Last Updated on 11 January 2023 by Dan
Hello everyone! We’re quite the fans of the new waves of budgeting apps, we’ve got a collection of full reviews on of what we think are contenders for the best budgeting app presently available in the UK.
It can be hard to pick between them once you’ve made the decision to use them. So I thought I’d try and answer the question of which works best for you!
We’ll also keep this page updated as new apps come on to the market – if you think you’ve found an option that might be the UK’s best budgeting app, then let us know in the comments below!
(Affiliate Note: We may receive a small commission for referring you to any of these services using our link, but it won’t affect the service you receive and per our editorial policy, we always write honestly about what we review, no matter if we get paid or not).
Why use a budgeting app?
Often we all have a goal of saving money, but it never seems to quite happen in the day to day mania of life, and before you know it you haven’t saved anything.
A budgeting app helps with this because it can help you review where you’re spending the money (what you need to spend vs. nice to have) and helps give you an idea of what is a credible amount to save each month. Once you do have a specific monthly target it mind it becomes more real, and it’s amazing how “making it happen” with a target becomes much easier.
Budgeting apps also help because they’ll project your spending as well, with many alerting you if your spending goes off course. This means you can take action to correct early – rather than scrambling around before the next paycheck arrives.
How do Budgeting Apps work?
Modern banking apps use the “Open Banking” infrastructure where you provide read-only access to your transactions for the apps to analyse. (This is not the same as granting access to your bank account!)
The apps will then try and categorise the money by what they know about the merchant – so for instance if you’ve spent some money at PizzaExpress, it’ll put it in a “food and drink” category.
This works well because unlike old-school budgeting where you had to initially go through your accounts personally classifying each transaction it means you can get an accurate picture of your financial position very speedily.
There’s usually a small amount of tidy up work needed to make sure everything is classified as you expect, or to create personalised buckets if you want to carve out a bit of spending. An example from Money Dashboard Neon below.
Which is the best budgeting app in the UK?
Whilst we liked Money Dashboard Neon the best overall because we thought it gave us the most amount of functionality for free which is what I personally felt was important to me, but there is no clear standout winner.
That may seem a bit of a cop-out answer, but it’s for good reason – no app did absolutely everything perfectly. We really liked the design of some, but found the functionality limited without signing up for a premium plan – vice versa elsewhere. Often commercial realities of these app needing to make money
As a result what we’re going to do with the rest of this article is to run you through which app stood out on various characteristics to help guide you on what might be important to you in a UK Budgeting App.
Money Dashboard Neon Vs. Emma Vs. Snoop
If you want lots of free functionality from your budgeting app
Money Dashboard Neon’s budgeting app is right for you – it’s very customisable and allows you to make personalised changes to categories of money very easily.
We’ve selected it as Money Dashboard Neon offers choices for budget customisation for free which are only included in Emma’s premium bundle, and Snoop’s focus is wider than budgeting so it’s tools for that are at the more basic end.
If you want good design and ease of use from your budgeting app
Then the Emma budgeting app is best for you. The app is incredibly well designed, feeling like a really slick interface which is largely intuitive to use and consistently well presented.
We thought Snoop was largely well designed as well, but Emma’s focus on budget means it wins out in the category. Money Dashboard Neon is ok, but there’s design elements that mean you occasionally have to think about what you’re doing and where you might find things rather than it being natural.
If your focus is mainly to find money saving offers from your budgeting app
Then Snoop is the app for you! Rather than being a pure budgeting app it works more on the basis of providing nudges based on some of the trends it picks up in your spending – for instance recognising if energy bills are higher than average or creeping up over time.
Snoop wins in this category as whilst the other apps have tools to enable you to take these actions relatively easily, you have to start them yourself – whereas Snoop gives you a little more encouragement.
Where can I sign up to use these Budgeting Apps?
If you have any questions about our UK Budgeting App reviews, or have used Emma, Money Dashboard or Snoop and have thoughts on them we’d absolutely love to hear from you! Just let us know in the comments below.
And that’s it!
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