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Articles / Paying for College / Money Savings Strategies For College Students, Plus Apps To Keep You On Track

Money Savings Strategies For College Students, Plus Apps To Keep You On Track

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Written by Tracy Odell | June 8, 2021
Photo by Amol Tyagi on Unsplash

These money-saving tips and finance apps can help keep college costs down

College life is expensive. Between tuition, housing, books, and everyday purchases, it’s easy for costs to pile up if you’re not careful.

Developing good money habits now can set you down a path of financial success throughout your college career and beyond. As you probably know from prepping for big tests like the SAT or ACT, the right resources make it easier to focus and stay on track to reach your goals.

The same principle applies to your finances.

Luckily, there are a variety of money-saving apps to help you budget, save, and keep track of your money. Read on for six money-saving strategies for college students, and seven apps that make it easy to stay on top of your finances.

Create a budget, and stick to it


If your goal is to create a budget and stick to it, an app like Mint is worth considering. Not only can Mint help you manage your money better if used wisely, but it’s also free, so you don’t have to worry about an additional monthly cost.

Mint offers several useful features, including the ability to categorize your expenses automatically and track your bills and spending. And depending on how in-depth you want to get with your finances, Mint also offers the option to view your credit score and track how it changes over time.

Shave expenses and save on subscriptions


If you want to save money on entertainment costs, consider using an app like Trim. This app can help negotiate expenses for you, including your cable, internet, and phone bills. It can also cancel old, forgotten subscriptions so you aren’t paying for something you no longer use or need.

In addition, Trim has savings features to help you stay on top of your goals and finances. This includes being able to analyze your spending patterns so Trim can suggest ways for you to save money.

Earn rewards for your receipts


Fetch takes some of the sting out of your everyday purchases by giving you the option to snap pictures of your receipts and earn rewards. The app is free to download, easy to use, and works with most receipts, whether you shop online or in-store. Once you earn enough rewards, redeem them for your choice of available gift cards, including Amazon, Best Buy, and Staples.

If you want to earn more rewards, use the available in-app offers and refer-a-friend system. This can help you fast-track your way to more gift cards, which can mean more saving on future purchases.


Similar to Fetch, Ibotta also allows you to submit receipts for rewards and provides helpful offers for your shopping trips. You could also qualify for a welcome bonus when you sign up and referral bonuses if you invite friends with your unique code. But the best part is you can use both Fetch and Ibotta together because you aren’t limited to scanning receipts and using offers with only one money-saving app.

This essentially allows you to double-dip whenever you go shopping because you can earn rewards with both apps. Once you reach $20 in Ibotta earnings, you can redeem them for a deposit into your bank or PayPal account or for a digital gift card.

Turn downtime into dollars

Survey Junkie

The available jobs for full-time students aren’t always the most conducive to your full-time schedule. You have to go to classes, study, sometimes eat, and find time for a power nap or two while fitting a job in there somewhere. But an app like Survey Junkie can help you earn extra cash when you have a few spare moments.

Survey Junkie rewards you for sharing your opinion, which means you can earn rewards for taking surveys. If you meet certain eligibility criteria, you might also be able to participate in focus groups through Survey Junkie, which could result in higher earnings. Simply create an account, build your profile, and take available surveys from your phone or computer. You’ll be rewarded with points that can be redeemed for PayPal deposits or gift cards.

Choose a bank that gives back


Finding the right bank is important for a student because you want fewer fees to worry about and helpful features to stay on top of your finances. Chime has no hidden fees, which means no minimum balance requirements and no monthly account fees.

In addition, you’re able to get paid up to two days early with direct deposit, and you get fee-free overdrafts of up to $200 if you need some wiggle room between deposits. And with the Chime savings account, your savings goals might become more achievable. Take advantage of a high annual percentage yield (APY) and watch your money grow.

Make Saving Automatic


If you’re struggling to figure out the perfect amount of money to save each month, Digit can help take some of the guesswork out of the saving process. When you open an account with Digit, it analyzes your accounts and money habits to figure out how much you can safely afford to put aside.

To do so, it takes four factors into account: your checking account balance, upcoming bills, upcoming income, and recent spending. Then, it automatically transfers the perfect amount of money to a savings account for you, making adjustments when needed based on changes to your spending. You can even create savings goals with Digit to help you save for a specific event, like a wedding or spring break trip.

Bottom line

If you want to feel more financially secure and stable, use the available resources at your disposal. These money apps can be used in different ways, so look over your situation and assess your goals to find how to best apply them. Learning important financial habits now can help you set an essential precedent for your finances in the future.

Written by

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Tracy Odell

Tracy Odell is the VP of Content at FinanceBuzz where she leads the talented team of editors and writers who create all of their valuable content. Before joining FinanceBuzz, Tracy held roles at Student Loan Hero, Lending Tree, and Parents.

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