Balancing your life as a student is hard, especially if it's the first time you've been out on your own. The good news is, smartphones give us access to all kinds of new apps that can de-stress your student life and guide you through a well-rounded, successful college experience.
Manage Your Money
Chances are, you're in the process of learning how to manage your own budget. It's important to have your personal banking app to check your balance, deposit checks, and manage your activity. If you can, go for a credit union — these institutions are not-for-profit, so bankers are not concerned with turning a profit and can focus on your needs.
Once your banking is in the bag, bring your budget to Mint. This money management app can help you create and stick to a budget, will send you alerts and help you set up bill pay, and check your credit score while giving you tips to help it improve. You can also use Venmo to send or request money from friends so you don't have to worry about splitting checks or divvying up groceries.
Public transit is affordable and can be easy to use with the right tools. Many large cities have their own metro apps, but you can also use Transit. Transit serves over 125 regions and allows you to plan a trip or see when the next bus or train will arrive. Google Maps another great option and is accessible in most cities.
If you're looking to get out of town, use Skyscanner or Kiwi to find cheap flights. Skyscanner will allow you to choose fixed dates and shows you all the places you could go, allowing you to choose your own adventure. Where most apps will show you routes using single airlines, Kiwi will also show you flights that feature a combination of airlines. Finally, never be afraid to go back to the old classics. Kayak and Expedia have reliable flight deals, while also allowing you to bundle them with other vacation necessities.
You don't have to have a Fitbit or smartwatch to track your fitness. MyFitnessPal is a great all-in-one tool to help you keep track of how many calories you're taking in, as well as how many calories you are burning. Input your workouts and your meals, and MyFitnessPal will keep you accountable to your own fitness goals.
Similarly, JEFIT allows you to create personalized workout routines, keep training logs, and analyze your workouts to help you track your progress. Strava and the MapMyFitness apps offer similar features, and you can share your cycling and running routes with friends. If you're a runner and are in need of a little motivation, check out Zombies, Run! This game gives you missions through your headphones, and if you happen to be spotted by zombies you've got to speed up!
Step Up Your Study Game
Getting out of the house will help you kick your brain into high gear. However, you'll need to hook up with the best free Wi-Fi. There are a few different resources that help you scope out free Wifi nearby but the Free Wi-Fi Map app is my favorite.
Once you've settled into your study zone, you can use Wunderlist for creating to-do lists, OneNote for taking notes, and SelfControl to keep you off social media. Anki and Quizlet are great too for flashcards and simple study tools.
A hardship we all know to well is the cost of textbooks. Luckily tons are available online because at the end of the semester your bookstore will offer a laughable percentage of what you paid in the buyback. If you do need to get some textbooks off your hands, check out TextbookRush to get a little money back.
Eat, Explore, and Entertain
Finally, you want to have yourself a good time. Spotluck is great for finding discounted meals, and it works in most cities. There are several other coupon apps you can try but the majority will only be helpful in particular cities, college towns usually. Groupon is probably my favorite mostly because it works so well in almost every city. Look up the Groupon things to do page designed for your city and you'll find discounts on meals, tickets, and other stuff you'd buy discount or not. You can use it to travel too. A few weeks ago I was in Ohio visiting family, I used the Things To Do In Columbus page and didn't buy a meal that wasn't at least half off.
If you aren't up for going out, MealBoard stores recipes and plans meals generate grocery lists AND keep track of your pantry. If you don't have time to cook at home, you can also have Postmates or Grubhub deliver your favorites right to your pad. If you're sharing a meal with friends, chances are you'll want to go out and DoStuff. This app helps you find events in 20 cities around North America. Similarly, Bandsintown sends you alerts when your jams roll into town, or you can simply scroll through upcoming gigs.
For anyone looking to get outside, AllTrails should be your go-to resource for finding hike reviews and ratings or for documenting which trails you've explored. They even keep track of which trails are dog-friendly!
If getting fit, studying, or exploring the city sounds like it would be more fun with a group, check out Meetup. This app allows you to mingle with like-minded people and is the ultimate way to connect and share your full life experience, any way you want it.