Financial Tools for College Students

Published Jan 12, 2009

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Money can be tight when you're a college student--you need to make the most of what you have. Free financial tools can help you do that. This article offers a list of the best financial software, web apps, discount sites, banks and credit cards for students.

financial tools

Free Financial Software and Web Apps

  • Mint - makes it easy to budget and manage money online. This free financial tool tracks finances, handles bookkeeping and offers suggestions on how to save money.
  • My Spending Plan - This free online budgeting software is great for students who want to take control of their finances. You can make savings goals, develop a spending plan, sign up for bill alerts, print coupons and much more.
  • Buddi - Buddi is an easy-to-use personal finance and budgeting program that can run on almost any computer. It can be downloaded for free and comes with well-written tutorials.
  • My Financial House - Provided by the Insurance Information Institute, My Financial House is free software designed to help you complete a financial inventory that can be shared with an accountant or financial planner.
  • XE - This currency website offers a universal converter, a currency update service, a personal currency assistant and an expenses calculator--great for students who plan on traveling or studying abroad.

Student Discounts and Coupons

  • Student Advantage - Student Advantage is the nation's largest student discount program. Students who sign up for the program can save up to 50 percent on travel, entertainment, dorm supplies, clothing and more.
  • Student Savings Club - The longest running student discount program in the country, Student Savings Club serves more than 30 states and nearly 200 colleges and universities. Students who are club members (membership is free) gain access to coupons and discounts on a wide variety of products and services.
  • StudentUniverse - StudentUniverse is the largest online travel agency for students in the United States. The agency is known for having cheap airfare and deals on hostels, hotels, car rentals, train tickets and travel insurance.
  • The Survival Kit Coupon Book - Used by more than 100,000 students, the Survival Kit Coupon Book offers local, regional and national savings for college students. The book is now available online and can be mined for printable coupons.
  • BookFinder - This one-stop search engine isn't designed specifically for students, but it will help almost any student save money. BookFinder searches every major catalog online, which practically guarantees you will get the best price on the books you need.

Free Online Calculators

  • Student Budget Calculator - The Federal Student Aid office offers this calculator to help students budget expenses and income.
  • Student Loan Calculator - This calculator from the CollegeBoard is perfect for students who want to calculate student loan repayments.
  • Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Calculator - College students who are considering consolidation will love this student loan calculator from the Department of Education.
  • Salary Wizard - The free Salary Wizard from helps students calculate salary range based on job, title, location and the current job market.
  • Cost of Living Calculator - BankRate provides this calculator to help people compare the cost of living in various cities. The calculator compares the cost of everything from bananas and Kleenex to apartment rents and haircuts.

Student Checking and Saving Accounts

  • Wachovia Free Student Checking - Students who get a checking account from Wachovia, now Wells Fargo, get all sorts of rewards with very few limits. Wachovia offers students no fee checking, a free overdraft refund, a premium savings account, free online banking, mobile banking and free identity theft protection.
  • Bank of America CampusEdge - Bank of America's CampusEdge is a student checking account with free online banking, mobile banking, bill pay, direct deposit, check cards, and transfers. CampusEdge also provides a 'Stuff Happens' card that allows students to bypass pesky fees.
  • Citizens Student Saving Account - This saving account from Citizens Bank offers good interest rates, free online banking and transfers, overdraft protection and other goodies for students who want to build savings as fast as possible.
  • E*Trade Complete Savings - Widely considered to be one of the best online savings accounts for anyone, E*Trade Complete Savings account has no account fees or minimum and savings rates that are eight times higher than the national average.

Student Friendly Credit Cards

  • Index Credit Cards - This site doesn't issue credit cards, but it will help you compare rates and rewards on credit cards.
  • - Like Index Credit Cards, is a comparison site designed to help you make comparisons and informed decisions about credit cards.
  • Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card - This student credit card awards points for good grades, on-time bill payment and purchases. The card has no annual fee and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers (for the first six months.)
  • Discover Student Credit Card - With a $0 annual fee, 0% introductory APR, fraud protection, cashback bonuses and a slew of rewards, the Discover Student card is a top pick among experts and an attractive option for many students.
  • Chase +1 Student Mastercard - If you spend a lot of time on Facebook, you may want to consider applying for a Chase +1 Student Mastercard. This card has no annual fee and offers the opportunity to earn Karma points with Facebook.

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