Budgeting is an interesting concept – the ability to plan your finance and save up some cash! In the crude days, this was done with a calculator, paper, and pen. The tech world has made it easier for you and I. Right in this post are the best & simple budget apps for college students. You really wouldn’t want to miss out on them if you’re tired of having credits at the end of the month/year.
Who said college students shouldn’t have a budget?
While interacting with some folks on this subject, it became evident to me that budgeting is a concept everyone should embrace with open arms.
Ever heard of the 50/30/20 rule?
Some college students think saving is only for the working class. Don’t wait until there’s a financial tussle at home before you begin to budget your expenses.
The points below will show you the reviews of these budget apps for students and invariably why you need them. Don’t be in a hurry, we have a lot in stock!
What is a budget app?
Since I wouldn’t want to start boring you with what budgeting is all about, we will go straight to the main points.
In a nutshell, budget apps help you either as an individual or a college student to account for every dollar you have. It keeps track of your expenses and helps you save some cash in return.
There are numerous budgeting apps available in the world today, just make sure they are encrypted for the safety of your college funds.
What are the types of budgets that we have?
It uses the previous year’s actual figures, adds or subtracts a percentage to obtain the current year’s budget.
It is the most common method of budgeting because it is simple and easy to understand. Because of this, it is accurate if the primary cost drivers do not change from year to year. Cost drivers are things/factors that trigger changes in cost.
This method shows the activities you will carry out to arrive at the budget for the season. For example, as a college student who wishes to use a set amount for a semester. With activity-based budgeting, you get to list out the expenses for the month that will aid you to keep to the budget.
Value proposition budgeting
This budget is about making sure that everything that is included in the budget is of value. Value proposition budgeting aims to avoid unnecessary expenditures.
This works with the assumption that all budgets are zero and must be rebuilt from scratch. Every year, you spend all your income and start afresh the next year to the budget. You must be able to justify every single expense. Zero-based budgeting is very tight, aiming to avoid any and all expenditures that are not considered absolutely essential.
It is good to use when there is an urgent need to cut costs.
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Benefits of Budgeting
- Gives you control over your money – A budget is a way of being intentional about the way you spend and save your money. It saves you the stress of suddenly having to adjust your lifestyle because you did not initially plan how to spend them.
- Keeps you focused on your money goals – You avoid spending unnecessarily on items and services that do not contribute to attaining your financial goals.
- Makes you aware of what is going on with your money – With a budget, you are clear on what money is coming in, how fast it goes out, and where it is going to. A budget enables you to know what you can afford, invest, and plan how to reduce your debts. It shows how to allocate your funds.
- Helps you organize your spending and savings – By dividing your money into categories of expenditures and savings, a budget makes you aware which category of expenditure takes which portion of your money. That way, it is easy for you to make adjustments. Budgets also serve as a reference for organizing your bills, receipts, and financial statements.
Best Budgeting Apps for College Students: What to Lookout For?
Before trusting a budgeting app to manage your college funds, it’s important to consider the following factors:
There’s a lot on your mind already as a college student, adding the herculean task of worrying about the security of your college funds in your account can hamper your peace needed for good grades. It is totally not necessary.
Use the best budget apps for college students that are secure and use encryption. In addition, use the apps that have two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) especially if you’re linking bank accounts, credit cards, and investments to the app.
While some of the best budget apps for college students are free, this free version may include only a limited number of services or tools. Some are actually free for a limited time only.
Because of this, it is very important to carefully choose the best budget app for college students that will meet their ongoing needs and save you money on fees.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Once you’ve considered the first two factors and chosen a free budget app for your college needs, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of the choices and then narrow it down to your unique need.
Best Budget Apps for College Students
Here are some of the best and simple budget apps for college students. Do well to read them carefully and go for the one that suits your individual need.
Here we go!
This is the first free budget app for college students on our list.
Mint is on our top list for a few reasons, namely: it automatically updates and categorizes transactions even from linked credit and debit cards, creates a picture of monthly spendings.
In addition, users can add their own categories, track bills, split transactions, and set budgets that alert them when they’re exceeding their maximum spending threshold. It also provides free credit scores and credit score monitoring.
One of the reasons Mint is trusted as the best budget app for college aside the features is because of its ownership. It is owned by Intuit, the same company that makes Quickbooks and TurboTax.
Mint is best for saving more and spending less.
PocketGuard reduces the budget to what nearly every student wants to know: how much they have for spending? It shows how much money is available after accounting for bills, spending, and savings goals. It also shows explicitly what they were used on.
As the name implies, PocketGuard is a simple free budget app for college students that can help guard you against spending too much. This budget app for college students links your financial accounts and helps track your spending as compared to your budget throughout the month.
This app tracks individual bill and reoccurring expenses and finds opportunities to save and lower your expenses.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
YNAB has a unique approach compared to other budgeting apps. Here, you build your budget based on your income, giving every penny a job in your budget.
These jobs include everything from living expenses to debt payments, savings, or investments. It makes you think about every dollar you get and spend.
One of the reasons we like this budget app for college students is because it offers both desktop and mobile interfaces, you can sync your bank accounts automatically or enter expenses manually. In addition, you can include debt payoff and goal tracking features to help motivate you to reach your money goals.
