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10 Android Apps to Help Save You Time & Money

10 Android Apps to Help Save You Time & Money
    A screenshot of the CardStar app.

    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.

    1. Mint.com Personal Finance

    COST: Free

    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

    2. CardStar

    COST: Free

    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?!

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    3. Discount Calculator

    COST: Free

    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.

    4. Google Shopper

    COST: Free

    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.

    5. ShopSavvy 4 Barcode Scanner

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    Cost: FREE

    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.

      A screenshot of the Craigslist Notification app.

      6. Craigslist Notification

      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.

      7. Receipt Scanner

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      COST: $3.99

      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.

      8.  GasBuddy

      COST: Free

      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

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      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

      COST: Free

      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.

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      Last Updated on August 6, 2018

      20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently

      20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently

      Millions of people use Google search every day for a variety of reasons. Students use it for school, business people use it for research, and millions more use it for entertainment. But most people may not be using Google search to its full potential.

      Want to use Google search more efficiently and get the search results you want quickly? Here are 20 Google search tips and tricks to maximize your search efficiency:

      1. Use the tabs

      The first tip is to use the tabs in Google search. On the top of every search are a number of tabs. Usually you’ll see Web, Image, News, and More. Using these tabs, you can help define what kind of search you need to do. If you need images, use the Image tab. If you are looking for a recent news article, use the News tab. It’s rudimentary and most people use the tabs already. If you are not, then it’s highly recommended to get associated with them. They can cut search times dramatically if utilized properly.

      2. Use quotes

      When searching for something specific, try using quotes to minimize the guesswork for Google search. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase. For instance, if you search for Puppy Dog Sweaters, the engine will search for content that contains those three words in any order. However, if you search “Puppy Dog Sweaters”, it will search for that phrase exactly as you typed it. This can help locate specific information that may be buried under other content if not sorted out correctly.

      3. Use a hyphen to exclude words

      Sometimes you may find yourself searching for a word with an ambiguous meaning. An example is Mustang. When you Google search for Mustang, you may get results for both the car made by Ford or the horse. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other. See the example below.

      • Mustang -cars

      This tells the search engine to search for mustangs but to remove any results that have the word “car” in it. It can be wildly helpful when finding information about something without getting information about something else.

      4. Use a colon to search specific sites

      There may be an instance where you need to Google search for articles or content on a certain website. The syntax is very simple and we’ll show you below.

      • Sidney Crosby site:nhl.com

      This will search for all content about famous hockey player Sidney Crosby, but only on NHL.com. All other search results will be removed. If you need to find specific content on a particular site, this is the shortcut you can use.

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      5. Find a page that links to another page

      This Google search tip is a little obscure. Instead of searching for a specific page, you’re searching for a page that links to a specific page. Think about it this way. If you want to see who cited a New York Times article on their site, you would use this trick to find all the sites that link to it. The syntax is below.

      • link:nytimes.com

      That will return all pages that link to the New York Times official website. The URL on the right side can be practically anything. Be aware, though, that the more specific it is, the fewer results you’ll get. We know not a lot of people will likely use this Google search trick, but it could be very useful for some.

      6. Use the asterisk wildcard

      The asterisk wildcard is one of the most useful ones on the list. Here’s how it works. When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a brilliant way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. Let’s look at the syntax.

      • “Come * right now * me”

      To you or me, that may look like nonsense. However, Google search will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word. More often than not, you’ll find they are lyrics to The Beatles song “Come Together” and that’s what the search will tell you.

      7. Find sites that are similar to other sites

      This is a unique one that could be used by practically everyone if they knew it existed. Let’s say you have a favorite website. It can be anything. However, that website is getting a little bit boring and you want to find other websites like it. You would use this trick. Below is the syntax.

      • related:amazon.com

      If you search that above, you won’t find a link to Amazon. Instead, you’ll find links to online stores like Amazon. Sites like Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and others that sell physical items online. It’s a powerful Google search tool that can help you find new sites to browse.

