If you're like half of all renters in the U.S., you may believe your rent is just too high. Balancing high rent with your monthly budget may be a struggle, especially if you don't have a plan for your money. And nearly half of all Americans aren't budgeting, even though there are easy budgeting apps that we all can use.
Creating a budget to account for things like increases in rent (rents have increased about 3 percent in 2019 for 1-bedroom apartments), saving money and spending less can help you work towards your goals in 2020. Now is the perfect time to start.
Luckily, there are many tools to help you, including apps on your smartphone. Creating and sticking to a solid budget for renters is easier than ever. We've compiled a list of the eight best budgeting apps to help you get started.
- Price: Free
Want to know where all your money goes after paying rent? Then check out Mint. Owned by Intuit, the same company that makes Turbotax, Mint is one of the go-to apps for tracking your spending. Link all your financial accounts in one place to learn precisely where you spend your money.
Mint automatically tracks your spending, income and investments, so you can get a snapshot of your entire financial situation, down to the dime.
Then, using its built-in budgeting tools for creating a savings goal, such as paying off debt, for example, you can start figuring out how you can spend less so you can eradicate your debt.
You can also set up alerts whenever you overspend. Mint also provides free credit scores and monitoring.
- Free to download
- Premium: $4.99/month or $35.99/year
Truebill makes taking control of your money easy. Truebill doesn't simply provide you with an overview of your finances. It also lets you cancel unused subscriptions, lower your phone bills and get refunds for overdraft fees from within the app.
For instance, let's say you signed up for Hulu's free 30-day trial and forgot to cancel. Truebill tracks your credit card charges and would easily be able to find and alert you of your recurring expenses, such as your Hulu subscription.
You can use Truebill to assess your subscriptions and decide how you want to scale back your spending.
Truebill may also lower your phone and cable bills for you by negotiating with popular providers (so you don't have to). If they can lower your bill, their fee is 40 percent of the savings for the first year. If they can't lower your bill for you, you don't pay a cent.
- Price: Free
- Premium: $2.49/month or $24.99/year
If you're living with roommates splitting up the rent, utilities and shared household items can get complicated. Splitwise is a useful tool that allows you to track and manage these group expenses in one place.
Simply create a group with your roommates and then add your apartment finances to the app. The app will keep track of who owes money.
Since it integrates with PayPal and Venmo, you can reimburse roommates from within the app, making the process easy and simple.
Splitwise Pro gets rid of ads, lets you scan receipts, itemize purchases, convert between currencies and more.
- Price: $11.99/month or $84/year
You Need A Budget, or YNAB for short, takes a unique approach to budgeting. If you aren't used to budgeting or don't feel like you have a complete grasp on your finances, this may be the app for you.
Instead of managing and limiting expenses, YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting technique. That means that YNAB starts with your income, then you allocate your entire income for expenses. These expenses can include rent, entertainment, food, savings, investments or something else.
At the end of the month, your income, minus expenses should equal zero. This requires you to be mindful of every dollar you earn and spend.
Similar to Mint, YNAB lets you link all of your accounts, so you can see your full financial status in one place. Then, you can budget your money with this unique system.
5. Personal Capital
- Price: Free
Personal Capital helps you take charge of your investments. It combines the best of both robo-advisors and human advisors. This may be mainly an investing tool, but it also allows you to create budgets, monitor all your financial accounts and track your spending.
This app is helpful for monitoring your savings and checking accounts, IRAs, credit cards, mortgages and loans all in one place.
6. Clarity Money
- Price: Free
For an easy-to-use budgeting experience, check out Clarity Money. Awarded the Apple App of the Day in 2018, the app lets you quickly and efficiently track expenses and cancel unused subscriptions (there's no fee for this). If Clarity Money can lower your bills, they take a third of it as a commission.
Clarity Money uses machine learning to analyze your personal finances and unlike many of the other budgeting apps, Clarity Money allows you to move money from one account to the other.
You can see graphical representations of your financial transactions so you can better plan your budget and understand your spending habits.
It also provides credit score monitoring from within the app.
- Price: $6-$59/month
Following through on your budget can be tricky. With cash, you could solve the issue by placing allotted cash into envelopes. Each envelope represents a spending category.
When an envelope is emptied, you've used up your spending for that category. This can be trickier in the digital world of credit and debit cards, but that's where Mvelopes comes into play.
Mvelopes allows you to place your budget into virtual envelopes and tracks your spending in those envelopes in real-time.
So, when one envelope empties, you know you've used up your spending for that category. While this app may not be free, it makes executing your budget quite simple and easy.
- Price: Free
PocketGuard simplifies budgeting to the extreme. Instead of creating a complicated plan, PocketGuard helps you answer the question, “How much money can I spend right now?"
The app doesn't just let you link your financial accounts to track your income and spending but also automates the process of creating a budget. Just link your accounts and set up your goals. The app will let you know how much you can immediately spend.
PocketGuard analyzes your bills, utilities, rent and typical spending to track your spending and find new ways to save money.
More budgeting resources
These are just a few of our favorite budgeting apps. By budgeting, you can better understand your spending habits so you can fulfill your financial goals.
Want to learn more about budgets? Here are some great resources: