Unless you’ve got an unlimited amount of cash and a limitless line of credit, saving money is probably something that you could benefit from. There are countless ways to save money, from coupon clipping to budgeting and shopping at discount stores, but did you know that your Android smartphone could help? I’ve waded through the thousands of apps available in the Android Marketplace, and these are some of the best apps out there to help with your money saving goals.
This app is brought to you by the same people behind Quicken personal finance software, so you know it has to be good. This is app is an excellent way to begin managing your money and allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, set budgets, see where you are spending, and find personalized savings. It’s an excellent tool to help you get your finances in order, and you can access it from your phone as well as Mint.com
CardStar is an awesome app that will help you lighten the load in your wallet, in a good way. All those rewards cards and membership from places like CVS, Best Buy, and Blockbuster, amongst many others, can be consolidated digitally. Use the CardStar app to enter information for numerous national and regional merchants, libraries, or you can even add your own custom cards. Once you’ve entered your cards, you can easily access them as needed with just one touch from the CardStar home screen. Merchants can then scan the “card” directly from your phone’s screen. How cool is that?!
Discount Calculator is a pretty simple app that does all that the name implies – it helps you calculate how much money you will save and what the item’s final price will be with the discount applied. It’s helpful in those situations where something is X percent off but the store doesn’t have a sign telling you what the new price will be. It can even include tax in the price.
Google Shopper is another handy tool to use when you’re out shopping. The app can recognize products by photo, barcode scanning, and voice and text search. Once the app has identified the product, you can find local and online prices, reviews, specs. and more. While you’re not likely to use it to check the price of your apple juice at the grocery store, it can be handy for larger purchases or for items you may not be at all familiar with. You’ll know whether you’re getting a good deal or if you can get that item cheaper elsewhere, and can star your favorites and share them with friends. It’s worth noting that at this time Google Shopper is valid only for US and UK prices.
This is similar to Google Shopper, but it was around first and thus deserves a mention. The ShopSavvy 4 app is the upgraded version of the old GoCart app. It allows you to use your phone as a barcode scanner, and then ShopSavvy will provide you with a list of online and local prices for that product. If you don’t need all the frills of Google Shopper, this is a nice simple barcode program that will help you save money.
COST: Free (ad-supported) / $9.99 for ad-free version
Craigslist itself is a great place to score deals on everything from cars to baby clothes. It’s the modern-day equivalent of classified ads, and as we all know the good deals get snapped up pretty quickly so you really have to be vigiliant about checking the site if there’s something specific that you’re looking for. Craigslist Notification is a god-send. It notifies you when new stuff is posted in certain categories, so you can monitor the site on the go.
Keeping track of receipts can be a real pain. They’re small and easily lost or misplaced. The Receipt Scanner app uses your phone’s camera to capture images of receipts, business cards and other documents, allowing you to store and secure important information. Once scanned, the documents are stored in folders for organization and easy retrieval. This can come in handy at tax time, helping you to save money by keeping record of your receipts that might have otherwise gotten lost.
Don’t make the mistake of paying more for gas when you can get it cheaper just around the corner. GasBuddy helps you find the best prices on gas for your area on the go. You can also add to the database of gas prices by reporting current gas prices from your phone, which will earn you points and a chance at winning one of their weekly $250 gas gift card giveaways.
9. Our Groceries
COST: Free (ad-supported) / $4.99 ad-free version
Make a grocery list that you won’t lose your pocket or drop on the ground with Our Groceries. Family members can install the app on their compatible phones as well. You can share the list and everyone can make updates or changes to it as things are purchased or become needed. Every change is visible within seconds, and is synced to everyone’s phone’s or browser. You’ll never run into the situation of buying something someone in your family has already picked up.
10. Google Finance
Get streaming, real-time stock quotes on your phone and sync with your Google Finance portfolio. You can quickly access charts on the go as well as view the latest market and company news. So even if you’re not at home, you’ll know what’s going on with the market and can then decide whether you need to put in a buy or sell order with your broker, or hold tight and wait for further news. A must-have app if you’re into stocks and the economy.
*Some of these apps are also available on other mobile phone platforms, including iPhone, Blackberry and Windows phones.
Each one of these Android apps is available to download from your mobile Android Market, or using a web browser at market.android.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these apps, as well as any other apps you’ve come across that have helped save you either time, money or both.