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Being a student often seems to go hand in hand with being broke – but these days, there really is an app for everything. These 15 best budgeting apps for college students are ideal for saving money, tracking your debt, and creating a realistic monthly budget.
The following budgeting apps are perfect for any student who wants to keep better track of their personal finances but doesn’t have the time to manually upload their expenses and income each month to a spreadsheet. Going digital has so many fantastic benefits, and can really make it so much easier to save money each month.
Why should college students use a budgeting app?
If you’re a college student and new to managing your money each month, or are finding it hard to make your budget match your lifestyle and regularly going into debt each month, downloading one of the budget apps below can help you create an achievable budget, save more money, and even take your first steps into investing.
Read next: How to Save Money in College?
We’ve analyzed overall reviews, user experience, cost, features, security, and more to find the very best budget apps for college students below.
Best For: All-in-one budgeting
Digit is our top pick as the best budgeting app for college students. The app has a great design and boasts a range of budgeting tools that make it really easy to manage your money in one place.
The app works by connecting to your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and debts, using AI to analyze your spending habits. Then, it gives you personalized recommendations on how to save money and can automatically set savings aside for you each month. You can even go one step further and have Digit automatically invest a portion of your money for you each month.
You can also use Digit to set up a savings goal and track your progress. It’s a great app for college students who want to get a handle on their finances but are new to budgeting.
- All-in-one budgeting: Digit connects to your bank account and analyzes your spending habits. Then, it gives you personalized recommendations on how to save money.
- You can autopay your bills from a dedicated account linked up to the app, making it much easier to budget each month
- Invest in EFTs based on your chosen risk level and use the apps AI calculation to find the right amount for you to put aside each month
- Savings goal tracker: You can use Digit to set up a savings goal and track your progress.
- User-friendly: The app is easy to use and understand.
Digit offers a 6-month free trial. After that, it costs $5 per month.
Best For: Learning how to budget properly
Goodbudget is a well-known budgeting app that helps you manage your money using digital envelopes that allow users to allocate their budget into different budget categories. The app also has a debt tracker feature and allows users to log in through two different devices, so is ideal for college students who don’t want to be restricted to using an app only via their mobile device.
This is a great app for college students who are trying to learn how to budget properly and would benefit from multiple budget categories to track their monthly rent, grocery shopping, phone bill, utilities, and other expenses.
- Budgeting: The Goodbudget app helps you manage your money by giving you the ability to create a budget and track your spending.
- Envelopes: The app has a feature called “envelopes” which allows you to allocate your money into different categories.
- Learning how to budget: This is a great app for college students who are trying to learn how to budget properly.
You can create up to 20 envelopes for free and have one account user on two different devices. Goodbudget Plus costs $7 per month or $60 per year and allows you to create unlimited envelopes.
Best For: Controlling your spending
PocketGuard connects to your checking account and analyzes your spending habits. Then, it gives you a personalized budget. The app will also notify you if you’re close to going over your budget for big purchases and will make recommendations on how you could reduce your spending each month. It’s a fantastic budgeting app for college students because it essentially does everything for you – so you can focus on your studies and feel safe that your budget is aligned with your lifestyle.
You can use PocketGuard to track your bills, see where your money is going, avoid unnecessary expenses, and stay on top of your finances. It’s a great app for college students who want to control their spending.
- Budgeting: PocketGuard helps you manage your money by giving you a personalized budget.
- Tracking bills: You can use Pocket Guard to track your bills and see where your money is going.
- Staying on top of your finances: The app helps you stay on top of your finances and control your spending.
Pocketguard offers a free version and a paid version called PockGuard Plus. The paid version has three pricing options: $7.99 per month, $79.99 per year, or $99.99 for a lifetime membership.
Best For: Splitting costs with friends
Splitwise is an app that helps you split costs with friends. It’s one of the best personal finance apps for college students who have roommates or who are often going out with friends and want a quick and easy way to track who owes what! You can definitely use this app alongside another app that actually keeps track of your spending and helps you to budget your money.
You can use Splitwise to track your expenses, split bills, and request money from friends. It’s a great way to keep track of your finances and make sure everyone is paid back.
- Split bills: Splitwise helps you split costs with friends by tracking your expenses and splitting bills.
- Request money: You can use the app to request money from friends.
- Keep track of your finances: Splitwise is a great way to keep track of your finances and make sure everyone is paid back.
Splitwise is free but you can get Splitwise Pro for only $3 a month.
Best for: Making budgeting easy
Cleo is an app that helps you manage your money, and budget, and save more. It gives you the ability to create a budget, track your spending, and stay on top of your finances. Cleo is a great app for college students because it makes budgeting easy.
It’s simple to use and understand, has a great user-friendly interface, and has helped over 4 million people budget better – so you’re in good company.
- Makes a budget for you: Cleo makes it extremely easy to budget by doing it for you in real-time.
- Build spending habits: Cleo helps you build good spending habits by giving you the ability to create a budget and track your spending.
