Living on a budget can be a struggle, especially when you’re a student and you want to get involved in as much as possible. And it’s not just going out that will eat away at your pennies!
If this is the first time you are living away from home, you may be surprised with just how quickly bills, food, travel etc. can drain your bank account. But it doesn’t have to be like this! There are plenty of budgeting apps designed specifically for students to help you manage your money, saving you time and stress.
The Top Budgeting Apps
University is probably the first time you will be given autonomy over your finances which is a great opportunity to prepare you for life beyond university and home living.
The most important thing to remember about your monthly student loan is that it’s there to make sure you can live comfortably while at University covering your food and utility bills as well as essentials. It’s easy to get carried away once the money appears in your bank, so below we have listed the best budgeting apps for students which will help you get an idea of where your money goes and how you can spend it.
If I told you you could save money whilst spending money I’m sure you would tell me that it is impossible, right?! Not with Top Cashback. TopCashback allows you to claim money back on your online and in-store shopping at over 500 UK merchants, including Tesco and ASOS. Over time, you’ll build up a pot of cash in your TopCashback account, which you can withdraw at any time. Through the mobile app, you can monitor your spending, claim in-store savings and even complete in-app purchases from your most-loved retailers. It would be silly not to!
An extremely popular one amongst savvy saving students is Wally. Wally is the go-to app if you are looking for insight on your spending habits but also a place where you can set achievable goals and increase your overall savings. Think of Wally as an app where you can learn, it doesn’t just show you what you need to know straight up, but instead helps you learn, manage and improve your finances with ease. It also has an in-app calendar feature, which allows you to save smarter by organising your cash flow by date. In the calendar, you can set reminders to yourself i.e, pay your rent or pay for football society monthly membership. This helps you keep on track of your spending and gives you a look ahead to what you can spend each month once bills are paid. Let’s not forget, you will most likely be living in shared accommodation where you will be sharing certain things with housemates – the group feature is perfect for splitting the bill. And for international students, Wally has a global network, of 15,000 banks in 70 countries.
The app is totally free and available for download on the App Store.
Tired of chasing people for money that they owe? Not so great with mathematics? Then Splitwise is here to help. This is the best budgeting app for students with friends or housemates you often find you are splitting the bill with or saying “I’ll pay you back later”. It allows you to track balances and other shared expenses so that everyone pays their share. The app cleverly works out who owes who based on the expenses – so no need for a calculator! You can also attach receipts of your purchases so there is no discrepancy over the price you have paid. The free version is the most popular amongst students and it contains all the core features however, for an extra couple of pounds a month, Splitwise Pro provides you with an ad-free experience as you scan receipts, save default splits and convert currencies.
If you haven’t heard of Monzo by now, you most definitely would have seen it! Think bright red (although arguably pink/orange) iconic bank card – at one point it was the fashion to be getting out your Monzo bank card at the machines! If you fancy more than just an app, but an accompanying bright and flashy card too, then Monzo is for you. However, Monzo is less of a student budgeting tool but more of a traditional bank card with an accompanying app that provides insight into your spending and saving. Set monthly budgets, split bills with your friends and manage your money on the go. Monzo has clever features such as ‘Coin Jar’ which rounds the total amount you spend with each transaction up to the nearest pound and puts the pennies in a saving Pot. This makes it harder to dip in!
Moneybox is an app-based savings account – perfect for someone on a student budget. Sign up in minutes with just £1 and choose from a range of savings or investment accounts. If you are one of those students who likes to think about the future, Moneybox can also help you with a help to buy or a lifetime ISA – both extremely useful to set up and start saving towards your first home. It may seem a long way off now, but it will come around more quickly than you think. For shorter-term savings Moneybox offers cashback on purchases from brands, like Deliveroo, so you can grow your savings further.
If you’re someone that gets fed up with the number of apps, passwords and cards you have to remember for each purchase then look no further. Curve combines all your debit cards, credit cards and loyalty cards all into one place! The main perk of Curve is that you earn 1% cashback on every card on almost any purchase, anywhere in the world within the first 30 days. What’s more, you will also be financially rewarded for referring friends and every student will have a friend that is also looking for a better way to save some cash. Each friend you refer to Curve is worth 30 days of Cashback. Curve also allows you to track your spending so you can keep a close eye on where your money is going.
Do you have a serious spending problem? Cleo is the best app for people who really struggle to budget. That’s why it’s a hit amongst first-year students who are struggling to get to grips with the autonomy they have over their finances – and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! Instead of just giving you a list of numbers, Cleo breaks down financial information into simple spending updates and advice. But Cleo also does give credit when credit is due, the ‘hype’ mode will tell you exactly what you’ve done right this month and give you directions on how you can keep it up. And for saving features – there is a host of them that will truly help you achieve your goals such as, ‘smart save’ where you can set money aside automatically and even a ‘swear jar’ where you are fined for spending you want to avoid. A fun and engaging app suitable for all students.