The life of a college student is more than studying, doing homework and going to class. Some load up on extracurriculars and others work part-time jobs. As a college student, you are tackling the kinds of challenges that come with adulthood, and you are probably tackling them for the very first time. This can prove overwhelming, especially when it comes to finances and budgeting.
Keeping track of spending habits and how to save money is not always the easiest thing to do, but thankfully, there are many great apps that make it super convenient to manage personal finances and teach you how to budget. CollegeFinance.com has curated a list of the best budgeting apps out there to help you figure out which one you should use.
Why Budgeting Apps Are Great for College Students
A key component to budgeting is organization. Budgeting apps can help you manage things like bank account statements, due dates for credit cards, savings account balances and student loan repayment. They can also keep you from overspending. These budgeting tools can help you easily track earnings and spending, which is crucial to successful money management.
Another benefit to using personal finance apps is that they can be used from your phone or tablet anywhere at any time. With an app available right at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to take control of your personal finances. As a bonus, learning how to budget early on can save you from future debt and other financial woes.
6 Best Budgeting Apps for College Students
With so many budgeting apps out there, it can be hard to tell which ones are better than others, and more specifically, which ones are the best for college students. There are certain criteria to look for in a personal finance app that cater more to college students’ needs than others. Don’t let the fear of not knowing which apps to use keep you from actually using them!
Use this list of the best budgeting apps for college students as a guide to help you decide which one to use.
Overview: Mint allows you to manage all of your finances, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards and student loans in one space.
- The bill payment tracking feature makes it easy for you to see all of your bills in one place, as well as what you have in the bank, so you know what’s due, when it’s due, and what you are able to pay.
- The app utilizes the information you provide about your spending to suggest a budget goal.
- You get quick, free access to your credit score and credit report.
- You can set up alerts to warn you about upcoming bills, low balances, suspicious activity on any of your financial accounts, or if you’ve gone over your budget. This helps you avoid fees and penalties for late payments, overdrawing and more.
- Because it’s a free app, there are a lot of advertisements.
- There is no actual bill pay feature. The app reminds you when your bills are due, but you still have to remember to actually pay them.
Overview: EveryDollar is a budgeting tool created by Dave Ramsey that helps you create a monthly budget with a customizable template.
- It’s quick and easy to set up.
- The app comes with eight spending categories, but you can add more as you wish.
- You can create a savings fund to allocate money for specific future purchases.
- The free version of the app doesn’t include a bank syncing feature. It requires you to manually enter every transaction you make. This could become time-consuming, especially if there are multiple transactions happening per day. You also run the risk of forgetting to enter something important. To get this feature so that transactions are added automatically, you must upgrade to EveryDollar Plus for $129.99/year.
YNAB (You Need A Budget)
Overview: YNAB supplies you with the tools to be proactive with your money and plan ahead so that you can spend on and save for the things that are important.
Cost: There is a 34-day free trial available, but after that, you can either pay $11.99 per month or $84 per year. Both options allow you to cancel at any time. YNAB also offers a 100% no-risk money-back guarantee.
- You can share your finances with a partner to keep yourself accountable.
- There is a tracking feature that allows you to set goals and see your progress.
- Over 100 free online workshops are available every week aimed at helping you get out debt and gain control of your money.
- It’s available on multiple devices, including iOS for iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad and Google Play for Android and Alexa.
- This app is strictly a budget planner. There is no actual bill reminder or bill pay features, no financial reports and no way to track spending.
- There is a monthly or yearly expense.
Overview: Goodbudget uses an “envelope-budgeting” technique that features digital envelopes that can be categorized based on spending needs to help manage money over time.
Cost: There is a free version available, or you can upgrade for $7 per month or $60 per year.
- The app keeps you from overspending, as each envelope (category) is only allotted a certain amount each month. Once it’s depleted, you can’t spend on that particular category until it’s replenished the following month.
- You can track your debt payoff process.
- You have the ability to sync household budgets to stay accountable and avoid miscommunication about spending.
- The free version limits the amount of envelopes and accounts you can have. For more advanced features, you need to pay the upgrade fees.
- Bank syncing is unavailable, so you need to manually input all transactions.
- There is no option for investment management or tracking.
Overview: Digit takes the guesswork out of budgeting by analyzing spending patterns and calculating an amount that won’t be too noticeable to transfer into a savings account to help you budget for future purchases.
Cost: There is a 30-day free trial. After that, it’s $5 per month.
- The app provides a savings account that has unlimited withdrawals, which means you can move money back into your bank account at any time.
- Since Digit syncs to your bank account, it can detect when your balance is low and automatically transfer money so that you aren’t charged with overdraft fees.
- The app only works for moving money in and out of a debit account. It does not track your credit card spending.
- The 0.10% savings bonus is lower than the interest you can earn through most other online banks.
Overview: PocketGuard’s target audience is overspenders, which could very well describe many college students. The app tracks your spending so that you can make sure you are setting aside enough to pay for necessary expenses.
Cost: There is a free version, or you can upgrade for $4.99 per month or $34.99 per year.
- The “In My Pocket” feature has an algorithm that analyzes your estimated income, expenses and savings goals to let you know how much is available for day-to-day spending.
- The Autosave feature makes saving money a breeze. Once your bank account is linked, you can set a savings goal, and the app will automatically transfer the money into a non-interest bearing account.
- The tracking feature helps you negotiate better rates for things like cable and cell phone bills.
- Some reviews say the app doesn’t always report transactions correctly, so it might not be as “set it and forget it” as other apps.
- There is a limit to how much you can customize with the free version.
How to Choose the Best Budgeting App for You
Before choosing which budgeting app to use, it’s important to consider what you need from the app. Do you just want something to help you organize your spending and saving? Are you focused on learning how to create and stick to a budget? Is investing for the future important?
Once you have narrowed down your personal finance goals, you should also consider your current financial situation. The purpose of these apps is to help you manage your money, not spend more of it. Take advantage of the apps that are free or use ones that offer a free trial before you make any financial commitment.
Discover Other Helpful Finance Information at CollegeFinance.com
If budgeting and managing personal finances are something you or someone you know is struggling with, CollegeFinance.com has helpful resources so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to spending and saving in college. When it comes to financial decision-making during college, you are in good hands with the experts of CollegeFinance.com at your side.