Graduating from college and getting your first job are two major steps toward financial independence. And though it might not be the most exciting part of becoming a successful adult, learning to manage your budget is incredibly important.
3 best budgeting tools for new grads
Whether you are on your way to being a budgeting pro, or are brand new to managing your money, the best online budgeting tools can take the frustration out of budgeting and help you get on track easily.
Mint is one of the first online budgeting apps to make it on the scene. It’s owned by Intuit, the company behind software Quicken, Quickbooks, and TurboTax.
The Mint app is built to be used completely online through the website or a mobile app for iOS and Android. It allows you to set budgets for just about any category you can think of, sync all your financial accounts, then track how well you’re meeting your budgeting goals.
The app is more than just a budgeting tool, however. It has an entire suite of tools to track your income, spending by category, investments, loan balances, and net worth all in one place. If you are concerned with how to budget student loans, for instance, this app can certainly handle it.
- Support for thousands of financial institutions
- Automatic transaction downloads
- Automatic transaction categorization
- Easy-to-use budgeting tool
- Free to use, advertising-supported
- Broken connections happen regularly
- Poor customer support when something goes wrong
- Connections can “duplicate” and are not possible to fully remove without deleting the entire account’s history
2. YNAB – You Need a Budget
YNAB is a budgeting tool that has grown a cult-like following. Avid users swear by it and wouldn’t use anything else.
The YNAB website and mobile app are designed to make you think about every dollar you spent. Each time you swipe a card, spend cash, or write a check, you enter it into the YNAB app and add a category. If the transaction will put you over budget, you get a warning that you have already spent your budget for that category for the month.
The YNAB philosophy is a “budget to zero” plan, where every dollar you earn has a job. Those jobs can be paying for recurring expenses such as rent/mortgage, occasional expenses such as semi-annual insurance payments, or one-time expenses such as concert tickets or a new phone.
- Best tracking of every dollar you spend
- Intricate knowledge of every part of your budget
- Connections to bank make reconciling your budget easier
- You don’t have to enter bank account login information (if you are nervous about security)
- Manual expense entry
- Bank transactions must be added by clicking on that specific bank, not automatic
- Not free anymore — $5 per month or $50 per year after the free trial ends
3. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is an investment-focused tool with many features similar to Mint. However, Mint is highly focused on overall budgeting rather than just investing.
Personal Capital’s budgeting tools are more limited, focusing primarily on total cash flow in and out each month. The tool does automatically categorize each transaction in order to see spending history by category.
The biggest power of Personal Capital comes from the investing tools. If you want to make retirement investing and savings a major priority, the weaker budgeting tools are made up for by those options. I used the investment analysis tools to save over $300 per year in mutual fund fees on my own investments.
Great budgeting apps continue to be released, but these are the best budgeting apps on the market today. There’s no excuse to avoid budgeting when these apps make it so easy. Give them a shot so you can find out which option you like best and get a handle on your money right away.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|