Top-ranked budgeting apps for Canadians in 2024

By Vince Kanasoot
Jan 26, 2024
Top-ranked budgeting apps for Canadians in 2024
Photo credit: miniseries/E+/Getty Images

Do you ever feel like your money slips through your fingers, leaving you questioning your financial choices? Need a way to track how you're spending? Budgeting apps may be the answer.*

The popularity of budgeting apps has been on the rise over the past decade and has evolved to serve diverse financial situations, goals, and areas of focus. For example, apps are now available to not only help individuals manage their money but for couples and families as well. While some apps mainly focus on expenses and savings, some also dedicate strong attention to investment performance.

Using an app can help you organize your finances in one place, including paying bills, budgeting and tracking expenses, paying off debt, and saving for the future. Some apps also include functions to monitor investments and remind you about upcoming bills. While Mint had long been a popular financial management app in Canada, with its discontinuation as of January 1, 2024, many of its former users may now be seeking alternative platforms.

Below is an overview of some top-ranked budgeting apps available in Canada. Some of these apps require manual updates to keep users actively engaged, while others take a "set it and forget it" approach, using AI to categorize your spending into appropriate categories.

With features ranging from personalized spending advice to collaborating with others to manage household expenses, the apps discussed can shift the way you engage with your money, and perhaps empower you to reach your financial goals.

You Need A Budget (YNAB)

Do you ever wonder where all your money goes? You Need A Budget (YNAB) is designed to take the mystery away and has been ranked by Forbes Advisor as the Best Budgeting App for Achieving Financial Goals in 2024. YNAB takes a zero-based budgeting approach, where all expenses are categorized and each dollar you earn is assigned a category, including savings. YNAB is also designed to help you save manageable chunks each month for future expenses and allows for flexibility in moving funds around. For example, in the case of an unexpected traffic ticket, you could pay for it from funds assigned to your clothing category for the month.

YNAB can be synced with bank and credit card accounts for ease of automation.** You'll still have to assign charges from your debit and credit card transactions into the different categories in YNAB, so there's some manual entry involved. For example, if you charged $50 to your credit card to pay for gas, you'll transfer $50 from your credit card expenses into your "gas" category in YNAB. The manual entry work here is intentional, as it's part of how YNAB keeps its users engaged in their spending. This also means you'll have to update your account every time you pay bills.

YNAB also offers resources such as articles, videos, podcasts, and a DIY Money Planner workbook to help you succeed in your financial planning.

Cost: After the 34-day free trial, the cost is $18.49 CAD per month or $124.99 for an annual subscription.***

Mobile/Desktop accessibility: Both


US-based Monarch, which was named by the Wall Street Journal as its Best Budgeting App of 2024, recently launched in Canada. Like YNAB, Monarch divides expenses into categories and guides its users in budgeting their funds into the appropriate categories each time they get paid. However, Monarch places greater emphasis on the user's financial picture, not just expenses and savings. Like YNAB, users can connect their bank and credit card accounts, as well as information on their investments, real estate, vehicles, and valuables such as art and collectibles. The platform syncs users' accounts multiple times a day so that it's easy to see the most up-to-date evaluation of one's net worth and its breakdown.

Transactions are more automated than YNAB, so there are fewer manual entries required. This "set it and forget it" approach may be ideal for users who are constantly busy. The app suggests budgets for different spending categories, and this can be manually adjusted. While you can also invite other people into your account, such as your partner or family members, Monarch is meant more for single-user finances. Monarch also makes transitioning from Mint easy with the ability to import your history and data from Mint.

Cost: After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $10.83 CAD per month or $129.99 for an annual subscription.

Mobile/Desktop accessibility: Both


PocketGuard aims to do exactly what its name suggests – protect what’s in your pocket, which is why it has been named by Forbes Advisor as the Best Budgeting App for Tracking Spending in 2024. Its "In My Pocket" (IMP) tracker shows how much money you have left over after paying your bills and committing to your financial goals, so you can curtail your spending as needed. The app allows you to link your bank and credit card accounts, and automatically identifies recurring bills that you pay from these accounts and integrates them into your PocketGuard app. Like Monarch, you can also link your investments and loans to get an overall picture of your net worth.

Once you've linked your accounts, and set up your spending categories and savings goals, the app does most of the work, automatically allocating your transactions into their respective categories. Another distinguishing feature of PocketGuard, in addition to its IMP tracker, is its pie charts. These charts provide easy-to-understand spending reports. PocketGuard also helps users with debt repayment strategizing and provides simple ways to track progress. It also monitors subscriptions and houses them under one area, which is handy if you have subscriptions from various platforms. Another of the app's features is that it notifies users of upcoming bill payment deadlines.

Cost: After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $8.33 CAD per month or $99.99 for an annual subscription.

Mobile/Desktop accessibility: Both


When you're single, you're likely the only person driving your financial planning. However, when you're in a relationship you may need to co-drive combined accounts and assets. Honeydue's mission is to "outsmart money, together", and is ranked by Forbes Advisor as the Best Budgeting App for Couples in 2024. This free app is a way for couples to link their bank accounts, loans, and investments for real-time tracking.

Each partner can view their individual and joint accounts in Honeydue, and privacy options are available so that partners only share what they want of their individual assets. This also means that expenses for birthday and other surprises for a partner can be discreetly handled.

Honeydue allows couples to collaborate on financial planning and manage household expenses together, and there's a chat feature to help facilitate this. One of the testimonials on Honeydue's site states, "We especially love the option to chat with each other about specific bills and more in-app (instead of over dinner)."

Cost: Free

Mobile/Desktop accessibility: Mobile only

Good Budget

Good Budget is a relatively simple budgeting app compared to those mentioned above. It focuses on budgeting per household, which means you can invite others such as a partner or family members to collaborate in the financial planning of your digital "household" on the app.

Good Budget was named by Forbes Advisor as the Best Budget App for Budgeting Using Envelopes in 2024, because it uses a traditional envelope system, which is similar to the zero-based approach used by YNAB. Anticipated expenses are categorized into digital envelopes and every time you get paid, you allocate your dollars into each envelope, allowing you to track your household expenses and progress toward goals such as saving and paying down debt.

Since Good Budget does not sync with any other accounts, all entries must be done manually. The app provides easy-to-read graphs to illustrate spending habits. While the free version of Good Budget offers all the app's functions, the paid Goodbudget Plus version offers additional features.

Cost: Free version available, and Goodbudget Plus costs $9.99 CAD a month or $87.99 for an annual subscription.

Mobile/Desktop accessibility: Both


*CPABC does not endorse any of the products mentioned. This article is a compilation of publicly available information and readers are encouraged to do their own research to decide which products best suit their personal and financial needs.

**While many of the apps discussed allow users to sync their bank and credit card activity, users also have the option to decline this functionality and to manually input their transactions if they prefer. All apps mentioned in this article are protected with 128-bit or 256-bit encryption. 128-bit encrypted data means it would take a hacker 1.02 x 1018 years to crack and 256-bit would take 3.31 x 1056 years. While 256-bit encryption is more secure than 128-bit, both are considered highly secure. Among the budgeting apps discussed in this article, You Need A Budget is protected with 128-bit encryption and all others are 256-bit encrypted.

***Prices are as of the date of posting.

Vince Kanasoot is a communications specialist with CPABC.


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