This is a guest post by Melissa.

When I was in college I struggled to make the money that I saved from my summer camp counselor job last through the school year. I’d buy drinks for friends and eat well at the beginning of the year, but as the months passed, I’d find myself living on a tighter and tighter budget. But the longer I spent living thriftily, the more resourceful I became, and the more I came to believe that I could live well without spending much. I learned to cook for myself with a George Foreman Grill and a rice cooker I kept in my dorm-room closet. I pre-gamed at friends’ apartments before heading to the bar. I took the $15 bus from New York to Boston to visit friends, instead of the better-known (and probably safer) $60 bus.

I’m not necessarily recommending that you make those life choices, but I am recommending that you use the apps highlighted below. It’s amazing how much money you can save with a little ingenuity and an iPhone!

1. RedLaser

RedLaser makes shopping around faster and easier. Just use your phone to scan the bar code on any item in a store, and the app will tell you how much the item sells for at other shops in the neighborhood.

2. ThriftBuddy

The trick to living thriftily is knowing where the cheapest places to shop are. ThriftBuddy will help you locate nearby thrift stores where you can find bargain-priced clothing, furniture and house wares. It might take a little extra time to sift the real bargains from the junk, but with a good eye you can rock a vintage style on a remarkably small budget.

3. BigWords

If the beginning of a new semester has you bemoaning the bloated cost of textbooks, BigWords can help you slim down the expense and keep your wallet fat. This app makes it easy to find the least expensive place to buy a particular textbook. And when it comes time to trade your used texts in for cash, BigWords will help you to find the best deal.

 4. Campus Special

If you’re looking to dodge the dining hall’s food, Campus Special can help you find quality, affordable food nearby. The app shows you places to eat near your school, how to get to them on foot or by car and who has a special tonight. You can even order takeout or delivery with the app.

5. Free App Tracker

Free App Tracker is a free app designed to help you get other apps for free. Software developers often offer their wares for free as a temporary promotion. Free App tracker figures out which apps’ prices have suddenly dropped to zero, and lets you snag them before the price rises again. Why pay for what you can get free?

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, a Master of Laws offered through Washington University in St. Louis that is considered a premier LLM in US Law. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

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