Money apps for students


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Managing your finances as a student is often easier said than done. You may find yourself trying to balance the various expenses of attending school (paying for textbooks, meal plans, supplies, and travel) on a limited budget without much advice. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where even start.

Getting into the habit of saving, investing, and budgeting as early as possible can help you embark on the path to financial flexibility. Having an emergency fund, for example, will allow you to cover unforeseen expenses that arise in everyday life, from car repairs to broken laptops. And starting to invest when you’re young means you can avoid keeping too much cash in cash and reap the long-term benefits of compound interest.

To help anyone just starting out, Select has put together some of the best money apps every student needs. They are all easy to use but really effective when it comes to managing your cash flow, so you can start to dive into money management and build a stronger foundation for your future.

Best Money Apps For Students

To learn how to budget

Good budget

The information on Goodbudget has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Goodbudget prior to posting.

  • Cost

    Get 20 envelopes for free; for unlimited envelopes, you need to upgrade to Goodbudget Plus, which costs $ 7 per month or $ 60 per year

  • Outstanding Features

    Allows users to plan their household expenses using the “envelope method”, where they divide a certain amount of their income into categories such as groceries, rent and debt repayment . Users are only expected to spend what’s in their envelopes and if they go over budget, the envelope will show in red to indicate that they have overspended.

  • Categorize your expenses

    Yes, but users can customize

  • Account links

    No, users manually create “envelopes” and enter their transactions

  • Availablity

    Has a web version and is also available in the App Store (for iOS) and Google Play (for Android)

  • Security functions

    256-bit bank-grade encryption in a secure data center

Budgeting can seem daunting, but it’s simply a plan for how you’ll spend your money each month. When you know what is coming back to you (i.e. how much you are making), you can more effectively manage how you choose to spend it. There are many ways to create a budget, but newbies who want to manage their money on the go should check out the Goodbudget app.

The app is pretty much the digital version of the Envelope Method, a budgeting strategy where you label a few envelopes with different expense categories and put a certain amount of money in each. Once you’ve spent all the money, you’ll have to wait until your next paycheck (or the next month) to replenish your envelopes.

Goodbudget uses pretty much the same idea, but instead of real envelopes, you’ll get digital ones. You can label them to indicate things you usually spend, such as school supplies, gasoline, pocket money, and food. Each category will have its own envelope. You will distribute your salary between each and you are only allowed to spend the amount allocated in each envelope.

If you overspend, the envelope will turn red to indicate that you are over budget.

Unlike most budgeting and expense tracking apps, Goodbudget is not tied to your bank accounts. You must manually create the digital envelopes and enter your transactions. The app gives you 20 envelopes for free, or you can sign up for an unlimited number of envelopes for $ 7 per month or $ 60 per year. You can find out more about Goodbudget in our roundup of the best budgeting apps.

To start investing


  • Minimum deposit

    $ 0 to open the account; Minimum deposit of $ 5 to start investing

  • Costs

    30-day free trial; $ 1 / month for the Lite plan, which includes an investment account; $ 3 / month for the Personal plan, which includes an investment, retirement and chequing account; $ 5 / month for the Family plan, which includes an investment, retirement and chequing account, and the ability to open an investment account for a child

  • Premium

  • Investment options

  • Educational resources

    Personalized financial literacy content from Acorns and CNBC

A common misconception about investing is that it takes a lot of money to get started. In fact, you can get started with as little as a few replacement parts, and that’s exactly what the Acorns app does.

The app collects the currency from your daily purchases and invests it in preconfigured wallets. In other words, you can invest even by purchasing your daily cold beer at the campus cafe. Let’s say the coffee costs $ 4.30 – Acorns will take 70 cents and invest it for you. Just make sure you link your credit card to the app and use it to pay for items, otherwise you won’t be able to use the roundup feature.

You can also deposit money into the app without making any purchases. Opening the account is free, but you will need a minimum of $ 5 to start investing.

To save money


  • Annual percentage return (APY)

    Start earning 0.10% APY after using the app for three consecutive months

  • The minimum balance

  • Monthly fee

    30-day free trial; $ 5 / month

  • Maximum number of transactions

  • Excessive transaction fees

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer a checking account?

  • Offer an ATM card?

When it comes to saving money, every dollar adds up, especially when you regularly store small amounts over time. That’s pretty much what Digit is here to help you do.

The app connects to your bank account and automatically saves small amounts of money for you every day. It could be 75 cents, a dollar, five dollars, or anything in between. (You can specify a maximum amount that Digit saves on a given day.) Digit puts savings on autopilot, so you don’t have to manually transfer money to a separate account.

You can also create different goals to save, like a spring break trip or a new laptop. And if you don’t have specific goals in mind, you can just save some money to get a good start in post-graduate life.

For cash back without a credit card


Information on Rakuten has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the company prior to posting.

  • Cost

  • How to save

    Get cash back rewards on qualifying purchases, automatic coupons, and price comparisons.

  • How to use it

    Buy on, the Rakuten app or install the browser extension.

  • How to receive your savings

    Cash back is granted every 3 months by check or PayPal payment.

Once you’re in college, some expenses are just hard to escape, like textbooks and groceries. But it’s nice to make some extra cash on these essentials. This is where Rakuten comes in. It is both an app and a browser extension that can help you earn money while shopping online or in person.

To get started, connect your debit or credit card (s) to the app. Then when you make a purchase from a brand in the Rakuten Network (there are hundreds of them to choose from), you will receive a certain percentage of cash back. Cash Back is paid quarterly and can be a great way to increase your savings just by buying the things you needed anyway.

To keep track of multiple accounts


Information about Mint has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Mint prior to posting.

  • Cost

  • Outstanding Features

    Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investments, net worth

  • Categorize your expenses

    Yes, but users can change

  • Account links

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availablity

    Available in the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security functions

    Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

If you feel like you have a few too many financial accounts, keeping them all in one convenient place can make it easier to keep track of everything. Mint lets you connect your checking account, savings account, credit cards, investment accounts, and retirement accounts (whether you’re ahead of the curve by contributing to a Roth IRA or if you’re lucky enough to already have a 401 (k) plan all under one app.

Keeping up to date on the status of your money can help you avoid missing a bill payment or overdrafting on your account. But if you don’t regularly check these accounts, the process of resetting a forgotten password can often be more work than you expected, when all you want to know is how much you’ve saved. With Mint, you no longer need to remember multiple passwords. Just log into the app and you’ll get a full view of the status of all your balances.

At the end of the line

While using apps to manage your money isn’t for everyone, one thing’s for sure: adopting good habits is essential to building a solid financial foundation – and college is a good time to start! Keep in mind that personal finance is personal – whether you like an app that automatically syncs your bank account information or you prefer to create your budget manually, there is a method for just about everyone.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Tassels.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.

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