For those of you that enter college knowing something about personal finance, count yourself lucky. For the rest of us, or those need a refresher, this list provides over 50 personal finance resources, including mobile apps, desktop software, finance blogs and sites, specific articles of interest, sites to search for and buy textbooks at a discount, tips and terminology, special credit card offers, credit monitoring services, discounts and other deals, podcasts, tools, loan calculators and more. Also see our other resource articles, including about saving money in college and keeping college costs low.
Apps and Software
- Buddi is a donation-ware personal finance and budgeting program ideal for beginners. Platform: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and others.
- Wally is a free personal finance/ money management mobile app (Android, Apple), which helps you balance income versus expenses, and track outgoing money, to more easily adjust your spending.
- GnuCash is free accounting software for small-business or personal use. Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux.
- Budgeting 101 from Greenpath financial wellness site introduces the ins and outs of budgeting, how to separate needs from wants, setting goals, tracking expenses, etc., with information applicable to college students as much as anyone else.
- Mint is a free mobile app (Apple, Android) that helps you track and pay bills, create and manage budgets, check credit scores, receive alerts and financial advice and much more. For general use, but useful for student budget management. Also visit the Mint blog for personal finance advice.
- Mvelopes is an app that uses the “envelope” method of budgeting, but with all the benefits of Web and Mobile (Android, Apple) platforms, with the ability to connect credit cards, bank and other financial accounts., real-time budgeting and many other features. Mvelopes is not free, but the Basic and Plus plans ($4/mo and $19/mo, respectively) have a 30-day free trial. (Complete plan is $59/mo.)
- TurboCASH is open-sourced, community-driven accounting software suitable for the more entrepreneurial student who is running a business to pay their way through college. You can choose between free and unsupported software and plugins, or pay for consulting help from community members. Runs on desktop, tablet, phone and the Cloud.
- Clarity Money is a mobile app (Apple iOS, Android) that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Data Science to understand your finances better, by providing custom breakdowns of earning, expenditures of saving. Find “wasteful” accounts, control your finances, maintain your budget, view overspending, setup and target savings goals, get notified of credit cards and services that may suit your financial profile. Winner of awards from Google Play, Apple and Webby Awards.
- GoodBudget (GB) – is another Web and mobile app (Android, Apple iOS) app that uses the “envelope” method of budgeting, whereby you allot a budget to each of several expense categories. The GB app has syncing between family members and might be useful for students and non-students alike. You have a choice of a Free plan or a Plus plan ($6/mo or $50/yr).
- PocketBudget is a mobile expense tracking and budgeting app. Platform: Android, Apple iOS.
- Personal Capital is a Web and mobile app (Android, Apple iOS, Apple Watch OS) that lets you link multiple accounts to get a single-view of your finances in the Personal Capital Dashboard. It offers free, award-winning financial tools, lets you follow your cash flow, stick to a budget, categorize spending, monitor investments, etc.
Blogs, Sites and Articles
- Man vs. Debt is a general debt management blog, yes, but good portion of the personal finance advice dished out is still relevant to students as well as graduates, and in some cases parents of college-students-to-be.
- Money Ning offers tips primarily on money management and frugal living — the latter of which is useful knowledge for college students on a tight budget.
- Budgets are Sexy is a Web site full of general personal finance tips — useful for students and non-students alike. Subscribe to the site and be eligible for a $100 prize every month.
- Get Rich Slowly is a well-regarded site full of personal finance advice, resources, courses and more.
- Good Financial Cents is yet another general personal finance site, with a blog, podcast and YouTube video channel.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a highly-regarded finance advice site by Ramit Sethi, author of a book of the same name, and a personal finance consultant. Also look for free financial tools and paid courses.
- Money Crashers, while offering general financial advice, also has dozens of articles relevant to college, including saving and investing for college, paying for and saving money during college, finding financial aid, minimizing student debt, etc.
- My Money Blog publishes a range of personal finance tips, reviews, info about special credit card offers — much of which can be applied to either college students or their supporting families.
- NerdWallet is a personal-finance-related Web site, with tips, tools and resources for credit cards, earning interest, mastering credit score, tracking spending and more.
- WiseBread has many dozens of articles on finance and college — before, during and after. Just search for “college” in Wisebread’s handy search form.
- Consumerism Commentary‘s Best Cars for College Students article compares five recent car models that are relatively affordable and high on fuel efficiency as well extra features — advice for students who just have to have their own vehicle.
- How to Create and Manage a Budget offers general advice on creating and managing a budget — some of which also applies to college students — plus info on free and paid tools, from the debt help organization Debt.org.
- How to Save Money: Daily, Monthly and Long Term – Nerdwallet provides a range of tips on saving money and following a budget.
Books, Book Search, Tips, Lessons and Terminology
- 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know, from University of California Davis Financial Aid department, provides advice on ways to manage money.
- College Grad’s Money Guide: Financial Questions, Answeredoffers valuable financial advice for students who have graduated, including tips on paying off student loan debt, budgeting for health insurance and more.
- 50 Personal Finance Habits Everyone Should Follow | MONEY – Time — a list article from Time’s Money magazine — recommends good financial habits to follow.
