Hey everyone! This post kind of has a different flavor from what I typically write, so I was a little hesitant to post it. But at the same time, I’ve been trying to be more money-conscious lately, and it’s been an exciting journey, and with all other exciting things, I like to write about it.
There are several ways to save money simply by using your phone (apps, surveys, etc.), and I’ve been trying some of them out here and there. Although I haven’t used any of these apps or websites too intensely, I have been relatively happy with some of my experiences. I see their potential in helping me earn and save a little extra, and I just wanted to take the time to share them with you fellow college students (or just technology-loving money savers). Here are just six of my favorites.
As a college student, you can sign up for Amazon Prime Student to get a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime, followed by 50% off of your Prime membership for up to four years. The Prime membership gives you access to FREE two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as many other perks. But let’s be honest, free and fast shipping is all a person really needs (for me anyway). When you sign up, you receive a referral link from which you can earn $10 in Amazon credit for every person who signs up.
I’m a huge fan of shopping on Amazon, so I save a lot through the free trial (and even the 50% off membership). Not having to pay shipping is a huge plus as well. I definitely recommend Student Prime to any college student, and I’ll hopefully write more about Amazon savings.
2. N26 Bank
This app won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re in Europe or plan to visit for a while, check this one out. N26 is an online banking account headquartered in Germany, but available throughout the Eurozone. I came across the bank when I was studying abroad in Spain. I wanted a European bank account, but I didn’t want to deal with opening a bank account in a different language or providing a bunch of documentation. N26 was the perfect choice for me. Just a simple card and bank account, accessible at my finger-tips, and easy to create.
When signing up, you simply provide basic personal information, a phone number, and an address in one of its countries. Once you are signed up, you must provide identification through a quick video call. Approval is immediate, and the MasterCard arrives just a few days later. Easy stuff!
I would highly recommend this app to anyone who will be studying abroad in Europe. You can find more information about withdrawals, money transfers, and card information by downloading the app or looking on the N26 website. I am not too familiar with those, but I can say, if all you’re looking for is a European account without the fees and with complete online accessibility, this is the app for you.
Even if you’re just in Europe on a short-term trip, you can easily apply. Just make sure you have an address and phone number to use when signing up (your hostel’s information will do just fine).
How can N26 save you money? Well for one, it can be the perfect place to create your European travel fund. I hope to return to Europe someday, and having another bank account (especially a foreign and online one) will make it easy to keep my money where it belongs. N26 is also a great place to avoid bank fees that many European banks have, as well as the exchange rates and international fees that an American card may accrue abroad. You can follow my referral link and sign up for the app here.
Shopkick is honestly one of my favorite shopping apps. You get rewards simply by shopping! Specifically, you earn points (kicks) for entering a store, scanning specific store items and receipts, and linking your card to your account. You can then redeem your points for gift cards and products.
I enjoy Shopkick so much because it turns my shopping experience into a scavenger hunt. I’ll walk around the store trying to locate whatever candle or deodorant the app wants me to scan on my phone. It’s a fun way to earn a little extra while at the store.
It can, however, take sometime to earn rewards, depending on how much you use (don’t use) the app. I’ve used Shopkick maybe 13 times, pretty much all at the same store. I forget a lot of the times since I don’t have location services or notifications on for the app. So far, I’ve earned 735 kicks, which I think is pretty good (every 250 kicks=$1). I earn all of my kicks from the walk-ins and in-store scans only, so I haven’t spent any extra money in the process. I can imagine rewards adding up even more quickly if you visit multiple stores or if you purchase the products. I’d definitely check it out!
A great way to make a little extra money is to sell unwanted gift cards! I’ve had a $50 Forever21 gift card sitting in my wallet for a while, and I decided to just turn it into money that I would use. There are plenty of websites where you can both buy and sell gift cards, but Cardpool.com was the winner for this one.
When selling a card, you can choose to sell it directly to Cardpool (get paid faster), or you can sell it through Cardpool by setting your own price (get paid more). I chose to sell my card directly, and I received $34.25 (about 70% of its value). I was able to send it electronically, and I’ll be getting a check in the mail soon. There is also an option to earn 6% more by receiving an Amazon gift card as a reward, but I preferred cash.
Cardpool was a good choice for me because I could sell it immediately and directly, I didn’t have to mess with mailing it in, and I could receive cash back. Plus it seemed to have the best payout that I was finding. Another plus to the website is that you can buy discounted gift cards, allowing you to save up to 35% at some of your favorite places! Click here to get $5 off your first purchase.
Now that we’re talking about gift cards, here’s another website to help you out. I found GiftcardGranny when looking for a website that would take a $20 Maurices gift card (Cardpool only accepts $25 and higher). At GiftcardGranny, I was able to type in the store and the value of my card, and the website directed me to the highest payout (it brought me to ABC Cards, which gave me $12).
GiftcardGranny gives you points when you make purchases from its partners, share deals, and submit coupons. It’s overall a good website for savings, and you’ll get rewards back in gift cards.
To be honest, I haven’t used Swagbucks too much. I’ve never really been into completing surveys, but I feel like this a good website for people who do. You earn points (Swagbucks) by shopping at stores, answering surveys, watching videos, etc. They can then be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards. On top of that, if you refer someone to Swagbucks, both you and that person can receive $5 in Swagbucks. You will also earn 10% their earnings. If you’re into surveys and stuff, that’s a good way to make a little extra in rewards.
That’s all I have for now. I will probably write more detailed posts about some of these (specifically N26 or Amazon because I could go on and on about them), but I can honestly say that these are good starting points if you want to earn a little bit extra. I hope to use them more and learn more about them, and I hope that you can enjoy them as well. Happy saving!