      8. Use Google search to do math

      As a college student, I can attest that I use this one rather frequently. Google search can actually do math for you. This is a rather complex one to describe because it can be used in so many ways. You can ask it basic questions or some more difficult ones. It is important to note that it won’t solve all math problems, but it will solve a good number of them. Here are a couple of examples of the syntax.

      • 8 * 5 + 5
      • Planck’s Consant

      If you search the first one, it’ll return 45. It will also show a calculator that you can use to find answers to more questions. This is handy if you need to do some quick math but don’t want to do it in your head. If you search the second term, it will return the number value of Planck’s Constant. So it can do math, but it can also help you solve math problems by showing values for known mathematical terms.

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      9. Search for multiple words at once

      Google search is flexible. It knows you may not find what you want by searching only a single word or phrase. Thus, it lets you search for multiples. By using this trick, you can search for one word or phrase along with a second word or phrase. This can help narrow down your search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Here is the syntax.

      • “Best ways to prepare for a job interview” OR “How to prepare for a job interview”

      By searching that, you will search both phrases. Remember the quotes tip above? It’s being used here as well. In this instance, these two exact phrases will be searched. It can be done by word too, like the example below.

      • chocolate OR white chocolate

      This will search for pages that have either chocolate or white chocolate!

      10. Search a range of numbers

      Searching for a range of numbers is another tip we don’t anticipate a lot of people using. The people that do use it, though, will probably use it quite a bit. People interested in money or statistics will find this tip particularly useful. Essentially, you use two dots and a number to let Google search know you’re looking for a specific range of numbers. Like the syntax below.

      • What teams have won the Stanley Cup ..2004
      • 41..43

      In the first instance, the search will toss back the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The two dots with only one number will tell the search that you don’t need anything before or after 2004. This can help narrow down searches to a specific number to improve search results. In the second, Google will search for the numbers 41, 42, and 43. It is obscure, but wildly useful if you happen to need to search for numbers like this.

      11. Keep it simple

      Now we’re getting into the general tips. Google search knows how to search for a lot of things. What this means is you don’t need to be too specific. If you need a pizza place nearby, use this to search.

      • Pizza places nearby

      Google search will grab your location and deliver a variety of results about pizza places that are near you.

      12. Gradually add search terms

      There will come a time when Google search doesn’t shovel out the results you expect. In this instance, keeping it simple may not be the best option. As Google itself suggests, the best method is to start with something simple then gradually get more complicated. See the example below.

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      • First try: job interviews
      • Second try: prepare for job interviews
      • Third try: how to prepare for a job interview

      This will gradually refine the search to bring you fewer, more targeted terms. The reason you don’t go straight from the first try to the third try is because you may miss what you’re looking for by skipping the second step. Millions of websites phrase the same information in a number of different ways; using this technique lets you search as many of them as possible to find the best info.

      13. Use words that websites would use

      This is a very important one. When people use Google search to hunt the web, they generally search for things using the same language that they would use for speaking. Unfortunately, websites don’t say things the way people do; instead, they try to use language that sounds professional. Let’s look at some examples.

      • “I have a flat tire” could be replaced by “repair a flat tire.”
      • “My head hurts” could be replaced by “headache relief.”

      The list goes on and on. When searching, try to use terminology you would find on a professional website. This will help you get more reliable results.

      14. Use important words only

      The way Google search works is to take what you search for and match it with keywords in online content. When you search for too many words, it may limit your results. That means it may actually take you longer to find what you’re looking for. Thus, it is apropos to use only the important words when searching for something. Let’s see an example.

      • Don’t use: Where can I find a Chinese restaurant that delivers.
      • Instead try: Chinese restaurants nearby.
      • Or: Chinese restaurants near me.

      Doing this can help Google find what you need without all the clutter. So remember, keep it simple and use important words only.

      15. Google search has shortcuts

      A number of commands can be entered to give you instantaneous results. Like the math example above, Google can immediately give you the information you need that is displayed right at the top of the search results. This can save time and effort so you don’t have to click a bunch of bothersome links. Here are a few examples of some commands you can enter into Google.

