January 15, 2015

6 Ways To Save Money Using Your Smartphone


Use smartphone to save money

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As the “great recession” gets further away from us, we can’t ignore the changes in the landscape we look at now. Just 5 years ago, smartphones really weren’t all that smart. We depended on desktop and laptop computers for most of our digital shopping. Online savings sites were still new, trying to save shoppers before they clicked “buy”. save money smartphone

Now, though, we carry our computers in our pockets and purses. When we’re out we’re not detached from opportunities to save. Instead, our smartphone is right there with us to offer us many different ways to save. So, why not tuck a few extra dollars in your pocket the next time you use your phone! save money smartphone

6 Ways To Save Money With Your Smartphone save money smartphone

1. Yelp – This review site for restaurants and retail shops could hold the key, or the click, to saving the next time you’re out. Many people use it to check out a place before they go. I use it mostly for restaurants, especially when I travel. But, did you know that many restaurants and retail shops include discounts for checking in to their location using Yelp? With check-ins, stores help to establish their presence. It’s good for the restaurant or store. And while that’s all lovely and cool, what’s even better is when the place offers a discount to those who check in. Recently, we went ice skating downtown and I’m not all that familiar with the many restaurants in the area. So I hit up Yelp for a recommendation. I not only found a place, but while waiting to be seated I noticed that they offered a 10% discount to Yelpers who have checked in. While 10% doesn’t sound like a lot, often it will cover the cost of a cocktail, appetizer, or dessert. If you’re there anyway, why not enjoy the savings!

Windows Phone

2. Amazon – While the shopping aspect of this app may be dangerous, it’s the price comparison feature I want to focus on. When you’re out shopping, have you ever thought “I can probably get that cheaper on Amazon.”? Now you can figure that out quickly and easily. Just click on the search bar and tap “Scan It” and your camera will open and you’ll be prompted to scan the bar code of the item you’re wondering about. This is a great feature if saving money is your kind of fun. I use this all the time, but especially with books and toys. During the holidays, I checked dozens of toys at different stores to make sure I’d get the best deal. Recently, I used it on vitamins and found that the sale price at the store was cheaper than my usual quarterly buy at Amazon. save money smartphone

Available for iPhone, iPad, Android Smartphone, Android Tablet, or Windows Phone. Select your device.

3. Ibotta – I’ve used this app for a few years now. If you’re not a coupon kind of person, this is a great way to save. If you do use coupons, it will increase your savings. This is a rebate app. But instead of it being for big-ticket or tech-type items, it’s for groceries. You pick the items you plan to buy, tap the activity that will enable the rebate, buy the item, then take a photo of your receipt and process the rebate. To activate the rebate you have to do some minimal-engagement activity, like watch a video, take a poll, or read a tip. While the savings may only be $0.25 or $0.50, it’s not really a lot of effort on your part. And you don’t have to remember coupons or feel awkward using coupons if it’s not your thing.


4. Gas Buddy – I love this app! The Gas Buddy website has been around for years, but the app is a million times better because it puts the power of saving on something you have to do right in your hand. Even though gas prices are at their lowest in about 5 years, saving money on gas is one of the easiest ways to boost your bank account. I use it around town, but my real appreciation for it comes about when I travel. For years we stopped at the same gas station when we drove to Los Angeles. But as cell service out in the boonies started to improve, I used Gas Buddy and realized that if I turned off one exit sooner I could save over $10 on my fill-up. Ten Dollars! Maybe not all that much in the grand scheme of retirement savings, but that makes for 2.5 free churros at Disneyland! Free Churros! Who doesn’t want free churros?

Windows Phone

5. Red Laser – Like the Amazon scanning function, Red Laser lets you scan a bar code and see if you can find it at another retailer cheaper. Since the database includes 1,000s of retailers, you’re able to find other options without being limited to just one online retailer. The great advantage of this app is if you need the item now, if there are stores in database that have a location in your area you might be able to pick it up locally without going to much trouble.

Windows Phone

6. Your Grocery Loyalty Card – Digital grocery coupons are great, especially for those who don’t use coupons or who might forget to take their coupons. Most major grocery chains with loyalty cards have an app to help you manage your savings on the go. You can download coupons to your loyalty card at any time, but the bonus is if you’re in the store and remembered you needed something you can check the app to see if there is a coupon. One of the nice feature of these virtual coupons is that they often include savings on alcoholic beverages, if permitted by law. You may not want to clip a coupon for beer, wine, or spirits, if you can find them since they’re not common, but with a few clicks you can easily add it to your store loyalty card and enjoy the savings automatically. I always log in when I’m at the store because sometimes they’ll have coupons for savings on produce or fresh meat and if I’m buying them anyway that’s free money!

There you have it! Six ways to save money with your smartphone much effort. I think 2015 will be a blockbuster year for apps that help us save money. Paper coupons are great, but more and more places are using digital options. It’s not as altruistic as we may think since it’s a great way for them to capture information about us. But, most people don’t mind the small intrusion. Happy saving!

Do you have favorite apps that help you save money?

Image Credit: scottchan at freedigitalphotos.net



Beth @ TheAngelForever January 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I will definitely be checking out a few of these that are not on my phone. I really like the regular Target app and their Cartwheel app. Great savings since I am already shopping there anyway. RetailMeNot Coupons has also helped several times for online and in store purchases.

Sara January 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Beth, thanks for visiting. Glad I was able to share a few apps that you don’t yet have. I’ve used RetailMeNot in the past but I don’t use them on my phone. I’ll give it a look, though.

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