budgeting apps uk


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We're all guilty of overspending at times, but we don't have to be! These are the best budgeting apps (UK) for those looking to get their finances back on track and plan. Whether you're just starting or need some help getting organised, these will suit your needs perfectly. It's never too late to start saving money with these great apps!

There is literally no need to overspend again now you can access this technology for free, so read on to benefit from finding out which budget apps could benefit your wallet.

What is a Budget?

A budget is a monthly financial plan based on your income/ expenses over a longer period. A financial plan that ensures you never run low on your next payday. If done right, you could have enough money to invest in long term loan and retirement investments. A budget is key to build your financial future.

There are many different kinds of budgeting apps and email services around these days, but we've found that you don't need to pay for some of the online ones if you use these great tools. Whether you're new to money management or want a friendly reminder, the below selections will help you get on track!

what is a budget showing piggy bank image

Why Should I use a Budgeting App?

The real advantage of such app-based apps for saving or managing money is simplicity and ease of use. And most of them are free (like Cleo and Yolt), so there's nothing to lose. It takes only a few minutes a month to make a plan that will benefit you in the long term and save you from overspending.

The last few years have seen an explosion in the Fintech market. Thanks to the introduction of open banking, more and more companies are introducing their own personal finance apps. These apps use open banking technology, which connects to your bank account on a read-only basis meaning your money is safe still within your existing bank.

Do I Need a Budgeting App?

Not necessarily. If you have accounts with bank providers like Starling, Monzo or Monese, you may not need additional budgeting apps. That's because bank accounts like the ones mentioned above have built-in budgeting features that allow you to budget within the need for additional apps.

It's still reading about the budgeting apps below as some of them will also link up to your credit cards, meaning you see a total picture of your debt and available balance. If you have multiple bank accounts, this could be incredibly useful.

Skip to Banking apps with budgeting built-in. 

Best Budgeting Apps

Now you know why a budgeting app may benefit you and your money, let's go through the top contenders so you can decide for yourself which is the best personal finance app for you:

Free Budgeting Apps


Cleo- Perfect for Those who Want to Budget With Help

cleo app review

Find out more in this detailed Cleo Review

Main Benefits:

  • Easy To Set up
    Just download the app and connect on a read only basis to your bank and Cleo will do the rest.
  • AI Powered Assistant 
    The technology that Cleo uses is very quirky and fun, with its ai powered assistant it makes saving like talking to one of your mates.
  • Budget Breakdown by category
    Cleo will let you set monthly budget categories and breakdown your spending into categories so you can see how you have spent your cash.
  • Saving made easy 
    Cleo will use AI technology to work how much you can afford to save and when. You can even ask it before you buy anything to see if you can actually afford it.
  • About Cleo

  • Costs

  • Pros & Cons

About Cleo 

Do you have a hard time keeping track of your spending? Cleo offers spending insights on your money through Facebook messenger or its personal finance app. Tracking your spending behaviour Cleo uses artificial intelligence to offer you advice. You connect your existing bank accounts to Cleo using open banking read-only technology.

Cleo is an AI-based budgeting app that offers intelligent insights into your spending patterns, trends and budgets, all via text message or Facebook Messenger. Once you are connected, you can contact Cleo via app or Facebook Messenger. 

Set and keep track of daily, weekly or monthly budgets. Check your direct debits. View your balance. Check latest transactions. View your spending habits split up into categories. Cleo is free to use, quick to set up and makes it easy to keep an eye on your spending. It offers easy ways to keep on top of your spending.


Money Hub - Free for 180 Days 

money hub

Main Benefits:

  • See All Accounts in one place
    I was able to connect to my bank account, investing and pension. The support that Money hub has is great and will give you a total overview of your spending.
  • Spending Analysis
    If you add all accounts MoneyHub can show you exactly where all of your money is going each money
  • 180 free trial
    Money hub is free to download and use for 180 days then it is a small charge of £1.49 a month or £14.99 for the year.
  • About Moneyhub

  • Costs

  • Pros & Cons

About Money hub

You're in control of your money.

Moneyhub is a personal finance app that helps you see where your money goes and make smarter decisions about spending it. It automatically categorises all your transactions, so you can quickly see how much you spend on groceries vs eating out or what percentage of your income goes to rent each month. And with Spending Goals, you can set goals for yourself and track progress towards them - freeing up cash for the things that really matter.

With Moneyhub, there's no more guessing about where your money is going - you have the ability to add all of your accounts such as pensions, investments, mortgages and of course your current account. 

Find out more about Money Dashboard


Money Dashboard

money dashboard

Main Benefits:

  • Connect Credit cards and Current Accounts
    Good support for multiple bank accounts and credit cards so you can see your complete balance
  • Free to use
    When using the app I couldn't find any hidden extras.
  • Easy to use dashboard 
    Dashboard is easy to use, you can see the merchants you have spent with and spending by category. 
  • About money dashboard

  • Costs

  • Pros & Cons

About Money Dashboard

Do you want to know how much money you have? Then Money dashboard could help you.

