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Save Money

17 best money saving apps

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Load your phone up with these apps that'll help you save money and send an instant cash boost straight to your pocket.

people holding phones with pound signs behind them

Credit: paitoon, Dean Drobot – Shutterstock

Without sounding too much like your granny, smartphones have changed how we do pretty much everything in life, and saving money is no exception.

There are literally hundreds of apps out there with the sole purpose of helping you save. It's just a matter of digging them out and working out which are best.

Luckily for you, we've rolled up our sleeves and done the hard work for you by trying and testing some of the most popular apps to help you save money. We've checked out everything from personal finance apps, to cashback apps, to apps that tell you what to cook with your leftover scraps.

Here are our favourites!

It's not just apps that can save you money. Check out our list of money-saving resources for more.

Best apps to save money

Here are the best money-saving apps:

personal finance apps on picture of laptop and calculator

Credit: fizkes – Shutterstock

  1. Starling

    starling app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Knowing your spending and learning to budget.

    Starling Bank is a purely app-based bank, leading the way in the digital banking revolution. Despite having no high street branches they hold a full banking licence, allowing you to open a current account from your phone in minutes.

    You even earn interest on money held in the account!

    As an app, Starling goes way beyond traditional banking with a whole raft of useful budgeting and security features built into the experience.

    For example, if you want to limit yourself to £200 of spending money each month, simply transfer £200 from your main student bank account (worth keeping for the 0% interest overdraft) to your Starling account. Then only use your Starling card for the month and track your spending via the app.

    This is where Starling really comes into its own. The app alerts you immediately when you spend money and does a great job of organising all your purchases into categories like food, shopping and bills.

    You can keep a lid on your spending by setting yourself some budgets, which Starling helpfully displays in clear (and colourful) graphs. The app will also send you notifications if you're overspending.

    There are no penalties or rules against having multiple current accounts, so if you like the idea of limiting yourself to a set amount of money to spend, and tracking what you do buy, open a free Starling account and treat it as a prepaid account.

    What we like most about Starling: It puts the fun back into budgeting by gamifying things a bit. Weirdly, it's kinda fun when you get a notification that you just hit your monthly grocery budget... until you realise that means beans on toast for a week.

    Get Starling »


    Starling isn't the only digital banking app – we've reviewed all the best app-only bank accounts.
  2. Monzo

    Monzo logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Smartphone-based money management.

    Now, this app is very similar to Starling but we love to offer an alternative for balance.

    They've got all the best bits about app-based banking including real-time notifications, the ability to freeze your card if you lose it and lots of saving features.

    Read our full Monzo review.

    What we like most about Monzo: You can spend abroad without extra fees.

    Get Monzo »


  3. ATM Locator

    ATM locator logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – Android
    • Good for – Finding free cash machines.

    This is a great little app, especially for those days and nights out in a city you don't know so well. We've all been there, where you're running about like a headless chicken looking for a cash machine because you're somewhere that only takes cash, or their card machine is broken.

    What's even worse is if you finally end your headless chicken pilgrimage only to find that the ATM you've found charges an arm and a leg to use. Seriously?

    The ATM Locator app uses geolocation to find all of the nearest cashpoints in your area and displays them on a map. It even tells you which ones charge and which ones don't.

    What we like most about ATM Locator: It works worldwide – perfect for when you're abroad and even less likely to know where the nearest cash machine is.

    Get ATM Locator »


  4. Chip

    Chip logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Putting aside money without even trying.

    Saving money can be hard – especially as a student when you're reluctant to put any money away in case you need it later (which, let's face it, you probably will).

    Fortunately, automatic save bots like Chip can do it all for you, without you ever having to worry about a thing.

    Once you've given it access to your bank account, Chip will start monitoring your spending. It'll look at your incomings and outgoings and from there, it calculates how much you can afford to save each week.

    The best part is that once it's decided how much you can afford to save, it puts that much of your money away in an account without you even having to lift a finger!

    What we like most about Chip: The automatic saving function makes it effortless to put money aside.

    Get Chip »


  5. Curve

    curve logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Streamlining your spending.

    Managing how much you're spending, where you're spending it and on what card can be a tricky one to get your head around. This is why Curve has streamlined all of your cards into one!

    Allow us to explain. You register all of your cards on the app and once you receive your Curve Mastercard you'll be able to spend from any of your accounts using just that one card!

    You can choose which account you'd like to pay with by selecting the relevant card on the app. The account then becomes "active" and ready for you to use! You can also use your Curve card to draw out money from cashpoints too.

    There are a few different options you can sign up for. The free one includes a debit card, free foreign ATM withdrawals for up to £200 a month and fee-free spending abroad in over 150+ currencies for up to £1000 a month.

    Curve also guarantees against all unauthorised transactions up to £100,000.

    And you can get a free tenner by clicking on this link.

    To find out more, read our guide that explains what Curve is and how it works.

    What we like most about Curve: On top of streamlining your spending, if you use the wrong card to pay, you can go back in time and change the account your money was deducted from.

