Back-to-School 2011: The Best Smartphone Apps

  • 20 Smartphone Apps for Back to School

    Well, it’s August, and that means the back-to-school spirit is in full swing. When you think of going back to school, you probably don’t think of your smartphone, but believe it or not, there are apps to help ease the transition from summer couch potato to straight-A student. To help you navigate the options, MainStreet took them on a test drive and put together 20 of our favorite back-to-school apps. Photo Credit: merfam
  • SaleLocator

    The back-to-school shopping season is a huge time for sales and promotions at stores everywhere. The SaleLocator app (available for the iPhone and Android phones) allows users to search for the different sales at stores in their area. You can even search for sales by category (clothing, furniture, etc.) and search for sales around a holiday (i.e. Black Friday). Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • CouponSherpa

    This mobile coupon iPhone app uses the phone's GPS to find coupons for retailers based on your location and also offers instant in-store savings for a variety of merchants and retailers like Gap, Staples, Sports Authority and more. All you need to do is present the coupon on your phone to the cashier at check out for quick savings! Use this app before you do any back-to-school shopping to find money saving coupons. Price: Free Photo Credit: CouponSherpa
  • iXpenseIt

    While this iPhone app does cost $4.99, it will save you money by helping you to track all of your expenses. After making a purchase at a store, use this app to take a picture of the receipt and the app will store that data – allowing you to keep track of exactly how much you spend on different products each month. How can you save money if you don’t know how much money you spend? Price: $4.99 Photo Credit:
  • Yowza!!

    This iPhone app lets you find mobile coupons on your phone based on your location at any time. Much like with CouponSherpa, you find the coupon on your iPhone and a bar code appears that the cashier can scan to give you the discount – no need to print the coupon out. Price: Free Photo Credit: Yowza!!
  • Simplenote

    Note-taking in class is the best way to ensure you don't lose points on midterm exams, but it's only useful if you can study from those notes later. If your iPhone typing skills are up to snuff, use Simplenote to take notes and then transfer them to your computer so you can easily search for key terms at study time. Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • Springpad

    Do you have too many to-do lists and find yourself constantly forgetting to complete those tasks? Use the Springpad iPhone and Android app to organize all of your lists and save important notes. Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • AroundMe

    Are you going to college in an unfamiliar area and will need to find good places for a quick bite to eat?  Or are your parents visiting for the weekend and they need a hotel to stay at? Use this iPhone or Android app to find the cheapest hotels, restaurants and cafes in your area. Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • myHomework

    You’ll always remember the due dates for papers and homework after using this app for the iPhone and Android platforms. You simply enter the due dates for upcoming homework assignments and papers and you’ll receive notifications when those deadlines are approaching. You might hate your phone for giving you the sign an all-nighter is approaching, but you'll be thankful when you get your final grade. Price: Free Photo Credit:
    Mental Case Flashcards HD
  • Mental Case Flashcards HD

    For years students have been making flash cards to facilitate their studying. But carrying around all of those index cards can be irritating, and those cards cost money. By downloading the Mental Case Flashcards HD iPhone app, you can make flash cards on the iPhone and even download cards from other users on And you won’t have to worry about losing the cards, either. Price: $4.99 Photo Credit:
    Pandora Radio
  • Pandora Radio

    In college, free is important – especially free music. Download the Pandora Radio iPhone app to listen to music you like and similar music you've never even heard before – great for study breaks! Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • RedLaser

    When you’re in a store, use the RedLaser iPhone/Android app to scan the bar code of any item and the app will compare prices among different retailers to ensure you find the best price. If you are tired of overpaying, RedLaser is the app for you, whether you're using it for school supplies, clothes, or new gadgets to soup up your dorm room. Photo Credit:
    iStudiez Pro
  • iStudiez Pro

    Never miss or forget about a class again with the iStudiez Pro iPhone app, which does what the myhomework app does (see earlier slide) but also allows users to create a class schedule along with the homework assignment for each class. Never miss a class again, at least not by accident. Price: $2.99 Photo Credit:

    In need of a scholarship to help finance your tuition? Use the iPhone app to search for scholarships and grants for high school and college students. Price: Free Photo Credit:
    Wi-Fi Finder
  • Wi-Fi Finder

    Having trouble finding a Wi-Fi network on campus or when working in a local coffee shop? The Wi-Fi Finder iPhone app will use the phone's GPS to find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot. This is great for those non-3G iPads that rely only on open Wi-Fi networks. Price: Free Photo Credit:

    As a college student, you may not remember all of those SAT vocabulary words you studied for hours and hours in high school. But should a word appear in a book or article that you simply don’t understand, use the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry app to study up on all of those definitions. Price: Free Photo Credit:
    Pageonce – Money and Bills
  • Pageonce – Money and Bills

    In college, who has time to pay bills? But if you don’t pay, get ready for late fees and damage to your credit score. Use the Pageonce – Money and Bills iPhone, Android and BlackBerry app to receive alerts when you’re close to the due dates of your bills. Price: Free Photo Credit:
  • iProcrastinate

    If you are having trouble getting things done, use this nifty task-manager on your phone with the iProcrastinate iPhone app. Whether you have an essay due, a job interview, a meeting with a professor or you keep forgetting to call your parents while in college, this app will help you to remember all the important to-dos. Price: 99 cents Photo Credit:
    Algebra Touch
  • Algebra Touch

    Need to brush up on your algebra skills? It may not seem like an important ability but it will help secure that A in your calculus class – and like many things, there’s an app for that: Algebra Touch for the iPhone. Price: $2.99 Photo Credit: photosteve101
  • Evernote

    Record voice notes and quickly take notes during class with the Evernote iPhone app – you can even save your notes onto your computer! Price: Free Photo Credit:
    Grocery Pal
  • Grocery Pal

    If you get tired of eating at the campus dining hall and are looking for a cheap escape to some other types of food, use the Grocery Pal iPhone and Android app to search for which items are on sale at your local grocery store. Price: Free Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Fox News, ABC News and CBS. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter. Photo Credit:
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