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    10 Apps To Help You Save Money In College

    January 9, 2017 Amanda Cross 8 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    Note: This post contains referral links and codes. All opinions are my own.

    Today on the blog we are talking about saving $$$. We all want to save money on the purchases we make, but it can be so hard to keep up with finances in college. We are going to talk about managing our money, getting coupons for our purchases, and also some of my fave cash back apps. Just because you spend money, doesn’t mean you can’t keep your eye on your money and grow it. I hope that these apps help you as you purchase things in 2017.

    10 Apps To Help You Save Money In College | Do you want to save money in college? Check out this post for 10 apps you can use to manage your money, invest, get coupons, and even get cash back on the things your purchase. Stretch your money further with these ten apps and websites.

    I. Money Managing Apps & Websites

    The first set of apps we are going to talk about are money managing apps. These apps will help you manage and grow your money over time, who doesn’t love that?

    RELATED READING: The Best Apps For College Students

    1. Mint

    Do you have what seems like a million cards? Mint is great because it helps you manage all your cards, spending, bills, etc. all in one place. It helps you stick to your budget, and let’s you know when you are getting a little too crazy with your money.

    Instead of having a million apps for all of your credit cards (although, it’s always great to check directly from the source) Mint allows you to aggregate all that data so you can get an accurate picture of what your funds look like.

    You can add all your recurring bill payments so that you can get alerts when things are due, and then you can make sure you have the funds to pay for everything. Mint helps you manage your budget (and if you want more help with that, definitely check out my post all about college budgeting.)

    2. Acorns

    Acorns is an interesting app that helps you invest your money by rounding up your purchases. So, say you buy something at a store that costs $3.50, Acorns will invest $.50 into your account. All those roundups will also get you monthly dividends.

    Acorns is interesting for college students because we are often making a lot of purchases, but will you really miss that $.50 in the grand scheme of things? Will you really miss it if that $.50 can make you a $1 or $10? College students don't often think about things like investing their money or starting a 401K so this app is interesting to help you start thinking about that process.

    If you want to start investing your money Acorns will be a great place to start. It’s simple and you can easily track what is happening with your money. Not only that, but it doesn’t require a huge monetary commitment like some investments do.

    II. Coupon Apps & Websites

    Why buy retail when you can save using these coupon apps and websites? I HATE making a purchase online without a coupon so I hope that you find these apps and websites helpful.

    RELATED READING: The Best Apps For College Students

    3. Cartwheel by Target

    Are you an avid Target shopper? I know some people who can really buy the entire store every time they go. Well did you know Target has an app called Cartwheel? There are so many fun things you can get coupons for in the Cartwheel app.

    If you shop there anyway, you may as well open up the app when you get in the store to see if they have a coupon for anything you are trying to purchase. The Cartwheel app has so many categories like beauty, electronics, health, food, home, and more. You can really save at every area of the store which makes using the Cartwheel app that much better. The next time you go on that trip to Target don't forget to download the Cartwheel app so you can start saving!

    4. RetailMeNot

    The first site I ever used for couponing online was RetailMeNot. Especially when it comes to getting delivery or just anything online, when I don’t feel like paying full price I make sure to check out RetailMeNot beforehand.

    RetailMeNot essentially stops you from paying retail for items online by aggregating different coupons. It can be a bit tricky sometimes because not all coupons work in all areas (especially when it comes to food coupons) but if you can find a good coupon, it can save you a good amount of money.

    RetailMeNot doesn’t only tell you online deals and steals, but they also share in-store deals as well which is different from the next site I am sharing that only gives you online deals.

    5. Honey

    Honey is an app that automagically gives you the BEST coupons to use for your online purchases. Unfortunately, you can’t use Honey with apps like Swagbucks but you can go to a site, see what coupons they add to your account, jot those down, and then activate your other cash back plugins.

    While I adore RetailMeNot, oftentimes it is a bit of trial and error when it comes to getting the best coupons for what I am purchasing. Sometimes it is not updated with the best coupon codes and therefore I am missing out on great savings because of it.

    If you want to start using coupons more I really encourage Honey so you can start saving money on your purchases.

    6. Groupon

    Groupon is a bit of a different site to use, but I really love Groupon if you want to have experiences or pay for services. For example, if you want to get your nails done in a new town or if you are traveling and want something fun to do on a budget, Groupon can be an awesome place to look for deals.

    Groupon is very different from most coupon sites in the types of services that are often offered on Groupon. This is not your average savings site. Groupons make great gifts for yourself or any of your friends and family. Groupons can really be a cool way to try out new places or go to new shows for a cheaper price that retail.

    III. Cash back Apps & Websites

    I adore cash back apps, y’all. I am an avid shopper so when I can get cash back on the things that I am already buying I jump for joy. Below I am sharing four of my FAVE cashback sites.

