It can be difficult for college students to manage their money. Being on their own for the first time presents new challenges and situations that they have not encountered before, especially when it comes to finances. It is important to have a firm grasp and understanding of one’s financial standing early on to avoid accruing more debt than necessary and to make every dollar count.
Traditional ways of tracking money and spending include keeping a balance book, and hoarding receipts and copies of checks. Today, however, there are applications that can help monitor one’s bank account, credit cards, and investments all from a mobile device. Seeing as college students today are very adept at using technology, these mobile apps are a manageable and convenient way for them to be mindful of their spending during a time when it is easy to spend, spend, spend. Here are some money saving apps for college students to help you save money.
Founded in 2006, Mint is a free personal finance tool that combines one’s bank account, credit cards, investments and loans all into one platform. With Mint, you can create a budget for yourself and see how every aspect of your financial life is being managed. It even allows you to see exactly where money is being spent, whether it be on food, clothing, gas or other items. Providing a visual component is especially helpful for college students because they can actually see how much money they’re spending on certain things and determine what areas they should cut back on. Mint also recommends certain types of bank accounts and investments based on what would best serve you and your lifestyle, which can be helpful for college students beginning their financial planning.
Beyond tracking financial information, Digit is another free mobile app that actually saves the money for you. Every few days, the app automatically withdraws a small amount of money from your bank account (usually anywhere from $5-$50) and deposits it into a separate Digit account. To ensure that no fines are charged for over-drafting, there is a no-overdraft guarantee in place for when your account is running low. While you can’t earn interest on the money you save with your Digit account, you can adopt the company’s savings bonus that offers 5 cents for every $100 saved over 3 months. Another plus is that Digit allows you to withdraw from the savings account any time you want with no extra fees or minimums. This app is especially useful for students who are looking to save up for big expenditures such as a new laptop, car or study abroad.
Level Money is slightly more simplified and perhaps better suited for college students in particular. With the mobile app, users connect their bank account and set aside money for essential expenditures such as rent, groceries, and bills that tend to have a more static cost each month. Then, once that money is set aside, the app gives you your “Spendable” which, as it sounds, is spending money for fun things such as going out to eat or seeing a movie. If your income and regular costs tend to vary, don’t worry! Level Money analyzes your past financial information and makes educated predictions as to how much you will make and spend the in next month. By setting aside money for what students absolutely need, their “Spendable” money essentially acts as their bank balance which can improve their spending habits and help them to know whether they can REALLY afford to buy a coffee every morning.
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