How to start a budget: 4 of the best free beginner budgeting apps

How to start a budget: 4 of the best free beginner budgeting apps

Do you know which free budgeting apps are the best when you’re learning how to start a budget?

Budgeting doesn’t come easy. If you’re learning how to start a budget, it’s easy to get discouraged and fall off track when you’re starting out. The best advice I can give you is to learn how to compensate for your surprise expense and get back on track as soon as possible.

Besides staying on the straight-and-narrow, downloading any of these free budgeting apps on your iPhone will be a great addition.

If you have no idea where to begin when starting a budget, download any of these free budgeting apps to allow them to analyze your spending. Each app will link to your bank card(s) and analyze at least your last months spending to predict your personal finance spending habits. With this information, they’ll be able to advise how your spending habits can help you save money and lead to other frugal living habits.

While you determine where your money is going, most of these apps provide money saving tips to help you live a frugal lifestyle, credit monitoring, and can track debt payoff with each of your credit cards and loans.

Each free budgeting app for your iPhone has many positive traits, you just have to pick which is best for you. Try them all, then make a decision on how to start a budget that fits your lifestyle.


Albert is a great free budgeting app because I love how it allows you to save money while you budget.

Depending on your payment schedule, Albert looks at your spending habits and determines when to pull out small amounts from your account for a nice nest-egg to build emergency fund. You are able to put the money towards another goal if you wish, such as a down-payment for a house or a debt payoff fund. The funds are also easily transferable back to your bank account if you need to make any unexpected purchases.

It also calculates recurring spending, like when and how much you spend on rent, and percentages of your spending, like if you spent 3 percent of your income on Chick-fil-A over the past month.

Knowing where your money is going is the first part of how to start budgeting. Once you know where the money has gone, you know where to make better personal finance decisions. Or in my case, not frequent Chick-fil-A as much.

Not only does it track recurring spending, but it also divides your spending habit categories for you. You aren’t having to manually put in information repeatedly when you are learning how to start a budget.

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Truebill is my favorite visually of these free budgeting apps. While the program itself is free, it also comes with a premium option to handle investment accounts and bigger editing jobs for some of your transactions.

On its app’s homepage, Truebill shows your spending in a bar chart at the top of your screen to view your monthly spending habits. You’re able to see your money saving habits develop right before your eyes!

Lower on the screen, you get a better break-down of your spending habits or recurring spending that is occurring throughout the month.

Truebill is predictive in its software, so it goes a step further to tell you when to expect your next recurring bill or expense. It’s fairly accurate with only a few tweaks to misnamed or mis-categorized items.

In its predictive mannerisms, Truebill also monitors your spending on things like insurance and utilities to determine money saving opportunities. If you’re spending too much on insurance, Truebill will alert you and encourage you to look into other suggested offers.

This free budgeting app is great to start out with and a great investment if you want to monitor investment accounts as well as your budget from the same account.



I’ve probably used Mint the most of these free budgeting apps for iPhones, maybe even since I had my first iPhone.

Mint is a bit more manual than the rest of these free budgeting apps. It’s more of a backwards process. Mint has you determine what your budget is and then input the amount you wish to spend for that category. So, say I wanted to set my budget for my rent, I would put in how much my rent was on a monthly basis. Then Mint would track if I spent within my budget for the month as the month went on.

While Mint is not as predictive as the other free budgeting apps on this list, it is still helpful. If you are a bit more experienced in how to start a budget, Mint might be more helpful, especially if you are employing money saving tips to spend within a certain dollar amount.

Mint also offers a credit monitoring portion. It monitors your TransUnion credit score, rather than the Equifax or Experian bereaus. All three are different but certain cards tend to report to certain credit bureaus, thus each reports a different score.

Mint is also fairly easy to read. It tends to rely on various charts to showcase its information on spending habits, credit monitoring and money saving tips for your future spending needs.

Clarity Money

I like Clarity Money because everything is on one page for a user to see.

This free budgeting app allows you to click on aspects that concern you the most while you see every aspect of your personal financial spending habits in one place. You can view investments, budgets, spending habits and categories all at a swipe of your finger on your phone screen.

I especially like how user friendly this free budgeting app is. I can easily tap the screen to get a more detailed report for my monthly spending habit in question or review my Experian credit monitor within the app. It’s still very easy to read but most of the apps are a bit tougher to navigate in ways that Clarity Money is not.

While Clarity Money is predictive depending on your linked bank accounts, it still takes you through the process of how to start budgeting. It basically has you double-check its work that the predictions it reads are correct.

Clarity Money is a great app if you are a complete beginner to starting a budget. It’s super easy to read and let’s you have a peace of mind knowing you are double checking your spending habits when learning what your budget is.


Learning how to start a budget with these free beginner budgeting apps is a great way to gain control of your personal finances and learn how to start saving money.

Remember, you’re a beginner. You are bound to forget or have unexpected expenses occur in the first few months. Learn from those surprises but also determine how and when you are going to build your emergency fund. Starting an emergency fund will establish a nest egg for unexpected expenses.

Want more money saving personal finance tips? Follow my Money Savings Tips board on Pinterest! Learn more about how to start investing, how to start budgeting and more personal and business finance tips!

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