32 Best Budgeting Apps for College Students

Saving money doesn't have to be painful — Here are 32 of the best budgeting apps to help you save money automatically in 2020.

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Everyone wants to save money and budget better, but now you can do it twice as fast with the best budgeting apps for college students.

We'll keep it simple.

Here are the best budgeting apps that can give you a hand so you can speed up the budgeting and saving process.

Just remember, managing your money doesn't have to be painful — in fact, it's almost fun with these free budgeting and saving apps.


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We'll break this savings article in sections, click to skip ahead:

Best Budgeting Apps for College Students

Maybe you’ve exhausted all financial resources on the web. You’ve cut back on spending. You’ve negotiated rent prices down using resources like this from ABODO. And now you need to take the next step. Here are budgeting apps to help you save money — for today or tomorrow.

1. Digit

The Digit web and mobile apps make it genuinely painless to save money “in the background.” It works by keeping an eye on a linked personal checking account and saving small amounts of money at a time based on your incoming profit or wages.

2. Acorns

Like Digit, Acorns offers a mobile and web app. It too functions by saving small amounts of money automatically, this time by rounding up your purchases on a linked account or card and by investing the difference in your Acorns account. The service recently launched “Acorns Later” — a full-featured retirement account that that's perfect for anybody without an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

3. Qapital

Qapital is another mobile-focused savings app that makes automatic or manual deposits based on your income. But it goes a step further than some of the others by offering a social and family component, where you can save money as part of a group, as well as robust goal-setting features for when you have specific savings milestones in mind.

4. Cinch Financial

Cinch Financial first and foremost brands itself as a “minimalist” assistant for your entire financial life. Using algorithms that operate in the background, the app analyzes your financial life and creates a forecast of several practical, actionable steps you can take right now to improve your standing. The goal is to help you save money and get into better spending habits.

Best Personal Finance Apps

5. Mint

Like Clarity Money, Mint styles itself as your personal finance consigliere. By linking your major financial institutions and ATM cards, Mint delivers a top-down view of your entire financial life. You can build and fine-tune a budget, create an emergency fund and look over your credit score — all for free.

6. You Need a Budget

It's got an on-the-nose name, but maybe straightforwardness is exactly what you want in a financial app. You Need a Budget has long been a favorite because it makes it easy to account for all your spending, prioritize your expenses, understand basic and advanced budgeting techniques and save easily for unforeseen emergencies — or just a rainy day.

7. MoneyLion

The free MoneyLion app styles itself as a jack of all trades. It's a platform for managing your current finances, investing and keeping track of your credit score — all while you save money and plan for the future. A free account gets you saving and borrowing tips, while a MoneyLion Plus account opens up the app's suite of investment tools.

8. Chime

Chime brands itself as less of a mobile app and more a full-blown “alternative bank.” You can set your checking account to commit 10 percent of incoming paychecks to savings automatically. Additionally, some purchases you pay for using your Chime account are eligible for cash-back rewards.

Best Credit Check Apps

Checking your credit score is right at your fingertips using these two smartphone apps.

9. Credit Sesame

If your credit, or lack thereof, has been on your mind, you might find Credit Sesame as a jack of all trades for credit monitoring and even free identity theft protection. The result is an app that delivers helpful and timely advice, as well as alerts to help you keep your money safe.

10. Credit Karma

Sometimes, saving money for the future or a major purchase requires a little personal finance triage first. If that's the case, the Credit Karma app is a good starting point for anybody who wants to find out where they stand credit-wise and get some practical tips for improving it, saving money on ordinary expenses while you do so.

Best Savings Apps

Let's take a look at 4 apps that could help to put you on a more secure financial path and give your savings account a well-needed boost.

11. Long Game

Making the most of your income over a lifetime requires you to play the “long game” — hence the name of this app. Long Game is a fully featured savings account that rewards you with cash and cryptocurrency rewards. Saving money in your account earns you playing time in fun, interactive games and the chance to earn additional cash prizes. You can withdraw your money anytime, just like a regular savings account. Click here for $5 bonus to get you started.

