5 Apps for College Students
College Life

5 Apps Every College Student Needs to Save Money

Regardless of your financial status, you’ve probably identified as a “broke college student” at one time or another. It may not necessarily mean that you’re actually broke. But now that you’re responsible for your own finances, it feels like everything costs something.

… and sadly, almost everything DOES cost something.

You may not be able to avoid spending money, but you can save some of what you spend. All you need to start saving is a smartphone and a little effort. The best thing is there are some nifty apps out there that will do most of the work for you. Just have the apps installed, and they’ll take care of the rest.

I’ve been using these five (free!) apps for a while and I can tell you from experience that they really do save money—no tricks or scams.

Did I mention that they’re free?

Check these out:

1. Ibotta

What I like the most about this app is that the items it offers deals on are items that I actually buy. Whereas some apps will give coupons for mostly impractical items, Ibotta offers deals on things that even a broke college student will buy, like chips, K-cups, popcorn, soft drinks, shampoo, deodorant, paper towels—and even gasoline.

Basically, Ibotta scans your receipts and matches the items you purchased with deals—$1 off those band-aids from CVS, $0.50 off your Lunchables late-night snack from Wal-Mart, $2.50 off the almond butter from Publix—and adds up all your savings to your Ibotta account. You can withdraw your savings (and credit them to PayPal or a gift card) once you’ve reached $20 worth.

I reached that $20 mark soon after I started using the app. And you’ll probably reach that mark, too, just by buying White Glove supplies.

2. Achievement

Achievement isn’t really a savings app.

Actually, it’s a health-tracking app. But I’ve made money from it, and you can, too, just by walking from class to class.

Achievement connects to your phone’s pedometer and to any health-tracking apps you have installed (like MyFitnessPal, for example). The app collects data like “steps” or “minutes exercised” and translates them into points. When you’ve reached 10,000 points, you get $10.

I got my first $10 just by walking around campus all day every day for a few months. The fastest way to get points is by walking, but you can also get points by answering short surveys and tracking calories and exercise in other apps. It’s really that easy to put an extra $10 in the bank—just show up for your classes, and the app will do the rest.

3. Wal-Mart

Regardless of whether you have a car or not, you probably do most of your grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. That’s why you need the Wal-Mart app!

The app offers several features, but I only use one, and it’s saving me a surprising amount of money.

This feature is called “Savings Catcher,” and it does just that. The app will scan your receipt, save the data, and then compare the prices of your purchased items to prices in other stores. If the app finds an item to be cheaper at another store, Savings Catcher will pay you back the difference. The search takes a few days, but it’s never come back void for me!

4. GasBuddy

I don’t drive, but my husband does, and I love saving money: so we use GasBuddy.

Using GasBuddy is another easy way to save on something we have to buy anyway. The app lists all of the prices for fuel at gas stations near you, and any place you choose on a map. Choose the station with the cheapest gas, and the app will enter the coordinates to your phone’s GPS—you don’t even have to search the address.

A few pennies saved per gallon makes a difference! Join the GasBuddy community—even if you don’t have a car, keep the app on your phone and help out your driver friends on your next excursion to the beach.

5. Chick-fil-A

Free food. Do I really need to say more?

I’m not kidding: the Chick-fil-A app will give you coupons to redeem free food items—just because! All you have to do is keep the app installed on your phone.

But if you frequent Chick-fil-A, you can get even more benefits. By scanning the QR code on the app when you pay for your food, you can earn points that can be used to redeem food items later. With just 150 points, you can redeem either a cookie, hash browns, or ice cream—earn more and you can redeem a whole meal!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on all these savings: download these apps, and you’ll have enough saved to treat yourself to a pumpkin spice latte—to go with those free Chick-fil-A nuggets.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in Life in the Nest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pensacola Christian College.
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