Before Brandon and I got married, we struggled to find a budgeting solution that really offered everything we needed.
We weren’t quite ready to merge our finances yet. But we knew we were getting married, we had shared financial goals, and we wanted to be able to budget collaboratively. Now that we’re married and have shared finances, we have entirely different financial needs.
At different points in our relationship, we need different tools and strategies to help us manage our finances together. Luckily we were able to find the perfect apps to help us do that.
In this post, I’m sharing 6 of the best budget apps for couples. Some are specifically designed for couples with separate bank accounts, while others are better suited for those who share finances.
There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.
Why couples should budget together
Study after study shows that finances are one of the biggest sticking points in a relationship and that disagreements over money are one of the leading causes of divorce.
There are so many different reasons why couples fight about money. Plenty of millennial and Gen Z couples these days are entering into a marriage where one or both partners has student loan debt.
For example, see my article here about how my husband and I made a plan to pay off our six figures of student debt.
Couples also argue about money when you’ve got one partner who is a saver and another who’s a spender. Financial emergencies like job loss or unplanned expenses can also place a major burden on a relationship.
Even if you’re not married, budgeting together can be a great way to get on the same page with your finances and get into the practice of peacefully resolving money disputes that might pop up.
What to consider when choosing a couples budgeting app
There are many apps out there that can help couples to manage their household budgets, whether they’ve merged their finances or only rock separate bank accounts.
Choosing the right app for you can be daunting, especially when many budgeting apps operate as a paid service. What if you pay the fee and hate the app? Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
- Are you willing to pay for an app, or will you only consider free apps? If you’re okay with a paid app, look for one that offers a free trial.
- Do you want a service that has both app and desktop functionality? Some companies offer budgeting apps, but not a desktop version. I really enjoy the option of a desktop version!
- Do you want to sync the app to your bank accounts and credit cards, or are you okay with manually recording transactions?
- Are you a hands-on budgeter or a more passive one? Some apps really require you to make a plan for each dollar, while others allow you to monitor your spending passively.
What if we don’t share finances?
I know that not all married couples choose to merge their finances. And plenty of couples who haven’t yet merged their finances still want a way to budget collaboratively and set shared financial goals. This was exactly the case for my husband and me before we were married.
The good news is that each of these budgeting apps can still be effective if you don’t have shared finances. In fact, some of the apps are specifically suited for couples who don’t share a bank account.
If you and your partner don’t share finances, you may not want to budget all of your money together, and that’s okay. When Brandon and I were dating, we made a budget for our joint bills and financial goals, but each tackled our personal spending individually.
The best budgeting apps for couples
Zeta is a budgeting app for couples with either shared or separate finances who want to budget together. It’s specially designed for those with separate bank accounts.
Zeta allows you and your partner to upload your bank accounts and credit cards and control what the other person can see. You can create a joint budget and track your spending together while keeping some expenses private. Zeta also allows you to set joint financial goals and track your progress.
A feature that makes Zeta ideal for those with separate finances is that you can keep a running tab on who has paid for certain expenses and tag your partner when it’s time to settle up.
Zeta has awesome features like the ability to keep a running financial to-do list and well-designed financial dashboards.
I didn’t know about Zeta when Brandon and I were budgeting with separate bank accounts. Otherwise, I probably would have used it!
Who It’s For: Zeta is perfect for couples who have separate finances and want to budget together.
Honeydue is a budgeting app that allows couples to add separate bank accounts and track spending together. When you add your account, you can control how much of your information your partner can see. Couples can set a joint budget and share financial goals.
Another great feature is that you can set up reminders for you or your partner when it’s time to pay a bill. You can also message within the app to keep all of your money conversations in one place.
One feature of Honeydue that really sold me (and the reason Brandon and I used it when we had separate finances) is that it allows you to track who paid for what and who owes you.
If I paid the rent bill, I would enter it and indicate that Brandon owed me for half. Honeydue keeps a running tab based on all transactions and allows either partner to settle up at any time.
This feature really addressed one of the more complicated parts of living with a partner and sharing expenses when you have separate finances.
Who It’s For: Honeydue is perfect for couples who have separate finances and want to budget together.
YOU NEED A BUDGET
Let me preface this by saying that You Need a Budget (YNAB) is my favorite budgeting app. It’s the one I personally use and recommend the most.
YNAB is a budgeting app that really allows you to make a plan for your money. Unlike more passive money apps that tell you where you spent your money that month, YNAB allows you to decide proactively where you’ll spend your money.
I also love YNAB for its tracking and reporting. When you add your debt and investment accounts, you’ll be able to see an accurate report of your net worth.
YNAB is definitely pricier than some of the other options, but I’ve saved that at least ten-fold by using this budgeting method.
Cost: $99 per year with a 34-day free trial
Who It’s For: YNAB is ideal for those who prefer to take a hands-on approach to budgeting. If you’re inclined to track all your expenses in a spreadsheet, YNAB is a simpler solution for you. YNAB works for couples with either joint or separate bank accounts.
Personal Capital is a financial planning app that allows you to monitor your budget while also keeping tabs on your investment and retirement accounts. For couples planning their financial futures together, Personal Capital is a great way to keep an eye on your progress.
Personal Capital is a great tool for seeing your entire financial picture in one place. But unlike some of the other apps, it doesn’t really allow you to intentionally create a plan for your money every month.
Personal Capital also offers more advanced features, such as wealth management services and financial advisor sessions at an extra cost.
Who It’s For: Personal Capital is ideal for couples who want to monitor their investment and their progress toward reaching specific financial goals such as saving for a home. This app isn’t ideal for hands-on budgeters.
MINT BY INTUIT
Mint is a budgeting app that allows you to sync all of your bank accounts and track your spending throughout the month.
Mint is especially adept at automatically categorizing your transactions based on where you’re spending money. So for those who prefer to be more passive when it comes to your budgeting, Mint is a great option for you. Mint also has features that allow you to set and track financial goals.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance app that you can set up once and then use check passively throughout the money, Mint might be right for you.
Who It’s For: Mint is the perfect app for couples who want a low-maintenance budgeting solution. You can use this app for shared bank accounts, or separately add your individual accounts.
Tiller is a spreadsheet-based budgeting app that allows you to track your spending, income, and account balances in spreadsheets.
One of the major advantages of Tiller — and something spreadsheet lovers will particularly enjoy — is that just about everything is customizable, from your spending categories to the reports you see. You can even add your favorite spreadsheet formulas and functions to the program.
Cost: $79 per year with a 30-day free trial
Who It’s For: Tiller is the perfect budgeting app for couples who love spreadsheets and customization.
So what’s the verdict?
If you read through this entire post, you might still be stumped as to which budgeting app is right for you. I’ve chosen my winners based on whether you and your couple have shared or separate finances.
The best budgeting app for couples with separate finances: Zeta
The best budgeting app for couples with shared finances: You Need a Budget
Dealing with finances in your relationship can be challenging, there’s no doubt about it. I truly believe that having an effective tool can help to ease some of the frustration.
I’ve used more than my fair share of paid and free budgeting apps, some of which have been better suited for couples than others. Whether you share a bank account with your partner or not, there’s definitely an app on this list to meet your needs.