Wally is a bit difficult to navigate when compared to other budget apps for college students. It helps track your income and expenses while offering you a snapshot of your remaining budget to help you avoid overspending.
This free budget app for college students has both iPhone and Android versions (the Android version is called Wally+).
One major benefit of Wally is its built-in support for virtually all foreign currencies, which makes it a better option for those who live outside of the United States.
Have you heard of a budget app that helps you put in cash for each category of your spending? So, when each envelope is empty, your budget for that category is all spent for the month. Mvelopes have made it easy to follow cash-style budgets in a digital budgeting world.
While it isn’t free, this best budgeting app offers the ability to connect to unlimited financial accounts and put classic envelope budgeting to use to track your regular spending.
Formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid or EEBA, Goodbudget is a perfect option for couples that want to share their budgeting process together. It uses the familiar envelope budgeting.
Because you can share and sync budgets with budgeting partners across iPhone and Android, it is great for couples with shared finances, while working great for a single individual also.
When you add new transactions, you have the option to add some details, this breaks up your expenses into multiple envelopes. And makes it easy to know the amount left for other non-essentials.
Simple is more than a budgeting app, it is an online bank account that replaces your old checking account and has lots of useful budgeting features built-in.
With this, your budget and your bank live in the same app, it is much easier to manage and keep everything under control because you only have one place to visit to view and manage your money.
Simple tracks your income and spending automatically, and has a goal feature to motivate your savings. Its trademarked Safe-to-Spend® feature tells you if you are on your budgeting track, or if extra spending might derail your plans. With no fees, this is a very cool all-in-one banking and budgeting app.7
This free budget app for college students offers a complete investment advice solution, a Robo-advisor, and human advisor service in one. Also, you can access its free money tracking dashboard, which includes some budgeting features.
Personal Capital emphasizes investments. With this app, you have a free and automated analysis of your investment fees, asset classes, and other important investment details.
Although the cash flow and budgeting tools might as extensive as other apps on this list, they work just similarly using the same automated tracking of purchases from linked accounts.
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This simple app for college students is comprehensive budgeting and saving app. college students can link their financial accounts from thousands of institutions, organize expenses, track spending, and bucket their spending into different categories.
Other features of this great app include subscription canceling and credit score monitoring, which provide a more inclusive financial picture beyond just transactions.
This is a budgeting app that helps users track their spending and plan for purchases. This simple college app takes root from zero-based budgeting, where your expenses equal your income.
With the free version of the app, you can create a transaction each time you spend money and then account for it in your budget. You can’t link your bank accounts with the free version. For a more automated version, upgrade to EveryDollar Plus to connect your bank account and expenses. EveryDollar Plus is billed annually for $129.99.
Ready to get started with EveryDollar? Sign up here.
Considered one of the best budget apps for college students, but it has a price.
Qapital makes budgeting fun with its “If This, Then That” feature. It allows you to simulate spending scenarios so you’ll learn to save and avoid overspending.
It lets you save for the rainy days as well as helps you calculate your expenses for fun events or other occasions. But it has a subscription fee of up to $12 a month for the Master services.
You can register here!
This simple app for college students analyzes your spending, checks your account balances, income, and bills to pay using an algorithm to create automatic transfers to your savings account.
It also channels extra money into your savings so you get to save without even realizing it. It won’t turn you into a millionaire overnight, but that’s savings the smart and easy way. College students ought to find this interesting.
The algorithm isn’t perfect and you may be left with an overdrawn check. Not to worry though, Digit will reimburse you for the error should it happen.
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This app looks at your savings and automatically works out for you how much you can save. You also get incentives for getting your friends to sign up, when they do, you both get an extra 1% interest on any savings you make. You can invite up to 5 friends which makes 5% interest on your savings, which will probably be better than the interest in your current account.
Dollarbird allows you to track your spending ahead of time to make saving easier.
You do this by inputting your monthly rent, phone bill, and other fixed expenses ahead of time. Dollarbird will tell you how much you have left to spend and save.
If you’re living off grants and student loans, then this simple budget app helps you plan so you don’t get stuck penniless before your next distribution. We can call this forecasting.
This is one of the best apps for college students.
Sign up here!
This isn’t quite as broad as the other apps, but what it does do well is check if you are spending too much on your weekly food shop. What it does is to compare the prices across a range of supermarkets they claim to save you 30% on the price of your shop every time.
It is as simple as you just creating your normal shopping list and then the app works out which shop would give you the cheapest items at the end!
Students find this very economical especially my fellow foodies.
Sign up here!
Best and Simple budget apps for college students FAQs
What is the 50 20 30 budget rule?
Senator Elizabeth Warren popularized the “50/20/30 budget rule“. The rule is to divide up after-tax income and allocate it to spend: 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and socking away 20% to savings
What are the Best Budgeting Apps?
Best Money Management App: Mint.
Best Debt App: You Need a Budget.
Best Tracking Expenses App: Wally
Are budget Apps Safe?
For the most part, the apps are reputable and safe. Especially those with 2FA or encryption. The key to using a budget app safely: Follow good tech hygiene rules and use your brain
Every college student out there is a budget app best fit for you. Learn to start saving some of those your college funds and student loans.
The simple and best budget apps for college students have been explained in detail above. Do read the post and make your pick.
Cheers to your growing savings!
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