The Best Apps for Saving Money in College

The Best Apps for Saving Money in College
The Best Apps for Saving Money in College

Saving money while in college might seem hard, but these 16 apps can teach you how to make a budget and reach your money goals.

The cost of going to college in the U.S. keeps going up. The College Board reports that tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges have increased by 1.6%.

Students must manage their money well to deal with the increasing college costs. Knowing how to handle your finances can help you reduce your debt after graduation and save up for fun things like going out with friends or a trip abroad.

This guide, The Best Apps for Saving Money in College, can help you budget and save money while in college and other helpful tips for managing your money.

The Best Apps for Saving Money in College

Making a budget can be tough for college students. Many young adults haven’t had to examine their spending or set limits before. Luckily, plenty of free or cheap apps help you monitor your spending across all your credit cards, bank accounts, and investments.


1. Mint On Credit Karma

Mint On Credit Karma is made by Intuit and is designed to help you make smart money choices based on data. This app combines all your finances—like credit cards, checking, savings, and investment accounts—onto one screen, so you can easily see everything about your money in one place.

Besides showing your accounts, Mint On Credit Karma gives you free credit reports and advice on improving your credit score or fixing a bad one. It also helps you look at different credit cards, investments, and loans to see what might work best for you.


2. Empower

Empower is an app that lets you monitor your bank accounts, credit card spending, and investments as they happen. You can set it to remind you about bills due soon and request reports on how you spend your money, whether you want to see this weekly, monthly, or yearly.

A cool thing about Empower is its retirement planning tool. It’s a detailed calculator that allows you to plan different life situations to devise a spending plan tailored to you, showing how much money you can spend each month.


3. PocketGuard

PocketGuard works like the other apps we’ve discussed, linking your checking, savings, and credit card accounts. The more accounts you connect, the better its features work.

This app helps you look at how you spend your money, find ways to save, and remind you about bills that need paying soon.

What makes PocketGuard stand out is its “In My Pocket” feature. This tool uses a smart algorithm that considers your yearly income, regular expenses, and savings to calculate how much money you can spend daily.


4. Acorns

Acorns is a top choice for budgeting and investing, with over 7 million users finding it easy to use. This app helps you invest by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar when you buy something with your linked accounts. It then invests that spare change in portfolios managed with the latest investment strategies.

Besides rounding up change, Acorns offers options for regular deposits, special savings accounts, and many articles on useful topics like in-demand jobs and mortgage rates today. Depending on what services you want to use, different plans are available at $1, $3, or $5 per month.


5. You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget takes a forward-thinking approach to managing your money. It’s all about planning and prioritizing your spending. With YNAB, you give every dollar you have a specific purpose.

Identifying all your expenses to see where you can cut back, where it’s okay to spend a bit more, and how to start saving. YNAB lets you try it out for free for 34 days. After that, you can subscribe for either $15 a month or $99 a year.


6. Spendee

Spendee gives you all the usual tools of a budgeting app, such as linking your accounts to monitor your spending and setting reminders for your bills. Its special features are like a real-time currency converter.

E-wallet that connects to your digital payments and cryptocurrency investments is what sets it apart. You can use Spendee for free or upgrade to Spendee Plus for $15 a year or Spendee Premium for $23 for more features.


7. Dollarbird

Dollarbird differs from other budgeting apps in that it skips automatic tracking. Instead, you manually enter your transactions into a calendar. This lets you closely monitor your spending daily, month by month, and year by year.

Dollarbird is cloud-based and allows you to share your financial calendar with friends or coworkers. However, you need to subscribe to a paid plan for this feature. The options are a pro subscription for $40 a year, pro unlimited for $55 a year, or a business subscription, which varies in price.



EveryDollar, developed by finance guru Dave Ramsey, focuses on a simple method for tracking and saving money. It encourages you to allocate every dollar you earn into one of eight specific categories or a savings account, helping you examine your spending habits over time.

This allows for adjustments along the way to meet your financial targets. Paid plans are available for features like automatic transaction entries or linking your credit card and bank accounts directly to the app. These plans cost $60 for three months, $100 for six months, or $130 for a year.


9. Qapital

Qapital not only assists you in setting up a budget and monitoring your spending but also has a unique feature that rounds up your purchases to the nearest $2, putting the extra change into an FDIC-insured savings account.

You can also invest that money into an ETF portfolio tied to specific goals, helping you save up for a significant purchase or expense. The basic version of Qapital costs $3 a month. If you’re looking for more advanced features, you can go for the premium subscriptions, which are $6 or $12 monthly.


10. Honey

Honey is a free browser extension that finds the best deals for products and services on over 300,000 websites, including Sephora, J.Crew, and Amazon. Click the Honey button in your browser’s top right corner to use any available coupons and promo codes.

It also has a “droplist” feature that lets you monitor price drops for items you’re interested in. Honey is especially useful for Amazon shoppers because it can help you compare prices across various sellers to ensure you get the best deal.


11. Groupon

Groupon is a great app for saving money. It offers discounts of up to 70% on various goods and services. You can easily search for deals using keywords or by browsing through categories.

Additionally, Groupon features a “deal-of-the-day” section that showcases amazing offers on things like electronics, flights, and vacation packages. If you plan your purchases wisely, you can earn cashback or Groupon Bucks, their points-based rewards system, when you shop at certain stores and dine at local restaurants.


12. OfferUp

OfferUp is an app that lets you buy and sell items to people nearby. You can look through different categories or search for something specific using keywords. Once you find something interesting, you can message the seller to make an offer or ask questions.

Safety and trust are big deals on OfferUp. Everyone has to confirm who they are through an email, phone number, or Facebook account. Plus, you can see a user’s transaction history, ratings, and any badges they’ve earned on their profile. OfferUp suggests meeting in well-lit, monitored spots to exchange items for added safety.



GasBuddy is a handy app for anyone looking to save money on gas. It allows you to search for the cheapest gas prices based on your location and other factors, such as the type of fuel you need, how you plan to pay, and the gas station brands you prefer.

If you’re going on a road trip, GasBuddy can help you budget by estimating your total fuel costs and looking for nearby stations that might be out of gas. You can save a significant amount on gas—up to 25 cents per gallon—by getting their free debit-style card. Plus, with the GasBack rewards program, you can earn points for gas discounts by making everyday purchases.


14. Ibotta

Ibotta offers a modern twist on traditional couponing. It offers cash back and rewards for shopping in physical stores and online with over 300 retailers, such as Costco, Family Dollar, Amazon, Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and Walmart.

Choose the deals you like on your phone, shop as you normally would, and then scan your receipt to get cash back. You can connect your loyalty accounts from partner stores directly to Ibotta for an even easier way to collect rewards. This way, your rewards are automatically added without needing to scan receipts.


15. Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping is a browser extension that helps you save money by tracking prices for items from over 25 major retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot. Just shop online like you normally would, and if the extension notices a price drop on something you’ve bought,

it alerts you and helps you get refunded the difference. But it’s not just about price tracking; Capital One Shopping also monitors your packages and can assist you in getting compensated for late deliveries. Plus, it provides useful information like specific return policies for the retailers you shop from.


16. started as a website in 1998 and has since become a well-liked app for saving money on Android and iPhone. It keeps doing what it’s done best: offering coupons you can print out, sorted by the kind of stuff you’re buying (such as things for pets, your home, or tech gear) and by brand names.

In addition to printable coupons, you can find online coupons for certain shops and even get cash back when you buy things.

Plus, this app is great for finding deals around the year with special codes for Halloween, Black Friday, and the holiday season, helping you keep some extra cash in your pocket.