    Get Curve »


    There are loads of other automatic savings bots out there, including Plum and Chip. Give them a go and see which one works best for you.

    Shopping apps on picture of trolley in supermarket

    Credit: Michaelvbg – Shutterstock

  6. CheckoutSmart

    checkout smart logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Getting cashback.

    If ever there's a smart way to save money on your shopping it's by claiming cashback on what you buy. CheckoutSmart works by providing shoppers with a daily list of items they're offering cashback on, with different symbols indicating which major supermarkets the deal will be available at.

    All you have to then do is chase up those items, pay for them at checkout, take a photo of your receipt with your phone and then submit it on the app (although do try to be sensible here and only buy what you actually need – being lead astray by offers doesn't really count as money saving!).

    You'll then get cashback credit added straight to your account which is transferable to your bank account or PayPal.

    One small catch, however, is that if you withdraw less than £20 from your account, you'll be charged a 5% fee. Therefore, it's worth letting your earnings build up a bit before you withdraw anything.

    What we like most about CheckoutSmart: You can earn cashback for future shopping trips whilst you spend your money.

    Get CheckoutSmart »


    Again, CheckoutSmart isn't alone in the cashback app world. Have a look at Shopmium and use the code HELLO to get a freebie when you sign up.
  7. Idealo

    idealo logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Comparing prices.

    There's nothing worse than buying an item online or in a shop only to find later that you could've bought it cheaper elsewhere.

    Idealo is a lifesaver for anyone who is caught out by making impulse purchases. The minute you come across something you'd like to buy, get the Idealo app out before you part with your cash.

    All you need to do is either search for the product in the search bar or scan the product's barcode to find what price it would be from other retailers. It could literally be a case of walking two minutes down the road to another store and getting it for half the price.

    What we like most about Idealo: It makes you feel really smug knowing you're always paying the lowest price going... unless it goes on sale the next day, of course.

    Get Idealo »


  8. Vouchercloud

    vouchercloud app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Finding discounts and coupon codes.

    There are loads of voucher code apps out there to choose from, but it's easy to see why Vouchercloud is one of the most popular ones. The simplicity of the app and easy-to-use interface is a real plus point.

    You can either browse through the top featured deals to find the best around or use the 'near me' function to find out what the best deals are around your current location. Get your discount by clicking the 'Use voucher' button when it's time to pay, and a code will appear that you show to staff to redeem your discount.

    What we like most about Vouchercloud: Its 'track your savings' function lets you add up all the money you've saved using the app, which makes you feel good about being saving savvy.

    Get Vouchercloud »


  9. O2 Priority Moments

    o2 priority app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone, Android and Windows
    • Good for – Exclusive deals.

    O2 Priority Moments app is an absolute goldmine for bagging freebies and major discounts at high street stores.

    O2 also offer heaps of tickets to gigs, restaurant vouchers and other freebies. Just keep an eye on what's available and the time frame you have to redeem it.

    Not an O2 customer? Don't let this put you off! Check out our sneaky little trick to getting the benefits of O2's app without having to change networks. You will need to unlock your phone first though.

    What we like most about O2 Priority Moments: The deals are brilliant and really imaginative. There's such a wide variety of offers that you never know what's around the corner.

    Get O2 Priority Moments »


  10. musicMagpie

    musicmagpie logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Making cash off your old music and DVDs.

    You might think this is more of a money making app than a savings app, but when you think about it – what better way to save money than recycling and selling games you've already completed and DVDs you've only watched once?

    musicMagpie is a platform for selling old CDs, DVDs and games online. They've now got a free app which makes the process a lot easier and more fun, as you can keep an eye on your sales on the go.

    The inbuilt barcode scanner allows you to easily scan your items wherever you are and the app will tell you how much they're worth. You then send the items to musicMagpie (if you're happy with the money they're offering) and the cash will be in your account the next day.

    What we like most about musicMagpie: It's free! Any postal costs to send your items to them are covered by musicMagpie, so you've zero expenses to fork out.

    Extra tip:  Before you sell anything to musicMagpie, check out how much your item is going for on sites like eBay. You might find you'll make more selling on eBay despite musicMagpie's free postage policy.

    Get Music Magpie »


    Haven't got the storage for all of these apps? Here are the best ways to free up space on Android and iPhone.

    Bills apps on picture of bills

    Credit: tommaso79 – Shutterstock

  11. JouleBug

    JouleBug App logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Monitoring your utility bills and reducing waste.

    We're all guilty of being a bit wasteful from time to time when it comes to energy consumption – whether it's being a bit too free and easy with switching the heating on, taking gloriously long showers or leaving our laptops charging for days on end. It's easy to put off thinking about what you're spending until that dreaded utility bill drops through the letterbox.

    Joulebug is a brilliant app that'll certainly save you a few bob. This sustainable living app encourages people to create and stick to sustainable and environmentally friendly behaviours, ultimately saving you money on your energy bills.

    Joulebug organises sustainability tips into Actions (such as doing a cold rather than hot wash) that you Buzz in the app when you do them in real life. The app can then track the energy-efficient actions you take in your day-to-day life, and tell you how much money you have saved by doing them.

