Whether you’re looking to save money for a specific goal, manage your spending, or just want to improve your financial habits, apps can be a valuable tool in your journey. Especially as we transition into adulthood — and all the responsibilities attached to that — you might be questioning what’s best for your financial independence and what your next steps should be in order to establish a safe, economic base that you can rely on. That’s where budgeting apps for college students come in, especially if they make saving low-effort and easy to understand.
Thankfully, technology can come to your aid in that way: There are a lot of financial-oriented Google Play and App Store tools that can help you save, invest, and even categorize your money according to your priorities. Here are some options that can make dealing with cash easier on a daily basis.
An automated savings app, Oportun encourages users to save by analyzing the activity in your bank account and automatically setting aside small amounts of money. Ideal for spenders, the app works with safe quantities of cash and lets you use the amount that was put away whenever you want or might need to.
Oportun also gives space for a more proactive approach if desired: By letting the user put limits on the amount of money saved and even pause the savings feature, it can be managed according to your financial situation and preferences. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play.
Known for its cash back feature, Rakuten is a shopping portal that offers coupons and cash back for online and in-store purchases. With brands like Ulta Beauty, Nike, and more onboard, the app lets you spend the money earned, use it as savings or as extra payments to high-interest debts.
Rakuten offers a $10 welcome bonus for new sign-ups and is available in the App Store and Google Play.
Ever thought about investing? Acorns is a beginner-friendly, investor app available in the App Store and Google Play. The platform takes the loose change on each purchase — for instance, the 50 cents on a $1.50 charge — and invests it in a portfolio based on your personal goals, designed by the platform itself through a personal survey. Although the investment options are limited, the app lets its users get acquainted with the process of safe-investing and allows you to get a little extra income each month.
By integrating all the user’s accounts into one single platform, Snoop offers a personalized experience. The App Store and Google Play app monitors and tracks spending to help you see where to spend or save better, relying on features like categorizing spending, displaying weekly and monthly activity summaries, and more.
Free of charge, the app also makes saving suggestions and helps you find better deals and opportunities to save.
Qapital operates on the money spent to create savings. Yes, you read that right. Rounding up the change on each of your purchases, the app leads the extra amount into a separate savings account. Basically, if you spend $4.50 on coffee, the 50 cents left will be invested as a part of your savings.
Qapital also lets its users make their own savings rules or follow some of their suggestions, like setting a specific amount of money on a certain day or transferring a set amount every time you go overboard with your spending. Another nice feature is the app’s reward goals, which invest a set sum every time you accomplish one of your daily goals, like drinking a lot of water or exercising that day. Qapital is available both in the App Store and on Google Play.
- YNAB (You Need A Budget)
YNAB (You Need a Budget) has a pretty self-explanatory name. A hands-on approach to budgeting, the app lets you assign your income to different categories to help with spending plans. YNAB also helps to set a purpose for all the money in your bank account, while leaving space to set saving targets and pay off expenses outside of the predetermined budget.
With features that let you transfer money between categories and letting you manage the categories according to your own needs, the app is a flexible option available on the App Store and Google Play. And, according to YNAB itself, the average new user saves over $600 in the first two months of use and $6,000 in the first year alone.
Entirely free, Mint is a great money-saving app — and not only because it doesn’t charge a fee to be used. Designed to sync up multiple accounts, from bank to investment and credit cards, the app doubles as a budget and expense tracker and is ideal for financial newcomers.
By monitoring your transactions and assigning budget categories, Mint helps to map out your personal income, making it easier to see where and how much you are spending. It also suggests budget goals based on your expenses and tracks your finances through notifications, that might let you know if any of your monthly subscriptions increased in cost or if you have an upcoming bill to pay. It’s available in the App Store and Google Play.