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Back to School: 5 Money-Saving Apps for College Students

Comparison shopping during back-to-school season just got a little more convenient, with the launch of the Amazon Student mobile application. It lets students with an iPhone or iPod Touch price-check textbooks, electronics, clothes and more. With the free app, students can also trade in textbooks for up to 70% back (provided in the form of an Amazon gift card).

Here are 4 additional free mobile apps that can help students save on back-to-school items from books to futons.

The Web site that lets you rent or buy textbooks at a discount also has an accompanying mobile app. Students can search for books, compare prices and rent directly from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The app also helps you locate the nearest UPS location for returning your books and track the shipping status of your orders.

One of the best ways to save on dorm and apartment furniture is to buy items that are gently used. (There's no point in purchasing furniture "investment" pieces while in college -- your furniture will probably experience tons of wear and tear, not to mention beer stains.) With ThriftBuddy students can locate the nearest thrift shop, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, as well as flea markets and garage sales.

eBay Mobile
Whether you are seeking to buy or sell used textbooks, clothes or electronics, eBay Mobile, the app version of the world's biggest online marketplace, can help. The new updated version of the app has built-in RedLaser scanning technology that lets you compare prices to see how much a product is going for on eBay.

Whether you're in need of a calculus textbook, French tutoring or a quiet roommate, this year-old app can probably help. Jungle launched last year and is sort of like a college-focused Craigslist; it helps students connect with fellow campus residents to buy, sell or swap products and services.

Bonus tip: While not a mobile app, College Budget is a neat, new Web site for finding daily deals specifically geared toward college students. Find discounts from 50% to 90% on school supplies, haircuts and dining. The site is exclusive to college students; you need a .edu address to sign up.

Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance journalist and commentator. She is the author of the new bookPsych Yourself Rich, Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life. Follow her at and on Twitter/farnoosh
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Photo credit: Tony Buser's photostream on Flickr
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