Goodbudget App Review

Bill Mount

Tracking your monthly expenses doesn’t just force you to budget better; it can also give you good insight into your purchasing behaviors that help you save money. For example, you may not realize just how much you are actually spending on takeout or food delivery every month and realize that […]

Tracking your monthly expenses doesn’t just force you to budget better; it can also give you good insight into your purchasing behaviors that help you save money. For example, you may not realize just how much you are actually spending on takeout or food delivery every month and realize that you could cut back by cooking at home instead.

Expense tracker apps show you your spending habits — and just how much you could save — by categorizing your expenses.

Newcomers looking for a solution to managing their cash should consider the Goodbudget app. Out of a dozen-plus apps that CNBC Select compared when rating the best expense tracker apps, Goodbudget stood out for being the best app for beginners.

With Goodbudget, users are required to manually input each one of their transactions using the “envelope method.” This way, they’re held accountable to practice conscious spending and can see exactly where their money goes each month.

Below, we review the Goodbudget app to give you all the details on its features, including the tools, perks, safety, pricing, availability and ratings so you can decide if it is the right app for you and your partner to manage your money together. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best expense tracker apps.)

Goodbudget app review

Goodbudget

Information about Goodbudget has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by Goodbudget prior to publication.

  • Cost

    Get 20 envelopes for free; for unlimited envelopes, you need to upgrade to Goodbudget Plus, which is $7 per month or $60 per year

  • Standout features

    Allows users to plan their household’s spending using the “envelope method,” where they allocate a certain amount of their income into categories like groceries, rent and debt payoff. Users are only supposed spend what’s in their envelopes and if they go beyond their budget the envelope will show red to indicate that they overspent

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can customize

  • Links to accounts

    No, users manually create “envelopes” and input their transactions

  • Availability

    Has a web-based version, and also offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    256-bit bank grade encryption in a secure data center

Goodbudget app expense tracking tools

The Goodbudget app allows users to track their household’s spending using the “envelope method.” The “envelope method” means that each month, users allocate a certain amount of their income into categories (or digital “envelopes”) labeled things like groceries, rent and debt payoff.

This makes it easy to prioritize your spending and plan ahead. For people new to budgeting overall, it’s a good first step in learning how and where you spend money.

Users are only supposed to spend the amount allocated to each envelope, and if they go beyond their budget the envelope will show red to indicate that they overspent.

Unlike most budgeting and expense tracker apps, Goodbudget does not link to users’ bank accounts and credit cards. Instead, you manually create “envelopes” and input your transactions. The app will categorize your expenses for you, but you can customize the envelope categories according to your needs.

Perks

Safety

Goodbudget’s security features include high-level bank data encryption that sends you codes to access your information in a secure data center.

Pricing

The Goodbudget app is free to use for creating 20 envelopes, having one account user on up to two devices, tracking one year of transaction history, as well as debt tracking and community support.

For unlimited envelopes, you can upgrade to Goodbudget Plus, which is $7 per month or $60 per year. Goodbudget Plus also comes with unlimited account users on up to five devices, seven years of transaction history, debt tracking and email support.

Availability and ratings

The Goodbudget app is available in the App Store (for iOS) and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It is also available on Google Play (for Android) and has a web-based version.

Rating in App Store at time of writing: 4.7 out of 5 (over 12,000 ratings)

Rating on Google Play at time of writing: 4.4 out of 5 (nearly 19,000 ratings)

Bottom line

The Goodbudget app is great for budgeting beginners as it helps you categorize your expenses, set limits to how much to spend in each category and overall prioritize where your money goes.

The app’s variety of educational tools offered, such as the blog, podcast and free online courses, stands out from other apps and is another good reason why Goodbudget is a great choice if you’re interesting in learning more about personal finance.

If you want an app with more automation that syncs to your bank accounts and credit cards (so you don’t have to manually input your transactions), consider Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB).

Learn more: 5 tips on what to look for when choosing a budgeting app

Our methodology

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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