Top 15 apps to save students (and everyone else) a bundle

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It’s August. And that means one thing for thousands of 17 and 18-year-olds: A-level results month.

Freshers’ Week will be here in the blink of a blurry eye. While it’s easy to get into the social groove, managing university finances can prove significantly trickier.

One in four first-year university students can’t make their first student loan instalment last more than one month, new research from the National Union of Students and Endsleigh shows. And half of all students permanently live in their overdraft.

Lecture recording apps, exam prep platforms, revision apps, timetable organisers and bibliography sites can take care of business but budgeting for student life can often be left until it’s too late, with debts spiralling as the freshers’ fun subsides.

Fortunately there are some A-grade tools to make university cheaper, easier and safer. Save money, make money and get your finances in order with these student-proof apps.

1 Fatbrain

iOS and Android, free

Fatbrain is very similar to WeBuyBooks.co.uk and is great for selling and buying textbooks. Unlike other sites, the app scans barcodes and ISBNs so you don’t have to enter them manually. Postage is also free of charge.

2 Circle

iOS and Android, free

Dubbed “Whatsapp but with money”, Circle allows people to send and receive money instantly and securely. It combines social messaging with money transfers so you can send money with an instant message along with emojis and GIFs. Friends can split restaurant bills, housemates can split utility costs and users can make payments in different currencies for free. It makes asking for money back easy and avoids the rigmarole of swapping account numbers and sort codes. Users can store the money on the app or transfer it instantly to their bank account. Refer friends to Circle and you both receive £5 when they sign up.

3 Ziffit.com

iOS and Android, free

Handy for students who want to sell games, Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs and books. Users scan a barcode and the app instantly offers the price for each item. The items are collected from a local pick up point (or direct from you if over 10kg).

4 Send Anywhere

iOS and Android, free

With platforms such as WeTransfer users can send up 2GB of data for free, and then you have to pay. Send Anywhere enables users to send any sized document to anyone.

5. Pic2shop Barcode & QR Scanner

iOS and Android, free

This barcode app makes even novice shoppers savvy bargain hunters. Users can point their smartphone camera at the barcode of a product (even if blurry) and pic2shop will instantly compare the prices at thousands of online and local retailers.

6. BigOven

iOS and Android, free

The recipe app lists the ingredients required for each recipe (of more than 350,000) and adds the ingredients to your shopping list so you don’t buy unnecessary items and rack up a huge supermarket bill. One of the best features allows users to key in “leftover” items they already have in the fridge. The app will generate recipes that can be made by buying the least amount of ingredients. Some of the recipes are a tad American but this app will make sure even the barest cupboard owners can scrabble a meal together and save on the supermarket shop.

7. Zeek

iOS and Android, free

Zeek allows shoppers to buy and sell unwanted gift and store cards at a discount. For example, customers can currently buy a £20 Starbucks gift card for £19 and a £50 Waterstones gift card for £46. With cards ranging from River Island and John Lewis to Apple and Odeon, it’s worth cashing in and students can also make some cash by selling their unwanted gift cards.

8. Pouch

Free

Pouch is not an app but this browser extension is so handy it has to be included in any student-saving armoury. Download the Pouch plug in and it will display all of the valid discount codes for any website you browse. It eliminates the need to endlessly scroll through voucher code sites and works for more than 3,000 of the most popular retail websites in the UK, including Dominos, Topshop, Currys, ASOS, Argos and Ocado.

9. UNiDAYS

iOS and Android, free

Covering fashion, lifestyle, health, food, beauty and technology, UNiDAYS collates thousands of student discounts. Filter the offers from the highest discount to lowest to check out the best savings. A one-stop shop for student savings on everything from supplements to subwoofers.

10. Grabble

iOS and Android, free

For all those budding fashionistas, fear not, sticking to a student loan doesn’t mean you have to forgo this season’s hottest trends. Scroll through Grabble’s curated lifestyle and fashion pages, swiping right on your favourite items to save them. When the saved products go on sale, users are notified.

11. Quidco

iOS and Android, free

One of the longest-standing cashback sites and very simple to use. Earn money from purchases you were going to buy anyway by searching for the retailer you want to buy from in the Quidco app and clicking through to their website and shopping as normal. By using the Quidco app, you will receive cashback after your purchase. If you are a diligent shopper and always click on a brand through the Quidco marketplace your pot can soon add up. Some current offers on the site include 17 per cent cashback at The Works, 4 per cent cashback at Waterstones, £8 cashback for your first order over £25 at Asda and up to £30 cashback at Currys. A slow-burner but money for nothing.

12. BlaBlaCar

iOS and Android, free

Creating trusted carpooling, BlaBlaCar enables travellers to split the costs of a car journey with other members of the community. The carpool platform connects members travelling to the same destination and lets you browse available ride shares. The app also has a women-only car share section where all riders and drivers will be female.

13. GoEuro

iOS and Android, free

Travelling or studying abroad? GoEuro enables students to search, compare prices and book trains, buses and flights around the UK and Europe. It can display travel results to over 30,000 destinations across 13 countries in Europe, not only from major cities and airports that most other comparison apps will offer, but also towns and villages that have a train station or coach stop.

14. The ISIC app

iOS and Android, free

Never lose your student card again! The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) now has an app, which provides users with a virtual ISIC card and exclusive student discounts and codes instantly. The ISIC is proof of official student status in more than 130 countries.

15. 0870 Converter

Android, free

Type in a 0845, 0870 or 0800 number – often used by utility companies, banks and businesses – and let the app search for 01, 02 or 03 alternatives that will be cheaper to call.

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