Its that time of year again when school starts back up and my morning commute time doubles due to the resulting increase of traffic. While that means more traffic headaches for me, for many others that can mean all sorts of things ranging from crippling debt to experiencing the freedom of being on their own for the first time.
In hopes of helping with that school related debt problem and in hopes of helping students maximize their first experience of living on their own, I have compiled a list of apps that will help them save money and make life easier on things ranging from text books to cell phone data plans. If you are a student looking to get the most out of what little money you have, these apps are certain to help you!
Make sure to share this with any students you may know because there is no reason they should be wasting their money either!
11 Money Saving Apps for Students.
TUN stands for The University Network. Just what is The University Network? With the help of Google Maps, TUN points students to the best discounts and deals near them. TUN pinpoints deals at places like restaurants, retail businesses, gyms and more. Perhaps the best part is that as you take advantage of these deals, you earn points for things like free fitness lessons, meals and even haircuts! TUN is available for both iOS and Android.
Titto is an app for iOS users that allows students to rent textbooks for just $19.99/mo. Why pay the outrageous cost of textbooks these days when you can just rent them at a fraction of the cost? When I was in college, it was not unusual for books to run between $100-200 and they would often rarely if ever be used over the two months the class took. If a textbook rental service like Titto existed when I was in school, I could have payed maybe $40 a book per quarter instead of $100+ and hope that at the end of the quarter, I could sell them back to the school’s store for pennies on the dollar. Seriously, especially for the expensive books that you will probably never touch again after the class is over, you should consider using a service like Titto instead of spending a fortune to own the books.
Chegg is somewhat similar to Titto except that not only can you rent textbooks, but you can also buy new and used textbooks and use the app to sell them when you are done using them. They also have many books available in a digital format which would be great for those looking to not have to carry around a bunch of heavy books from class to class. Also, unlike Titto, Chegg is available for both iOS and Android and while the textbooks aren’t free, the app is.
SavedPlus is a clever app to help you save money by taking a percentage of each purchase you make with a checking account and putting it into a savings account. You just need to define a goal such as what you are saving for (down payment on a car, rainy day fund, spring break, ect) and what percentage of your purchases to save and you can track your progress. The app is free on both iOS and Android.
Are you worried about accidentally using an ATM that is out of your banks network which will end up hitting you with several dollars worth of fees when you need to make a withdrawal? With ATM Hunter, there is no need to worry anymore! Mastercard’s ATM Hunter will take the address you put in or just use your phones GPS to show you nearby ATMs and which banks they are affiliated with so you know which ATMs you can use without getting charged a fee. The app is free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
If you are a smartphone user (if you aren’t, why are you even reading this?), one of your costly monthly expenses (especially for students) is how much data you use every month. Carriers vary on how much data each plan includes (1GB, 5GB, unlimited, ect) but the one constant is that the more you use, the more you are going to be paying. By using Opera Max and Opera’s amazing data compression technology, you can save not only a lot of data on your web browsing but with your apps too! They advertise a savings of around 50% but in my personal experience with just their Opera Mini browser and the compression technology it uses, I tend to save closer to 80%. Between using Opera Mini and using wifi as much as possible (make sure to use a VPN if you use public hotspots like Starbucks), I find that not only can I get by fine on my $45 smartphone plan which includes 1GB of data but on average, I only use about 40% of that 1GB. That is with web browsing and using a lot of online apps like weather apps and games like The Sims Freeplay which depend on the internet connection. Opera Max is available for free on Android.
Unsplurge takes the idea of saving money toward a goal and makes it social. This free iOS app lets you set a savings goal and graphically shows you just how much you have saved. It also shows it to your friends and you can see their goals which may come in handy if you and your friends are all saving up for a big group expense like a vacation. The social feature is also a good motivator to save since your friends can see how much you are saving and motivate you to do better.
Mint is a fantastic way of tracking all of your finances including your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more. It really is a bit of a one stop shop for all things money because not only does it monitor things like your bank accounts and credit cards, it categorizes your purchases to give you an idea of how much you are spending on different things. It also gives you suggestions on how to save money by doing things like changing credit cards to something more suited to your usage. There are a ton of other features I don’t have time to really talk about like bill reminders and low balance alerts so I will just say you definitely need to check it out. The service is free and there are apps available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8. Just a bit of a heads up, this service doesn’t work with all banks (last I checked it wouldn’t work with my credit union) but if you use the bigger national banks, you should be fine.
If you can be forgetful when it comes to paying your bills on time, this app is for you! BillMinder is for reminding you to pay your bills on time so you don’t get hit with late fees or a ding on your credit score. The app costs $1.99 but if it saves you from just one late fee or hit to your credit score, it has paid for itself. It is available on both iOS and Android.
For those that want to consume alcohol while away at college and want to do it as cheaply as possible, this app is going to come in very handy. DrinkOwl lets you know about different nearby drink specials by city or college campus and by whether you are looking for beer, wine or liquor. You can also see upcoming specials so you can plan your wild night out ahead of time. DrinkOwl is available for free on both iOS and Android.
If you ever find yourself picking up the tab for somebody who left their wallet back in the dorms or if you forgot yours, Venmo is a handy way of transferring money between friends to pay the person back who picked up the check. Just hook the app up to your bank account or debit card and let the person know what they owe you and they can use the app to pay you back. Venmo is free on both iOS and Android.