      • Weather *zip code* – This will show you the weather in the given zip code. You can also use town and city names instead of area codes, but it may not be as accurate if there are multiple area codes in the city.
      • What is *celebrity name* Bacon Number – This is a fun little one that will tell you how many connections any given celebrity has to famed actor Kevin Bacon. The popular joke, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, is that no actor is more than 6 connections away from Kevin Bacon. Mark Zuckerberg has a Bacon Number of 3.
      • The math example posted above is another one.
      • What is the definition of *word* or Define: *word* – This will display the definition of a word.
      • Time *place* – This will display the time in whatever place you type in.
      • You can check any stock by typing its ticker name into Google. If you search for GOOG, it will check the stock prices for Google.

      These quick commands can take a web search that is usually multiple clicks and condense it into a single search. This is very helpful for information you need repeatedly.

      16. Spelling doesn’t necessarily matter

      Google search has gotten a lot smarter over the years. These days, you don’t even need to spell words correctly. As long as it’s pretty close, Google can usually figure out what it means. Here are some examples.

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      • If you search “Nver Gna Gve Yo Up” Google will automatically assume you mean to search for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” If by chance your misspelling was intentional, Google gives you the option to search for the misspelled term instead.

      This trick is great if you happen to forget how to spell something or are not altogether sure how something is spelled. It can also be helpful when searching for obscure words. This applies to capitalization and grammar as well.

      17. Use descriptive words

      Pretty much everything can be described in multiple ways. Take our namesake, the “life hack.” The terminology “hack” refers to a computer programmer breaking security on a network or system. However, when used in conjunction with the word “life”, it alters the meaning to tips and tricks people can use to improve their lives. If you have trouble finding what you’re searching for, keep in mind that people may search or define what you need in a different way than you do.

      • You may search “How to install drivers in Ubunut?”
      • When you really mean “Troubleshoot driver problems Ubuntu.”

      There really isn’t a good specific example for this one. If you search for something and you can’t find an answer, try asking the same question using different words and see if that helps the results.

      18. Find a specific file

      An often forgotten feature of Google search is the ability to search for a specific file or file type. This can be infinitely useful if you need a specific PDF or PowerPoint file that you previously viewed or need to use for another project. The syntax is quite simple.

      • *Search term here* filetype:pdf

      In the above example, you simply replace the search term with whatever you’re searching for. Then use the filetype command and enter the extension of any file type you can think of. This can mostly be useful for scholarly purposes, but business presentations and other assorted presentations can benefit from this kind of search as well.

      19. Money and unit conversions

      Google search can quickly and accurately convert both measurement units and currency value. There are a variety of uses for this, like checking to see the conversion rate between two currencies. If you happen to be a math student, you can use it to convert from feet to meters or from ounces to liters. Here’s how to do it.

      • miles to km – This will convert miles to kilometers. You can put numbers in front to convert a certain number. Like “10 miles to km” will show you how many kilometers are in 10 miles.
      • USD to British Pound Sterling – This will convert a US dollar to British pounds. Like the measurements above, you can add numbers to find exact conversions for a certain amount of money.

      It’s true that this tip is geared toward math students and international business people. However, you’d be surprised how often these tips are used by regular people.

      20. Track your packages

      Our last trick is to use Google search to find out where your packages are. You can enter any UPS, USPS, or Fedex tracking number directly into the Google search bar, and it’ll show you the tracking information about your package. This is much easier than going to the specific sites, waiting for them to load, then searching for your packages there. No examples are really needed for this one. Just type your tracking number in and see where your package is.

      Google Search wrap-up

      Google search is a very powerful search tool. Using the tips outlined above, you can find anything and everything you could ever need on the World Wide Web. Whether it’s avoiding Wikipedia for a school essay project, finding the latest stock prices, or even finding song lyrics, there is a way to make Google search work for you.

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