It can be so hard to save money in college, but here are five apps that can help you save money in college!

At some point in your college career you’re bound to feel like your bank account has hit a balance of $0. Now-and maybe for the first time- you are truly responsible for handling your own bank accounts. Regardless of the source of income (working full time over the summer or a check from your parents here and there), we all have felt overwhelmed from the never-ending costs that college presents us. Budgets help– maybe? Let’s be honest with ourselves: you could easily completely blow the money you had budgeted for gas and eyebrow threading on the purse that was “a big steal”. It would be a lot easier if there were ways to automatically save us money; ones we might not even have to think about. Lucky for you, I’ve found 5 great apps that are going to start saving you money NOW.

1. Mint (free; Available for most mobile devices)

Mint may be the most difficult of the list to use, but it is definitely one of the most valuable. This powerhouse app is so effective for me because it shows me exactly how I’m spending my money by placing purchases in categories. This is great because it helps me pin point areas I’m overspending and that helps me adjust. Trust me, when the numbers are laid out for you, it’s SUPER eye opening and you’ll stop spending 89% of your money on food.

You can also set up bill alerts (Netflix and Spotify always catch me off guard) and find out your credit score. It’s super secure and you can change your settings on the desktop version to monitor app usage. If you want to become financially aware of your spending, download the app. You’ll save money just from knowing what your spending and where!

2. Cartwheel (free; Available on most mobile devices)

How many of us go into Target and forget what exactly we went in for? I found myself browsing the workout section a couple of days ago when I asked Hannah, “What did we even come here for?” The weird Target mojo had gotten us again. FYI: We were there for marshmallows and graham crackers.

Anyway… If you’re a frequent Target shopper and you don’t know about Cartwheel, I’m super excited because I get to introduce you to an app that is guaranteed to convince you to spend more than you actually wanted to. Before you head out, take a peek at your Cartwheel app and add coupons you might use to your list. YOU CAN USE THE COUPONS AS MANY TIMES AS YOUR LITTLE HEART PLEASES. *Takes a deep breath.* YOU CAN ALSO STACK COUPONS. Yeah, go download this one.

3. Starbucks (free; Available on most mobile devices)

Yes, out of all the apps I could have chosen to include on the list, Starbucks made the cut. I have a portion of my monthly income dedicated to reloading my Starbucks card. I’m GOING to spend money on Starbucks. I have my gold card. It’s a problem and I’ve tried multiple times to address it. The Starbucks seasonal drinks always steal my heart. Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Caramel Crunch…. Oh my.

So, if you too have already established that you’re GOING to spend the money every once in a while on one of their handcrafted treats, do yourself a favor and download the app. Sign up for their rewards programs and use it! You’ll get a free menu item every 12 drinks when you get your gold card (30 drinks in a year—it’s more doable than you think). You also get a free birthday drink—I’m waiting for my email… any day now. Your free item can be a Venti frappe with any add-ons you want or one of their breakfast sandwiches. Don’t you think it makes more sense to buy the drinks (that you’ve already made up your mind to get) in pursuit of a reward? Yep. That’s what I thought.

4. Shopkick (free; Available on most mobile devices)

I just downloaded this app myself and I’m still playing around with it. The idea is you get ‘kicks’ for tasks like entering stores, scanning select items, and making purchases. The kicks can be redeemed for gift cards to select stores like Macy’s, Amazon, and American Eagle. Gift cards for walking into stores? Sign me up! Aren’t we all on our phones snapchatting our besties about the fringe top we tried on anyways? Use some of your data on this app for free benefits later!

5. Walmart Savings Catcher (free, Available on most mobile devices)

Y’all. I truly saved the best for last. I’ve saved over 50 dollars with this app. All you have to do is download the app and scan your receipts when you make purchases at Walmart. All that dorm shopping you’ve done? Walmart will compare their prices with the prices of local competitors to make sure theirs are the lowest. If they aren’t, you get the money back on a Walmart gift card! If they are, you just got the best deals in your area so go you! I always save up my balance until I have enough to buy a whole thing of groceries. I promise this may be the best money saving app ever. Download. GO GO GO.

unnamed (1)Hannah and Gabby are the girls behind The Swirl! We blog about our college lifestyle, baking, fashion, advice, and honestly anything that we find interesting at the moment! It’s truly a swirl of all our favorite things! If you want to connect with us at or find us on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.


6 thoughts on “5 Apps to Save You Money In College

  1. There is so much to balance when in college – finances are just one more thing to consider. These are excellent tips. My personal fave is Mint. While I’m well out of college at this point, it remains a lifesaver for me. Also, as a fellow lover of all things coffee, I adore that you included the Starbucks app, too.


  2. Saving money is my motto and this article is a Godsend! A few of these I’ve already used, but I’ll definitely try out the Walmart Savings Catcher. I had an app that worked the same way but it was too much work. Hopefully this will be better!


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