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Money Saving Apps for Your Budgeting Needs

For the majority of students, the hardest part of creating and sticking to a budget is having the discipline to continue monitoring it. Part of the reason some shy away from sticking to their budget, is they have a hard time trimming down their current expenses. Today, we are going to explore some of the unique options that are out there to both save money and possibly make a little extra on the side.

Before we start, I would like to review the steps of the budgeting process. First, you need to understand how and where you are spending your money. To do that, you must first estimate what you think you are spending on a monthly basis. This will set the bar to see whether you are aware of your spending habits. Next, you will need to keep track of your actual spending for at least a month. You can do this by saving receipts, journaling purchases, or any other way that works for you. This is a very important step because once you know what you are actually spending; you will be able to see the gaps in what you estimated, compared to what you are currently spending. By doing the first two steps, you are now aware of where your money is going and what changes you can make.

This is where we are at today. When you look for places in your budget to trim expenses, and therefore save money, it can seem a little overwhelming. Here are some options that are available on your smart device to help you save money without necessarily changing your money behaviors entirely.

For Shopping/Entertainment:

  1. Shopkick

If you are one of many who have troubles sticking to your shopping budget, Shopkick is a great app for you. This app allows you to receive free gift cards for the shopping you already do. You can browse products and discover great deals at stores like Target, Starbucks, Best Buy, and more. When you shop, you can earn free points, called “kicks,” and redeem them for gift cards of your choice. If you value your shopping, this is an app that can be of great value to you. Available for: iOS and Android

  1. RetailMeNot

With this app, you can browse thousands of coupons and deals to hundreds of popular retail stores and restaurants. You can save the coupons that you want for easy access and reminders of expiration dates. Why would you pay full price when you can take advantage of discounts, sales and promotions? RetailMeNot brings all of those deals into one place! Available for: iOS and Android

  1. Groupon

This app has a little bit of everything! It offers deals on everything from restaurants to retailers, to hotels along with many other entertainment venues. You can search by location and find many deals on the best stuff to eat, see and do near you. In my opinion, Groupon may have the most options for you to save money, while enjoying life and remaining loyal to your budget. Available for: iOS, Android, and Windows

Eating Out Locally:

  1. Pocket Points

Recently brought to Kansas State University, Pocket Points offers many deals and free items by simply staying off of your smart phone. This is practically free money! This app gives students rewards for not using their phone during class or while on campus. All you have to do is open to application, lock your phone, and watch your points build up. You can then use these points to receive discounts, deals, and free items at restaurants, and stores in Manhattan. Pocket Points is a GREAT way to trim down your monthly expenses. Give it a shot, it is definitely worth staying off your phone! And hey, maybe you’ll meet someone new. Available for: iOS and Android

  1. Tapingo

Joining Pocket Points on Kansas State’s campus, the Tapingo application is another great option for you. This app lets you order on the go and pick it up when it is ready. No need to stand in line! It will definitely add convenience and time back into your schedule. To make it even better, periodically they will offer promotions to help you save money at these campus restaurants. Available for: iOS and Android

  1. EatStreet

EatStreet is another great option for you when looking for food to order. Use your location to find great deals and discounts on the top local restaurants. Find what you are craving and experience the convenience of ordering from your phone. Make sure to check back weekly for new deals! Available for: iOS and Android

Earn Some Extra Income

  1. JoyRun

The JoyRun application is delivery for friends, by friends. It is a delivery service made up by people in your community. If you are stuck at home, request a run from one of your favorite places and a JoyRunner can bring you the food. By creating an account on the app, you can also be the JoyRunner! Going out to eat? Start a run, set your delivery fee and see if anyone wants anything picked up. This is a very unique app that could allow you to make some extra cash without having to do a whole lot. Available for: iOS and Android

  1. Uber

Looking for part-time job? Sign up to be an Uber driver and work only when you want to! After you meet Uber’s requirements, you can become a registered Uber driver and start earning money by driving clients to their destination. So if you need extra income to keep your budget from going in the “red,” sign up today! Available for: iOS and Android

Need Help Budgeting?

  1. Mint

Is it hard finding a budget that works for you? Try Mint! This personal finance application will allow you to track your budget, bills and money. You can get started on your computer or phone. This app brings together your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments so you know exactly where you stand. By syncing your accounts, your monthly expenses will automatically be transferred to your Mint account, making budgeting very simple. Available for: iOS, Android, PC

Do You Need Some Further Assistance?

Are you taking advantage of these great opportunities and still having a hard time creating and sticking to your budget? If so, schedule an appointment with Powercat Financial and a Peer Counselor would be happy to help you get on the right track!

Nolan Keim – Peer Counselor II

How to Treat Yourself on a Budget

Image result for halloween and money

Spending money within your financial means is important—but it is also important to prevent yourself from getting stressed out by your finances. Thankfully, there are ways in today’s world to refrain from spending money yet, letting you treat yourself every once in a while. Here are some ways you can give your wallet a break, and relax.

Download Free Phone Applications

Would you stay off of your phone in class for free pizza? If so, download the application, Pocket Points. The app knows when you are on campus, and will give you points for the time you spend off of your phone once you open the app and lock your phone. You can redeem your points for various prizes—one being free Jeff’s pizza. This is a simple way to pay better attention in class and reward yourself for a hard week of studying without having to touch your wallet.

Sign Up for Restaurant Emails and Coupons

 If you ever have a hankering for a certain restaurant, make sure to see if they have coupons on their website. Most places have an email club you can opt into to receive coupons, or the website may direct you to their app for your phone. For example, if you download the Baskin-Robbins app, you receive various coupons—one being for a free scoop of ice cream. Need a pick-me-up after an exam? Go for a free scoop!

Go Adventuring

We take for granted the many different places surrounding our town of Manhattan. If you are tight on money for the month but need a getaway, there are so many nature-made destinations nearby. Go hike the Konza Prairie, take a walk around Tuttle Creek, or enjoy the sunset On Top of the World. For more information on different places to explore and events in the area, check out the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau website, www.manhattancvb.org.

Avoid Peer Pressure

One of the easiest ways to avoid spending more money than you are earning is to communicate with your friends about your financial situation. Tell your roommate to deny any request you have to go to the mall because you know it’s not in your budget, or communicate that you can only afford one trip out to eat this month. We are all college students—chances are, they are in the same situation, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to make a budget with Powercat Financial Counseling, you can do so at www.ksu.edu/pfc. Once you start tracking your expenses, you will know when and how you can “treat yourself”. After all, college is hard, and everyone needs a break sometimes.

Allison Becker
Peer Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

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