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The Best Budgeting App for College Students

Get YNAB for free for a year and learn how to love budgeting.

What’s the best budgeting app for college students? The only right answer is whichever one you’ll stick with. There are plenty of budgeting apps that will track your income and expenses or help you organize your personal finances...but does that even matter if you don’t actually want to use them? 

No, it does not, unless you’re just into collecting budgeting apps—then rock on, you delightful weirdo. Seriously. You’re our kind of people.

Anyway, in our ever so humble opinion, the ideal budgeting tool would do more than just track your spending and saving—it would help you navigate the financial side of college life (aka being broke), set you up for success when you start a career and finally get fatter paychecks, and help you stress less about your future relationship with that possible growing pile of student loan debt.

Seriously, have you met Hannah? She’s hilarious.

Okay, scratch the humble part, I’m clearly talking about us at this point.

We want to be your cool, (slightly) older, and (occasionally) wiser friend who gives you the financial advice that helps you live the life you’re working towards. You know, where we help you learn that important money stuff you probably never learned in school. We want you to be the boss of your money. It feels good.

Why is YNAB the Best Budgeting App for College Students?


  • You get one free year of YNAB as a college student (that is an $84 savings!) 
  • The app can connect with your bank to make importing transactions easy and painless. 
  • If you ever have a question or problem, our award-winning support team is just a chat away. 
  • You’ll be able to make a plan for your money in a way that frees up your mental space and helps you stress less about your finances.
  • We promise to make this fun. We’re even teaching hundreds of thousands of people on TikTok! Even for people who don’t think budgeting is fun. (Which I think is most people? It’s hard to say when you’re surrounded by people who think budgeting is fun.)

Why Do College Students Get YNAB Free For a Year? 

Because we want you to like us. 

I mean...I’m not kidding about that but there are better reasons. 

A big one? We hate student debt and how it haunts you for decades after graduation

We hate that you might spend years studying hard, giving it your all, to pursue exciting futures as a computer scientist or nurse or lawyer or teacher or business owner. 

And yet, you might graduate without a clue of how to pay off your debt, live within your means, or save for a big dream. All of that hard work resulting in decades of financially-driven turmoil seems unfair, at best. 

We hate that so many students just assume that loans are the only way to get an education and sign their lives away without understanding the full picture. (Like Mitchell, who was shocked by the fact that his loans totalled more than $100k when he graduated, and his hard-fought battle to pay them back.)

So, college students, we implore you: Sign up for a free year of YNAB and learn to make it a lifestyle. Your future, financially stable and secure self will be forever grateful and in the position to reward you generously.

And About Those Student Loans? 

Do your homework, explore all the options, and make sure you know full-well what you are getting into before you sign on the dotted line, because:

Today’s Decisions Will Impact You Long-Term

It’s tempting to feel like student loan money is pretend money and some Monopoly mogul will make it all disappear someday. But it’s not. This is real money. And every single dollar of it (plus interest!) will have to be paid back. You don’t want this debt to prevent your 25-year-old self or your 30-year-old self or your 35-year-old self from doing what they want to do. This debt you are casually taking on now will be something you deal with every month until it is paid back. Think hard about if you want to take it on, and if you do, how you’ll spend it.

Your Loan Money Is Not Yours

In fact, the money you are spending now, these loans, it’s not even your money! Someone is letting you borrow it until your future self has to pay it back. Don’t for one second feel like you have a bunch of spending money. You are a poor college student, and we say that in the most affectionate way. Treat those loans with the utmost respect or your future self is going to want to wring your neck.

Money Management Is Not Optional

Whether or not anyone taught you how to manage your money, once you are on your own, you will have to do it. Money management isn’t optional—you just do it very well or very poorly. Each option comes with its own set of consequences. 

Take advantage of a free year of YNAB while you are a student and learn how to prioritize, budget, and set and reach your goals. If you can learn to control your money before you even start making money, it will benefit you for a lifetime. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it could be the single most valuable lesson of all your college years.

Sign-up for a free year of YNAB and we will teach you how to be in total control of your money, and how to multiply your options (and wealth) in the future. And we’ll all have fun along the way. 

Want to learn more about how to use YNAB as a college student? Let’s go.

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The Best Budgeting App for College Students