6 budgeting apps that will change your life

We’ve all been there… waking up the morning with a banging headache, only to find you have 16p to your name and a belly still full of last night’s Jägerbombs. Whether you’re deep in student debt or saving for that much-needed holiday, we all have to budget at some point. The problem is it’s often easier said than done. But fear not, help is at hand. UNiDAYS have found 6 incredible budgeting apps that will get you to your financial targets quicker and less painfully as well as helping you feel more on top of your money.

Remember, different apps will work better for you depending on your money management style and spending habits, plus the added factor of whether you have a student loan to repay. There is no one-size-fits-all and each app is stronger in certain areas than others. So, take a second to think about what you really need out of your budgeting app to ensure you get the best help for you.

1. Loot vs. Monzo

Loot has become the main rival to Monzo. While both initially provided a pre-paid Mastercard card offering insights into spending, they have now expanded to provide what they call a ‘digital current account’ service. This includes a contactless Mastercard card which offers insights into your spending as well as personalised features to manage your money.

Here is a breakdown of the differences between Loot and Monzo:

  • With Monzo, top-up is instant, whereas it can take a couple of hours with Loot.
  • Loot allows you to set a weekly budget which is then spread per day, whereas Monzo doesn’t.
  • Loot also allows you to input ‘Goals’ which enables you to add something you want to save for, such as a holiday and input when you want to be able to buy it.
  • Loot also has an account number and sort code printed visibly on the card, whereas with Monzo you have to log into the app to find these details.

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Why switch to a Loot or Monzo current account?

Monzo want to provide the “best current account in the world” with their digital current account. Both Loot and Monzo are app-only banks, which may work for some but this is not for everyone. Benefits include low overdraft fees if you opt into an overdraft (remember students, if you have a student bank account overdrafts are totally interest-free - this is more for graduates). A great feature for those of you who are prone to losing stuff is that you can instantly freeze or unfreeze your account via the app if your card is misplaced, lost or stolen. These digital current accounts provide faster payment services than normal banks.

Therefore, you can use all the normal functions of a bank such as receiving your salary directly into your Loot/Monzo account and set up direct debits and standing order, allowing you to pay bills, subscriptions and utilities, but with the added features of spending insights, setting a budget and a setting which helps you work towards goals (with Loot).

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However, you need to be aware of the disadvantages.

  • Both Monzo and Loot have yet to provide 24/7 customer support services. Loot’s customer support team are available 7 days a week; Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm and Saturday and Sunday: 10am-7pm. Whereas Monzo customer support through the in-app chat is initially only available from 9am–6pm on weekdays.
  • It is also important to bear in mind that a host of other banks provide current account perks that are still superior in what they offer financially. For example, Santander has added cashback to boost to its 123 Lite Current Account paying 5% on spends using Apple, Android or Samsung Pay functions - in addition to 3% cashback on household bills paid by direct debit from the current account. This new perk lasts until 30 September.

2. Yolt

Yolt is a financial aggregator service, unlike Monzo or Loot, does not provide a current account service but instead brings all your accounts together on a single interface. Here are some of the reasons why we love Yolt:

  • Allow you to sync your accounts and credit cards in one place.
  • Allows you to see your spending clearly - transactions are neatly ordered by category or merchant.
  • It sends you insights into how you’re spending your money and what your major expenses are.
  • Yolt automatically recognises salary and payday and calculates your smart balance with a countdown to payday function.
  • Yolt estimates your ‘Left to spend’.
  • Yolt allows you to set and track budgets, monitor your bills and subscriptions and look for better deals as well as comparing utility bill prices.
  • Private and secure - bank-level security.

3. Cleo

Cleo is an app which uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help you look after your money. It is like an instant messaging service that easily answers your questions about your spending and budget. These questions include: 'what's my balance’, ‘how much have I spent on uber this month’, ‘how’s my budget looking’ (breaking down daily, weekly and monthly targets) and ‘where have I spent my money this month’ in which Cleo aggregates data into categories such as ‘rent and bills’, ‘food’, ‘shopping’ etc.

4. Trim

Trim is ‘An assistant that saves you money’ by helping you to trim back. Starting with the easy stuff such as cancelling useless subscriptions, Trim now provides functions such as automatic bill negotiation. They help you to reduce your spending, negotiating your bills and cancelling subscriptions you no longer use. It is a free service that takes a percentage only if they help you save money.

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5. TopCashback

Some apps let you earn cashback by taking a photo of your supermarket receipt. With TopCashback’s Snap & Save app you buy an item, upload a photo of your receipt and the cashback (advertising commission paid to the site by the retailer) will be credited to your account, saving you money on your purchases.

6. Revolut

Revolut is by far our favourite budgeting app and is especially useful for those of you who like to travel. Above all, Revolut guarantees the best possible, real exchange rates - so you won’t ever be ripped off again! Revolut allows:

  • Free money exchange in 25 countries.
  • Free international money transfers - With Revolut, you can transfer money globally in over 120 countries, while saving you up to 8% by using the real exchange rate.
  • Buy & exchange cryptocurrencies easily.
  • Free global ATM withdrawals.
  • Spend abroad with no fees with their contactless VISA debit card in over 130 currencies.
  • Split bills with family and friends at the touch of a button - and there is no need for them to download the app. Instantly receive funds once sent.
  • Receive instant payment notifications and view easy to understand analytics that automatically categorises your transactions - helping you stay on budget.
  • Private and secure - immediately freeze or unfreeze your card in the app if misplaced, lost or stolen and add further control by turning online, ATM and contactless payments on or off.
  • They even provide the option to open up a ‘truly global’ UK current account or European IBAN without even needing a proof of address or credit check. This allows you to hold and exchange up to 25 currencies with the real exchange rate.

It’s a no-brainer!

Happy saving guys!

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