Are you tired of downloading budgeting templates from personal finance YouTube channels and blogs that you don’t use? Do you struggle to maintain or keep up with your budget as a student?

As a student, it may be overwhelming to manage your money independently for the first time. As a new graduate, you may find yourself balancing between paying off your debt and increasing your savings.

We can all agree that ensuring our financial success in the future is a great goal, but let’s talk about how you can make the best of your financial situation right now.

If you are looking for a simpler, more centralized way to manage your student budget, a budget tracker app that you can access at your fingertips (literally) may be exactly what you need.

Budget Planning Apps: Features To Look For

Depending on your financial situation and goals, you may find different features relevent to your needs. In general, there are a few characteristics to look out for if you want to maximize a budgeting tool on your phone.

Some of them include:

  • Ability or option to sync with existing bank account(s)
  • No fees for students
  • Customizable spending categories
  • Financial reporting and summaries

Four Budgeting Apps You Should Check Out

Now, this all sounds great but you may be wondering which app is best suited for you. I decided to do the leg work for you, so here are five great options you might choose from.

1. Mint

Mint is a great budgeting tool to step up your personal finance game. Firstly, they merge your accounts so that it is easily accessible for your reference- they call this all-in-one finances. Other than that, they allow you to customize each transaction (i.e.: if you pay rent using e-transfer, you can edit the transaction label as “Rent” instead of the automated general e-transfer label).

Screenshot from Mint app. Accompanying text 1 "Create budgets you can stick to." The page shows multiple category options for Transportation, Education, Groceries, Restaurants, and Home Improvements. Accompanying text 2 ""Set goals and get personalized insights. What are you saving for? These are goals you can save cash for." Option selections include save for a rainy day, buy a home, buy a car, take a trip, improve my home and 'Something Else'. Accompanying text 3 "Screenshot from Mint app. Accompanying text "easily keep track of spending." Personal Accounts and Transactions are presented in summary on the app."

Highlight Features:

2. Spendee

Spendee is a money manager and budget planner you can use to your advantage, regardless of your financial goals. They suggest 3 tips to get your money in shape with them:

  1. Track your cash flow
  2. Understand your financial habits
  3. Make your spending stress-free

Image of multiple screenshots from the Spendee app. Accompanying text reads "connect your bank and import all transactions, Let us categorize them for you, Manually add your cash expenses, Stick to your budgets to save money."

Highlight Features:

  • Shared Wallets (for family, spouses or roommates who handle money together)
  • Customizable categories (you can also add a picture or location to every expense)
  • Multiple Currencies (ideal for international and exchange students or travelers)

3. You Need A Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget aims to help you gain total control of your money so that you can break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Using a proven method with ‘Four Rules’, they support you in the budgeting process in real time, provide goal tracking and reports, as well as personal support. Additionally, they promise secure data storage as security is their top priority. YNAB is a proactive system that seeks to educate you on money management, rather than ‘tricking’ you into saving money.

Screenshot of You Need A Budget's app. Accompanying text "Gain Total Control of Your Money, Set Goals, Give Your Dollars Jobs, Import Transactions"

Highlight Features:

  • Gives your dollars jobs (strategically plan how to spend money to avoid impulse purchases)
  • ┬áThe app is built for flexibility- it’s based on your most current information which makes it easy to update, change, or adjust your budget
  • Promotes intentionality- you will have to learn how to work with the money you have on hand, and be able to plan your spending before it’s gone. This app is more than just a budget tracking and reporting system, it serves to advise you on the finances you are currently working with.

4. Pocket Guard

Pocket Guard provides an easy way to control your finances, improve your spending, and to automate your savings. Some of their goals include helping you know exactly how much you have on hand, keep tabs on your spending and see all your accounts at once. In fact, you can also track and lower your bills with their rate negotiation tips. Lastly, your savings goals are easily attainable using their Autosave feature- so you don’t have to worry about constantly ensuring your savings goals are being met.

Screenshot from the Pocket Guard app. Accompanying text says "Always know what's IN YOUR POCKET, Stay on top of your spending, See all accounts from one place, Easily track and lower your bills."

Highlight Features:

  • Provides an automated budget based on your income, bills, and savings goals
  • “Guards your pocket” by notifying you of how much you have left to spend without going into the red zone (beyond your budget)
  • Basic structure makes it less complex than Mint or You Need A Budget, which requires more client engagement