Archives For Technology

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.

  1. TUN

    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.

  2. TittoTitto

    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.

  3. CheggChegg

    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.

  4. SavedPlus

    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.

  5. ATM Hunter

    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.

  6. Opera Max

    Opera Max

    Opera Max

    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.

  7. Unsplurge

    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.

  8. MintMint

    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.

  9. BillMinder

    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.

  10. DrinkOwlDrinkOwl

    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.

  11. Venmo

    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.

Steam LogoTo be honest, I’m not sure if I really want to think about how much money I have spent on video games over the last 24 years. I’d say tens of thousands of dollars would not be an unreasonable guess but I really don’t have a clue.  I own nearly every console and handheld made in the last 24 years not to mention more games for each of them than I can even think of!  That’s not even counting my addiction to PC gaming which is where most of my gaming takes place these days.  Not counting games that I have on CDs and various digital downloads, I have 141 games on Steam alone!

While I am quite proud of my collection of video games, there is something I am even more proud of, the fact that I am buying games than ever these days but paying less than I ever have!

How am I managing that when its not uncommon for games to cost $60 these days and that’s not even counting cool collectors editions that and easily push the price over $100?

Well, I am going to share with you all of the tips and tricks I have picked up over the years on how I save a lot of money on video games while having more fun than ever!

  1. Check local circulars

    When there is a game you have been waiting for that you must have the moment it comes out, you are usually going to end up paying full price but that isn’t always the case. The week of a game’s release, check out the circulars for all of the big box stores near you that are likely to carry it like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and others. I often find that the week a game goes on sale, there will be at least one store that has the game for $5 or even $10 cheaper than everywhere else. Sometimes rather than just knocking a few bucks off of the price, they will give you like a $10 gift card with the purchase of the game which is basically as good as cash and you can use that card for your next gaming purchase. Some retailers, even online like Amazon will offer discounts or gift cards like that when you pre-order a game so make sure to look for those deals too!

  2. Steam Sales

    Steam

    Steam

    Steam is my personal favorite method of picking up a ton of pc games for very little money. Valve usually runs several major sales throughout the year like the Steam Summer Sale (during the summer) and the Steam Holiday Sale (end of December into early January) where you can pick of single games or entire collections of games from publishers or franchises for as much as 95% off! These aren’t just old titles either, these tend to be the big new titles that are often major game of the year contenders. While most games are discounted to some extent throughout the entire sale which usually lasts a couple of weeks, there are daily deals which tend to cut those discounts a lot lower and flash sales which happen every 8 hours which are often just as good so make sure to check back often when they have a sale going!

    Of course you don’t have to wait for a major sale to pick up a good bargain on Steam because they also have daily deals, weekend deals, mid-week deals and others that are running all the time and they are a great way to pick up some fantastic games on the cheap! Also, they occasionally have weekends where you can play a game for free (usually the multiplayer part of the game) and then it is also on sale if you like it enough that you decide to buy it. If you are a pc gamer, Steam is like heaven!

  3. The Humble Bundle

    The Humble Bundle

    The Humble Bundle

    The popular Humble Bundle is another fantastic way to pick up a bunch of games for an incredibly cheap price. The Humble Bundle is unique in that it lets you name your own price, get some great games and help out various charities all at the same time. To give you an example, right now they are selling 4 Android games for whatever you want to pay for them. If you pay more than the average of what people are paying for them ($3.69 as of the time that I wrote this), you get an additional 2 games. Also, you get to decide how your money is split up between the developers, Humble Bundle and whatever charities they happen to be donating to at the time (for the sale as of the time of this writing that would be the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Child’s Play charity, both fantastic organizations). The games range from PC games to mobile games so there should be something for everybody at some point. So, if you are looking to score some cool games for cheap and want that warm and fuzzy feeling you get you when you help out great charities, then you should definitely check out Humble Bundle!
  4. Reddit’s Game Deals Subreddit

    One of the best ways to find out about great deals on video games is to check out Reddit’s Game Deals subreddit. The members there are usually on top of great sales all over the internet and in big box stores for great gaming deals that can range from free shipping to free games! I highly recommend checking out that subreddit at least once a day because you never know what kind of crazy deals those guys are going to post and I have picked up some fantastic games based on the sales they highlight and the recommendations of the people posting in the comments.

  5. Xbox Gold and Playstation Plus deals

    There are some people that balk at the idea of paying a subscription fee of $50 every year for things like Xbox Gold and PlayStation Plus but in the long run, they are more than worth in terms of what they will save you. Each premium subscriptions offers discounts for various titles (which changes all the time) that can be quite substantial. For example, as of the time of this writing, if you are an Xbox Live Gold member, you can get the digital download of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for $40 instead of the usual $60. I don’t pay as much attention to Xbox so I’m not sure how often their sales change, but with PlayStation, their sales change weekly. Often the sales will be available for non-premium members too but the discounts won’t be near as good. However, that is not the best part of getting one of these subscriptions (which you can occasionally find on sale for as low as $30 from various big box stores and online retailers), the best part is the free games! Both services let you download various free games every month which is where subscriptions to these services really show their value. For $50 a year, you can end up with probably around $1000 worth of free games!