- BookFinder is a search tool to find specific books and textbooks, including used, rare and out-of-print editions, from many thousands of booksellers. Comparison features are included.
- TextbookMe is a book search engine, which claims to help you find textbooks cheaply by pulling book information from multiple sources.
- U.S. News Money blogs cover a range of personal finance topics, including the occasional tips for college students and grads, such as 10 Financial Tips for College Grads, which still-relevant suggestions on how to plan and use your finances for retirement after you graduate.
- Budgeting Tips | Federal Student Aid provides more tips from the U.S. Department of Education on how to live on a budget, clarify needs vs wants, and more.
- Creating Your Budget | Federal Student Aidprovides tips on setting and maintaining a budget during college.
- CashCourse | Your Real-Life Money Guide is a finance course that is particularly designed for students and school administrators. Lessons are free and can be taken through self-study or instructor assignments. A dashboard tracks progress, and several tools are available, including calculators, quizzes, worksheets, and a Budget Wizard. Resources including articles for students.
- 10 Financial Tips for College Students – Debt.org is just one article of several dozen on personal finance targeted at college students, from Debt.org, an organization that helps Americans in all stages of life manage and get out of debt. In addition to advice and tips, the site has a number of useful credit-related tools.
- Personal Finance – Investopedia offers general personal finance tips and terminology relevant to college students.
Credit Cards, Credit Monitoring, Bank Accounts, Savings Plans, Deal, Discounts, Offers and Income Opportunities
- Citizens Student Saving Account offers a special checking bank account, with $0 monthly maintenance for students/ young adults under 25, after which the monthly fee increases to $3.99.
- Credit Sesame provides credit score check and monitoring, real-time alerts, identity theft protection and more. Free to start, and does not affect your credit score.
- Discover Student Credit Card offers two types of student credit cards, with 2% and 5% cashback deals, plus other rewards.
- Student Advantage allows you to save money via discounts offered through dozens of partners (e.g., Adobe, Greyhound, Lenovo, Lyft, Uber, BookRenter.com, CollegePrepSavings.com, Dormify, AMC movie theatres, Footlocker.com, 1-800Flowers.com and many more). While Student Advantage (SA) costs $22.50 per year, you can shop 24/7 online, as well as local stores, and likely recoup the yearly subscription cost. Colleges/ universities have the option to add SA to student id cards, so check with your institution first.
- StudentUniverse (SU), a 2017 winner of awards from Google Play, Apple and Webby, is an app/ platform that helps you control your finances. Suitable for out-of-state college students visiting home, students studying abroad, or simply taking a vacation between semesters, SU has deals with over 90 airlines in the U.S. and worldwide. Good for budget-conscious students seeking exclusive flight/ travel deals. Get promo codes in your email inbox.
- Credit Karma is a mobile app (Android, Apple iOS) that gives you: free credit score monitoring; a view of balances; insight into credit-affecting items; personalized recommendations for better credit use; a means to finding your unclaimed money, if any; and more. While college students may not have established much of credit history, their financially-supportive parents/ guardians likely have, and can benefit from CK’s offering.
- Wealthfront has a number of services and tools, including a mobile app to project the cost of a selected college, calculate financial aid, and determine what you need to save. They also offer a Wealthfront 529 college savings plan.
- Best Jobs for College Students is not strictly a financial resource, but is one of many articles at The Balance Careers site aimed at college students, with a good starting list of suitable on-campus parttime jobs for students with a bit of time available who want to earn some money during college. Other college-related topics covered include finding back to school and summer jobs, career networking, training programs for grads, interview tips, and several others.
Podcasts, Tools, Calculators and Miscellaneous Resources
- Bankrate Calculators provides dozens of Web-based calculators, including for college savings, student budgets, student loans and more.
- CalcXML has Web calculators in over a dozen categories, including eight “College Calculators.”
- Choose to Save Calculators offers Web calculators in 20 categories, including College.
- The Simple Dollar (SD) is a budgeting platform that also helps you find loans (multiple categories, including Student) and credit cards, as well provides advice. SD also researches credit card offers in eight categories, making it easier for you to pick one best suited to your needs. A Personal Financial Toolkit is available, for money management, financial planning, optimizing spending, even protecting investments (e.g., insurance, credit monitoring). Besides a money podcast, there are multiple articles about general personal finance topics, including frugality, debt management, credit score and what impacts it — even the occasional post about college, textbooks, etc. — plus tips useful to students after college.
- YNAB (You Need a Budget) is a budgeting app with bank account synching, a debt paydown tool, goal tracking, reports, etc. — useful for monitoring and student loans after graduation. It claims to save their average user (hundreds of thousands of them) $600 in two months of use. YNAB costs $6.99/mo but has a 34-day free trial period.
- Listen Money Matters covers a range of personal finance topics, with special guests from finance and other niches.
- The Dave Ramsey Show is a free audio podcast series from financial TV host Dave Ramsey.
- Motley Fool Money is the podcast portion of the Motley Fool financial site, with tips, advice and more on a wide range of investment-related topics — which may be useful for students/ families of students who rely on some investments to fund college studies. While the podcast airs weekly on radio stations, you can subscribe on Apple iTunes and Stitcher.