12. Clarity Money

No matter the skill, sometimes we need some coaching — and saving money is no different when looking for the best budget app. The Clarity Money app helps you find and cancel hidden recurring expenses like subscriptions and bad habits. It'll also deliver insights — using a web or mobile app — about negotiating your costs lower and suggesting financial products that could help, based on your profile.

13. Trim

Trim makes the bold claim that its machine-learning-facilitated app platform saves its users $1 million per month. How? By looking over your finances and canceling unused subscriptions, finding more affordable utility and service providers and generally looking for waste and redundancy. Give it a try.

14. Paribus

Paribus, like many of these, is 100 percent free to use. Once you create an account, you can shop just like you usually do at more than 25 well-known online retailers. With each purchase, Paribus keeps track of your receipts and lets you know if you've qualified for any retroactive refunds based on price drops, late deliveries and more.

Best Debt App

Here is one of the best debt repayment tools and apps to help you pay down debt quickly and stay motivated to reach the long-term goal of becoming debt free.

15. Tally

Credit card debt is the bane of many consumers' existences. Tally is an app designed to help those with credit card debt track and pay it all off in a timely, responsible manner so you can get your finances back on track. Without harming your credit score, Tally analyzes your finances and opens a line of credit for you to automatically pay off your debt for you at a rate you can manage.

Best Passive Income Apps

Looking to generate passive income with your PC or mobile phone? Check out my favorite 5 ways to easily make money online.

16. Swagbucks


Games that pay you to play (yes, we're serious)
These three apps will pay you to play games on your mobile device.

  1. Solitaire Cube (iOS) - Earning money by playing games on your phone sounds like a dream. But this app really pays you for playing solitaire with cash rewards.
  2. Mistplay (Android) - If you have an android device, you can download this app and start getting cash rewards for playing new games.
  3. Lucktastic (Android and iOS) - This free app offers the same daily scratch-off cards that you find at your local convenience store — but here you can play for free and win real money.

If you're looking for a way to browse for cool deals, search for specific items, conduct paid surveys and generally earn a little bit back on all the shopping research you'd be doing anyway, Swagbucks is for you. After you link a PayPal account, most of your activity on the app — from doing product searches to providing marketing feedback — helps you earn points toward cash rewards.

17. Fundrise

Fundrise is a low-cost investment platform for web and mobile that's specifically designed for real estate investors. And it's not just an app, either — it's a professional investment guidance service. Professionals look at thousands of real estate opportunities across the country and help you diversify your portfolio and keep an eye on site progress at your investment properties, all at the same time.

18. MyPoints

MyPoints is another app that gets you paid just for answering simple questions about your purchasing habits. Your first survey should take about three minutes and will earn you 10 points in the process. After that, you can earn additional points and other rewards by playing games, watching videos and clipping coupons.

Best Investing Apps

Want to make money the smart way? These 5 investing apps can increase your portfolio and more importantly, your net worth.

19. M1 Finance

M1 Finance empowers you to manage your money and build wealth with ease. Just create and automate your portfolio and they take care of the rest. Also, it's totally free to use and download.

20. Blooom

Employer-sponsored retirement plans are essential tools for anybody who wants to plan for retirement. But it can take some know-how and finesses to get the most out of your 401(k)s and other accounts. Blooom will analyze your retirement accounts for free and, for $10 per month, reduce hidden fees and optimize your choice of funds and the rate at which you contribute your earnings for better performance overall.

21. Fidelity

Whether you have an employer-backed retirement account or a personal Roth IRA, there's a good chance you manage it through Fidelity. Using the mobile and web app, it's easy to watch your accounts grow or make additional one-time investments in your future as often as you can afford to do so.

22. Bank of America

As the name suggests, Bank of America is one of the biggest financial institutions in the country. And they've recently upped their game for savings and checking account holders by adding a “Keep the Change” feature to their account apps. This program rounds up your purchases to a whole-dollar amount and saves these small amounts as deposits to your savings account.

23. Robinhood

In underprepared hands, a stock trading app is a money-loser rather than a money-saver. Robinhood offers free stock and bond trading and an intuitive interface, so it's a smart way to play the market while saving the money you'd otherwise lose to commissions.