Money Dashboard is a free app that helps you manage your finances. It shows all of your bank accounts in one place, so it's easy to see where your money is going and what bills need paying. You can also track spending across categories, compare with previous months and create budgets for what you spend most on.

Is Money Dashboard Safe to use?

Money dashboard has been operating for more than 10 years. It uses bank-level encryption and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - registration number 800652.

Related Article: Best Money Saving Apps


Emma

Emma budget app

Main Benefits:

  • Connect Credit cards and Current Accounts
    Good support for multiple bank accounts and credit cards so you can see your complete balance
  • Earn Cashback
  • About emma

  • Costs

  • Pros & Cons

About Emma

Emma checks your savings and credit account statements too. It categorizes your spending to ensure you will easily see where your money goes each month. A premium account, Emma Pro, has additional features such as individualised categories and extra cashback. Emma Pro costs £59.99 a year, while the first seven days are free. Emma is easy to create and easy to use but a bit gamified, and the push to subscribe to Emma Pro can be irritating. The service is free in use and is recommended both for beginners and managing subscriptions. It also rewards spending at certain stores such as Body Shop, B&Q Gousto, Boots, etc.

Is Emma Safe to use?

Emma seems very confident about their safety and security and notes they are ICO registered. This is a UK’s independent authority whose aim is to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

They also say they have bank-level security. Emma is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 to provide payment services.

Emma uses 256-bit TLS encryption 100% of the time.


Chip - A automatic Savings Account 

chip budgeting app

Main Benefits:

  • Connect Easily to your existing bank account                                  Chip says it saves the money you won't miss by monitoring your spending and frequently putting money away.

  • Set Savings Goals
    Set your savings goals and let Chip do the rest.  

Chip apps connect to your current bank account and monitor your spending habits. It sends a varying amount of funds into your chip each day. It is smart enough to know if you cannot afford to invest more money and evade money transfers. There are no costs to become a Chip customer, and you can withdraw free money to your account whenever you like. If you want to achieve your financial goals, you could also plan several goals and have Chip split your money between them. 25% of your transferring Chips will go towards a Holiday goal and 75% towards a First Home goal.

Cost: Free for Chip lite or £1.49 a month for Chip ai


Best Budgeting App For Investing

Moneybox

money box best budgeting app

Main Benefits:

  • Invest your spare change
    Moneybox work very similar to other round up apps but it has a twist in that it will invest your spare change into a investment account of your choosing. 
  • Capital is at risk: remember before signing up with investments performance is never guaranteed and any money invested is at risk. 
  • you don't need to have lot's of money to join, you can start with a £1

Moneybox has the only few features of all budgeting and finance apps for this review. It focuses greatly on assisting you in your investments. All that I spend is directly in a saving account. You can select between general investments accounts, the lifetime ISA, stock-and-share ISA and the fixed-rate savings accounts. It is important to note that you have to pay a monthly service charge of £1. However, interest rates and fees for all account appear competitive. Moneybox seems aimed at consumers looking for long-term saving options..


Plum

plum app review

Main Benefits:

  • Plums aim is to help you save money, you connect your bank account and it will automatically help you save money. 
  • Free to use Plum basic
    4 different accounts available to suit most needs, find out more here.  
  • Easy to use dashboard 
    Dashboard is easy to use, you can see the merchants you have spent with and spending by category. 

The Plum is a budgeting, saving and investing account mixed in to one.  

The premium option also gives you a chance to earn cashback and setting savings goals. Plum Basic is absolutely free: Plum Plus is £1 a month; Plum Pro is £2.99 a month and has a 30-day free trial with both providers. Plum offers more than one account and offers more investments. It allows you to round up your money and collect interest out of your savings. 


What is the Best Budgeting App in the UK?

This really does depend on your individual needs, however out of the apps reviewed in this article here are my favourite picks:

Cleo: Great interface and its assistant makes budgeting easy and fun. Because the assistant is quite fun it takes the boring out of personal finance! Great for automatic saving.

Money hub: If you want to see things like your net worth then Money hub is great, it has wide support to add multiple accounts. Great for the overall finance picture.

Starling Bank: If you just want a bank account where you can easily see where you spend your money and round up your transactions whilst you are at it then Starling Bank is fantastic. Voted Best British Bank for 3 years in a row there is no wonder. Great for a Budgeting Bank Account.

Mobile Banking Apps: Budgeting Bank Accounts

These are all independent budgeting apps that are not banks. However, there are plenty of bank accounts available for mobile or online banking using budgeting technology. So if you would rather have a current account that offers budgeting features, then the following could be of interest to you.

Starling Bank: Best for Round up purchases

Starling spending notifications

Do you want to save money?

