Apps and resources to kickstart your 2020 student budget
After December and the celebrations of the festive period, you may have entered 2020 with a lighter bank balance. But worry not! We are here to help you out with the best apps and resources to kickstart your 2020 budgeting plan, just in time for your return to university.
Figures show that during the festive season the average person will spend an extra £500, which can put a lot of pressure on finances, especially if you haven’t planned for the extra spending.
Budgeting is the holy grail to help you manage your finances and avoid your funds spiralling out of control, especially at university where the temptations to go out, eat out or do things with friends are much higher. As tempting as it is to say yes to everything, your bank balance may suffer if you haven’t dedicated any time to budgeting.
Some of the best tools to help with budgeting can be found on apps which do all the hard work for you. Whether your aim is to keep tabs on your account balance, build up your savings or divide where all your money is being spent into categories, apps are the place to start (because of course, there’s apps for all of that!). If apps aren't your thing, check out our FREE Student Budgeting Template here.
So, let’s dive in. Here are our top budgeting resources to get you through 2020.
Availability: IOS, Android, Web
If you’re anything like us, it’s likely that you have more than one card and bank account, which can make it harder to manage your finances. Money Dashboard brings together all of your accounts into one place, creating the ultimate dashboard. This means you can view your current account, savings and credit card balance all in the same place, making them easier to handle.
The app also automatically categorises all spending, and you can even set spending targets for each category. This can be particularly handy if you’re trying to curb a particular spending habit.
The app predicts future income, expenditure and balances, which can be useful if, for example, you want to save for a holiday. The app will let you know how much you need to save right now to hit your saving target. More than 70 banks are signed up to the app, including the main high street banks, online banks and small banks.
Availability: iOS and Android
If you are motivated by rewards, then this app is for you. Oval Money works differently in that it lets you set up a series of saving rules based on specific habits you want to keep. These are called Steps within the app. For example, you could set to pay £1 into your Oval savings account every time you went for a run or completed an hour of reading.
There is an Oval Coach which sets saving missions to help improve your habits. It’s like having a mini human helping you along your saving journey. The more missions you complete, the more you’ll save. It basically makes saving fun (if that’s possible)!
You can connect a number of banks to the app to track your spending. Currently, the app is linked to 28 banks and credit cards.
Availability: iOS and Android
The Bean app will be your new best friend solely down to this one feature: the app helps you compare deals on household bills and helps you make the switch. This feature has helped a lot of people to make great savings (not to mention your housemates will love you for it).
Bean will also scan all your linked bank accounts to find any recurring costs and subscriptions. The app will monitor if you’re paying too much for something or if you’re subscribed to something you’re not using, and then it will alert you to help you make savings. They even send over useful tips to help you manage your finances!
Availability: iOS and Android
Monzo is a digital, mobile-only bank operated through a mobile app, with a prepaid debit card (you have probably heard of it, if you don’t have it already!). Not only does the app have many benefits to help you save and budget, but the card is luminous orange making it extremely difficult to lose!
Even if you already have Monzo, are you using all the resources within the app to help with budgeting? You can sort your money between savings, bills and spending with just a few taps so you can easily see what you’re spending on. You can also create different pots for different things. For example, you can create a rent pot and deposit the money into that pot as soon as you get paid. You can then instruct Monzo to pay your rent from that pot, making it easier to ensure you don’t accidently spend your rent money!!
You can set budgets per category of spending and get instant notifications when you spend. If you’re going to go over your budget, you’ll get a notification straight to your phone. Arguably, one of the best features is the round-up pot. Monzo will automatically round-up your spending to the nearest pound and save the rest for you in a separate pot. This means you will build yourself a nice pot of savings without even thinking about it (a great resource to have at the end of the year!).
Lastly, if you like traveling then you’ll love this: you can use Monzo anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard and you won’t get charged any fees for spending abroad. They don’t even mark up the exchange rate.
The old-fashioned way
If you’re just not getting excited about budgeting with an app then you can always do it the good old-fashioned way. Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, you can just use an Excel budgeting template to help you budget in 2020 (or if you are a visual person, you can create a chart by hand or keep a spending notebook).
If you are interested in keeping a simple spreadsheet, we would recommend dedicating some time to your budget before term starts so you can set clear budgets to kickstart 2020. Checking and updating your budget regularly will help you keep on top of your finances and refresh yourself on the budgets you’ve set.
Here is a budgeting template to help you in 2020. Simply download or make a copy of this spreadsheet to have your very own personal budget template!
(All apps included in this article are both FCA-Approved and regulated open banking providers).