First, what you should look for when choosing financial software:

  • Customizable budget categories – most people’s spending is unique to their situation, so the app should allow you to go beyond the usual predesignated categories of rent/mortgage, income, utilities, etc.
  • Flexibility for irregular income and expenses – the app should be able to handle these more unusual items, such as annual expenses or once-per-year income.
  • Reporting – at a minimum, your budgeting software should generate reports that break down income and expenses by category and show spending trends on a monthly basis.
  • Security – it goes without saying that when dealing with your financial life, data security is a must. A full-featured app will have connections to your various financial accounts so that data can be imported rather than entered manually. Those connections must be secured by encryption and password protection.

As for recommendations, here are two. YNAB (You Need a Budget) doesn't just track your finances, it also teaches you to be a better money manager. If you're new to budgeting, the app's hands-on approach also helps drive home the idea of being intentional about how you spend and save money. If you have more budgeting experience, you might prefer Mint, which automatically aggregates and analyzes all your linked financial accounts and gives you a comprehensive look at your money matters.

Links to complete reviews of these apps can be found in the full article.