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The 3 Best Budgeting Apps For College Students

Learning how to manage your personal finances can be difficult, but there’s no better time than college to start figuring out what you want to do with your money. Most college students have had at least one job during their undergraduate years, but a lot of us never learned how to manage our money efficiently. Many of us have probably created a budget or two, but it can be hard to stick to those goals we set for ourselves, and that’s one of the reasons why personal finance apps can be so helpful. Whether you want to make a budget so you don’t overspend, or you want to start saving up for big purchases, personal finance apps can provide ways for you to start saving and managing your money better. If you’re ready to take control of your finances, look no further for the best three personal finance apps for college students.


Mint was the first budgeting app I ever used, and over the years, the simple functionality of the app has just gotten better. The design of Mint is not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. You can easily connect your bank accounts to Mint, and the app creates a visual display for all of your finances.

 One of the reasons I love Mint is because the app helps me realize exactly where my money goes. For example, many of us have monthly subscriptions to services like Spotify or Netflix, and Mint allows you to see how much you’re spending on subscription services each month. I find this to be really helpful because I don’t always notice when my Netflix bill goes up, and Mint always notifies me when I start to pay more for subscriptions. My favorite part about Mint is that you can create custom budgets to track your spending. I can see exactly how much I’m spending on things like clothing, gas, and food, which allows me to make positive changes to my spending habits. 

Mint also has a section for goals, where app users can create personal finance goals they want to accomplish. Whether I’m saving for a fun trip or apartment furniture, I can easily track how much I’ve saved up, and it can be really uplifting to see how much money I’ve been saving over time. The best part about Mint is that it’s free and secure, so it makes money management simple and stress-free.


If you’d rather not share your bank account information with an app, Pennies has the perfect solution. This budgeting app allows you to manually add any expense and budget you have, and creates colorful tabs that help you decide whether to spend or save. Pennies automatically calculates how much money you can spend each day according to your budgets, and also lets you know if you overspent or not each day.

All you have to do is set up a budget type, add a start date, and decide on a budget amount. You can create any number of budgets, and Pennies will help you track what you’re spending money on. The app lets you set up daily, weekly, one-time, or payroll budgets, and you can view your budgets based on how much money you have left to spend or how much you’ve already spent. Another interesting feature is that the app allows you to see your daily spending budgets as well as your total budgets. Pennies is $3.99 to purchase on the App Store and is available to download on the Apple Watch, which allows users to stay up to date on their spending anywhere they go.


PocketGuard helps you create meaningful budgets that are connected to your accounts. The app shows you how much you can comfortably spend after taking into account bills, goals, and other expenses using the “In My Pocket” feature. You can see firsthand what you’re spending the most money on; plus, Pocketguard will create monthly reports to help you analyze your spending habits.

The app also includes an autosave feature, which automatically puts money aside into savings goals you create. Pocketguard is free to use, but users can upgrade to the premium version, which costs $4.99 every month.

College is the perfect time to start getting serious about your finances. Saving money now can really help you in the future, and personal finance apps are amazing tools to help you achieve your financial goals. Keeping track of your spending habits and creating meaningful saving goals can help you stop stressing about money and start taking control of where your money goes. Something as simple as seeing how much money you’ve saved over time can help you stop overspending and start making purchases that you won’t regret, so I hope one of these apps will help you on your personal finance journey!

Harshita is currently a junior studying Information Systems and Human Resources at Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about traveling, hiking, cuddling her two cats, and discovering cruelty-free beauty.