7 budgeting and savings apps worth checking out in 2021

TAMIKA SEETO
Finance Journalist · 22 April 2021
Looking to take control of your finances, but don’t know where to start? Your phone could help, thanks to a number of budgeting and savings apps.

Saving money, tracking expenses and sticking to an allocated budget can be tough, and it takes time to build towards your goals. Thankfully, like just about anything nowadays, when it comes to budgeting there’s an app – or several hundred of them – for that. To help you sift through the near-endless budgeting and savings apps out there, we’ve compiled a list of seven that caught our interest.

Pocketbook

Pocketbook is a free Australian budgeting app. Once you’ve linked up your bank accounts, the app automatically tracks your transactions and groups them into categories — things like groceries, transport and shopping. This can give you a clear picture of where your money is going.

You can set yourself a budget for each type of spend and get notifications when you’re getting too close to your limits. Pocketbook can also send you reminders when you have upcoming bills or recurring payments. You can also link up your super and investment accounts.

Availability: iOS and Android

MoneyBrilliant

MoneyBrilliant is another budgeting app that allows you to track and categorise your spending. MoneyBrilliant can show you all of your assets and liabilities – such as bank accounts, credit cards, super, investments, properties, insurance and loans – so you can calculate your net worth and get a fuller picture of your finances. Through the app you can also create budgets, set up notifications for upcoming bills and access tools to help you save towards goals like owning a home or saving for retirement.

MoneyBrilliant offers a free ‘Basic’ plan, which gives users access to budgeting tools, spending reports and other tools. It also has a ‘Plus’ plan which costs $9.90 per month, or $99 per year. This gives users access to additional and more advanced tools, such as a tax deduction tool and a tool that allows you to compare your income and expenses to other people like you, based on various demographics.

Availability: iOS and Android

Budgeting and savings apps
Source: Joyseulay/Shutterstock.com

WiseList

WiseList is a free Australian app that compares the price of groceries at Woolworths and Coles to show you which one is cheaper. You can also add items to your watchlist to get notified when they are on special. WiseList also offers a bill management feature that lets you know when your bills are almost due.

WiseList currently only compares Woolworths and Coles, though, so it won’t be as useful if you normally shop at another store like IGA or Aldi.

Availability: iOS and Android 

Goodbudget

Goodbudget uses an age-old budgeting method – the envelope system. In the past, this involved splitting up your cash into different physical envelopes, with each envelope representing a different purpose such as rent, groceries or savings. Goodbudget takes this idea into the 21st century with its virtual envelopes. Using the app, you can create virtual envelopes for your monthly bills and spending and are only allowed to spend out of the designated envelope. This could be helpful if you’re looking for a simple way to budget.

Unlike some other budgeting apps, you can’t sync Goodbudget to your bank account. However, this might be appealing if you aren’t so keen on sharing your bank details.

Goodbudget has a free version, as well as a ‘Plus’ version, which costs from $8.49 monthly or $69.99 annually. This gives you access to some additional features such as unlimited envelopes and the ability to sync the app with more devices.

Availability: iOS and Android

budget apps
Source: RomanR/Shutterstock.com

Canstar App

Canstar offers a free budgeting app, powered by Frollo. It allows you to connect multiple accounts, including your transaction accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and loans and view them all in one place. The app then tracks and categorises your transactions into groups, so you can see where your spending is concentrated and where you may be able to cut back. You can also create budgets and savings goals, and get reminded of upcoming bills and expenses.

The app also suggests insider tips and insights. These include things like how to get bonus interest rates on your savings accounts, or a better deal on your mortgage. This can help you to get the most out of your money.

Availability: iOS and Android

Splitwise

Splitwise is a bill-splitting app. It could be useful if you need to keep track of shared expenses – which could be anything from splitting bills with your housemates to dinner with friends. While not strictly designed for budgeting, Splitwise can give you an insight into how much money you’re lending to people or how much you owe others.

Splitwise automatically splits all payments you enter between members of a group, while also tallying who-owes-who what. Splitwise is free to download, but, there are in-app purchases if you want to access the app’s ‘pro features’, which include no ads, currency conversion and the ability to save default splits.

Additionally, if you want to use the app with a group of people, it does require all users to download the app individually.

Availability: iOS and Android

Your bank’s app?

Many of Australia’s major and challenger banks have created apps and functionality designed to help their customers save money. For example, some bank apps have ‘round-up’ features whereby purchases made with your transaction account are rounded up and the extra amount is shifted into a linked savings account.

If you’re not a fan of “budgeting” per se, you could also try setting up an “anti-budget” or “paying yourself first” through your bank’s app. This is where you arrange to automatically transfer part of your pay to your savings as soon as you receive it. The rest of your pay can then be spent as you like.

If you’re comparing bank accounts, you may be interested in seeing which providers won our Savings and Transaction Account Awards. You may also want to check out which providers won Canstar’s Online and Mobile Banking Awards.

Please note that this is just a selection of budgeting apps available. There are other budgeting apps out there and Canstar is not making recommendations about any particular platforms. It’s important to do your own research before deciding if any of these kinds of apps are suitable for you. You may want to speak to your bank, for example, before downloading third-party apps that use your personal banking information, particularly your login details. If money is taken from your account due to a security issue or privacy breach related to a third-party app of this kind, your bank may hold you responsible for issues such as fraud. Financial protections and safeguards you may have otherwise received as a customer may be impacted based on the terms and conditions of agreements with relevant providers.

For wider ideas, you might consider creating a budget spreadsheet, and choosing a budgeting approach. We also have a guide on how to make a budget in 6 steps. At Canstar, we also offer a free credit score tool, so you can see where you stand financially.


More apps to consider

There are apps out there for just about every purpose, and Canstar has compiled round-ups for the following topics:

The comparison table below shows some of the savings accounts on Canstar’s database for a regular saver in NSW with links to the providers’ websites. The results shown are based on an investment of $100,000 in a personal savings account and are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), then provider name (alphabetically). For more information and to confirm whether a particular product will be suitable for you, check upfront with your provider and read the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision.

Cover image source: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com


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This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Tom Letts and Deputy Editor Sean Callery as part of our fact-checking process.


Tamika covers personal finance for Canstar, specialising in banking and general insurance. She joined the team after completing a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at QUT. She has previously written for a range of news, music and arts publications.

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