good: This app is very useful for corporations, as accounts using the same email domain can be linked (that is, you can find all your coworkers who are using the company email for their Expensify account on the app).
Expenses can be grouped under different Reports or Trips (for those who travel for business purposes). Each input also has a “Billable” and “Reimbursable” toggle button, which is especially helpful for indicating which expenses can be claimed and won’t do permanent damage to your bank account. You can access this app on your computer through its web version as well.
I was most excited about SmartScan, a feature on the app that can read your receipts so there is “no typing needed on your end”.
The Bad: While the SmartScan does pick up all the details accurately, it takes a good 5 minutes to do so. Manual input would probably take less time, but if you’d prefer not having to type each expense into the app, this function is for you.
6. Household Account Book
Best for: Those who need daily motivation (like cute comics!)
The Good: I downloaded this one because it was just too cute. You get to unlock short comics every day as you input your expenses. This simple app is easy enough to understand and there aren’t any fancy buttons. There’s enough customisability with the categories and you can even choose a cute picture to go with each category. You can also set up a widget for iPhones.
The Bad: The app is pretty simple and it only allows a monthly overview – there’s no option for daily, weekly or yearly overviews. Also, the intrusive pop-up ads affect the user experience.
7. Budget Calculator (My Budget)
Best for: Tracking monthly expenses
The Good: The main page of this app shows the percentage of your money you’re spending on each category, which is a pretty good way of breaking down your spending. There is also a pie chart overview of your monthly expenses. This app is great for those who want to track their expenses for an entire category, instead of individual spending.
There’s also a video tutorial that helps you navigate through the app’s different functions, which is necessary because it isn’t very user-friendly.
The Bad: The number of categories is limited and you can only add up to a certain number of categories.
The numbers for each category are cumulative, so you cannot enter individual expenses. This means you can only see how much you’ve spent on the whole in the entire month for each category, and there is no way to input what exactly you spent on.
Best for: New users who want to get into the habit of tracking expenses
The Good: The layout of the main page for this app is comprehensive and easy to understand. It has all of your recent spendings, your total expenses and the remaining amount of money to spend all in one place. The Monny bunny gives you mini challenges along the way to make saving a bit more exciting! For example, the first challenge is to key in your expenses for 7 days straight, which would help to get you into the habit of using the app.
There’s a “Report” tab where you can look at your expenses and income over a customisable period of time. The number of categories under expenses aren’t as extensive as some of the other apps, but there are enough options and you can easily add up to 3 new categories.
The Bad: The categories aren’t arranged in the most optimal way and it can be difficult to find the category you want. This is really just me nitpicking though, this app is pretty great on the whole.
Best for: Saving up in small amounts
The Good: This expense tracker app allows you to connect to your bank account so you can transfer small amounts of money to your savings account when you open the app.
This app requires a 4-digit password every time you open the app, so you can be sure that all of your in-app information is secure. The app also gives recommendations for how much to budget for each category, depending on whether the amount spent for each category is fixed or flexible.
The Bad: You start out with a 14-day trial of the full version, but after that the premium functions will be inaccessible.
Best for: Keeping all your bank account information in one place
The Good: Buxfer automatically syncs data from your bank account(s) to keep track of your money. The dashboard shows your net worth, total income and total expenses at a glance.
This app classifies expenses using tags instead of fixed categories, which can be helpful when your expenses belong to more than one category. There’s also a comprehensive “Reports” tab which summarises your savings and expenses for the month.
You can get a forecast of your spending and savings for the next month, 3 months, 6 months, or year. This preview is based on your spending habits, and can serve as a helpful reminder to save more if it doesn’t look like you’ll be hitting your saving goals within the near future.
The Bad: The user interface — the numbers look a little too cluttered, but otherwise Buxfer is great!
11. Money Lover
Best for: Alternative for a do-it-all expense-tracking app
The Good: You get separate wallets for your cash and your bank account(s). You can tag someone else, attach a picture or set a reminder with each transaction! It has some great features: multiple accounts and currencies, budget tracking and most importantly, a savings planner.
There’s a paid scanning function which could potentially be useful (I chose to stick with keying in the details manually and attaching photos of the receipts).
The Bad: There were too many categories and not enough effective classification, so it was a bit disorientating when finding categories. This app also rounds off decimals to whole numbers, so you can’t key in the exact amount that you spent. The receipt scanning function also didn’t work for me. These are minor things, though, and the helpful functions make up for the small inconveniences.
12. Spending Tracker
Best for: Those who want a simple, fuss-free way to track expenses
The Good: The dashboard gives a neat overview of the expenses of the month and the remaining amount of money you can spend. You can view your spending over the week or year too. You can’t edit the categories but there are just enough for the average user. Overall, this is a straightforward app that does the job of tracking expenses well enough.
The Bad: Once again, the ads in this app take away from the user experience. The interface, while easy to navigate, isn’t the most visually-pleasing.
13. Toshl Finance
Best for: Those who want a quirkier version of a basic app
The Good: The new version of the app has a neater and more sophisticated interface but they’ve kept the quirky monsters that make this app so lovable.
There are also a bunch of useful functions: you can set a reminder to enter expenses with this app, which is great for those who need some help inculcating the habit of recording their expenses. You can also add tags to include additional information for each expense. You can arrange your expenses by date or by category, and you can also link the app up with multiple bank accounts.
The Bad: Nothing much! Another great app for those who are looking for a decent, basic expenses-tracking app.
Expense tracker apps to keep you on top of your game
With more of our payments moving online these days, we could all do with a better system of money management to keep track of where our money is going. At least one of these expense tracker apps will be able to suit your needs, so go ahead and get started on your money saving journey! You’ll have saved up enough to go on that dream vacation before you know it.
Do you use any other expense tracker apps that we need to try? Let us know in the comments section below!
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