Creating a budget is a smart financial decision since it can help you track your spending and help you save. But, as helpful as this can, creating a budget can be painful. At least if you do it traditionally with spreadsheets or pen and paper. However, thanks to technology today there are many easier ways to track your money. Here’s what you need to know about the best budget apps available in Canada.
Why Consider Using a Budget App
To start with, using a budget app is much easier and less time consuming than having to worry about tracking it on your own. All you do is enter the app, put in your information, and you’re done! The fact that it’s much easier to track using an app also means that you’re more likely to stick with it which, in turn, means you’ll get a better snapshot of your spending and finances and therefore have a better chance of meeting your financial goals, whatever they may be.
What to Look for When Choosing a Budget App
There are plenty of budget apps available in Canada, but you do need to be a bit selective in choosing the best one for your needs. First of all, some budget apps are free while others have a cost associated with them. You then need to consider what your goal is in using a budgeting app. Do you just want to track your spending? Do you want to be able to get out of debt? Are you trying to grow your savings?
Some budget apps will allow you to do all of the above, but a few of these apps are more tailored towards specific needs. Either way, there’s definitely a budget app out there to help you achieve your goals.
With that in mind, here are my top picks for the best budget apps in Canada.
The Best Free Budgeting Apps
When it comes to the best budget apps in Canada, Mint is seen as the standard. It’s an all-encompassing money manager that can link to all of your financial accounts (banking, credit cards, investments etc.) to provide you with an accurate and detailed picture of where exactly your money is going. Due to the fact that it is all linked up, it’s updated every time you log in so what you are seeing on screen is real time.
Another reason why this budget app is so appealing is that it’s easy to read and understand. Mint categorizes your spending habits and allows you to create your budget, or, will create one for you. This budget app also reminds you of bill payments, will keep up updated on any strange activities on your bank account, and can check your credit score.
Without a doubt, Mint is one of the best and most comprehensive budget apps in Canada, however, it’s not for everyone. The fact that it is synced to all your accounts is ideal for some, but uncomfortable for others. If you’re ever a victim of fraud, your bank may deny your no liability protection since you gave away your password to a third party.
When it comes to budgeting apps, KOHO is a bit different. Essentially, KOHO is a prepaid Visa card and app. It functions as a budgeting tool, money-saving app, and pre-paid spending card. It has lots of great benefits and features too including:
- Real time insights to your spending + the ability to set savings goals
- Roundup features
- Cashback (0.50%)
- Financial coaching
- The ability to both pay your bills and receive payments
- Joint account options for couples
Sign up with my referral code CASHMONEY now to earn an extra 1% in cash back for 90 days.
Wally is another free app (with planned in-app upgrades) that are ideal for tracking expenses. This app will let you scan receipts, create budgets, and set goals. While it may not be the best option out there in terms of your day-to-day life and expenses, Wally is a great option for travellers or those looking to save for a vacation or trip. In fact, Wally is listed as the #1 finance app in 22 countries around the world and offers all types of currencies which, again, makes it ideal for travellers. It’s a relatively new app, but they do have plans for upgrades including a currency conversion option.
If the idea of entering all of your banking information into an app scared you, then consider the Spending Tracker app. It’s a no-frills app that can help you keep track of your spending without needing to know all of your personal finance details. That being said, it does involve more work as you need to manually enter your spending. However, if you are disciplined enough to do this then Spending Tracker could be a great choice for you.
The Best Paid Budgeting Apps
Cost: $1-$3 per month
Created in 2017, Mylo has rapidly become one of the top budgeting apps in Canada for those who are looking to save or invest.
Mylo works in the background by rounding up your purchases and invests the change into low ETF funds. So, say you buy a cup of coffee for $3.50. Mylo will round that up to $4 and invest the extra $0.50. You can also alter this roundup as you see fit by multiples. So, to continue our coffee example, maybe you want to double it. Then you’d end up rounding the purchase up to $4.50 so you’d invest $1 instead of just $0.50. You can also set up regular contributions or make a lump-sum contribution as you see fit.
As mentioned above, Mylo is a paid app but at only $1/month, that’s pretty affordable. If you are interested in premium services such as SRI, or investing in a TFSA or RRSP, then you will need to pay more. Users should also know that your funds are insured by CIPF for up to $1 million. Check out my full Mylo review here.
YNAB (You Need A Budget)
Cost: $7 per month of $84 per year
YNAB, like Mint, connects all your accounts to get a concise snapshot of all of your spending habits and expenses. This budgeting app offers tracking, budgeting, and goal-saving features, but it operates a little differently.
YNAB has a unique methodology and uses 4 rules to function
- Give every dollar a job. This forces you to spend actively and plan your spending.
- Embrace your true expenses. Pay the bills ASAP and save for less frequent spending. This way, should disaster strike, you can be ready.
- Roll with the Punches. Adjust your budget as needed. This may be your expenses changed or even as you learn more about your own spending habits.
- Age your Money: Spend less, save more.
Cost: Free and Paid ($14.99 or 22.99/year) versions
Spendee is perfect for those looking to set budgets. It connects your bank accounts so you can get an easy to read and understand overview of your spending. It will alert you to bill payments and budget overruns, plus you can share your information among family members if required. Another great perk of this budget app is that it accommodates multiple currencies (perfect for those planning on travelling) and, if you do any cash purchases or payments, you can enter the information manually.
The Best Cash Back Budget Apps
If you spend a lot of money on groceries, then this budget app is for you. Once you open an account with Checkout 51, you’ll receive weekly offers (it updates every Thursday) for items that you’ll find on your regular grocery list. Do your shopping, then upload your receipt to the app to receive cashback for the eligible purchases. Once the receipt is approved, the cashback will be credited to your account. You can cash out when your balance hits $20.
Caddle is another shopping cash back app very similar to Checkout 51. In fact, you can even use it alongside Checkout 51 to get double the cash back rewards. The app updates its offers on a weekly basis, sometimes with store-specific purchases, sometimes just item-specific purchases. If your purchase matches up with the deals on the app, then load up for your receipt to get the cash back. Once approved, it will show up on your account and you can cash out when you hit $20.
Cost: Free for withdrawal of $25 or more. $1.50 fee if you withdraw less than $25.
If you like the idea of, essentially, getting paid to shop then another great pick is Paymi. Once you download the app you link your debit and credit card and shop using those cards when shopping at Paymi partners. Partners include a range of companies include Leons, Burger King, Indigo, Sporkchek, Contiki, Netflix, Sephora, CIBC, and more. Cash back usually takes 1-2 business days to show up in your account, and you can withdraw it whenever you please. However, there is a withdrawal fee of $1.50 if you cash out before you reach the $25 mark.
From traditional budgeting apps that allow you to track expenses to more tailored apps allowing you to save on your everyday expenses, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to budget apps for Canadians. You just need to take the time to figure out which budget app(s) are the best for your needs. If your goal is to earn more rewards, consider using one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada or one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.