    RELATED READING: The Best Apps For College Students

    7. Swagbucks

    Okay, I cannot live without Swagbucks! Swagbucks is not JUST a cash back app. You can do all sorts of things on Swagbucks for Swagbucks. The best way to get SB on Swagbucks is through their shop and earn program. For example, right before Christmas, I spent about $100 at Nike for some stuff for me and my family. At the time Nike was 10SB per $1 spent so I ended up receiving a little over 1,000SB (which equates to a $10 gift card!) So, essentially I got $10 for buying stuff I was going to buy anyway.

    Nike is not usually 10SB per $1, but you can usually find a lot of great 10SB per $1 stores on the Swagbucks app or on their website. If you can’t find a good 10SB per $1 store, there are usually good ones at other high SB per $1 rates too.

    In the last year, I have earned over 2,800 SB using the Shop & Earn section, which equates roughly to around $28. Not to mention, I didn’t fully spend $2,800 to get that because a lot of times I was buying from shops that were anywhere from 2SB per $1 to 10SB per $1.

    If cashback isn’t your thing, I still encourage Swagbucks because there are so many ways you can earn money on the site. They regularly send out swag codes and you can get Swagbucks by watching videos, taking surveys, and even searching the web. It is such a great service for college students to make money doing something they are already doing.

    8. Ebates

    Ebates is a similar program to Swagbucks, but it is focused exclusively on giving you rebates. One thing that sets Ebates apart from Swagbucks, in my opinion, is that they have partnered with a number of actual real-life stores to get you cashback not only for what you buy online but also in stores. If you like offline shopping a lot more, I would definitely go check out Ebates in addition to Swagbucks so you can get those in-store deals.

    How do the in-store deals work? You simply add a credit card on your Ebates account and link your Ebates offer to your credit card. Then the next time you shop you will get an Ebates credit for that purchase. Yaaaas!

    I don’t personally have a lot of experience with Ebates, but I know that a lot of people swear by this company to help them get money back from their purchases. It’s worth a shot to see if it will work for you.

    9. Walmart Savings Catcher

    I go grocery shopping at Walmart quite a bit, and while I cannot say I have earned a killing from Walmart Savings Catcher, it is an interesting concept. Essentially you shop at Walmart like normal, and then you scan your receipt barcode using the Walmart app on your phone or you enter it online at

    Walmart then takes the data from your scanned receipt and uses the prices on the receipt to do a price check against local competitors. If Walmart finds a lower price they will give you the difference on your account which you can then turn into a Walmart gift card once you have as much money as you want.

    I have never received more than a few dollars back, but it’s cash you would have never seen before. If you buy mostly generic Walmart products, this probably won’t work well for you as it searches for competitor pricing. So on products like Great Value, Walmart Marketplace products, etc. you will never see any cash back. It’s often not worth it to just get name brand products either, because you are not guaranteed to get cash back if you do since Walmart usually offers the lowest price. I would just go with whatever seems like the best deal and run your receipt through the Walmart app just to be sure.

    10. Ibotta

    Ibotta is an amazing app that makes shopping fun. If you have something on your grocery or purchase list you can go to Ibotta and see if they have a cashback rebate on that particular item. This is a really awesome app because it offers cashback on food which a lot of the apps I have shared thus far don’t (as Walmart's savings catcher app depends on competitor pricing, and this one doesn’t.)

    This app features things like $1 cash back on pizza rolls, $.25 cashback on Honey Bunches of Oats, $1 back on Frosted Flakes, and so much more (one of the rebates was even a combo rebate where you had to purchase Jack Daniel's and Coke, ha!) Once you figure out how you want to get your rebates, then you take your receipt to Ibotta and scan it to get some amazing cash back on your purchases. What’s not to love?

    You even get a $10 signup bonus once you get your first rebate completed, which is pretty amazing. Use my code mhtbqtv when you sign up for Ibotta so you get a $10 sign-up bonus and I will get $5 for the referral.

    RELATED READING: The Best Apps For College Students

    Did you learn anything new? Let me know your fave money saving apps in the comments below!

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  • Rubi January 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Cartwheel and Ibotta are some of my most opened apps! But I’ve been using Retailmenot for years, I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for pizza lol

    • Amanda Cross January 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      What is full price for a pizza? Lol. I totally agree with that statement. My undergrad university has a constant 40% off coupon with Papa Johns that works all across Arkansas, so I am always using it. Hope you found something new to use in this post!

  • Gen | Gracefully Gen January 9, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Amanda, this is such a great collection of money apps here! I have an account with Swagbucks but I didn’t realize exactly how helpful it could be. I can’t wait to download and use all of these apps and save my (very sparse amount of) money! Thanks love!

  • Amanda Rosson January 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Ooh I’ve actually never heard of Honey before! Sounds like such a great and easy way to save money – I just signed up ^^

  • Sevi January 11, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    The Cartwheel app plus a Target Red Card is a serious game changer! It literally changed and ruined my life all at the same time. Oh and Mint is always going to be my go to for getting my budget, bills, and credit score straight!

  • Sabrina January 17, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Honey is my absolute favorite!! Thanks for recommending all these apps, now I can try them out!
    – Sabrina |

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    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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