Our Money Mentors tried out a range of the latest apps and have put together a run-down of what they’re like.
This is a budgeting app that allows you to enter your expenditure and income daily.
It also has a budget mode where you can plan what you want to spend and track how much you have left of that budget. There is the option of carrying over the unused budget to the following month.
The expenditure portion is broken down into common categories such as holidays, shopping, books, etc, and it allows you to create your own categories.
It does require dedication and discipline, as you do have to enter everything manually. However, it is very flexible, as it does not limit you to merely cash or card spending and you are able to change the dates of the transaction, so if you forget to enter expenditure from last week, you are still able to do so.
There is a summary view and you can use handy charts to visualise just where your money goes. It is also password protected.
To download go to Spending Tracker on Google Play or Spending Tracker on the App Store.
Monzo is a bank that allows easy tracking of your expenses. To use it you will need to apply for a Monzo account.
Features of using Monzo:
- It gives you instant notification of your spending and tracks it on the app according to the different categories when you use your Monzo card. You can even add a receipt to your expenditure.
- It allows you to analyse what you spend.
- It freezes your card immediately from your phone, should you lose your card.
- It sends money instantly to other Monzo members/account holders.
- It lets you top up your Monzo Card with a debit card.
- It can be used abroad; there are no fees, and you get the wholesale MasterCard exchange rate (meaning you don’t need to find a money exchange).
- It also tracks your spending when you’re abroad.
- This card also allows you to withdraw cash at most cash machines for free like any other debit card.
- The app can also be password protected making transactions safer.
- Tip: You could try loading a certain amount into your card per month and challenge yourself to only use this card for your purchases, forcing you to keep to your budget.
Food & groceries
You may have heard of MySupermarket.com which compares the prices of groceries across different supermarkets, but you don’t really want to bring your laptop to a supermarket while you are scanning the shelves.
Luckily, they have developed an app; create your weekly shopping list on your phone and the app will tell you which supermarket is the cheapest and if there is a special offer going on.
You can even scan barcodes in store and the app will tell you if it is cheaper somewhere else.
To download go to Compare Supermarkets on Google Play.
The best way to save money on food is to cook for yourself rather than eating out. But have you ever been left with a lot of mix and match ingredients but don’t know what to do with them? Rather than throwing them away or trying to experiment and ending up with inedible food, you could try using the Big Oven app.
All you have to do is list the leftover ingredients that you have in your fridge or cupboard, and it will recommend a few recipes. You can even upload your own creations into it, to share with others.
Alternatively, if you’re stuck for ideas, you can browse through their student-friendly options for inspiration.
To download go to BigOven on Google Play or BigOven on the App Store.
This app’s aim is to reduce waste and enhance community spirit.
Cafes who would usually throw away perfectly good food at the end of the day, instead donate it to Olio volunteers who advertise it on the app.
You can then collect the food at a time arranged between you and the volunteer, and thus reduce food waste. There is also a non-food section where anything from sofas to candles are donated and you can agree to pick them up. And if you are in need of something, you can post it on the ‘Wanted’ list.
To download go to Olio on Google Play or Olio on the App Store.
Too Good To Go
Fancy eating from cafés, restaurants, and unaffordable eateries at an affordable price? Too Good To Go allows you to purchase unsold food from eateries at the end of the service (usually at the end of the day).
This prevents food from being thrown away, allowing businesses to earn, whilst giving you a good meal at a cheaper price. It’s a win-win for users, businesses and the environment.
Participating eateries include YO! Sushi and Planet Organic. Your local favourites may also be on the app so it’s worth checking it out.
To download go to Too Good To Go on Google Play or Too Good To Go.
Shopping & eating out
This app allows you to earn cashback on your purchases. TopCashback has 5,000+ retailers including eBay, Just Eat and Expedia. A cashback of as little as 2%, especially on a large purchase, amounts to a good value.
The money adds up and can be withdrawn as a direct payment to your bank account or PayPal account. It can also be exchanged for a gift card to spend in several selected stores that you can choose from.
The rewards can be redeemed online or in-store (scan the barcode from your phone or print the voucher). Stores offering a gift card include Tesco, Just Eat, Primark, Costa, Clarks and many more. Some gift cards also offer a bonus, increasing the value of the eligible reward amount.
To download go to TopCashback on Google Play or TopCashback on the App Store.
This is a similar app to UNiDAYS. It is a good app to find discount codes for stores that are unavailable on UNiDAYS and vice-versa. Therefore, these apps can be used alongside each other to find the deals you want from the stores you want.
Some of the offers can be used online as well as in-store. For example, McDonalds offers a free cheeseburger, mayo chicken or ice cream with your meals.
To sign up use your university email, verify your student status through the email confirmation, and you’ll be set for shopping and saving.
To download go to Student Beans on Google Play or Student Beans on the App Store.
Voucher Codes allows you to browse deals and discount codes to apply on your online purchases. It is another alternative to Student Beans and UNiDAYS.
A student account also gives you access to exclusive deals. Regular events such as FOMO Fridays and free giveaways can land you vouchers in return for your purchases, such as a £10 Amazon voucher for a £5 spend.
To download go to VoucherCodes on Google Play or VoucherCodes on the App Store.
The aim of this app is to allow you to send virtual ‘hugs’ in the form a free coffee or food to a friend. But it can be used to get many free perks for yourself too.
If you download the app, you can send 5 free coffees to 5 friends (you can send one to yourself by adding yourself as a contact) and they can send one to you too! You can redeem the coffee at many independent coffee places such as: Crosstown (Soho and Piccadilly), Espresso Room (Covent Garden and Holborn), The New Black Coffee (nr Monument), Ground Coffee Society (London Bridge) and many more.
To find out more, visit Huggg.
You can get the perks of O2 Priority without committing to the O2 mobile network.
- Order a free PAYG sim from O2 and top up the minimum £10.
- Insert the sim in your phone (it will only work if your phone is unlocked) and download the O2 Priority app.
- Register by adding the code you get sent via text.
- Take out your O2 sim out & put back your original sim; you can now enjoy the perks of O2 priority without being on the network.
This initially requires a £10 investment, but after getting your first 3 coffees via the app you would have made back the £10 you spent topping up.
- Tip: If you download the Café Nero app and loyalty card, and you can get a stamp even if your drink was free; get another stamp if you bring your own reusable cup. That way you’re going to get a free drink by getting free drinks!