10 Apps Every College Grad Needs to Download

Remember the days when we had to use a different gadget for every single thing we did? A dashboard GPS, a GameBoy, an Excel spreadsheet to budget. How great is it to have a tiny computer that does all of that and more, right in our back pockets? Phones aren’t just for phone calls anymore, despite what your elders may grumble about.

In a world full of Baby Boomers accusing our generation of forever and always having our noses stuck in our phones, here’s a list of applications to download to prove to them that technology isn’t always so bad. These will all help you to save time, save money and improve your post-graduate days in the real world, and show Grandpa what that technology can really do.

1. GasBuddy

With the near constant, often unpredictable fluctuation of gas prices, Gas Buddy is a life-saver. Especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory and in need of a fill-up. This app uses your location to tell you how far each gas station is from you, tells you what amenities it has (like restrooms, ATMs, and air), gives you options for directions and gives the last-reported price (and the report’s time) for each one. If you arrive and the price is different, you can report the changes so that everybody knows the correct cost!

Get it here, for iOS and Android, for free!

2. Waze

Unlike your built-in map apps, Waze is interactive and informative thanks to other users in your area. Reports of speed traps, spotted cop cars, potholes in the road, traffic jams, cars in the shoulder and more let you know what your commute is going to look like at any given time. You can set your home and work addresses as defaults, and when using the navigation feature, it will let you know when any of the above issues are coming up. That way, if traffic is going to get in your way, you can recalculate! It also shows restaurants, stores and gas station prices.

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free! 

3. SpotHero or Parkmobile

SpotHero negotiates deals with other parking facilitators, and can save you up to 50 percent on regular parking costs! You can look at their maps to see which garages and lots are available to you, and you can book in advance to make it easy to get in and out when you’re in a rush!

Colie Lumbreras, a graduate of the University of Iowa and a Web Content Administrator at NorthShore University HealthSystem, uses SpotHero all the time. “I live in a Chicago suburb and when I go to the city I need SpotHero to park,” she says. “It saves me so much money when parking. It's magical!”

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

Parkmobile has their own spaces, and has placed signs in their parking spots to make it easy to identify and rent them! Once you’ve started your parking session, you can easily check back in with the app to see how much longer you have and, in many cases, stop or extend your session. They’ll even send you a notification when you’re down to 15 minutes left. It can also remind you where you parked, just in case you forget.

Caitlin Carey, a graduate of Emory University and an Operations Specialist at CEB, uses Parkmobile. “I can pay for parking right from my phone,” she says, and that makes the process a lot less stressful.

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

4. Public Transit Apps

Even with the previous apps, morning commutes, filling your tank and parking your car may not be something you want to fight with on your way to work. Maybe you don’t even have a car! If that’s the case, it’s time to look into an app that can help you plot out your travels for the day. Now we can’t tell you which specific app to download here without knowing where you live, as there are tons out there specific to different cities, but if you’ve never thought to look into an app to help track your bus schedule or train’s arrival, the research for your area will be worth your time.

For example, Katherine Mirani, News Editor for Her Campus, uses Greenline and OkCommuter in the Boston area! “The Greenline app tells me how long I'll have to wait until the train comes based on my stop, and OkCommuter is a bus tracker that's fairly accurate, which is so rare,” she says. “It really helps with not having to stand outside for long periods of time.”

You can get Greenline and OkCommuter here and here, respectively, for iOS, for free. To find similar apps for your area, try searching for trackers for the company that manages your public transit (for example, CDTA in Albany, MARTA in Atlanta, etc).

5. Mint or Digit

Mint allows you to connect your accounts all in one place, where it tracks your spending and allows you to create budgets to help you better manage your money. Mint will even send you messages when it notices unusual account changes, creates custom tips to help you reduce your spending and save your money, and can generate a free credit score.

Lindsey Thompson, a senior at Drexel, loves Mint. “You set separate budgets for categories like ‘taxis’ or ‘alcohol and bars’ and it categorizes each purchase,” she says. “It really helped me cut down on eating out and shopping once I saw how much I was actually spending in those categories!”

Caitlin uses Mint all the time, too. “Depending on your notification settings, it'll also send you a weekly email showing you how you spent your money that week, and how well you stayed within your budgets,” she says.

