7 free budgeting tools that work in NZ 
There are plenty of fantastic, free budgeting apps out there - but not many of them work in New Zealand. If you’re sick of seeing “Not Available in your Country”, we’ve put together a list of 7 free budget building and/or tracking tools that we think are perfect for savers in Aotearoa.
1) YOUR BANK
If you’re signed up with a New Zealand bank, they may already have a budgeting tool ready for you to use.
These tools are a good entry-level point for new budgeters or those who just want a general overview of their spending.
Recommended for: Beginners or those who want to get a simple overview of their spending without extra effort.
Sorted.org.nz provides a simple, easy-to-use budgeting planner that is excellent for making a first, broad budget.
It’s best to pair this tool with another budget creation method to get into the details, as well as investing in a budget tracking tool for everyday purchases.
Recommended for: New budgeters who want to make their first, broad budget
Like Sorted.org.nz, PAYE.net.nz provides a budgeting tool. It’s a highly user-friendly offering with lots of options to customise, and even suggests how much you could put towards each budget category once you get started.
It also has some other useful tools for budgeters, such as the PAYE calculator. This makes it useful for getting started. You may also want to consider finding a budget tracking tool for everyday purchases.
Recommended for: Budgeters who want a broad budget builder with more flexibility.
4) GOOGLE SHEETS
Google Sheets is a free Google product that people use as an alternative to Microsoft Excel for everything from reports at work through to household budgets.
One of the biggest benefits of Google Sheets is that there are a large number of community templates for it, including budgets. This means that no matter how you like to build a budget, there’s probably a Google Sheets template out there for you.
Sheets is highly adaptable and can be used in a variety of ways, but for budgeting, it’s best to use it for building a budget rather than tracking it.
Recommended for: Building your initial budget and keeping it updated.
PocketSmith is available as an online tool as well as an app. It provides forecasting, scenario testing, and general budget tracking. You can break down your budget over periods ranging from daily through to monthly. This makes it notable among other entries here which usually force you to pick one time period.
PocketSmith allows you to quickly see your spending habits over time. The forecasting is especially useful, as it gives you an idea of where you’ll be in the future, not just what happened in the past.
Best of all, it’s New Zealand made, which means it is ideal for us kiwis who might be forgotten by other tool makers.
PocketSmith has a free and a paid version, the most notable addition of the paid version being the ability to ‘sync’ your bank with the software. This means no more need for manual entries. However, the free version offers a lot of the same functionality, including automatic categorisation of transactions after some initial upfront definitions. This makes building your first yearly budget a lot easier.
Recommended for: People who are comfortable with making a budget and want to have some advanced functionality for future goals.
Wally is an app that is available as Wally+ for Android and Wally Next for iOS. It is primarily used for budget tracking rather than building a budget, which makes it perfect for an on-the-go kiwi who already has a budget.
It’s a simple and easy-to-use piece of software that is completely free. There’s no premium version, so nothing is locked behind a paywall. It's great for budgeters who just want to track their spending without any extra bells or whistles.
Recommended for: People who are looking for a simple budget tracking tool that is easy to use and can be carried wherever you go.
Goodbudget is a budget tracking app with a difference: it uses a digital ‘envelope system’ to make keeping track of your spending easy.
If you’re not familiar with the envelope system, here’s a breakdown. You put money into literal envelopes, separated by category. You would have one for groceries, another for entertainment, another for rent, and so on. When you need to buy something, you pull money out of the relevant envelope and use that. This way you immediately know exactly how much you have left to spend on that particular category for the rest of the budgeting period.
Goodbudget digitises the system so that all the ‘envelopes’ are kept on your app instead of in your pocket. It’s a simple system, easy to use and highly effective for on-the-go budgeters.
Recommended for: People who like Wally but also want to use the envelope system.
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