9 Best Budgeting Apps for College Students

NerdWalletSep 13, 2013

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You learn a lot when you start college, and often one of the most practical—and challenging—skills is keeping track of your money. From paying rent and utilities for the first time to throwing parties on the weekends when you’re trying to stick to a budget, personal finance can seem overwhelming. Luckily, these apps make it easy for even the most disorganized college student to track spending (and saving, too).

  1. LearnVest. This app makes budgeting easy by securely linking to your bank account, and filing your purchases into pre-named folders like Entertainment, Groceries, Restaurants and ATM/Cash, or you can create your own. You can set a budget for each folder, as well as for essentials like rent, student loans and car payments.

  2. Mint. This popular budgeting app also connects directly to your bank account and updates your spending automatically. You can create any number of budgets, and they can get as specific as you like: coffee, movies, alcohol and other college student necessities will all be accounted for. If you’re using a credit card for the first time, it makes sure you’ll never charge what you can’t pay back. The Cash vs. Credit feature lets you see your total credit card balances versus the cash you have to pay them off.

  3. Slice. This keeps all the details from online purchases in one place, from receipts to shipping information. It even sends a notification when your package ships so you can keep an eye out for the delivery truck if you live off-campus. It also keeps your entire purchase history so you can upload it to a budgeting app all at once.

  4. Check. Check (formerly Pageonce) is more of a payment and bill tracker than a budgeting app, but keeping track of bill payment for the first time can be tough to get used to, especially with everything else on a college student’s plate. You can pay bills directly from the app, so you’ll never pay a late fee, and even track investments, if you’re particularly ambitious!

  5. CheckPlease Lite. This straightforward app seems like it was built with college students in mind. If you’re out in a large group and need to split the bill many ways, CheckPlease Lite handles it. It can calculate tips and split the bill up to 100 ways. Dorm pizza or ice cream fund, anyone?

  6. PocketBudget. Pared-down and straightforward, PocketBudget displays your main budget in pie chart form and a list of your transactions on another screen. It’s what it says it is, nothing less, nothing more: your budget accessible in your pocket.

  7. TextbookMe. Sick of buying expensive textbooks from the college bookstore? Compare prices of textbooks at all online retailers by searching the ISBN, author, or title of the book you want, then order the book off the retail website with the lowest price!

  8. PayPal Mobile. Does your friend owe you $20 but never seems to have cash on hand? If any two people have a PayPal account, they can make a transaction of any size using this app. You can also use it to pay online at restaurants, bars, etc.

  9. Mobile banking apps. Often the best way to keep track of your budget is directly through your bank. More and more banks are developing mobile apps, giving you the freedom to check the balances of all your accounts, anytime.

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