We get it: saving money is tough. While things on campus might be cheaper than outside, nothing is ever truly free.
Almost everything demands you to spend these days — from transport to getting a quick coffee between classes.
The solution? Finding a way to track your expenses. You can always do this manually, but many prefer to use free budgeting apps.
These are designed to help you keep an eye on your spending habits. Why is this important? For starters, you should try your best to be aware of where your money is going.
For example, you might be wondering why you’re always left with US$20 less than you planned for at the end of every week.
Tracking your expenses might show you that the US$5 coffee you’ve been buying every day after class has been adding up.
This can help you make smarter financial choices, such as switching to a cheaper coffee alternative, making your own coffee to bring to class, or cutting it out altogether.
While tracking your spending habits can seem tedious, there’s a certain level of empowerment that comes with being more financially responsible.
For example, you’ll have more opportunities to join activities that might have seemed too pricey before, such as indulging in a fancier restaurant over the weekend.
Or perhaps you’d finally have the means to save enough for a summer holiday.
These free budgeting apps are a great place to start. Here are some of our favourites:
Today’s best free budgeting apps
Mint has been on the market for years — and for good reason. With this free budgeting app, you have the option to securely link your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, bills and more.
Simply put, you can track all your expenses in one place.
The best part about Mint is its ability to divide your spending habits into different categories. These can be personalised yourself if you want to be more hands-on.
More than that, you can set limits for how much you want to spend in each category. Mint will notify you if you exceed this amount.
It’s highly rated on Google Play and the App Store and doesn’t require any fees to run.
EveryDollar works according to the zero-based budgeting system, which means that you have to justify all your spending with each new budgeting period.
This leaves limited room for unnecessary expenses — which can help clean your bank balance up if it’s in shambles.
Like Mint, EveryDollar has a budget feature which allows you to separate your expenses into different categories.
It doesn’t sync to your account, which might seem more appealing if you’re concerned about privacy.
The downside to this? You’ll have to manually enter your incoming and outgoing money.
EveryDollar has a free and premium app. The free app allows you to do all of the above, which should be enough for a university student.
If you want an app that will sync to your bank account and provide custom insights based on your habits, though, you could think about subscribing to the premium version.
The premium version costs US$12.99 per month of US$79.99 yearly. You can cancel anytime. Get you 14-day free trial by clicking here.
PocketGuard is a free budgeting app that’s absolutely perfect for students. It links directly to your bank account, so it can monitor your every expense.
The beauty of PocketGuard is in its simplicity. It shows you exactly how much money is left after accounting for your financial goals, as well as any bills and regular expenses.
Recurrent spending is also something it keeps track of, showing you exactly how your expenses are adding up.
Another plus point: you can view your money in your own currency, meaning you won’t have to keep converting cash in your head to keep track of your money.
Are you in a relationship? Or perhaps you have a best friend you do everything with? Or maybe you’re living with a roommate.
Either way, you’re probably spending a lot of time with this person — which means that you’re spending on the same restaurants, movies, groceries and other activities with them.
It’s likely that you have similar spending habits — and what better way to help each other save more than by budgeting together?
GoodBudget is a great way to get started with this.
With this free budgeting app, you can share and sync your budgets with your friends, family or significant other.
Your costs are divided into different envelopes, which is useful to track regular spending. You can also add details to new transactions.
GoodBudget comes in free and paid versions. However, you won’t have to pay if you want to stick to the free version of the app.