The best budgeting apps in the UK: How to budget without trying

2 min Read Published: 04 Jan 2023

The best way to manage your finances is through budgeting and now is the time to start. Everything is now accessible through your smartphone, including the world of banking, meaning that you can also budget effectively from your phone. Many budgeting apps now can connect electronically to your bank accounts to collate them all in one place so it makes it easier to manage your spending and budgeting effectively, without having to flip through a number of different mobile banking apps. Below we look at some of the best budgeting apps that will help you get your finances in shape.

Best free budgeting apps

Emma - Good for finding wasteful subscriptions

  • Groups all of your accounts together in one place
  • Helps you to avoid using your overdraft and pay off any debt
  • Monthly savings prompts to keep your budgeting on track
  • Allows you to set budget goals
  • Helps cut down unnecessary spending by highlighting wasteful subscriptions
  • Offers savings advice and recommends an affordable amount to save each month based on your budget

More information can be found in our independent Emma review.

Money Dashboard - Good for helping you budget for future goals

  • Voted the Best Personal Finance App in 2017, 2018, 2020 & 2021
  • Automatically categorises transactions
  • Dashboard to clearly see the categories of your spending, shown in various graphs
  • Allows you to set multiple budgets with notifications of overspending
  • Allows you to plan your finances and budget for the future
  • Shows all of your transactions on all accounts in one place

More information can be found in our independent Money Dashboard review.

Best paid for budgeting apps

Moneyhub - Good for data privacy

  • Gain insights into your spending habits via a spending analysis tool
  • See all of your accounts in one place
  • Set spending goals
  • Receive notifications that remind you when bills are due
  • Ability to seek financial help or advice if needed
  • Subscription required - £14.99 per year or £1.49 per month (first 6 months free)

More information can be found in our independent Moneyhub review.

Budgeting through a bank

Budgeting apps are a great way to control your finances but now there is the opportunity to budget via digital-only banks. Below we have listed banks that have the same or similar features to many of the above apps alongside their own fully functional personal bank accounts.

Monzo - Good for budgeting

  • Can be used with Apple/Samsung/Google pay
  • Set spending budgets
  • Clear and easy summary of spending
  • Instant notifications
  • Set up direct debits and standing orders
  • Pay people easily
  • Avoid unnecessary fees when spending abroad
  • Effortless savings feature that allows you to round up payments to the nearest pound, the pennies get added to a 'savings pot'
  • Withdraw cash abroad with no fees (monthly limit applies)

More information can be found in our independent Monzo review.

Starling Bank - Good for round-up saving

  • Voted Best British Bank in 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021
  • Allows multiple savings goals all in one place
  • Real-time updates to track daily spending quickly
  • Get notifications on payment-related activity
  • Gain spending insights on your spending activity
  • Rounds up your spending to the nearest pound and the money is automatically put into a savings pot.
  • Speed up your savings by electing to increase the amount that rounds up each purchase. You can choose x1, x2, x5 or x10
  • Fee-free spending when travelling abroad including cash withdrawals

More information can be found in our independent Starling Bank review.

Revolut - Good for travelling abroad

  • Built-in budgeting
  • Round up your spending to the nearest pound and the money is automatically put into a savings pot
  • Instant spending notifications
  • Spend money abroad with no fees (limits apply)
  • Withdraw cash abroad fee-free (monthly limit applies)
  • Although Revolut operates as a bank, it is still waiting for its UK banking licence to be approved and so your money is not currently covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

More information can be found in our independent Revolut review.

Chase - Good for earning interest

  • Get a spending overview on your transactions in a month
  • Save money into separate current accounts
  • Round-up spending and earn 5% interest on round-up change
  • Earn 1% cashback on purchases for the first 12 months
  • Fee-free spending abroad
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 2.7% interest on a Chase Saver account
  • FSCS protection

More information can be found in our Chase review.