No one knows the meaning of budgeting better than students. Trying to afford rent, textbooks, gym memberships, groceries and nights out often seems more complicated than lectures on quantum physics.
We all know the feeling of checking your bank account a week after your student loan has dropped, just to see you have already spent half of it on takeaway and insipid vending machine coffee.
Basically, being a student is just a constant state of feeling like this…
But these clever budgeting apps can help you keep track of your spending so you don’t end up surviving on Pot Noodles for three weeks every month.
1) The best for… reducing your overdraft – You Need a Budget
If you are already drowning in your overdraft and sink deeper every week, You Need A Budget (YNAB) can help you identify your spending patterns and how to get out of debt with your actual income.
The saving grace of this app is that it doesn’t allow you to spend money you don’t have. As a student it’s super tempting to overspend into your overdraft, forever lying to yourself that you’ll pay it off next month.
YNAB will take what you actually have to spend and shows you how to budget until your next loan comes in, helping you to dig your way out of debt before graduation.
2) The best for… keeping track of all your accounts – Pocketguard
Pocketguard allows you to sync all your bank accounts, loans, savings and credit cards to one app. It then tracks which category you are spending in, allowing you to work out how you mysteriously spend your whole month’s allowance in half that time.
Luckily, the app is free. If you’re downloading it, chances are you don’t have cash to splash on new downloads, so at least that’s one less thing to knock off your spending.
You can even set budget goals if you’re saving up for an end-of-year holiday or a post-graduation gap year.
“I had one goal – to save more money in order to buy a car. Pocketguard helped me with that! I just made a certain savings goal every month and everything worked out,” said one review.
3) The best for… monitoring cash and card spending – Wally
Aiming to streamline your spending habits, Wally allows you to compare your expenses to your incoming in an easy-to-navigate app. The creators are passionate at keeping the app’s download free without clogging it up with adverts, leaving you with a fuss-free budget tool right at your fingertips.
The best feature of Wally is that it allows you to take pictures of your receipts within the app. While other budget tools just track your spending on your card, you can easily organize your cash spending as well without having to stockpile your receipts.
The creators are currently working on a desktop version as well, so you will soon be able to link your account to your desktop, laptop and phone.
4) The best for… planning ahead – Dollarbird
Moving away from the category-based spending apps, Dollarbird allows you to track your spending on a calendar-based approach.
The best part of a calendar spending app is you can easily plan for your regular payments – you can input your monthly rent and weekly gym class ahead of time. This will show you how much disposable income you have once all your maintenance spending has been accounted for, rather than taking you by surprise.
This forward-thinking approach to budgeting should allow you to make it to your next student loan without counting pennies, as you will be able to see where your big spends will occur and how much extra you have to splurge.
5) The best for… reducing your spending – Clarity Money
If you’re trying to reduce your spending rather than just identify where you spend, Clarity Money is for you.
The app monitors your spending before analyzing ways you can save money. It will look out for coupons and vouchers that may be relevant to you, remind you to cancel that free trial before it starts charging you, and set saving goals so it knows how much you need to cut down.
This takes the stress of working out your budget, as instead, you’ll know where you can get 50 percent off, which subscriptions you signed up for and never used, and ensure you’re getting the best value for money.