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

Digit, on the other hand, actively works to save you money. After you link your checking account, it will analyze your income and expenditures to see what you can afford to set aside. Every few days it will transfer a small amount (only if you can afford it) to your Digit savings account and, when you’re ready to spend those savings, a simple text transfers it right back to your checking account! There are no associated fees, it offers overdraft protection, and is FDIC insured!

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

Related: Post-College Expenses: What to Expect

6. Honey

This one is a little bit of a cheat. Honey isn’t actually an app; it’s a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, but it’s worth the installation. When you’re ready to checkout on any site, Honey will automatically pop up on the side of the window. You hit search, and it’ll automatically rifle through the web to find you coupon codes to help save money!

Get it here for Firefox and here for Chrome, for free!

7. Venmo

Venmo allows you to transfer money to or request money from just about anybody, as easily as snapping your fingers. By using the money others have paid you, or by linking you bank account, you can pay back your mother in Ohio for the money you borrowed for your late car payment or your roommate for the groceries. You can request your little brother pay you back for the charge he made to your credit card, and store those funds within the app, or transfer them back to your bank account. You can also use it to make payments in mobile apps if you’re weary of linking your card to them.

“Living in the digital age, Venmo is essentially an electronic wallet and a quick and easy way to split bills among your friends, pay people back, or ensure that you get paid back,” Juliane, a senior at George Mason University, says.

Kayla Hoey, a junior at Elon University, has been using Venmo for over two years. “It allows you to pay your friends back quickly and easily,” she says. And the best part is, it's completely secure.
 

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

8. Mercari (or other resale apps)

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pull Plato’s Closet out of your pocket? Well, you kind of can, and it’s actually even better than Plato’s! There are many resale apps out there, like Poshmark, Vinted, and Depop, but Mercari is our favorite because, through November 29, their 10% seller’s fee is waived. You can buy and sell shoes, clothes, records, makeup, perfumes and more, all from the comfort of your own home! The seller’s fee is only 10 percent, and you decide the shipping costs. As a buyer, if you purchase more than one item from the same seller, they will usually discount the items, and it will save you on shipping.

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

If you sign up with this code, KWVYND, you’ll get $2 to apply to your first purchase!

9. Nike+ Training Club

This fitness app comes fully equipped with tons of ready-made workouts for any person or occasion. Touted as “your ultimate personal trainer,” the app comes with audio and visual instructions from experts for every move necessary and has plans to help you reach the level of fitness you desire, even if you don’t know what level that is just yet.

Michaela Bonner loves the Nike+ app! “It literally changed my health and my life for the better! There are over 100 workouts to choose from based on time, difficulty and available equipment,” she says, and the workouts are gender-neutral and non-shaming. “I like how the workouts are named things like 'The Accelerator' or 'Empty the Tank,' rather than less body-positive ones that focus more on burning all that fat!"

You can even enter in other exercises, like riding your bike or playing basketball, which will help the app to tailor your personalized fitness plan.

Get it here for iOS and Android, for free!

10. Pocket

Are you one of those people that have maxed out your mobile tabs due to all of the articles you’ve left pulled up to read later? Is your desktop browser running super slow because of all of the things you want to come back and look at when you have the time? Pocket is an app you’re definitely going to need! It’s compatible with your web browser, email, and tons of other apps, and allows you to store all of those web pages, like articles, recipes and videos, that you want to check later in one place, without them clogging up your browser’s space or speed! You can follow friends and celebs to see recommended pages and, with your account, you can access your Pocket on any device.

Get it here for iOS and Android, and your desktop browser, for free!

From finding the best place to fill up your tank to avoiding traffic on the daily commute to getting great deals on new clothes to creating a virtual library to store any web page you want to see to upping your fitness game, each of these apps can help you to save time and money now that you’re out here in the real world. Tell Grandpa we said, “You’re welcome!”

 

About The Author

A 20-something or other with an appreciation for the following: emergency medicine, lipstick, the suburban mother wine culture, commas, musical theatre and Taylor Swift. Chances are you'll find her at Chick-fil-a, screeching along to the radio with the windows down, or buried in blankets crying over overly-dramatic television.

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