Copping the cost of living? Here are some of the best smart money and budgeting apps

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Though the cost of living may bite at the moment, these smart budgeting and savings apps could help you bite back. 

From AI assistants to neobanks to budgeting like a superhero, these mobile apps help you rethink how you manage your money. They’re all free to download, and as an added bonus, some have even won a 2023 Mozo Experts Choice Award or two, making them among the best in the business. Score!

So if you’re looking for some shiny new fintech to help you crush the cost of living and boost your savings, here are some of the smartest money apps for your smartphone.

Frollo - Manage all of your money in real time

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This fintech superstar money management app has made a big splash since debuting in 2020. As one of the pioneers of open banking, Frollo lets you collect all your banks, super funds, home loans and more all in one place with secure real-time data flow, giving you a galaxy-brain overview of your finances.

Exciting tools include a budget customiser, automatic spending tracking, and a bill feature so you can see expenses coming. No wonder Frollo won Best Money Management App in the 2023 Mozo Experts Choice Banking Apps & Tech Awards.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Up - Supercharge your savings with a neobank

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As a 2023 Mozo Experts Choice Banking & Tech Awards winner, Up soars above the rest of the neobank crowd. Virtually fee-free for standard use, you get unlimited free transactions through the iOS or Android app and free ATM withdrawals with most major banks both internationally and domestically. A lack of international purchase fees also makes it a great travel companion if you’re on the go. 

Even more intriguing is Up’s “Round Up” feature, which rounds all purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference into your Up Saver account. Not content with simple savings? You can also customise the round up feature so you put more away with every pay. Huzzah! 

For ease of mind, Up is also backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, with deposits guaranteed up to $250,000 through the Financial Claims Scheme

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Revolut - Join the wide world of share trading

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Intimidated to start share trading? No worries. Revolut designs its revolutionary investment app with both pros and new traders in mind. 

Winner in the Casual US Trader category at the 2022 Mozo Experts Choice Online Share Trading Awards, this innovative mobile app prides itself on the slogan “One app, all things money”. Its sleek and common sense aesthetic demystifies the share trading process for its over 20 million users while making it easier to budget, track, pay, split bills, and move money around the world with its instant currency converter

For an investment app, there are also very few trading fees to consider (though it’s not fee-free – weekend usage fees and limits may apply, so read the fine print). You can also choose your plan from three tiers:

  • Standard (free)
  • Premium ($10.99 per month)
  • Metal ($24.99 per month)

Revolut offers unlimited commission-free stock trading for the rest of the year (with conditions) as a special bonus. But no matter if you want to budget or build a diversified portfolio through an app rich with data and insights, Revolut could get you started. 

NOTE: Capital at risk means there’s always a chance you could lose money investing. Keep this in mind and consult a financial advisor.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Money - For people who love Afterpay

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Buy Now Pay Later platforms are all the rage, so if you love BNPL titan Afterpay’s services, you’ll probably love Money, their latest app. Geared toward young Australians, Money sets and visualises your financial goals through Money Stories, a smart tool that creates visually engaging summaries of your spending, saving, income, and BNPL balances. You can also check out Money Diaries (powered by partner Refinery29), which shows insights into how other people use their money. 

Users can set up to 15 savings goals in different savings accounts and automate Money’s Roundup and Multiplier tools, which divert micro-amounts from every transaction right in your savings. Money also features Afterpay’s other functions like Retro, which retroactively splits prior transactions into four payments, and Pulse, which clues you into exclusive savings, discounts, and rewards with select brands. (Just be mindful of these Afterpay traps).

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store

Finspo - Get insights and positive vibes as you pay down your home loan

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Paying down a home loan can feel like a long, tedious drag, but Finspo is here to spice things up. Using personalised insights, know-how, and refreshing positivity, this app markets itself as an excellent way to cut confusion and the length left on your repayments.

Turn on notifications to get 24/7 alerts on any charges or rate changes, and let an AI do the legwork on seeing how you could save time and money by getting an offset account, adjusting your payments, or refinancing

Finspo is also keen on helping users bank better, with or without a home loan. Link multiple accounts from 100+ banking providers and let the helpful Finspo bots trawl the data. Finspo then compares your data to the market to see if you could be served better elsewhere – and amps you up with positive feedback to meet your savings goals. 

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Flux - Level up your credit score with a savings game

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Credit scores seem like one of life’s unsolvable mysteries, like Bigfoot or Atlantis. But this is where Flux comes in, advertised as a way to “win at money” and learn the secrets of the tomb – er, your credit score.

Their approach? Turn your finances into a game. With weekly prizes, no-nonsense money insights, and ways to improve your credit score, Flux is all about injecting the business of budgeting with much needed pizazz.

This is great news for Aussies keen on paying down their debts, since according to Flux, nearly half of all Australian adults of all ages and backgrounds struggle with basic financial literacy. 

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Beem - Split bills with friends, send money, and get rewards

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If you’re tired of awkward conversations about splitting bills or money owed, don’t worry: apps like Beem can do it for you. Backed by eftpos, Beem is a go-to choice for many young Australians for splitting bills, sending money, and accessing exclusive rewards and cashback from retailers like ASOS and Footlocker (T&Cs apply).

Plus, as a quirky perk for Zoomers, you can send gifs with your gifts. Who doesn’t wanna see Beyonce dance in their notifications? Make it rain, Bey. Make it rain.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

ATO - Become a tax-ready superstar and lodge your return

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A free app from the Australian Taxation Office? That sounds like a trap! But au contraire, mon amis, the ATO app could be the ultimate tax-time game-changer. 

Using tools and insights custom-built by the ATO, you can track your cash gifts, rental expenses, work from home claimables, and other tax deductions so you can arrive at the end of the financial year in style.

Link it with your MyGov account to take control of your income/super then lodge your tax return with everything all ready to go. Taxes made easy: check! (Just be sure to make regular backups of everything you log).

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Looking for more cost of living inspiration? Check out these 10 ways to save

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Last updated 22 July 2024

^Finspo and Flux are both commercial partners of Mozo, using the Mozo Marketview platform and associated market data.