Last week we took a look at the 5 money secrets to a financially strong marriage. Now I would encourage anyone interested to go back and read the post but I’ll go ahead and provide a summary here of those secrets.
It all boils down to communication and setting realistic expectations of budget and life goals.
A great way to foster communication is by allowed both members of the relationship to stay involved in the family’s financial decision making process. A great way to do this is by using a shared budgeting or personal finance app that allows transparency into your day to day finances and progress against budgeting goals.
Today we’ll take a look at some of the best budgeting apps for couples to do exactly this.
What to Consider When Choosing a Budget App for Couples
There are a few things that couples should consider when looking for a budgeting app. We recommend apps with shared features so both members of the couple can use their own logins but see the same information.
Some of the apps we’ll be highlighting below even have customer features available to each person such as account personalization or display options.
Also, look for a budgeting app that supports automatic migration of bank account and credit card data. This makes tracking your spending incredibly easy and promotes continued use.
We have tried manually updating spreadsheets in the past with our spending data and it became a burden to deal with. I don’t mind doing a monthly summary update of all our accounts but the daily updating was too much.
All of the apps listed below are supported on iOS and Android operating systems. So couples who battle over whether Apple or Android operating systems are best can rest assured that either will work for their budgeting needs.
A Quick Look at our Best Budgeting Apps for Couples in 2020
- Personal Capital
Honeydue is a mobile-based couples budgeting app that includes a ton of awesome features to foster communication about budgeting and spending.
The app can be connected to your bank account and credit card details to automatically import your spending and account balance data.
The data can then be customized with categories and custom notes on expenses.
If each person still has their own bank accounts and bills the data can be split out to show who owes what on each upcoming bill.
Some other notable features include secret accounts if you like keeping a “fun money” account and bill tracking. Bills can be marked as paid to easily keep track of who paid what and hide any “bill due” alerts.
Honeydue is available for free on iOS and Android.
Zeta is another free couples budgeting app that offers both desktop and mobile features.
Couples can quickly add their personal and shared accounts to get a full financial picture. Each person can personalize what is displayed to the other person in case you want to keep any information private.
Zeta budgets can be set up in both shared and personal pools. Expenses are assigned to the various pools and the app will track your progress for each throughout the month.
Shared and individual goals like saving up an emergency fund or a home down payment can also be set up with a cool tracking feature.
Some other fun features include bill splitting, transaction memos, and bill reminders. The app also supports manual accounts if you are worried about connecting your bank and credit card accounts directly.
The app is available for free on both iOS and Android.
Honeyfi, like the previous two apps mentioned, is a free, mobile-based, couples budgeting app.
After signing up and linking your bank accounts Honeyfi will automatically categorize your transactions, create a household budget and track your spending.
Each member of the couple can then adjust their own personal setting such as which accounts to display.
You can also add recurring bills to receive automatic reminders and set custom savings goals like paying off the car or going on the dream vacation.
Goodbudget is an envelope budgeting system based couples budgeting app.
For those unfamiliar with the envelope budgeting system, it is incredibly popular amongst Dave Ramsey fans. The original idea behind the envelope budgeting system is you put cash in an envelope for each spending category. Over the course of the month, that cash is the only money you have available to spend. This will help to eliminate overspending by capping the amount of money available.
Goodbudget is managed on your desktop computer and then syncs with the app on your smartphone. As you incur transactions on your debit or credit card the app will automatically assign them to your various envelope budgets and keep track of your progress.
Because the app is focused primarily on your budget this can be a great tool for couples that really want to focus on their spending each month.
The app is available for free on desktop, iOS, and Android operating systems. The base app is free and there are some paid premium upgrades available.
Personal Capital is an all-in-one personal finance app with a huge following. The app includes a ton of features like budgeting, net worth tracking, retirement planning, and even a brokerage fee analyzer.
One downside of the app is it is built for individuals, not couples, so if a couple wants to share features they will either have to share a login or create two separate accounts with the same information in each.
One of our favorite features of Personal Capital is the sheer amount of data available to import for our budget and net worth tracking. You can include car values, home values, brokerage accounts, auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, etc.
It really is a one-stop-shop for all things personal finance. This can come with its downsides though for a couple looking to just focus on a budget though as the budgeting and goal setting features aren’t as focused as some of the other apps listed already.
Personal Capital is available for free on iOS and Android as well as an online interface.
YNAB has an almost fanatical following for its unique budgeting and tracking system.
It works on 4 rules.
The first is to give every dollar a job. If you know ahead of time exactly how much money will be coming in you should be able to give a role to where each and every dollar will be going.
The second is to set aside funds for infrequent expenses. This helps prevent spending extra money without planning where it may need to go 3 – 6 months or even a year from now.
The third is embracing flexible budgeting. By not staying completely ridgid if you go over budget in a month it helps keep couples motivated to stay on track going forward.
And finally the fourth is to build up an emergency fund by striving to always pay off your current month’s bills with last month’s money. This can help prevent the financial stress of living paycheck to paycheck.
Unfortunately, YNAB does not support a couple’s account so one account will need to be set up with shared logins if both people want the app on their phone.
YNAB is also not a free service. They do offer a free one month trial though if you want to try before you buy.
You can use YNAB on apps for almost any internet-connected device you can think of.
Final Thoughts on the Best Budgeting Apps for Couples
Whether you are looking for a full-fledged personal finance app with budgeting capabilities or a simple budget-focused app there will be an option for you.
We use Personal Capital as I have been a member for years and love all the features available. I do see value though in incorporating a budget specific app into our financial lives as the simplicity of focusing only on the budget would be beneficial.
What budgeting apps have you used in the past and how have they help you manage your finances as a couple?