I love saving money. If my Galaxy Nexus can help me out in that endeavor, it makes the process even more exciting. Technology is my passion, but I’ve long believed that you don’t have to be rich to enjoy technology. Sure, you might have to pinch a penny now and then, but you should be able to take advantage of all the world of technology has to offer without sacrificing your financial well-being to do so. This doesn’t mean buying every single device as it comes out, but a few well-placed financial decisions can make it possible for you to experience many (if not most) of the latest and greatest products on a budget.
Part of a comprehensive money-saving strategy is making sure your bases are covered when you leave your home. After all, you can’t always plan out exactly where you’re going to go or what you’re going to come across during your day. Having the ability to make informed buying decisions regardless of your location is a great benefit.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of my favorite money-saving apps and how they have helped me keep more cash in my wallet.
Don’t you just love it when something that’s free saves you money on things that normally cost you an arm and a leg? GasBuddy is a well-known and commonly used app for folks who don’t want to pay top dollar at the pump. In fact, you can use GasBuddy to find the best price in your area on everything from unleaded regular to diesel in just a couple of taps on the screen.
GasBuddy is a service that utilizes crowd-sourced data to deliver accurate price information to users. Basically, when people stop to get gas at their local station, they have the ability to update (report) the current price per gallon. In many cases, the gas stations themselves are quick to update this information in order to draw in customers that are using the app. Typically, updates to gas stations in the Austin area are made fairly quickly — with 19 hours being on the high end for gas pricing and some stations within a mile of me while writing this being updated as early as 45 minutes ago.
The app itself is free. You can sign up for a GasBuddy account to start reporting prices in your area. The more you report, the greater your odds of winning a $250 gift card from GasBuddy, as well as some other interesting prizes.
Price Check by Amazon
It isn’t uncommon to find yourself at a store checking out your favorite department when you come across an item that you really want. The problem is, you’re not sure if the store is actually giving you a deal on it or if the price is actually much higher than what you could buy it for on Amazon. This is where Price Check by Amazon comes in handy. All you have to do is load it up and scan the item’s barcode and you’ll be able to compare the price you’ll be paying for it at the store to what you might find it for on Amazon. You can also type the name of the product or take a photo of it if the barcode isn’t scanning very well.
I’m an Amazon Prime customer, so with shipping being free and taxes not an issue, it’s rare that I find a deal in a store that beats the online retailer, but it does happen. I’ve saved plenty of money by shopping locally after discovering that Amazon was actually pricier than the store. Likewise, I’ve avoiding paying too much on a number of items that could be found for a fraction of the store price.
Price Check by Amazon is free and it works great on Android.
Barcode Scanner and Google Shopper
This is a combination app solution, meaning one works better with the other, but they don’t quite make the list by themselves. Barcode Scanner is the best app I’ve found for scanning barcodes. It’s fast and gives you a number of options including a product search that helps you find prices online as well as a throw to Google Shopper, which can help you find the best prices for that product locally.
The barcode scanner built-in to Google Shopper is fine, but I’ve found a lot more to like with Barcode Scanner as it handles everything I’ve thrown at it from standard barcodes to QR codes. Plus it works so seamlessly with Google Shopper that it really doesn’t create any more of a hassle to have two apps than one.
I know, I know, there are a thousand of these coupon apps out there, but Groupon has long been my favorite. Folks who work at restaurants recognize the app as soon as I show it to them, and it’s a fast and easy way to find a great deal for lunch or dinner nearby. Many of Groupon’s offers are limited to only a few hours, so having the app with you while you’re out and about is a handy way to find an excellent deal nearby.
After all, why pay full price when you can get 50% off just by having an app installed on your phone?
If I had to end this piece with a top pick, Coupon Sherpa would be it. This app makes clipping coupons as easy as it could possibly be. A huge database of deals are available at your fingertips and all you need to do is click the place you’re going, and a list of coupons (complete with barcodes for the cashier to scan) appear. It’s perhaps my single favorite coupon app, and it works like a charm at many of my favorite spots.
As an example, I have to head into Office Depot later today to pick up some office supplies for my home studio. Upon clicking the Office Depot button in the main menu, I am greeted with four coupons including an escalating 20% off deal on any purchase over $50. That’s money I would have thrown away had I not had this app installed on my phone.
Coupon Sherpa is free and available on the Google Play store.