The best finance apps for students
A large part of being independent is being able to keep track of your spending and finances. This is not a skill people are born with, however, and it takes time, experience and the right tools to find a good balance between earning and spending. As a student, it’s easy to learn this lesson the hard way, finding yourself with an empty wallet and then having to eat packed peanut butter sandwiches to make it through the end of the month. There are tools for student financial planning, however, that take minimal effort and provide insight into ways to save money. By trying out some of the apps below, you can not only save money now, but also begin to develop methods of financial planning which will last well past your university years.
Red Laser, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phones currently has over 19 million users. This app aims to help people shop smarter and cheaper. It works by having you scan the barcode of a product you want to buy. The app then searches local area stores for the same product and shows you where you can get the same goods for a better price. It also provides you with websites where you can buy the product online. You can complete the transaction through the app itself by using PayPal. Another great feature is that you can be quickly alerted to any allergens in the product (be it a food product or otherwise) which you scan to avoid anything you are allergic to.
The BillMinder iPhone app allows you to see all of your bills to one place. By seeing everything laid out for you are able to get a better idea of your financial stability. You can track your expenses and be alerted of when each bill is due. You are able to have joint accounts, with housemates for instance, so that no one has an excuse to be late with the rent, utility bills, or taxes. The app reminds you when bills are due and automatically backs up your information on a separate server so that your information is never lost. By being able to chart your expenses you can also see where you can start to save.
The CostCutter app is great for someone who wants to improve their financial situation and start saving, but doesn’t know quite where to start. To use this app, you first input all of your expenses, from coffee dates to rent. You then subtract something small, such as one cocktail and week, and see how much you would save over time, from a week to a year. This app shows you how small savings can add up over time. For instance, instead of paying and/or waiting in long lines each time you need to print, it may pay to invest in your own printer. With CostCutter you can see when such an investment will pay off by calculating how much you will save per week by printing from home. See what other changes you can make by determining how much you will save without that morning latte or takeaway dinner.
The Loot app works as a bank account ledger which allows you to manage your bank accounts, including your credit and debit accounts. You can store the names of the people you pay for easy accounting. This app is a good way to get into the habit of recording your expenses.
Many UK banks including First Direct, HSBC, Lloyds, and NatWest all have their personalized apps. With these apps you can often check account balance, receive mini statements, pay bills, and find the nearest cash points. With direct access to your account from anywhere, you can know immediately when a payment clears, or when your latest paycheck from your part time job made it into your account.
Much of student finance is about awareness. It is essential that you are aware how much you spend on everything from books to food, heating and housing. A second feature of student finance is the development of good habits that will last you a lifetime. These apps can help you start to develop those important financial skills in an easy and convenient way.