When most people think of a "college student budget", they think of college kids living off of ramen cups and tuna fish cans for their meals. However, this stereotype is constantly being broken with the multitude of money saving apps that allow college students to eat and shop well, even on a tight budget. Here are 7 apps that help you save money on food, clothes, and other purchases around campus


Amanda Arnone

Hooked is one of my favorite apps for saving money on food purchases. It simply takes businesses in the local area who have paired with the app and gives you free coupons depending on the day of the week. These coupons are for various restaurants and last for a 2 hour time frame before new coupons appear.

There are no in-app purchases, just free coupons! Hooked is really interesting because the only areas the app is valid are on certain college campuses. It focuses on the college student population because they know that paying for tuition can take a big chunk out of our savings. 

meat, chicken, sauce
Megan Ryan

Examples of coupons on the University of Florida campus include free chips and a drink from Firehouse Subs, $5 wings from World of Beer, 50% off any 32 or 40 ounce smoothie from Smoothie King, or a $5 large pizza from Hungry Howies.

Gift Certificates and More

Amanda Arnone

Gift Certificates and More, also known as GCM, is another free coupon app. You get free coupons to redeem at many restaurants, including popular chains like Chick-fil-A and Tijuana Flats or local chains like Relish in Gainesville. Some of the best offers I've experienced are free ice cream at Coldstone and 50% off everything at Hurricane BTW.

This app is similar to Hooked in that it's only specific to certain areas. So far, the app only reaches Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, Florida. However, there are large Universities in those areas, so if you're a student at a campus in these cities, you're in luck!

Mackenzie Patel

The only downside to the app is the allowed amount of redemptions a month. You are only allowed one redemption, unless you upgrade to GCM+ for a fee of 99 cents a month ($9.99 for a year). If you use the app often, these fees will pay for themselves in no time!

Firehouse Subs App

Amanda Arnone

I'm not sure about you, but Firehouse Subs is my absolute favorite sub shop of all time. Their sandwiches are to die for! If you are a frequent sub shopper like me, the Firehouse Subs App is a must-have. At check out, you are able to type in your phone number to earn points on every purchase. For every 1 cent you spend, you get 1 point on the app. These points add up, and you can earn anything from extra meat on a sub to a free large sub. 

Amanda Arnone

This app is also great because you get a free medium sub on your birthday. The best kind of present: food! Also, from time to time, the app will reward you a free cookie with any purchase without having to redeem any points. 

The best way to utilize the point system is to go to Firehouse on Mondays because it's double points day! You'll be on your way to earning those free subs even faster. 

Target App

Amanda Arnone

Most college campuses have a Target somewhere relatively close to campus. Every Target shopper should know about the Target App. This app, previously known as Cartwheel, allows shoppers to scan items in their shopping cart to bring up coupons. Not every item in the store has a coupon but a majority of them do.

Megan Cooper

It is almost guaranteed that one of the Target brand items in your cart probably has a deal on Cartwheel. It could be something small like 5% off milk or something bigger like 25% off clothing. No matter the percentage, it all adds up! Over the past couple years of having the app, I've saved over $500! Imagine all the food I could buy with all that money I've saved, especially the Target brand snacks.

Pocket Points

Amanda Arnone

Pocket Points is an app that motivates you to stay off your phone in class by rewarding you with points. With these points, you can redeem a wide range of rewards. At the University of Florida, you can redeem coupons at the UF Bookstore or at restaurants like Larry's Giant Subs and Buffalo Wild Wings! The longer you keep your phone locked, the more points you earn: it's simple!

This app also works on high school campuses. Teachers can use the app to encourage students to stay off their phone by allowing students to redeem extra credit for their points! This app has a lot of benefits from awesome rewards to creating healthy screen time habits and helping you stay focused in class.


Amanda Arnone

Shopkick is an app that rewards you just for walking into the stores you already shop at. As you walk into your favorite retail store, simply open the app to earn points for being there. You can earn additional points by submitting your receipt or scanning items in the store. You can use these points to redeem gift cards at Target, Walmart, or even Amazon! It's perfect for grocery shopping. 

Chick-fil-A One

Amanda Arnone

Most college campuses include the best fast food chain of all time: Chick-fil-A. Similar to the Firehouse Subs App, you earn points for the amount of money you spend. Here, you earn 10 points for every $1 you spend. All you have to do is scan your QR code at checkout. These points can be used to redeem a wide range of menu items, like an ice cream cone, a medium side of fries, or an entire Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Another great perk is the amount of free items the app gives out. Many Chick-fil-A branches will give out free menu items just for being a local customer! You also receive a reward on your birthday. There's a lot of perks that come with the Chick-fil-A app, so download it to start earning points for some delicious chicken nuggets. 

Sara LaForge

What Are You Waiting For?

beer, tea, coffee
Spoon University

I've had these apps for a few years now, and I've saved over hundreds of dollars. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's true! If you actively start saving money through these apps, every single dollar adds up. Money saved is more money to treat yourself during exam week. We all know that's when we need it the most.