Managing money while attending college can be a constant struggle. You may have limited income due to devoting your time to classroom responsibilities, or maybe you’re living off of student loans and want to keep your expenses in track.
A good budgeting app can help college students keep track of their finances and help them find areas where they can cut back. Most budgeting apps can cover the basics—this article will provide you with five budgeting apps that stand out from the crowd and explain how they can help keep a college student’s budget in order.
- How it stands out: One word: automation. Mint securely connects to your bank account and automatically inputs purchases. It also performs handy little tricks like separating the $2.50 from a $102.50 ATM withdrawal into a fees category, which serves a nice reminder to try and keep those fees down.
- Why it’s good for college students: You spend less time entering every purchase, which is one of the hardest parts of keeping a budget. Mint allows college students to focus on what categories their budget breaks down into and areas they can cut back on.
- How it stands out: Toshl Finance has a simple, good looking interface that is very easy to pick up on. That simplicity makes setting up a monthly budget for college students a breeze—all you need is to input your income and your expenses with reusable tags to get a clear picture of where your money goes.
- Why it’s good for college students: Toshl’s budgeting section allows you to set a hard line, for example $250 per month for groceries, that will give you a nice visualization of how close you are to going over budget. Sometimes seeing your last $20 as a tiny red sliver of a progress bar helps put you in the mindset to not overspend.
3. Left to Spend (iOS)
- How it stands out: Left to Spend keeps it simple—really, incredibly simple. You set a spending allowance and then subtract from there. No bells, no whistles, just straightforward budget tracking. If you’ve ever tried the “$20 in an envelope every day” budgeting method, this is essentially the digital equivalent.
- Why it’s good for college students: Left to Spend prevents users from getting too caught up in budget details. Sometimes the time spent analyzing graphs comparing clothing and dining expenses would be better spent on things like studying.
- How it stands out: Check, like Mint, works as a comprehensive budgeting app for college students. It can connect to all of your financial accounts, and also features the ability to set up bill payment reminders and notices if you’re close to overdrafting an account.
- Why it’s good for college students: A lot of college students have never had the pleasure of paying monthly bills and consequently are a bit more likely to forget to pay. The reminders provided by this app can be a life saver for those of us who haven’t got into the monthly routine of paying bills.
5. Debt Payoff Planner (Android)
- How it stands out: Debt Payoff Planner allows you to find the most effective way to pay back debt, whether it’s student loans or your balance on the emergency credit card. Users can prioritize debt by categories such as highest to lowest balance or highest to lowest interest rate. It also allows users to see the projected debt payoff date based on payment amounts.
- Why it’s good for college students: College students looking to pay off credit card debt or student loans get a clear picture of what they need to do in order to efficiently get their debt paid off. If you’ve ever wondered which loan would be best to pay off first but didn’t want to take the time to do the math, this is the app for you.
Go forth and spend wisely
These apps should make setting and maintaining a budget for college students a breeze. Remember, keeping track of your spending is half of the battle, the other half involves spending wisely. No amount of tracking will help if you can’t resist consistently going over your budget.
Now that you’ve got the tools to get your budget in order, check out 50 Smartphone Apps for College Students for more useful ideas. If you have suggestions for other helpful college student budgeting apps, feel free to share them in the comments section below.