We all want to save a little money, but sometimes our busy schedules get in the way of our budgets. However, there's no excuse for overspending when most of us have a great money-saving tool in our purses and pockets. Here are five ways to save a ton using your smartphone:
It's easy to spot a good deal, but wouldn't you rather have the best deal? Apps like RedLaser allow you to scan the barcode on an item to see if it's offered for less at another retailer. It's as easy as taking a picture with your smartphone, and it can save you a ton.
Park for Less
If you live in a city, you know parking can add up quickly. When I made the move from a small town to a big city, I was completely unprepared for parking expenses. The obvious way to cut down on parking costs is to carpool and split the cost. But another great way to save is to use apps like SpotHero to find cheap parking spots around your city. I used this app while vacationing in Chicago and parked for $5. Most of the garages charged $25 at the very least, so I saved $20 by parking in a spot only a few blocks from the expensive lots. Most people use apps like this when they're on vacation, but why not try it in your city? It could end up saving you hundreds of dollars on your work-week and recreational parking.
Be Loyal to Your Favorite Retailers
If you find yourself shopping at the same stores over and over again, your loyalty can save you money. All you have to do is add your favorite store to the pile of social media apps and games on your smartphone. Many stores have their own apps that help you save time and money while shopping. For example, Target's Cartwheel app allows you to shop sales and coupons and add them to a shopping list. It then creates one barcode hosting all your coupons to scan at checkout. If you ask me, that sounds much more appealing than cutting coupons, bringing them to the store and rummaging through the bag to figure out which ones you need.
Another way to stay loyal is to follow your favorite brands on social media. Most of us use our smartphones to check social media throughout the day anyway. If you're following your favorite stores and brands, you'll be included in chances to save. Many companies host special coupons and savings opportunities for their social media followers.
Save on Gas
We all know that saving a little can go a long way. Every cent counts when it comes to buying gas. You can save $500 or more every year simply by choosing the lowest gas prices in your area when you fill up. I don't know about you, but I'm a bit lazy when it comes to filling the gas tank. Sometimes it's easiest to use a convenient gas station on my way home from work, but the convenience ends up costing a bundle. The good news is there are other, convenient options that don't waste your money.
You can download apps like GasBuddy to find the best prices on gas near you. It's as easy as opening the app and typing in your zip code. Take the extra two minutes and check your fuel app before filling up. Just think of all the things you could buy with that $500.
Use the Calculator
The calculator on your smartphone might not seem too significant, but it can save you a bundle at the grocery store. We all know that products are packaged in different quantities for our convenience, but we don't always think about the cost. Buying pre-packaged produce can be the biggest reason you waste money at the grocery store. It looks easy and convenient, but most of the time your wallet suffers the consequences. Whip out the calculator on your smartphone, and see if the price of pre-packaged fruits and vegetables are really worth the convenience. All you have to do is figure out how much each option costs per pound. This works for shelved items too. You'll be surprised at how much you'll save by checking the price per unit.
Smartphones make our lives easier in so many ways and saving money is no exception. With all of these apps at your fingertips, there's no reason to pay full price for anything.
Amber Sager is the PR Girl for Offers.com. She prides herself on leading a fun, frugal lifestyle.
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