At long last, the recession that so deeply gripped the international economy has begun to loosen. Companies everywhere are hiring again, and dedicated employees are no longer being asked to take a pay cut in order to keep their jobs. Things are still tight, though. The overall cost of living is on the rise, while paychecks remain lower than they should be. But the talented and dedicated worker will always find a way to make due. Luckily, technology offers some assistance in the constant work of trying to make ends meet. More than half of all Americans carry smartphones, and if you’re a savvy app user, you’ll find all sorts of inexpensive or free programs that control spending and help you keep more dollars in your pocket each and every month. Here are five of the smartphone apps available to help you save money.
First, check out the free app from Mint.com. If you’ve struggled to create and keep a budget, the Mint app will be your best friend. It’s a simple download, and then you’ll set up an account that’s linked to all of your credit cards and your banking accounts. Mint will sync everything automatically, giving you a quick snapshot of your financial picture. You can then use it to craft a detailed budget, set alerts to remind you of bills and check in to make sure you’re spending within your means on a weekly basis. Once you get used to it, you can even use the Mint app to decide between purchases at the store.
Although some prices are going down a bit, the cost of a gallon of gas isn’t one of them. So check out the free app GasBuddy. After registering, you’ll be able to use the GasBuddy app to locate the cheapest gas in your area. You just enter your zip code and you’ll receive a map detailing all of the available stations, and their various prices. This will save you burning extra gallons by driving around shopping for the spot where you can save a few cents.
You won’t always be near your bank when you need to take money out of the ATM. Yet nothing is more frustrating and pointless than those out of network withdrawal fees. These will add up in a hurry, and it’s really just wasted money. So check out the free app by Allpoint. This is an affiliation of ATMs that can be used by members at any bank without a surcharge. There are more than 35,000 Allpoint ATM locations in the country, meaning you should never be far from the savings. All you have to do is put in your Zip code or allow the app to tap into your GPS. In moments you’ll know where to go to avoid those costly fees.
Coupon shopping is a great way to save money, but it also complicates things significantly. Your supermarket already offers various products on discount each week, as long as you are part of their membership program. But how can you know when an offer is actually a deal, and not just a ploy to get you to buy in bulk? Download the CompareMe app for under $2, and you’ll never run into this problem again. It’s incredibly simple. You enter in all of the product information, the package size and the price, and it will tell you if you’re actually saving money.
Finally, check out the sleek app called Save Benjis+. This is another shopping app that will prevent you from spending more than is necessary. You’ll use your camera’s smartphone to snap a picture of the item’s barcode. Then the app will hunt through all the major internet retailers to see if you could find it cheaper somewhere else. The Griffin Survivor you see ‘on sale’ in a brick and mortar store could be had for 20% cheaper online. With this app, you’ll find that out before it’s too late.