What to consider when choosing a budgeting app

Want to take the hassle out of budgeting? A new generation of budgeting apps helps you control your finances from the convenience of your smartphone.

Gone are the days when savvy savers used a spreadsheet and a pencil to stay on top of personal finances. Today, it’s all about software and when it comes to budgeting there’s been an explosion in the number of smartphone-based options consumers can choose from.

Popular budgeting apps like Pocketbook, MoneyBrilliant, WiseList and even the ATO app promise to deliver more financial freedom to users by helping to keep track of finances in real time. But are they worth the effort?

To find out let’s take a look at some of the most popular budgeting apps on the market.


Pocketbook is one of the most popular budgeting apps on the market. An app developed right here in Australia, it can be linked to your bank account then automatically groups your transactions into categories by tracking what you spend. This helps you see where you’re spending and what you can cut back on.


WiseList also helps you save money but takes a different approach. It focuses on the supermarket, enabling users to create specific grocery lists and then compare items at Woolworths and Coles so you can go with the cheaper option. Beyond that, functionality on the app includes alerts about price drops and the ability to make lists collaboratively.


MoneyBrilliant is another widely used app that lets you track what you’re spending and create categories to see where your money is going. Another plus of this particular app is that it can give you a good overall snapshot of your finances by also showing things like loans, credit cards and superannuation. The app has basic and paid versions.

ATO app

While not strictly a savings app, the ATO app also helps when it comes to budgeting because it takes some pain out of tax and superannuation which can be time-consuming and easy to lose track of throughout the year if you’re not careful. The app’s myDeductions feature can be used to monitor potential tax deductions like union fees and charity contributions, or personal or business expenses throughout the financial year. Other functions include a tax withheld calculator to assist tracking how much you’re likely to receive, or owe, the ATO.

Budgeting apps: key features

Of course, not all budgeting apps are created equal so when diving into the market you’ve got to keep your wits about you. Here are some important features to look out for irrespective of what app you choose:

  • Make sure it’s compatible with your device especially in the case of paid apps.
  • Check whether it comes with a free trial period so you can try before you buy.
  • Ensure it can link to your bank account so you have the option to automate saving.
  • Double check security protocols to protect yourself and your data from hacking.
  • Confirm its expenses categories can be customised to fit your personal needs.

Get the most out of budgeting apps

Like any tool, getting the most out of a budgeting app is as much about the user as it is about the device. With that in mind, make sure you have realistic expectations about what you hope to achieve via the app. No app will magically solve your financial shortcomings.

Remember, a budgeting app is not a case where you can ‘set and forget’. Make sure to check in regularly to make sure you budget is staying on the right track.

Information provided in this article is of a general nature only and we have not taken your personal financial objectives, situation or needs into account. We recommend you consider if you need to seek professional financial advice before making any financial decisions.

This article is issued by Simple Financial Choices Pty Ltd (ABN 58 629 890 900; AFS Representative No. 001269407), a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956; AFS Licence No. 238184), as the Sub-Promoter of Simple Choice Super. Simple Choice Super is a sub-plan of the Grosvenor Pirie Master Superannuation Fund – Series 2 (ABN 32 367 272 075; RSE Registration R1001204), which is marketed under two brands – Simple Choice Super and Slate Super. Visit our website or call us on 02 8074 1772 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your superannuation.