Cleo costs $5.99/month and gives access to Cleo’s budgeting tool and digital wallet, plus a weekly quiz giving a chance to earn some cash rewards.
Best For: Automatic savings
Trim is an app that helps you save money using a unique AI feature that does a lot of the hard work for you when it comes to fixing your budget. Trim works by connecting to your bank account and analyzing your spending habits. Then, it finds ways for you to save money – such as canceling forgotten subscriptions, switching internet or phone deals, or highlighting overspending in a particular budget category.
Trim is a great app for college students because it automatically saves money for you. You don’t have to think about it, which makes it easy to save.
- Cancel unwanted subscriptions: Trim can cancel unwanted subscriptions for you and save you money.
- Negotiate your bills: Trim can negotiate your bills for you and save you money.
- Debt payoff calculator: Trim has a debt payoff calculator that can help you pay off your debt.
Trim is mostly free! You get to use most of what Trim has to offer at no additional cost to you. However, if you use Bill Negotiation, they charge you 15% of the total first year of savings. So if they save you $100 the first year, you’ll pay them $15.
Best For: Digital budgeting
Mint is an app that can help you do just that. It consolidates all of your loans into one place and creates a budget for you. Student loans can be a big financial burden for college students. Who doesn’t want to save money and pay off their loans faster?
Beyond your student loans, Mint is possibly one of the most popular budgeting apps for college students and anyone else looking for an easy way to budget and save more money every month.
- Categorize bank transactions: Mint can categorize your bank transactions and help you stay on top of your spending. It’s great for college students who have a lot of expenses.
- Investment tracker: Mint can track your investment accounts so that you can see how your money is doing.
- Free credit score: Knowing your credit score is important. Mint gives you a free credit score so you can stay on top of your financial health.
Mint is entirely free, which is great for college students who are on a tight budget.
Best for: Travel abroad
The Wally budget app uses AI to give users insights into their spending, set achievable financial goals, and create a budget each month. It’s also one of the best budgeting apps for college students looking to travel, either as a part of their studies or during their college breaks. It’s also great for college students who are studying abroad or taking a semester off to travel.
The app enables you to sync and manage foreign accounts (ideal for an international student) and gives users the ability to track and convert over 200 foreign currencies.
- Track your expenses: Wally helps you track your expenses so that you can stay on top of your spending.
- See how much money you have: Wally gives you the ability to see how much money you have and where it’s going.
- Convert currencies: Wally can convert currencies for you so that you know how much money you’re spending.
Wally is only $5 a month.
9. Personal Capital
Best For: Tracking your investments
Personal Capital is an app that helps you consolidate and track your investments in one neat dashboard. It is a great app for college students because it gives you the ability to see your net worth, investment performance, and asset allocation.
This app may be more geared towards students with a little more disposable income – for example, those with a part-time job – who have established investment portfolios.
- Track your net worth: Personal Capital can track your net worth so that you can see how much your investments are worth.
- Investment performance: Personal Capital gives you the ability to see how your investments are performing. This is great for college students who want to see how their money is growing.
- Asset allocation: Personal Capital can help you see how your assets are allocated. This is important for college students who want to make sure their money is diversified.
- A secure, complimentary, online financial dashboard: Personal Capital offers a secure, complimentary, online financial dashboard. You get to see all of your financial information in one place.
Personal Capital is free to use. They make money by charging a fee for their investment management services.
Best For: Zero-based budgeting
EveryDollar is a great all-round budget app, and helps users create a zero-based budget. A zero-based budget effectively means that every dollar you make each month is accounted for in your budget, from what you’ll put into your savings account, to how much you’ll spend on nights out and takeaways.
EveryDollar is one of the most simple, straightforward budgeting apps for college students because it helps you stay on top of your spending each month and make sure you are living within your means. With over 6 million budgets reportedly using the system, this app has been tried and tested thoroughly for it’s effectiveness.
- Set Due Dates: Bills have a due date for a reason, so EveryDollar allows you to set a due date for each bill in your budget.
- Notes Within Budgets: Keep track of important details by adding notes to specific items in your budget.
- Split Transactions: When you have to split a transaction with someone, EveryDollar allows you to do that and keep track of who owes whom what.
EveryDollar has a free and pro version. The pro version $79.99/year or $12.99 a month.
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Best For: Investing newbies
Acorns is an ideal budgeting app for any student interested in starting to invest their money to build and protect their wealth. Acorns help you invest your spare change. It is a great app for college students because it helps you get started with investing without having to put a lot of money down, and has over 20 million downloads on iOS and Android.
Through Acorns, you can invest your money in different exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These funds are diversified so that you can minimize your risk, and you can start investing for under $5 a month, so this is ideal for students on a tight budget.
- Automatic rebalancing: Acorns automatically rebalances your portfolio so that you can stay on track.
- Round-ups: Acorns rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests your spare change.
Acorns costs $3 or $5 per month. They will help you invest, spend and save your money so that you can start building your wealth.