  6. Ebay

    I’m generally not one to recommend buying games on Ebay as I have had bad experiences with broken stuff and bad sellers in the past, however, if you are looking for deals on retro games, this is exactly the place to look! While I love shopping in used video game stores because you never know what old NES or SNES gem you my find in them, if they are a more sought after game, they tend to ask prices close to their original retail price which is crazy. You would be amazed at what kind of deals you can score on Ebay in comparison! For example, a few years ago, my local used game store had a copy of the original Final Fantasy on the NES which I really wanted because I loved the game as a kid and no longer have it. Well, they wanted $45 for it which I thought was a little crazy considering there was no box or maps or other paperwork with it. Had they had all of that and it had been in good condition, I would have definitely paid that but no way would I pay that for just the cartridge. So, I went home on and got on Ebay and found the game, with the box and paperwork (kind of falling apart and laminated so not mint but still ok) for just $20. So don’t be afraid to search Ebay as you can score some great deals on there too!

  7. Used Games

    Speaking of old games, don’t be afraid of buying a used game to save a few bucks so long as the place you buy it from has some sort of return policy in case it doesn’t work. I can’t say I do much of this myself as I generally don’t trust how previous owners take care of things however you can save a few bucks off of retail if you don’t mind going used. Personally, I would recommend going used for cartridge games like NES, SNES, Genesis and handheld games because those tend to be stronger and can take abuse a whole lot better than disks (I’d give anything for consoles to go back to cartridges but that is a post for a different blog at a different time) so there is a little less risk involved in my opinion. Just keep in mind that somebody may have sold a game for reasons other than they just didn’t like it so be careful.

  8. Wait until the price drops

    Finally, another great way to save a few bucks is to just wait a while for the price of a game to drop. The prices of games always drop as time goes on, some more than others so depending on the type of game, it can really be worth it to wait. Perhaps the best example I can think of is sports games like Madden where they come out with a new version every year. Instead of buying it the day it comes out, buy it around the time of the following year’s release and instead of paying $60 for the game, you are likely to end up paying $20 or $30. You may be a year behind but other than fully updated rosters, you won’t be missing much as those games don’t tend to change much over the years which is why I only buy them like once every 4 or 5 years. However, there is one thing to beware of, especially with EA games like Madden in that they have the customer infuriating habit of killing off the multiplayer servers after just a year or two (I’ve been bit by this several times myself which is why I generally avoid games from EA whenever possible) so that is something to keep in mind if you decide to wait and buy a game when it gets cheaper.

If you have any other tips for saving money on video games, share them in the comments below so everybody else can take advantage of them! Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter on the right too so you don’t miss tips like these in the future!

Do you dread wiping the stuff of your PC or even getting a new PC because of all of the time and effort it takes to put all of your favorite programs on the machine?

Having a fresh machine (whether it is new or just a reinstall of Windows) is nice and the speed boost that comes with it is quite enjoyable but it tends to lose a lot of the appeal when you realize just how much stuff you have to install on it.

That is one of the biggest reasons behind why people don’t buy a new computer until they absolutely have to or wipe their hard drives only because something has gone so terribly wrong (like a nasty virus) that they can’t help by wipe it clean and start from scratch.

There should be an easy way to alleviate this dread shouldn’t there?  Well, there is!

There might not be a hassle free way of getting your data back to where it should be (although many online backup solutions make it a lot easier), but there is a way to make putting all of your favorite apps like web browsers (such as Firefox and Chrome), chat clients (like Skype and Pidgin) and media software (like iTunes and Spotify) on the machine in a relatively quick and painless manner.

In the past, you have had to search out all of the programs you want individually to download and install them which would often take hours to do.  Whenever I get a new PC or have to reformat my hard drive, I have always set aside an entire Saturday or Sunday to do it because I know that by the time I install all of the Windows updates, drivers and software, it is going to take nearly the entire day.

Ninite

Ninite

However, it no longer has to be that way!  Thanks to a service called Ninite, you never have to worry about it taking all day ever again!

What is Ninite?  Ninite is a service that lets you download all (well, most likely all) of the software you want all at once and install it with a single installer.  Thanks to ninite, gone are the days of spending a seemingly endless number of hours clicking the next button on a ton of installers.

With Ninite, you select just the software you want, download the installer and it will download and install all of the software for you without you having to mess with dozens individual installers.  Not only that, but it checks to make sure the software is the most recent version and it will install the appropriate version for your machine (32 or 64-bit).

Nearly all of the software you can choose from is free although there is the very rare exception like Microsoft Office which is a trial version and Mozy which is an online backup service you have to pay for.

However, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to install your favorite web browser, anti-virus and anti-malware software, media software, messaging software, office software, online storage software, developer tools, and a lot more, check out the free Ninite service!  It is a one stop shop for your essential software needs!

Whether you need to install all of your favorite programs on a new PC or just get back up and running quickly after wiping a hard drive, this is perhaps the best and easiest way of doing it.

Do you know anybody who would have a much easier time with their computer thanks to a service like this?  Then send them a link to this post and tell them to share it with their friends too!

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