When you’re in school, you have a lot on your plate – from making time for classes and homework to figuring out how you’ll pay for everything until you graduate. But, thanks to technology, it is possible to manage a budget, develop a debt-payment strategy, and get a better understanding of your finances.
In honor of Money Smart Week, taking place April 22 to April 29 2017, we bring you seven smartphone apps to help you get your budget on track and keep it there.
Price: Free on App Store and Google Play
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way — Mint. This app hooks up your bank accounts and any credit cards you may have and updates balances based on your spending so you don’t have to.
“As a college student, it’s essential to have something automatic that provides reminders, so you don’t have to remember to update it yourself,” Hailey Vasquez, a project manager at Odd Dog Media, said. “It takes all the organization out of bill paying and makes budgeting super straightforward.”
You can even customize different budgets based on purchases like coffee, books, etc. The app will give you ideas about how you can save more.
2- Debt Payoff Planner
Price: Free for basic; $5/month for two months; $3/month for six months; $1/month for 12 months on App Store and Google Play
There’s a lot that can land you in debt, whether it’s a pile of student loans or putting too many charges on a credit card. Whatever gets you there, the first step to digging yourself out of debt is making a plan, and that’s where this app comes in handy. As payment due dates approach, you’ll receive an alert so you remember to pay on time and not rack up late fees. And, to help you see the results of your hard work, you’ll get charts that show your debt balance getting smaller as you stick with your plan.
Price: Free on App Store and Google Play
It’s a lot easier to order books and other things online, especially with such a busy schedule, right? Well, Slice uses e-receipts to help you keep track of your purchases and will make things a bit easier for you every step of the way. From tracking your delivery status to sending you alerts if a price goes down, this app does it all. Plus, it can help you keep track of how much you’re spending so those One-Click options don’t end up breaking your budget. It even lists your spending by vendor and category so you can see if there are any particular budget-draining culprits.
Price: Free or Plus for $5/month ($45/year) on App Store and Google Play
Think of this app as the digital version of the “envelope method” of budgeting. You create a budget for different categories — travel, groceries, entertainment, school labs, etc. — which have designated spending amounts for each month. Best of all, this app can be synced with others you are sharing a budget with, like a roommate or parent, so you stay on the same page.
Price: Free on App Store
Don’t like the idea of giving over your banking information? Consider Unsplurge, a straightforward budgeting and saving app. Choose a goal, like saving for that perfect Spring Break trip or paying off a credit card, and log your saving toward it. This app will help you see your progress and keep you motivated to achieve your financial success. If you get a bit frustrated, there’s a social community to help give you the extra boost of motivation you need.
Price: Free for first 100 days, then $2.99/month on App Store and Google Play
Let’s face it — it’s never easy to put money into savings and see your “fun money” amount decrease. But this app takes away the sting of doing just that. After you link your checking account, Digit analyzes your income and spending habits. After it gets an understanding of your financial situation, it finds extra money to move to a saving account. Once you need the funds you’ve saved, they will be transferred back to your checking account by the next business day.
7- You Need a Budget
Price: Free for first 34 days, then $50/year on App Store and Google Play
This app helps you see how much money you have and where that money can or should be going. After connecting your accounts, you can assign each dollar a role, whether it’s to help you save up for next semester’s textbooks or for your monthly rent check. Go over budget on one item but under on another? No problem! Each month you can reallocate the funds however you feel is necessary.
Because you’re already familiar with the benefits of online education and the technology associated with it, taking advantage of smartphone apps should be a sensible step to take control of your budget. To help get you through higher education financially, take into consideration the previous apps and make sure to do your own research to figure out what works best for you.