One of the biggest issues that students face is getting to grips with their finances. It is well documented that financial pressures are affecting more students, particularly in the UK, and that a lack of financial education is leaving many young people struggling to manage their money.
Although this is only a small step, using a phone app can be a quick and easy way to save money. Here are some of the best apps for managing your finances, hunting down bargains and cutting down on waste.
1. Grant Fairy
Grant Fairy is relatively new and was set up by 21-year-old Myles Jardine, who chose to forgo university to create an app to help other students.
The app lists more than 4,000 different bursaries, grants and scholarships provided by UK universities, foundations and organisations. Users pay a £4.99 monthly fee or a £23.99 annual fee to access an extensive database of funding options for students, which includes scholarship opportunities from the Bank of England, the Vegetarian Society and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
How many students are left with a potato, half a bottle of pesto, some browning lettuce leaves and three bananas by the end of the week?
BigOven is an app that turns leftovers into delicious meals (OK, maybe not using the combination above!). Simply enter your leftover ingredients into the app and allow it to transform them into a tasty meal.
The app contains a list of more than 350,000 recipes, so you can plan your meals and supermarket shop well in advance, which means that you can hopefully cut down on the amount of food you buy.
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Use this app if you want the best deals on supermarket items.
Each time you create a shopping list on the app, it compares your basket across major supermarkets to tell you which shop has the lowest prices, and whether there are any special offers for products on your list.
However, if you haven’t prepared a list before heading to the supermarket, you can simply scan barcodes with your phone and the app will tell you whether you can find items cheaper elsewhere.
Vouchercloud provides vouchers and discount codes for pretty much anything.
There are a few aspects to the app, the first being the “best featured” deals section, which lists the best deals of the day. Alternatively, the “near me” function sources deals and codes for restaurants and social activities that are close by.
Simply download the voucher code for the discount that takes your fancy and use it when you pay.
Saving money may seem like an unachievable task for a student but Plum helps you to identify just how much you can comfortably put away, and then starts building the savings for you.
Once you have linked your bank account to the app, Plum analyses your transactions and spending patterns and calculates how much you can save. It then stores this amount in a virtual bank account, which you can access at any time – just send a message and the funds are available within 24 hours.
To adjust how much you are saving with Plum, alter your “mood” – the default mood is “normal”. If you want to save more, choose “eager” (25 per cent extra) or “ambitious” (50 per cent extra). If you want to save less, select “chilled” (25 per cent less) or “shy” (50 per cent less).
Read more: five mobile apps for students