The Topic: Using your smartphone to save money (because goodness knows we’re spending enough on our smartphones) by Assistant Editor Anna Peraino
The Dish: We Americans like our smartphones. A lot. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, iPhones, Blackberrys, and their Andriod-based fellows have found their way into every facet of our lives, from waking us up in the morning to helping us find our way across town to joining us at the dinner table (and at the movies, and in the bathroom…). Smartphones are so essential to many, in fact, that a recent survey found that a third of Americans would rather give up sex for a week than their smartphone for the same seven days. Without getting all inappropriate on you, let’s just say they’re here to stay.
In that case, we might as well be as savvy about these suckers as possible, right? Sure, a smartphone in and of itself is a pretty pricey venture—data plans and text messaging on top of your monthly cell-phone bill costs a pretty penny to say the least—but it doesn’t look like Americans are giving up any time soon. And that’s where I come in folks—to let you know how to make your smartphone work for you a little bit more: the app. Everyone has their Words With Friends, their Angry Birds, their Twitter and Facebook apps, but there are thousands of free apps out there just waiting to help you save money. Check out nine of my favorite mobile apps for fitness, food, and more, and save some major money—or at least save a portion of your phone bill.
1. Bethere Deals: This GPS-based app shows deals around you, from 25 percent off coupons at a wine store to $100 off sunglasses. The pins, which will show up throughout your metro area, include deals that are active and those that are coming soon.
2. ShopKick: By “checking in” at stores like Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, and more, you can collect “kicks” that will unlock deals, gift cards, restaurant vouchers, and more. Not bad for simply walking inside and pressing a few buttons.
3. Coupon Sherpa: This app features coupons for more than 5,000 stores such as Gap and Office Depot, and products such as Dell and Febreeze. No smartphone? No worries. You can use Coupon Sherpa’s codes online, too!
4. Nike Training Club: It’s almost like you have your own personal trainer with this app (I named mine Stacey, so I could have someone to yell at when being forced to do pushups). Workouts, audio guidance, rewards, and tracking are included, as well as a thriving online community.
5. Fooducate Nutrition Scanner: This super handy app gives any food with a barcode a grade based on its nutrition content. It will also provide alternative products in case what you scanned turns out with a paltry “C+.” Don’t forget to check ingredients lists!
6. Lose It: If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, this award-winning app makes it easy to log meals and exercise, track your weight loss and view progress reports (in handy pie charts, no less!), and get support by sharing your experience with others.
7. ShopSavvy: Want to know if you can get that new food processor for less at another store? ShopSavvy is on it. Find the lowest price for that Cuisinart by simply scanning a barcode. The rest is magic (or so I like to believe).
8. GasBuddy: I’m not a big driver (honestly, I move my car on street-cleaning days only), but for those of you who get behind the wheel daily, this app will help you find the lowest price per gallon in your general area. Seriously GPS, what did we do before you? Oh right, we used paper maps and got lost more often.
9. Yoga Relax Free: If you want to warrior II it up or tree pose for a bit, this free app provides relaxing music and high-quality videos to go along with its postures. To be honest, this is not the app for you if you’re looking for an intense yoga workout, but for a chill-out session, it’s perfect.
The Final Word: Whatever way you slice it, smartphones are a big part of well, the world. And since we’re all savvy vegans here, our phones should be no exception. If you have any favorite money-saving apps, let us know about them in the comments!