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Essential Apps to Help College Students Manage Their Budgets

Learn about some apps that could help you save money.

You’re part of the mobile generation. Smartphones have been out for as long as you’ve been alive. As it turns out, those things are for more than social media and texting—you can use them to manage important parts of your life, like finances. And make phone calls.

Here are some of the best apps out there to help you better manage and save money.

  1. Banking Apps – A good mobile banking app is the most important. If your home credit union doesn’t have a good app, you may want to consider opening an account with one that does. As a college student, you’re going to be on a tight budget. You’ll need to stay on top ocollege student on her phonef your finances on the go.
  2. Payment Apps – There are a few different payment apps out there. Find the one that you like that has the features you need and go for it
    1. PayPal – The other person doesn’t need to have an account to receive money and you can pay businesses. The downside is PayPal is popular with scammers.
    2. Google Pay – Already integrated with your Google account, simply set it up. The downside is the other person also needs an account.
    3. Venmo – Fast and you can use emojis to describe the transaction. The downside is both parties need to have accounts to receive money.
    4. Square Cash – You can send money through email without using the app. Beware that not everyone is familiar with it, so you could run into problems.
  3. Budgeting Apps ­– You’ve gone through most of life up to this point not needing or not having a budget. An excel spreadsheet isn’t the easiest option.
    1. Mint gives you a lot of information, so you know how much you’ve spent. Sometimes it’s too much information and it becomes overwhelming. 
    2. PocketGard helps you track your daily spending and find ways to lower your bills. The only real downside is getting questions answered may be difficult.
  4. Investment and Savings Apps – College is the first time you’re managing your own finances. Making the best of your money means investing.
    1. Acorn is a great way to help you save for the future by having a robo-advisor invest for you. The app rounds your debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and deposits the remainder into a stock portfolio.
    2. Betterment is another robo-advisor app that allows for more customization than Acorn. However, it can still miss taking advantage of swings in the market.
    3. Wealthfront has no fees up to $5,000, although it’s a minimum investment of $500 to start.
    4. Robinhood puts the onus on you to decide what stocks you invest in with free trades. The downside is any dividends you earn are put in your account as cash instead of reinvested. Although you could make that decision on your own.
  5. Bill Splitting Apps – Whether it’s going out for dinner or paying the electric bill, there are times you’ll want to split bills. Having an app to make it more efficient is helpful.
    1. Tab lets you break up a bill by person. Shared items like appetizers can be split between multiple people. And it’s all done by taking a picture of the bill.
    2. Plates give you an effortless way to split checks by simply entering items and dragging them to a plate. The only issue may be a ten-plate limit.
    3. Zently is the app for you if you have roommates. Zently is designed to help both tenants and landlords. The app can help you report maintenance issues while making sure your landlord still loves you for always paying on time.

College is a busy time. Keeping yourself on top of school can be hard at times. That doesn’t mean that your finances should ever take a back seat. The fact is, that C you get in chemistry is going to mean a lot less after college than any debt you accrue. Before the school year starts up again, assess the tools you have to help you stay on top of your money. Your credit union probably has some of these features in their app, so see what works for you and fill in any gaps you need to cover.