5 Great Apps for New Grads (and how to make the most of them)

If you’re like me, then you live and breathe by the apps on your phone. They keep you occupied, informed, and, oftentimes, just plain sane. Now that you’re graduating college though, there might be a few more productive ways to use your phone. Tone down the use of Yik Yak, Snapchat and GroupMe and try using these apps to help ease you into adulthood.

1) Mint.com – In my opinion, this is most useful financial app around. I’ve been using Mint since my high school days and have a pretty good idea of how much money I spend on anything from groceries to gas per month thanks to this program. For those who have never used Mint, it’s basically a budget and payment tracker for your life. You can connect everything from your checking account and credit cards to your investment accounts and student loan packages. This enables you to see all your money in one place without having to aggregate all your accounts by yourself because nobody has time for that.

Example Screenshot of Trends (not my own)

As new graduates, it’s very important to be keeping closer tabs on your money. Hopefully, you’re going to be making more money than you’ve ever made before but that also means you’ll be spending more. By linking your cards to Mint, you can see where your money is going and how much you spent for a variety of categories. Lastly, it’s a very good way to detect fraud in your account as I found out first hand a few months ago. While quickly going through my expenses from the month before, I noticed a $100 charge to Starbucks. Thanks to Mint, I got my money reimbursed and the Target hackers had one less victim.

2. Dropbox – Many graduates may be familiar with Dropbox and have already used it. Here’s how to use it as an adult though. You know those boxes or file drawers that your parents have of old tax returns? They’re right, they are important to keep. But yours are going to be scanned in and saved to your Dropbox account. Less clutter = happy graduate. All those new kitchen gadgets and the new TV…download the pdf instructions and save them to Dropbox and toss the paper files. Scan the warranty information into your folder as well (for iPhone users I recommend the Genius Scan app). Lastly, Dropbox is a great place to keep all those important files that you may need on a whim. Copy your drivers license and birth certificate and keep them in a folder, especially if you’re traveling domestic or abroad. Still applying to jobs? Upload a copy of your resume and transcript for easy access on the fly. You’ll be surprised how often they come in handy. If you don’t have an account feel free to use my referral code to sign up.

Dropbox.com Mobile Screenshot

Dropbox.com Mobile Screenshot

3. Venmo – Venmo is the app you’ve been waiting for. Owned by Braintree (which is owned by Paypal {which is owned by eBay}), Venmo allows users to send payments to friends with very little effort. You just log on, create a new payment, set the amount and your funding source, and press send. For many graduates who are about to move in with roommates, this is a very easy way to transfer money back and forth for bill pay. Unlike the traditional method of writing a check to your roomie, even if you use the mobile deposit, the transaction is valid the next day, as opposed to 2-3 days for processing. Best of all, it’s free. No 1% transaction fee or any sort of skimming of your money. Use it to easily share a bill for dinner or to send your roommate your half of this month’s rent. Very useful, very practical. For skeptical readers, Venmo payments are sent over 256-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is certified by VeriSign (same security as banks) and your funds are guaranteed against unauthorized transactions.  Again, here’s my referral code.

Example of a Blank Payment on Venmo App

Example of a Blank Payment on Venmo App

4. Evernote Business Card Scanner – Many of you may already be using Evernote to keep track of pretty much anything and everything. One feature you may not be aware of though is locked inside Evernote Premium. A few weeks ago Evernote announced a partnership with CardMunch, Linkedin’s app for scanning and categorizing business cards. You can read more about it here. This feature is currently available free for a year for Evernote users who connect their LinkedIn account. Once your accounts are linked you would use the Evernote app as normal except when you create a new note select to take a picture and scroll over to the “Business Card” option. Once you take the picture it will scan the card for key information and do a search on LinkedIn creating a comprehensive profile of that person all in your note. Then for your own sanity, categorize the business cards “notes” in a business contact folder.

Evernote Business Card Note

Evernote Business Card Note

After a year has gone by you’ll have to pay the premium service price but meanwhile, for free, this is a great feature to have while you’re starting off and trying to build your professional network. If you do bite the bullet and just buy Evernote premium ($5 a month or $45 a year) you’ll also receive other capabilities such as more storage space and the ability to search in attached documents and pdfs without opening them. Need an Evernote account? Sign up here. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, well, shame on you.

5. Gojee Food and Drink Recipe App – I know there are countless recipe and cooking apps available but let me tell you why this is my favorite. As someone who travels a lot there are often times when there is a much needed grocery trip that may get delayed by a few days. This results in a pretty sparse pantry which I’m sure most college graduates will be able to relate to. The Gojee Recipe app allows me to plug in what ingredients I actually have on hand and will search through its database to find recipes with those items. Genius. This allows me to circumvent the pattern of searching for recipes with chicken and realizing I don’t have 5 of the 10 other ingredients. Even better, it will save your list even if you close out of the app. Therefore allowing you to add all those spices you have once and not having to repeatedly plug them in. It also offers features such as a built in grocery list, a section where you can store favorite recipes, and also allows you to search for recipes that don’t contain a food you may be allergic to or just simply don’t like.

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Gojee Recipes

Gojee Recipe App

Good luck graduates after graduation and I hope you found the list helpful! Let me know if I missed something or if you need clarification on anything. Thanks for reading!

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