How to build your savings account and stay out of debt — and yes, there’s an app for that!

Savings accountThere are many ways to begin building a savings account, and they all may seem impossible now that you’re in the middle of your college career. However, with a little determination and organization (and apps to help), you can learn how to build your savings account that will, in turn, help you stay out of debt! Here are some tips to get you started — and, believe it or not, there’s an app for that!

First things, first!

Before you can begin to build a savings account, you may want to get a handle on what your monthly expenses are. Knowing that you eventually want to save 20% of your income is a great start, but, as Lori Lamb discusses in her March 4, 2011, post titled “How to Effectively Manage Your Savings Account” for Credit.org, “that full amount probably won’t be obtainable until you’ve paid down your debts.”

Take an honest look at what money you have coming in and what money goes out each month. To get an accurate amount, you’ll want to factor in gas, food and any extra expenses like your weekly night out with the ladies. That way, when you’re looking to cut down on anything unnecessary, you’ll know where to begin.

As you learn to trim the excess, you’ll be able to gradually increase the amount that goes into your savings and you’ll reach your intended goal in no time.

Where to trim the excess and get out of debt

One way to begin paying off your debt is to start with the lowest balance, as Ann Carrns suggests in her August 20, 2012, blog post for the New York Times, titled “To Get Out of Debt, It May Help to Think Small.” While your larger balances may have higher interest rates, seeing some of your debt disappear, even your lowest balances, may be just the motivation you need to persevere!

Wipe our Debt

Wipe out debt

Another way to get rid of your excess debt is to consider cutting out the following:

  • Cable TV: Often more expensive than both your Internet and your cell bill combined, and doesn’t offer many more programs than online websites
  • That trendy market you have to shop at: Chances are, you can find healthy produce and groceries at the larger, less hip grocery store down the road
  • Weekly lunch dates: Consider packing your lunch for work or school until your debt is paid down
  • iTunes downloads: Do you really need to purchase the latest episode of The Walking Dead? You could always just check it out on Project Free TV for FREE!

Free apps to help get the ball rollin’

Depending on what your needs are as a spender and a saver, there are plenty of apps to help you take control of your debt. And just to be sure we’re on the same page about cutting costs to pay off debt and save money, all of the apps listed here are free.

  • Budget Envelopes: Helps you allocate what you earn and spend by separating finances into specially labeled envelopes (i.e.: groceries, gas, utilities, travel, etc.).
  • Bill Organizer-Manage & Track Your Bills: “Organize, track and manage” all bills from one device. You can also set an alarm to remind you to pay bills and keep a full history of past bills due.
  • Mobile banking apps: This will vary depending on your bank or credit union. The positive aspect of having mobile banking is that you can instantly check your account, leaving little guessing room as to what your balance is. Another nice feature to the new and improved mobile banking apps: transfer and bill pay options.

So, whether you’re in your first year of college or you’re about to graduate, being cautious of current bills and debt will help you stay financially stable in the future — you know, for when those student loan payments kick in!

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