The Five Best Apps to Save You Money: The Best Coupon, Budgeting, Gas-Cutting, and Shopping Apps for iPhone, Android, and Other Smart Phones
We’ll admit it, we love our iPhones. But beyond their great email interfaces and the addictiveness of Angry Birds, iPhones (and Androids, Blackberrys, and other smart phones) can be amazing tools for saving money. Get the most out of your expensive data plan by using the apps below, which we now find indispensable! (Just search for them in your phone’s app store.) Don’t have a fancy smart phone? Check out our web alternatives.
|OK, I'm over my bar budget,|
but I'm under on eating out!
We love Mint.com because it keeps the information about all of our banking accounts in one place, and it makes it easy by organizing many of our expenses by itself--for example, if you buy something at Trader Joe’s it automatically classifies it as “groceries” (don’t worry, you can change the category or make up your own if you’d like). Their app takes the great services of their site portable, which is great when you’re wondering how much of your clothing budget you’ve spent that month. Best of all, it’s easier (and more fun) to fiddle around with my smart phone than log in to a website, so I find myself checking out my budget more often. Mint.com’s app is free and available for the iPhone and Android. Web alternative: Mint.com gives you everything the app has and more, including pie charts!
|Just a few exits can save|
us 19¢ a gallon!
If you’ve ever gotten gas, then drove by a gas station offering a lower price on the way home, then this app is for you. Using your phone’s GPS feature or by entering a zip code, you can see a map of the stations closest to you and what they’re offering on all gas types. You can also search and find the lowest gas prices in your entire state or city! There are several different apps out there for checking gas prices, but we’ve also found Gas Buddy to be the most accurate. The Gas Buddy app is free and available for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. Web alternative: You can’t use it on the go, but GasBuddy.com gives you all the same info at your computer.
|It's easy (and fun) to scan|
barcodes, even when they're
scarily close to our author pic
This is one of the first apps I got when I got my iPhone. With this ingenious application, you can use your phone’s camera to compare prices at nearby stores and online. Just take a snapshot of the barcode, or enter the UPC numbers underneath. Your phone will then give you a list of what the item is being sold for at locations near you and around the web. Barcode Scanner is the only app on our "Five Best" list that costs money, and it’s worth the 99¢ price! It’s available for iPhone and Android. If you have a Blackberry, try ScanLife, and for Windows phones try ShopSavvy. Web alternative: No getting to use your phone as a scanner (which is half the fun), but you can enter the UPC code of any product to get prices from around the web at Google’s Product Search. Just type in the numbers found near the barcode and away you go!
|A must-have for summer|
garage sale season!
Before I had this app, I could never get my act together enough to find out when and where garage sales were going to be in my area. Yard Sale Mapper makes it super easy by culling garage sale listings and placing them on a map for you. Click the location to find out more info about the sale, and add it to your list to get turn-by-turn directions to get there! Yard Sale Finder is free and is available for iPhone and Android (for Android it’s called “Yard Sale Treasure Map”). Web alternative: Check out the site that developed the app at YardSaleTreasureMap.com.
|Bored? Why not flip through|
Coupon.com's app and save
yourself some money?
In case you haven’t noticed with that pretty little gadget in your hands, but the world has changed, and so has coupon clipping. If you’re looking for coupons to use at the supermarket, check out the Coupons.com app. The Coupons.com app is just as great as their site, which allows you to select coupons and then print them (If your printer is set up to work with your phone, you can print them right from the phone. Otherwise, you can email them to yourself.) Better yet, it allows you to save coupons right to your grocery store savings card. You enter the card number, then select the coupons and head to the store. I love this app because I can page through coupons while I’m waiting in the car wherever I happen to be chauffeuring my children that day. For coupons for local restaurants, salons, hardware stores, dentists, and more, check out Coupon Clipper. You can sort the coupons by location and category, then redeem them simply by showing your phone to the cashier. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, mCoupons is a similar app that lists different coupons. All three apps are free and available for iPhone only. For Android phones, check out Cellfire (also available for Blackberry and Windows phones) and The Coupon App. Web alternative: Coupons.com and Cellfire both have websites.
What apps do you use on your smart phone? (And what do I do to cure my Angry Birds addiction?) Let us know by commenting below!