As college students head to campus, it seems almost everything they might need today is on their phones. There are apps to help students exercise, find their classes and track friends’ locations. But students might not know about some essential apps that could help them financially.
Money matters might be the last thing on a college student’s mind. From homework and readings to internships and part-time jobs, college kids have a lot on their plate.
Now that I’m using money management apps to keep track of my finances, I wish I had known about them when I was in college. Things might have been different. I could have kept up with my bills, I would have paid people faster, and I might have realized that I probably shouldn’t have paid for that round of drinks.
While my go-to money-management apps now are Venmo, Level and Mint, here are four other extremely useful apps that I wish I had on my trusty phone through my college years:
Tilt: Whether you’re planning a trip to South Padre Island, Texas, for spring break or collecting dues for a student organization, Tilt is perfect for raising and collecting funds.
To use Tilt, one person sets a minimum amount of money needed to complete an action (that trip to South Padre, for example). Students then contribute their portion of the sum. They will see a charge from their credit or debit card within one to two days if the account meets the goal. No one has to pay if the total amount is not raised.
Why I use Tilt now: The app makes it easy to remind others to pay their share, track who has paid and it just makes planning easier if the group event or activity involves money.
Platform: iOS and Android; free.
Splitwise: Splitwise works best with roommates trying to stay on top of apartment bills, IOUs or anything else. One person creates sets up the bills. From there, students split up bills (hence the name) into who pays what and how much on which bills. To avoid making multiple small payments to one person, Splitwise does the math to create one big payment.
Why I like Splitwise: The thing I like most about the app is it includes money tips from experts. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to divide the rent or wondering how to share the bills when someone’s significant other becomes an official roommate, Splitwise offers advice on living with others and keeping up with house finances. That’s good information.
Platform: iOS and Android; free
Plates: Some eateries can’t split a ticket due to the point-of-sale payment system or restaurant policy. If you find you’re with friends at one of these eateries, Plates can help.
Plates makes splitting a restaurant bill easy, and there’s no need for a calculator. Just key in how many people are splitting the ticket (maximum of 10) and the total without tax or tip. (The tip and taxes are added to the bill afterward.) Plates will then ask you to either enter each dish for each person or split an individual item.
Why I love Plates: With Plates, I no longer worry about splitting the bill incorrectly. Everyone pays his or her fair share.
Platform: iOS; free
Goodbudget: Remember how people used to suggest the envelope system when it came to budgeting? Goodbudget is the envelope system gone digital.
Students start by adding all their expenses into different envelopes online. For instance, you can set aside money for books, tuition, bills and social activities. Then you choose where your money is going, how it’s being used — and whether you can afford a night out on the town.
Something I think is great about Goodbudget: I can share it with friends and family. With Goodbudget, parents of college students can always make sure that their kids stay within their budget.
Platform: iOS and Android; free for basic; $5 per month or $45 per year for pro account.
One final thought on these — and any other — smartphone apps: For these finance trackers and tools to save you money, make your life easier, and better track your expenses. you have to commit to using them. Don’t get them and forget them. Make them a part of your routine. Now I can’t imagine managing my financial life without them.