7 Budgeting Apps To Help You Manage Finances By Christmas

Are you still paying off for a holiday you took this summer? Not to mention there is only one month to go until Christmas arrives – So now would be a great time to start planning and saving for the upcoming holiday season. We know you may have too much on your plate to manage considering all the things you have to do in your daily budget by yourself, so we’ve rounded up some of the best apps we think will help you save before Christmas this year! 

We all know how important money management is. According to Bank of England data, UK households typically spend £500 more in December compared to other months during a year. Considering this, If you haven’t planned ahead already, it could result in an empty wallet in 2020 which arrives sooner than you can say ‘Save it’. In fact, research suggests that  many Brits don’t manage to pay off their Christmas debts until the following April. That means four months down and you still have lingering after effects of that spending spree you went on with a loan that is now a burden on your shoulders. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way if you do it right the first time around. From interesting ways to cut your expenses, to warning notifications when you’re over-spending, these apps can help you build up those savings before and after christmas for any rainy days to come. 

All of the apps we’ve chosen to look at are both FCA-approved and regulate open banking providers.

Introduced in January 2018, open banking enables third parties to access your financial information in a secure, encrypted way. It’s like looking at your bank statements to verify your income and outgoings without the third party having access to your online banking.

So here’s what we think can help you save:

1- Money Dashboard

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web

Features: This app’s dashboard allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, including current accounts, savings accounts as well as credit cards. With all of your income and spending automatically categorized, it’s easy to see where your money is being spent, and you can set targets and goals for each and see where and how you can save. This can be particularly helpful if you need to cut down on costs such as eating out or take away coffees at work. Furthermore, the app sets out your predicted income, expenditure and balances for future references and you can always work around that and plan a month ahead! If you’re looking to save some money for Christmas or generally any other event, being able to see ahead of time can show you how much you need to start saving. More than 70 UK banks are supported in the app, from the big high street banks to smaller challengers, with more being added soon.

2- Oval Money 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features:The Oval Money app allows you to monitor your spending, and set up ‘Steps’, as a way of saving and then it sets out rules based on these habits. One rule might be to pay into your savings whenever you go for a run or post on Facebook, for instance. Oval currently works with 28 banks and credit cards, which you can sync to your account. Your savings with Oval are held in a segregated account at Barclays. Keep in mind that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will protect deposits of up to £85,000 per provider, so if you have other accounts with Barclays, this will add to your total. The app also features ‘Oval Coach’, which sets you savings missions to improve your habits. Again, setting future goals is the key here. Think it and then do it. The more missions you complete means you are now developing better spending habits. Sounds like a hard thing to do to suddenly change you spending habits – but the more money you save, the better your future.

3- Yolt 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web

Features: Yolt puts all of your bank accounts, credit cards and pension investments in one place, supporting more than 35 banks and institutions. Your spending is split up into categories so you can see where it goes. This is also aided by a three-month spending-history charts which shows you a pattern of your spending’s. This way you are able to Judge and control any upcoming spending sprees. Upcoming payments are also highlighted, so you can avoid any nasty surprises. You can set and track spending limits for each category, monitor renewal dates for any bills and subscriptions as well as make payments and switch energy providers – all of which should mean you’ll have more money to salvage away as savings for any thing up ahead.

4 – Emma 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features: Emma is described as a ‘financial advocate’ for your money. The service aims to help you avoid overdrafts, track debt, cancel needless subscriptions and save money. You can track your spending and set budgets, plus receive notifications to let you know when you’ve received a refund, when your direct debits are going to leave your account and when your salary has been paid. It also helps you keep track of any cryptocurrency investments you may have. All of this means you can get a full view of your finances at any point in time, making it easier to identify where you can save money.


5 – Cleo 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web 

Features: Unlike the other apps listed here, Cleo works through Facebook Messenger. You can ask interactive questions like ‘Can I afford a night out?’, and expect to receive answers that give insights into how your spending is going this month – and maybe a witty gif at the end. Cleo also sends notifications, quizzes, insights and challenges to keep you up-to-date and engaged with how your money’s doing. The app basically keeps you on your toes when it comes to finances with some puns intended. You can choose which accounts you want to link up. The app is only able to read your transactions and make calculations based on your income and spending, you can’t move money within the app itself. There’s also a Cleo wallet feature, where the AI calculates how much you can afford to save each week, and saves it away before you spend it. Quiet clever isn’t it. Every little action from the app helps towards that Christmas budget you know you need.

6 – Bean 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features: Unlike like Mr.Bean (pun intended), this app is all about tracking and staying in control of your regular payments and managing your subscriptions. You can connect your bank and credit card accounts to the app and the dashboard will find all recurring payments. If you find, for example, an old gym membership you never use, the app can sort out cancellations, as well as provide a comparison and help you switch services if you want to get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Bean also notifies you if any of your bills are going up for renewal dates for things like insurance contracts. This way you get to make sure you’re not paying out any more than you need to.

7- Moneyhub 

Price: 99p a month/£9.99 a year; £1.49 a month/£14.99 a year via the App Store

Availability: iOS, Android, Web 

Features: This app has options for individuals and businesses both. Moneyhub allows you to connect all of your current accounts, credit cards, savings accounts, mortgages, pensions and investments in one place to get an in-depth analysis of your spending and savings. Once you’ve sorted that, you can then set up budgets for different spending categories. The app will send you ‘notifications’ to let you know how far through the budget you are. Knowing that you’ve nearly spent your eating out budget for the month might encourage you to cook at home instead. For trickier financial decisions, there’s Moneyhub’s ‘Find Advisor’ feature. This puts you in touch with professional advisers and, with your consent, it can share all of the data you’ve connected to the app to give them a full overview of your situation. They are then able to analyse the data and answer any questions you have and help you see where there maybe gaps for savings.

So here is an overview of apps we think may help you save by Christmas this year if you start today. So what app do you plan to use? As you know, every penny counts!