The consequences of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic have turned our finances upside down. Source: Scott Olson/AFP

Before the pandemic, nearly four in 10 households did not have the cash on hand to cover an unexpected US$400 expense, according to a Federal Reserve report. Then the worst happened. The pandemic tanked the economy. Workers were reporting reduced hours, lower pay, layoffs or other hits to their employment situation. “Alarm bells were already ringing, but many workers were caught off guard without emergency savings,” says Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the Transamerica Institute — a nonprofit, private foundation dedicated to identifying, researching, and educating the public about retirement security.

A recent study from Allianz Life showed 58% of Americans are feeling the pandemic’s negative effects on their retirement plans; some 54% worry that the market hasn’t yet reached rock bottom and 72% say the pandemic has them trying to find ways to protect their savings.

The consequences of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic have turned our finances upside down. From income cutbacks to decimated retirement saving accounts, the effects of the pandemic are rippling over our spending habits in ways that could have long-term impact. If there’s anything the coronavirus crisis has taught us, it is that life is unpredictable. While we might not know what’s coming ahead, we can learn from what has already happened. 

Spending less and saving more are two lessons that emerge. Here are four free expense tracker apps that can help you do just that:


From income cutbacks to decimated retirement saving accounts, the effects of the pandemic are rippling over our spending habits. Source: Eva Hambach / AFP


Starting with Spendee is easy thanks to its intuitive design. Whether you’re a student or working adult, it is a great household budget planner to control income and expenses. This app connects with your online banking, e-wallet (e.g. PayPal) or crypto-wallet (e.g. Coinbase) and sees your wealth in one place. It’s your personal expense organiser and spendings optimiser — two functions in one handy app. 

Pocket Expense

Pocket Expense is one of the few apps that offers the ability to link to multiple bank accounts for free. It brings all your financial accounts together, categorises your transactions, tracks all your bills, lets you set budgets and helps you achieve your savings goals. You won’t have to worry about any manual calculations. The app shows you where your money is going and where you could save money. The best part? It also keeps track of your bills so you will never miss a payment date again.


Expensify is an app designed to help you get your business expenses done in real time and quickly while on the go. Through this app, you can scan receipts, track business and personal expenses, and book trips. It makes it easy for you to track these transactions and submit your expenses to your employer. With just one click, you can scan receipts, which will be read and recorded with details such as the date, merchant and amount. 


With Wally, all you need to do is sign in with your email address and set a savings target and daily budget. Then, log in your expenses and income. This app allows you to track your expenses over time, set reminders for bills and more — all presented in a timeline feed or in a calendar. Now you can see what comes in, what goes out, what you saved and what you have budgeted.