If you’re budgeting for a single income and are an Android user, consider MoneyWise Pro. It can’t sync between devices, but it does include a spending tracker, a separate income tracker, budgeting features, an option for multiple accounts (for a single user) and comparative graphs and pie charts. The filter tool can clearly compare categorised transactions, so you can quickly examine your transaction history. Multiple currencies are integrated, which is handy for travel budgeting, but exchange rates need to be entered manually. In addition to standard export options, MoneyWise Pro offers HTML conversion with a layout that’s suitable for printing. A free version with ads is also available.
Goodbudget (formerly EEBA)
Once an Android exclusive, Goodbudget is now available on iOS. Although the layout isn't as clean as that of the Android version, it still offers a straightforward approach to envelope budgeting, with easy-to-interpret summaries represented by an expense meter. Multiple-income households will benefit from its live sync feature, which instantly updates envelope transactions across all registered devices. You can only sync to two devices and the web portal in the free version, which will suit most people. Additional features require a monthly fee. Note: at the time of writing, Goodbudget was operating under the brand Easy Envelope Budgeting Aid (EEBA).
$5.49 (iOS), $4.74 (Android)
PocketMoney’s functions are similar to other budgeting apps, but its step-by-step instructions and integrated links to tutorials set it apart. However, if you try to sync to the desktop version, you may find the default tools complicated and access to the web portal incurs an additional cost. In fact, many features (e.g. pie charts) are locked behind paywalls, and while the “lite” version is suitable for simple budgeting, complex accounts may require these extra functions. The iOS version offers more features, including the option to reconcile your accounts (which is absent from the Android release), as well as an improved interface. For its level of depth, PocketMoney is easy to use, but the microtransactions for extra features can increase the cost of the app.
Computer software extensions
Free (iOS), $US49.99 (desktop)
If you use Moneydance, the bulk of your budgeting will take place on the desktop version. The mobile app is a simple, on-the-go expense tracker to be used alongside the desktop tool, but syncing to the software can be tricky. You have the option to connect over a mobile network via the Dropbox app, available separately or directly through a local Wi-Fi network. We had trouble connecting Moneydance to Dropbox, but syncing via a local Wi-Fi network is straightforward. Note that you can download this app free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the paid desktop version.
Free (iOS), Free (desktop)
Pocketbook is a home-grown app that can sync with most local banks, so you can transfer your account information for accurate on-the-go budgeting. It’s a huge time-saver, but accessing this feature requires you to use your online banking details, which you may not be comfortable with for security reasons. If you pay your bills via your online bank account, Pocketbook can alert you to overdue expenses, and it sends you weekly budget summaries. You can use it without the desktop companion, but its functions as a solo app are limited to expense tracking.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
As with the other desktop companions, YNAB for mobile is a simple expense tracker that won’t work until you sync it with the paid desktop version. The app is well designed, and much easier to use than other desktop companions, and can sync across multiple devices with multiple budgets via Dropbox or local Wi-Fi. But rather than leave you in the dark, YNAB guides you through the steps required to connect to Dropbox. Most of the customisation options are limited to the desktop version, so on-the-go tweaking isn’t really an option. Note that you can download this app for free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the desktop version.