Starling Bank was the UK's first mobile-only bank. They offer a free current account with no monthly fees and round up your purchases by up to 10 times to automatically save more.

You can also set saving goals within the app and get notified when you spend. It's easy to use, secure, and best of all - it's free!

You will also get payment reminders for any upcoming payments. It's really more than a bank that will help you budget but will support you in your total money management.

Want more information? See Starling Bank Review or Apps that round up spare change


Monese

Monese budgeting tools and savings pot in Monese app


A Monese Bank account allows access to on-the-go budgeting tools and bank services. It allows easy-to-remember cash transfers as well as immediate notifications from any bank.

Want more information? See Monese Review


Yolt: Prepaid account

yolt budgeting app

Main Benefits:

  • Round up purchases on everyday spending
    Yolt allows you to round up purchases on everyday spending
  • Split the Bill
    Great to use when going out with your friends as you can send them a link to split the bill

Yolt makes it easy to view future transactions and budgets while creating savings goals. Features like collecting spare change and regular payments mean that your savings can be maximised. Pros Yolt doesn't offer weekly paydays. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not protect cash in a Prepaid account. The best thing: to control spending. Good for controlling spend and achieving your saving goal.

Price: Free. Use the Yolt Prepaid Debit card for everyday purchases. Your contains a range of resources that include video and animations.


Monzo: Best for a Savings pot

Monzo account

Monzo is another great digital bank that allows you to set up separate savings pots, categorise your spending and round up your every day purchases. It's great for keeping money aside for bills too as you can separate the money for your bills into a separate savings pot.

Want more information see Monzo Vs Starling

Best Budgeting Apps: Final Words

The best budgeting apps in the UK offer a wide range of features, from rounding up your spare change to investing. If you want to take charge of your money, some of the apps listed in this article could help you with your finances.

The app that suits you will depend on what you need it for and how often you plan to use it. To find out more about which is right for you, check our guide below!

We've reviewed some popular options and provided tips on picking the perfect budgeting app with all of these features. Do yourself a favour and pick an easy-to-use budgeting tool today - we can't wait to see your savings grow!

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Faq: Best Budgeting Apps UK

Does The mint budget app work in the uk?


You can't get Mint in the UK yet. If and when it becomes available, it's well worth a look, as it's free and super useful to be able to see everything on one app without having to log into various sites. If you want something similar to Mint in that you can see your network Moneyhub is worth checking out. 

What is the easiest budget app


Cleo is straightforward if you want a budgeting app that you can talk to as you would a friend; it recognises most phases and makes budgeting kind of fun!

For banking Starling and Monzo are fantastic options to get budgeting and banking all in one place. 

Why do budgets fail?


Budgets fail because we run out of willpower to resist the temptation of buying something.

We get tempted by everything from our favourite online store's promotion to tempting fruit papaya and then another. The more we have access to shopping deals or friends who like nagging us for clothes, the greater the chance that we will hit our limit and go over budget with no way of stopping it. That doesn't have to happen if you try some budgeting apps or chatbots today!

We live in an age-old 'nudge' society where nudging has become normality whereby companies employ people solely to develop tactics to nag their customers into impulse purchasing, which are quite often in opposition to their goals.

I've decided not to have a budgeting app. What budgeting tips can you give me?


The best budgeting tips are to consider what your goals are and break them down into achievable milestones. When you have these smaller pieces, then it is easy to set up a grocery list that helps you avoid impulse spending in the supermarket aisle, get organised with your finances so that you'll have time for desired recreation or volunteer projects, and always keep an eye on how much money has left in your account with daily budget reports.

How do I stop living paycheque to paycheque?

If you want to stop living paycheque-to-paycheque, a few steps need to happen before you can achieve the lifestyle of your dreams without always feeling stressed.

The first step is to measure your net income, which is how much you would save if no money came in and all expenses and debts were paid off. 

Then write down every expense that you have coming up over the next 12 months (think house bill, car loan etc.), and account for how much they cost 

You'll then want to add all those expenses together: this number will show what impact paying these bills will have on your bank balance each month - so make sure it's not too much! 

The next step is to calculate your emergency savings by adding up all of the unexpected expenses you can think of so that if something happened and you had to pay it out immediately, you'd have enough in the bank.

This will normally be things like car repair costs or buying a new washing machine, including having at least 3 months of your expenses set aside in a cash account for emergencies.

Once you've done all of that, don't forget to factor in your taxes! If you work part-time or are self-employed, this is easy - but if you're paid a salary, it's vital to research what percentage of your income will be taken.


About the author 

Mary Elizabeth

Founder of MeMoreMoney. A self-taught finance nerd, learning by doing and experiencing. Bought first house at 21, paid off student debt, and save 100k by 30. Featured Personal Finance Expert in GO Banking Rates and Yahoo! Finance

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