    Check out our extra info on how to save money on energy bills.

    What we like most about JouleBug: Joulebug turns living sustainably into a game where you can compete against friends and neighbours to see who is making the biggest impact.

    Get JouleBug »


  12. My Data Manager

    Data Manager App logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Reducing your data usage.

    Find yourself constantly running out of data? This is the app for you.

    My Data Manager is a great app to help you take control of your mobile data usage, make the most of your mobile data plan and prevent overspending on your phone bills.

    It works like so: the app sets up a local Virtual Private Network (VPN) service on your phone to block unwanted data usage (ie. apps that are active in the background eating up your data even though you're not using them). You can then track your data usage and see which apps are using up the most data.

    It's basically making a budget, but for your phone.

    While you're at it, make sure you're getting your money's worth out of your mobile phone contract.

    What we like most about My Data Manager: You can set custom usage alarms to notify you when you are running out of data and avoid getting charged extra.

    Get My Data Manager »


    Travel apps on globe

    Credit: Aris-Tect Group – Shutterstock

  13. Trainline

    trainline app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Budget travel.

    If you find yourself making a lot of trips home by train to visit the folks, or travelling between cities to visit mates at other unis, you've probably used Trainline before. And if not, you should!

    Trainline is one of the cheapest ways to find train tickets and save money when travelling, especially if you book in advance. The app is easy to use on the go, super nice to use, and even nicer when you save a few pounds.

    Warning: We wouldn't recommend using Trainline to actually book your journey. Their booking fees mean that, although the ticket price might be low, it can sometimes work out more expensive than other services. Discover the best booking sites in our guide to saving money on train travel, and read more about changes to train delay compensation laws here.

    What we like most about Trainline: All the cool tools. Whether it's checking how busy the train is or tracking the price changes, this app helps you get the most from train travel.

    Get Trainline »


  14. Parkopedia

    parkopedia app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Finding free parking.

    If you're lucky enough to own and drive a car as a student then this smart little money-saving tool is for you. This app is extremely useful if you live in the city, and are sick and tired of paying through the nose for expensive parking.

    Parkopedia is an app designed to help you locate all of the free parking areas in your current location, so you never need to fork out for parking again (or for any pesky parking tickets either!). It's also a great money-saving app if you travel a lot to other cities and aren't familiar with free parking areas there.

    What we like most about Parkopedia: We love the idea that traffic wardens will be absolutely hating that this app exists.

    Get Parkopedia »


  15. PetrolPrices

    PetrolPrices App logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone
    • Good for – Finding the cheapest petrol.

    Another great app to help save money when driving, PetrolPrices is a fuel price comparison app that compares petrol prices near you or in any specific location in the country.

    Petrol prices often vary between garages and this app can save users up to £200 a year on fuel. The app lets you filter by fuel type, distance and brand, and covers almost 8500 petrol stations in the UK.

    Just make sure you don't drive too far out of your way to get a good deal, as the extra fuel you use could wipe out any savings, plus it's not going to help the environment!

    What we like most about PetrolPrices: For the forgetful among us, the app has a handy MOT reminder. If you add your car to the virtual garage you can even get offers related to the car you drive.

    Get PetrolPrices »


    food and dining apps over bag of groceries

    Credit: Oksana Mizina – Shutterstock

  16. Meerkat

    Meerkat app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Dining out and take away discounts.

    This app might not immediately strike you as one you'd use for dining out, but with Meerkat Meals, you can make great savings on some amazing restaurants.

    All you have to do is take out a qualifying product (such as insurance or a new broadband contract) and you'll earn a year of discounts on meals at some of your favourite restaurants. Simples!

    Deals include 2 for 1 on selected food Sunday to Thursday, 25% off your whole bill at various new restaurants and 50% off pizzas from Domino's, Pizza Hut Delivery and Papa Johns when you spend £30, seven days a week.

    And to make things even more interesting, we've discovered a great hack meaning you can get Meerkat Meals by spending as little as £1.

    What we liked most about Meerkat: Never having to pay full price for a delivery pizza again!

    Get Meerkat »


  17. Big Oven

    big oven app logo

    • Cost – Free
    • Available on – iPhone and Android
    • Good for – Using up leftovers.

    Learning which foods complement each other and what combos should be avoided at all costs is something that takes a lot of trial and error to get right.

    Big Oven is a great app for saving money on meals. It has a 'leftovers' function that lets you input any ingredients you have and suggests what to make with them.

    This, of course, helps avoid the situation of having to bin inedible dinners by guiding you to make the best out of what ingredients you’ve got. Experimenting with food can be a risky and expensive game!

    The app actually has over 1 million recipes for you to check out, but we're more fussed about the leftovers function.

    Don't forget we've got heaps of great student recipes for you to gather some more inspiration from too.

    What we like most about Big Oven: It can make cooking more fun for less confident chefs, and cuts down on food wastage.

    Get Big Oven »


If you want to make money from an app, check out our guide to the best paid survey sites – loads of them have apps too.

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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