The best free apps for helping with financing and budgeting
Studying at university is a time in your life that should be challenging, stimulating and ultimately rewarding. Though for much of this period the “challenging” part well and truly takes over!
Managing your money and balancing your budget is not only an essential skill in helping uni time run as smoothly as possible. If mastered, it can set a graduate up for the rigours of the day to day world and its numerous financial demands for years to come. Short term pain, long term gain as they say.
Of course the load is considerably lightened thanks to a range of mobile apps a student can easily access. Free, comprehensive and in some cases intuitive, the apps put everything in the palm of your hand in one easily understandable package. Here are some of the best options currently out there for downloading on Android or iOS …
Like many helpful apps, this chatbot takes on a female persona. You access it via Facebook Messenger so it’s the perfect financial solution for those with their faces constantly lit up by mobile screens.
The main ‘selling point’ is Cleo’s status as a guru of sorts, with users being encouraged to ask a range of questions in order to keep track of their finances, which “she” is only too ready to answer. This is a great option for people who need reminding where everything is on a frequent basis.
By connecting your bank account to Cleo you will automatically net yourself a free fiver. However the app lacks flexibility in terms of online banking details being used for more than one account. Read more about Cleo here.
When it comes to comprehensive apps with catchy names, Bean is up there with the best. One of its main advantages is the design, with a dashboard that gives you an overview of your finances in a way that’s simple to understand. Bean also puts the power at your fingertips, enabling you to cancel subscriptions in a single click. This makes the business of avoiding mounting debt a lot less complicated.
In addition, the app encourages thrift by pointing out opportunities to save money.
As well as a free account you receive a £5 Amazon voucher, showing that the developers understand the path to a student’s heart lies in retail therapy. Further info about Bean can be found here.
The title of this one is a bit of a head scratcher. Is it saying money really does grow on trees or is it saying it doesn’t? That ‘controversy’ aside, the most eye-catching detail is the MoneySuperMarket name behind the brand, which for some would be a guarantee of quality. Having established links with banks is a good sign, and the colour scheme of the app means everything is clearly and stylishly defined for your reference.
Should you want to get forensic, OnTrees illustrates your transactions with visuals such as charts, so the app is a nice mix of the basic and the detailed. A major drawback for some will be the fact it is iOS only.
The name may not inspire confidence but everything else about Wally is assured. This app is billed as a personalised financial experience that adjusts to your behaviour as you go along, getting to know you as it were. One of its key features is the use of targets. These can be preset for things like your finances and budget so Wally can pull you up if you’re approaching your goal or spending limit. The location services option on your phone can be well-utilised. Simply key in the amount and Wally works out where you are and does the rest.
The app also exports information to Excel, meaning it’s a strong tool for people accustomed to Office or similar documents. Find out more here.
Quidco and TopCashBack
So far the focus has been on apps that advise you on your budgetary decisions and streamline the way you manage them. The Quidco and TopCashBack apps place the emphasis firmly on money-saving offers. Both are long-established, and provide various opportunities to earn cashback on purchases from such diverse companies as EE and Booking.com.
The apps notify you of a multitude of cashback options on products, as well as assembling all your transactions in one place so you can keep track of your activity. Everyone likes the idea of getting a little something extra back so this tracking feature is invaluable for keeping that inevitable cashback habit under control.
For more info on cashback and how to make the most of it, check out our ultimate guide to cashback, here.
We hope you’ve found this brief guide to free financing and budgeting apps helpful. For more freebies, check out our dedicated free stuff page.