Apps that help you save money

10 September 2019

Devon Williams

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Social media can be used in effective ways to benefit the greater good, and Positive Impact Points (PIPS) is doing exactly that. Along with PIPs Rewards mobile app, there are apps such as Ibotta and GasBuddy. While in college, students’ wallets are consumed by the cost of tuition, fees, textbooks, groceries, fast food and alcohol. All these apps enable students to save money easily from their phones.

PIPs Rewards allocates UCCS students “positive impact points” for actions that can be done on campus. By completing small actions, the rewards allow for support and could even assist in paying tuition. The points can also be used for grocery money, gift cards and more.

When students have collected a minimum of 2,500 PIPs, their points can be committed towards a future scholarship. Once students have 10,000 PIPs, they can redeem them for scholarship money or continue saving the points. Any student can redeem 50,000 PIPs each year, which is equivalent to earning $500.

Fortunately, there are over 25 ways for students to earn PIPs in areas such as health and wellness, ethics, fitness and environmental aspects.

Using PIPs is an extremely easy process, students simply scan QR codes or visit departments on campus to earn points. They can earn 50 points just for referring a friend who then downloads the app. By visiting the Sustainability Demonstration House or the Parking and Transportation Services Office to sign up for Pedal Perks, students will receive 50 points per bike ride each day.

Users can also scan a QR code at the water bottle filling station or pop into the Sustainability Demonstration House to get a free PIPs sticker for their water bottle. Students can earn 50 PIPs for meeting with the Student Life staff to learn about volunteering. Attending a group fitness class at the Gallogly Recreation & Wellness Center wins users 100 points.

The app is easy to use and effectively distributes points to those who complete tasks. The app has a dashboard which breaks down where points come from, and it even displays pie charts showing the impact made on things such as the environment, community and the user’s mind and body.

By swiping right within the app, users can explore all their choices of earning points. I give this app a score of eight out of ten due to its accessibility and purpose, but also due to the achievable amount of points needed to get rewards.

A similar app to PIPs, Ibotta was designed and built in Colorado and can be used to earn cash back on purchases while shopping, traveling and dining out. Ibotta works with many leading brands to help save and reward users.

Users can accumulate cash back, then go shopping and redeem offers. Users can get cash back simply by uploading a photo of their receipt.

Some of Ibotta’s partners include Safeway, CVS, Uber, Walgreens, Whole foods Trader Joes, Costco and many more.

I give Ibotta a seven out of ten-rating due to the amount of companies users can earn cash back from and the accessibility of the overall app. However, there is no way to see how much money can be earned off each receipt scanned.

Another app that could be helpful to students is the GasBuddy app, which allows users to find the cheapest gas around them. Students can save money on gas just by joining. Users save 10 cents a gallon the first fill up and 5 cents each gallon after that. After using this app, I would give it an eight out of ten due to its simplicity.

These three apps were designed to give people a simpler and less stressful way to earn cash back or save their money. While so many college students are struggling to pay bills and racking up thousands of dollars in debt, these handy apps take some of the load off.