Even as a student living on my own, I’ve never been a coupon cutter, and that’s not because I don’t want to save money on groceries. Truthfully, the thought of flipping through flyers, cutting them out, and stuffing them in my wallet only to likely forget about them before the expiry date seems like more hassle than it is worth. But there are a few apps right now that are changing all of this for me and as a result, they are changing the way I shop and budget. Here are some apps I’ve been trying out that have been kind to my bank account and have proven themselves worthy of talking up valuable iPhone space. I’ve also rated them on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest, for the categories of “ease of use”, “effectiveness”, and “personalization”.
Chop Chop: Food and Drink Deals
I was hanging out with friends in the SLC one day when a promoter from this company approached me to tell me about their app. Though I’m not usually one to take the bait from street marketers, the concept sounded pretty useful. Chop Chop helps people find deals on food and drinks in their area. It launched last month and has over 250 restaurants and bars publishing their deals on the app. The deals are time and location sensitive so you can scout out deals closest to you happening now and in the near future. It’s also got a built-in map and gives you an estimate of how far away you are from the restaurant. I can definitely see the appeal of this app for many Ryerson students.
Ease of use: 5 | Effectiveness: 5 | Personalization: 3
Mint: Personal Finance and Budgeting
Mint is a free personal finance and budgeting tool that budgets and tracks expenses,
It’s handy if you’re looking to manage your accounts in one place. It also conveniently does the math for you by automatically updating when you check back in on your accounts. It has a neat auto-categorization feature that actually sorts out your spending by breaking it down into categories and even within categories (e.g. Entertainment: Movies; Food & drink: Coffee shops; Shopping: Clothing). You can easily see where you might need to cut back or where you have room to spend a little extra. Another awesome feature is the ability to have the app send you alerts when you have late fees, you’ve gone over budget in a category, you have a bill due, when rates change or when you’ve made a large purchase. You can also access your account through their website. For student budgeting, this app is a win.
Ease of use: 4 | Effectiveness: 5 | Personalization 5
Checkout 51: Get Paid for Your Groceries
Checkout 51 is a coupon service that basically pays you for grocery shopping. Yes, that’s right. Buy certain products, upload the receipt through the app, wait 48 hours, and you’ll get between $0.25 to a few dollars back in your account. Once you’ve accumulated $20, a cheque will be mailed to you. The range of products on the app is also pretty decent. There’s quite a few well known brands and it covers a range of categories including pantry items, snacks, dairy, meats, drinks, personal care, medicine, pets and even restaurants. Try it out.
Ease of use: 5 | Effectiveness 5| Personalization 4
Flipp: Digital Flyers
Flipp is another coupon-collecting service. This one puts all your local flyers into one paperless app. The flyers even look just like the ones that get mailed to you. The perk of this digital format allows you to cut-out coupons with the tap of your finger and save them for later. You can also search for products and compare at stores around you. Doing this before checking out at the store can be really handy for getting the best deal. Again, paperless and organized. It has my approval.
Ease of use: 5 | Effectiveness: 4 | Personalization: 4
Ritual: Skip the Line
If you hate waiting in line at cafes and restaurants, this next app is for you. Once you sign up for a Ritual account using your email, phone number, credit card and a photo (so the restaurant workers can recognize you), you’ll be able to order directly from your phone with a few clicks and skip the line once you get there. There’s an impressive number of restaurants in Toronto on Ritual, and the convenience of ordering on your phone really comes in handy at busy places. You can use my code ROBYN1325 to get $10 to use at any place on the app. Once you have an account, give your promo code to others so you can both earn rewards.
Ease of use: 5 | Effectiveness: 5 | Personalization 4
What are your favourite apps that help you budget and save? Let us know @RUStudentLife.