For the money conscious college student there are mobile apps that keep finances on track. (Breanna Greenup/ Lariat)
Life in college can be tough. With the new school year rolling in, it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect balance between life and school. It’s a time where many of us find ourselves having to budget for the first time. And in the age of the debit and credit cards budgeting can prove to be difficult. However thanks to modern technology the simple click of a button can make budgeting simple.
Touted as one of the most popular budgeting apps, Mint connects to your bank account and can update and track your spending habits. It allows you to set and monitor your budgets for categories such as clothing, coffee, groceries, gas or any custom option you desire.
It also includes graphs that can track cash flow and spending. This is a nice feature because it visually shows you where your money is spent the most.
If you are a first time credit card user there’s a feature that compares the cash in your account to the balance on your credit card. This simplistic feature keeps your finances in check while helping you become more aware of what your able to afford for that month.
My personal favorite is the bill reminder portion of the app. This handy tool helps you stay updated and on track with each billing cycle. It’s an added feature that keeps your finances organized and in check.
Like Mint, Good Budget is budgeting tool that sets a budget for a variety of categories. It has what the app calls the “envelope budgeting system” in which cash for each month is divided amongst different budget categories. When making a purchase you take the money out of the envelope.
It’s a great way to visually see your paycheck divided among each category. When you’ve exceeded a budget the category will change from green to red. This feature has helped me monitor my spending and prevent impulse buys.
The app also has the ability to sync to other devices. It allows you to connect to devices such as your computer allowing you to monitor your finances from your laptop. And although I’ve never used this feature I think it’s a great communication tool for families and couples who share their finances.
Despite the positive effect Good Budget has had on my finances there are some drawbacks. Unlike Mint this app is not synced to your bank account, which requires you manually enter everything into the app. And if you lose a receipt for example it loses its accuracy and proves to be a very tedious task.
If you enjoy manually entering in your spending habits and would prefer not to have your account synced to your account Good Budget is a safe and effective option. If you prefer convenience and don’t mind have your accounts synced up stick to Mint.
Mint Bill & Money (Formerly known as “Check”)
And because I love Mint so much, third on our list is this handy little app that manages both your bills and money. The reason I love this app is because it doesn’t require me to manually input or write anything down.
Even though Mint’s original app has some ability to track and manage bills, Mint Bill & Money takes a more in depth approach. It takes away the all of the stress tied to paying bills by listing all your bills for the month and allowing you to create a billing schedule. What’s even better is that Mint will notify you if your funds happen to be running low.
One drawback may be that it does require you to connect your accounts to your app—which gives light to a possible security anxiety. However the app states that it’s monitored by “third party security experts” and gives the option to maximize your security with touch ID or the use of four-digit pin. Despite any concerns with security the app is a useful organizational tool for finances.