Best For: Building up your savings
Qapital uses a combination of automation and behavioral science to help people save money. It is a great app for college students because it helps you build up your savings so that you can reach your financial goals, but also gives users the opportunity to budget, invest, share their budget with their partner, and manage their student debt with their ‘Debt Wrangler’ feature.
Qapital allows you to create different rules for how much money you want to save. For example, you could create a rule that says you want to save $5 for every A you get on your exams. Qapital has been named “Most Innovative App of the Year” by Google and “Best App for Savings” by Apple.
- Create unlimited, personalized savings goals: Qapital allows you to create unlimited, personalized savings goals. This is great for college students who want to save up for a specific goal whether that be a new car, a down payment on a house, or just general savings.
- Make rules to automate your savings: Qapital allows you to make rules to automate your savings. This is great for college students who want to make sure they are saving regularly.
Qapital offers three different plans at $3, $6, and $12 per month. They also have a free trial so that you can try out the app before you commit to a paid plan.
Best For: Zero-effort earning
TopCashback is a great app for college students who want to earn cash back on their everyday purchases. It’s simple – you do your online shopping through the app, and for any purchase that you make from one of their partnered retailers, you’ll earn cashback on that purchase.
With TopCashback, you can earn cash back on things like groceries, gas, and even online shopping. This is a really simple but effective way to earn money back when you spend and is ideal for college students who do a lot of shopping online.
- Get cash back on everyday purchases: Top Cashback allows you to get cash back on things like groceries, gas, and even online shopping.
- Quick and Easy: Top Cashback is quick and easy to use. You can sign up and start earning cashback with just a few clicks.
Top Cashback is absolutely free. You can earn cash back on your everyday purchases without having to pay any fees. They also offer a Plus membership then they will deduct a total of
£5 from your annual cashback earnings, but in return, you will get a number of additional benefits that can help you save even more money.
Best for: Meticulous attention to detail when budgeting
YNAB has a proven method to help its users pay off their student debt, manage their day-to-day spending, and build wealth. It’s a well-known budgeting app with a highly established system and is ideal for any college student who would prefer a detailed approach to your budgeting methodology.
- Consolidate all your money from different accounts in one place
- Create your own flexible monthly spending plan
- Option to share your budget with a partner or roommate
- Live education is available on the app
YNAB has a free trial and is then $8.25/month when paid annually ($99 total), or $14.99 paid monthly.
Best For: Making the most of your monthly paycheck
Mvelopes is essentially the digital version of the envelope method. It’s ideal for people who like the idea of allocating a specific portion of their monthly budget to particular budget categories but would prefer not to use cash to do this.
- Open banking to consolidate all your accounts
- A wide selection of budget categories to allocate expenses to
- Quick and easy to set up your budget and go
You get 30 days free when you sign up for Mvelopes. After your free trial you can choose from three plans: basic ($5.97/month), premier ($9.97/month), and plus ($19.97/month).
Budget Apps for College Students: FAQs
How Do Budgeting Apps Work?
Budgeting apps make saving money, paying off debt, and creating a budget much easier. Most budgeting apps use open banking, which means you can consolidate all of your bank accounts, investments, and other money into one place, giving you a clear view of how much debt (student debt, credit card debt, etc) you have, your monthly income and expenses each month, and
Why Should I Use a Budgeting App?
There are many reasons someone might choose to utilize a budgeting app over, say, an excel spreadsheet or simply not budgeting at all. A few key benefits of the apps listed above include:
- You can view all your savings accounts, investments, student debt, and income in one single place
- You can track your budget in real-time, so staying on track becomes a natural part of your daily routine
- Many of the apps listed above use AI to suggest automatic savings you could make each month
- Budgeting apps do the hard work for you – they auto categorize your spending and take away the need to manually input data every time you spend your money
- You can set measurable goals, such as paying back some of your student loan debt early or putting money aside for a vacation and can actively see your progress
Are budgeting apps safe to use?
It makes sense to want to check if budgeting apps are secure; after all, they connect to your banking information and can view your finances, so you’ll want to be sure that they’re legit before you sync everything up.
In general, budgeting apps are considered to be very safe against cyberattacks. Any legitimate budgeting app will tell you exactly what steps they take to protect your financial data. This usually includes using the same secure encryption technology that many banks use to keep your data safe, and two-factor authentication when logging in to access your account.
What should a college student budget include?
A college student budget will include anything you typically spend money on each month. It will include student-specific items such as your textbooks, tuition fees, and accommodation, as well as more general spending categories such as clothes, entertainment, transport, and going out.
What is the simplest budgeting app?
All of the budgeting apps listed above make creating a budget and saving money a much more simple experience than if you were manually creating a budget yourself. As most offer a free trial period, it might be a good idea to try out a few different apps and see what suits you best.
This list of the best budgeting apps for college students contains the very best apps to help you make smarter financial decisions, gain better control of your finances, and ultimately save more money.
Try out a few free trials, set goals that suit your budget, and see which app works best for you.