A college student's iPhone serves many purposes. The camera is basically a visual note-taking device. It's loaded with games, it connects to social media, it's got note taking and organizational tools, and ... well ... just about everything else you could possibly imagine a phone having.
But every cool app the phone offers is just another distraction when it comes to a student's financial planning. However, there are a handful of inexpensive apps that help students plan their lives. Let's take a look at a few apps that can help students plan their budget and save money.
There's a lot to consider when approaching tuition for a college -- loan options, grants, scholarships, and of course, income. The i-FinAid app helps students crunch the numbers. The app collects the student's personal information, such as their parent's income, state of residence, their college's cost of attendance (COA), and other statistics. With all of that information, the app calculates how much money the student is likely going to have to pay out of pocket for a specific college.
The app is a good tool not only for students who have already decided where they're going for college; it's also a great app for students who are considering multiple colleges and want to take into account how much tuition at each college would cost. In that way, this app is great for determining how much money a student could potentially save on a school.
The app also gives representative samples of different colleges' COA, and it also helps determine a student's eligibility for the Pell Grant. The creators of the app also note in the description that while they ask for a lot of data, they don't ask for nearly as much as the FAFSA would ask. They also note that this app will prepare students and parents for meetings with financial aid officers.
The downside with this app, of course, is the price tag. Is it worth two bucks to figure out tuition when, through a bit of math, you might be able to figure it out on your own? It depends on how much the user-friendliness and ease of the app appeals to you.
For all the money that students have to spend on tuition, they're going to have to make some to balance it out. And at the end of the semester, one easy way to get some quick cash is to get rid of the old textbooks. BookCircus will buy your books back, and you can do the entire transaction from your phone. The app calculates how much money a student could get from selling his or her textbooks.
Just enter the ISBN number into the app, and it'll pop up the amount that you could make from selling the book. Then, BookCircus will email you a printable slip and instructions for how to send them the book. Once they get the book, you'll get a check. The other option, of course, is to sell it to your school's book store. However, many school bookstores have a stringent deadline for when they buy back books, so BookCircus serves as a good alternative.
Campus Clipper, free
This one's specifically for students in New York City -- the Campus Clipper offers coupons to businesses of interest to college students in the city. It's definitely worth it since it doesn't cost a thing. If only there was a similar app for the rest of the country.
Tuition Tab, $0.99
While the i-FinAid app is a pretty serious evaluation of how much money college realistically costs, Tuition Tab is quite a bit sillier. The app tracks how much the tuition for a class costs down to the second. Then, each week, you can track how late a teacher is to class or whether or not class was canceled. Then, at the end of the semester, based on how many minutes and seconds of the class have been wasted, the app calculates how much money the college technically owes you.
Now are you actually going to get that money back? Probably not. But it is sort of a fun way to keep track of whether or not you get your money's worth.
Other, non student-specific options:
The App Store has a wealth of finance-based apps. There's actually an entire section dedicated to it, offering everything from stock-based apps to coupon apps to expense trackers. Another great offering is that a few major banks, such as Chase and Bank of America, offer iPhone apps, so it's easy to check your account balance and make simple transactions out of pocket. And there's the Mint.com app, which helps manage your money on the go. But that's the big, obvious, nice thing about the App Store -- you can pick up inexpensive and free apps that serve your needs.
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