Best Gas Apps

Want to discover the best deals for gas near you? With cheap gas apps, you'll be smiling all the way to the gas pump with these two gas apps.

24. GetUpside

Shopping local can put you back in touch with your community and help you uncover hidden gems. But you still want to get the best deals, which is why GetUpside is so helpful. The app maintains a local focus and points you toward discounts in your local area on the products you’d be buying anyway, like groceries and gas.

25. GasBuddy

If somebody out there enjoys buying — and overpaying for — gasoline, we've never met them. That's what GasBuddy is for. It offers several tools for frugal drivers. First, it'll show you the lowest gas prices near you. You can also use it to calculate MPG. Or, for long road trips, you can find the best gas prices in advance and add them as stops on your itinerary.

Best Shopping Apps

Everyone is looking for ways to save or make extra money, so here are 12 of the best cashback apps and shopping apps you can use to save.

26. Ibotta

You can probably file this one under “sounds too good to be true, but isn't.” Ibotta is an app that works with 250 major retailers, including big-box stores, to help you get some money back, retroactively, on purchases you already make regularly. Some users report savings of up to $25 in their first month without changing their shopping habits.

27. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is an excellent tool for anybody who frequently shops for household groceries and other items. Using the app is easy — you create a free account and then upload receipts of purchases you've made for qualifying items. Checkout 51 keeps a continually updated list of manufacturer deals and sends you cash back any time you buy something for which there's a posted deal.

28. Honey

Honey is a browser extension for Safari, Firefox and Chrome, rather than a standalone mobile or web app — but it's a potential money-saver just the same. After you install it, Honey keeps an eye on the checkout process at major Internet retailers and automatically finds current coupon codes to apply to your order.

29. SavingStar

Clipping coupons and using rebates are excellent ways to save an often-incredible amount of money on name brands. But without SavingStar, you get stuck searching for, clipping or printing those coupons and rebates the old-fashioned way. SavingStar removes all the hassle from grocery rebates and gives you access to savings from 70,000 retail locations.

30. OpenTable

Nothing is frugal about dining out in restaurants — but if you do it right, even infrequent visits could help you earn back a little something. OpenTable is an app that makes securing table reservations on a mobile device painless. However, you also earn points for each reservation and can cash out for affiliated restaurant gift cards or Amazon gift codes.

31. Poshmark

You can think of the Poshmark app a little like a high-end thrift store. It's a mobile-first peer-to-peer digital marketplace where people can buy, swap and sell clothing, footwear and fashion accessories by sought-after and luxury brands, sometimes for 70 percent off the “rack price.” For items where counterfeiting is a worry, Poshmark offers authenticity checks for purchases more than $500.

32. Rakuten

Rakuten functions a little like an outlet store for 2,500 Internet retailers. By making Rakuten your “shopping portal,” either through the web app or a browser extension, you have access to thousands of great deals — up to 40 percent off — on almost anything you can imagine, straight from your retailers of choice. You can also get cash back on your purchases.

Best Budgeting Apps for College Students Summary

Many of these budgeting and money-saving apps for college students offer help to let you build up savings over time.

In fact, these saving apps help change your mindset about money and provide valuable ongoing lessons about financial wellness that can keep you out of debt and on the road to saving more money for today and tomorrow.

Your financial independence completely depends on how you feel about your life. If you don't feel motivated then you need to change something in your life. Your most of life will be utilized in working so better you have something in hand which you passionate about. The life is a roller coaster ride so there will be good days and bad days. To enjoy financial independence, you should have planned for both the situation. The money will play a big role in securing your future. Your focus should be balancing the money and passion equally to live the movement at the fullest.

Leave your thoughts below. Share with me how you manage your financial goal and what is financial independence to you?

Good luck!

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  • Robinhood is a free investing app for your phone. I really mean free all around – free to join and they don’t charge any fees to buy or sell the stock. You can get a share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free when you join through this link. The value of the free share may be anywhere between $2.50 and $500 and fluctuates based on market movements. You’ve got nothing to lose.
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