This is a guest post by Julia Peterson. She has written up a wonderful list of great money-saving apps for college students, so I hope it helps you and your college-bound student save a little money.
College is likely to be the tightest financial bottleneck of your life—your earning potential isn’t much higher than it was as a teenager, but you face decidedly grown-up expenses. Here are a few mobile apps that can take the pressure off as you head back to school.
1. Chegg (iOS)
Textbooks are the bane of every college student; they’re expensive, often unhelpful, and hard to get rid of when you’re done with them. The Chegg app allows you to shop online for textbooks at home, or from your school’s bookstore—you can see what your school is charging, then scan the barcode with your iPhone and look for a better deal on Chegg.com. You can also scan your old textbooks to see what you can sell them for. The app is free, and takes some of the headache out of a very stressful time. (Cost: free)
2. i-FinAid (iOS)
This is a great app for new or transferring students, or students looking for financial aid. i-FinAid will help you figure out how much your dream college will cost, including books, room-and-board, and tuition—then you can calculate how much financial aid you are likely to qualify for, and how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for your education. It’s a great app for students and their parents to discuss which colleges provide the best value, or to pick up financial aid you might be missing. (Cost: $1.99)
3. Pageonce (Android, iOS)
Pageonce is a money-management app that can help you monitor your finances, pay bills, and fit all your expenses into a budget. Its calendar app warns you as bills come due, and allows you to schedule automatic payments through your bank. The budget-builder is a powerful feature that presents all your expenses in simple graphs and charts, so you can track where your money is really going, and manage student loan and credit card debt. (Cost: free)
4. Price Check (Android, iOS)
College is probably your first opportunity to strike out on your own, but setting up your new pad can be expensive, and prices vary widely from store to store. Price Check allows you to compare prices online for everything you need, including mp3 players, wireless internet routers, used cell phones, home appliances—even things like furniture and groceries. Whatever you scan, Price Check brings up a listing of competitive prices as well as customer reviews. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and it’s free.
5. Groupon (Android, iOS)
This app is a good way to put high-end recreational activities within your price range. The Groupon app shows you several limited-time offers happening in your area, and as soon as a certain number of people buy in, the coupon kicks in and you all get a deep discount on that item or activity. Fun things that would normally be outside a college student’s budget, like hot-air ballooning or whitewater rafting, become a lot more affordable with Groupon. It’s also a good way to get inspiration—if you can’t think of anything to do for a date, or if you’re bored on a Friday night, there are interesting offers cycling through every week. (Cost: free)
Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and unbiased reviews on cell phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.