Luke Knowles is the founder of numerous money-saving websites including Coupon Sherpa, Gift Card Granny and Mr. Free Stuff. In 2008 Luke founded Free Shipping Day, now a red-letter discount date for online holiday shopping.
Despite a recession allegedly in our rear view mirror, frugality remains a hot, dare I say trendy topic. Nowhere is that more evident than in the often expensive world of consumer tech. Those of you currently debating that iPad purchase know just what I mean. But remember, a one-time splurge could pay dividends in the long run if you do your homework.
Take Steve Jobs’ previous technological wonder. The iPhone’s price tag might seem hefty, but just a cursory review of its money-saving potential might prove tempting to even the most fiscally conservative. Here are ten of our favorite apps for the frugal-focused.
The first step to saving money is learning how to handle it. Depending on your needs, there are literally hundreds of apps to help you manage your money, track expenses and pay bills. You can use your iPhone to make late fees and overdrafts a thing of the past.
Existing Quicken users as well as newbies will no doubt find this simple but handy app the ideal way to check financial accounts on the go. Track your financial goals, monitor account activity and even find an ATM.
One of the most popular bill tracking apps out there, the interface is simple, sleek and easy to use. Plus, you can back up your data and export via e-mail for added peace of mind. Enable push notifications to make sure you never miss a due date.
Once you’ve got your accounts balanced, it might be time to start spending (wisely). But a note to the coupon clippers: Now you can leave that Sunday circular at home.
Coupon Sherpa offers both in-store coupons (just show the entry at checkout) as well as exclusive deals just for users. You can search by category or store name, locate merchants closest to you, and even e-mail coupons to your friends. (Disclosure: the author is the founder of Coupon Sherpa.)
Scribbling down grocery lists is so 2006. Meticulous shoppers can now download apps to manage their grocery needs, ensuring every discounted item is accounted for. This one allows users to upload and share lists while offering additional frugal options like price comparisons and coupons.
Food & Drink
The recession has taught even the most sociable among us the value of eating in. These apps can make it cheap, and relatively pain-free for even the most amateur of gourmets.
A godsend for foodies. Spun off from the hugely popular website, it offers quick access to thousands of recipes complete with directions, photos and user reviews. Try the “spinner” and find yourself a new favorite dish. Tips not required.
Instead of fighting the crowds for a $14 martini, home-based mixologists can entertain friends hassle-free. Mixology features 7900+ recipes and a fun “liquor cabinet” feature to manage your whole inventory. Charge a cover at your next shindig, and you’re back in the black!
Whether you drive, fly, ride the rails or hail a cab, just getting around can cost a pretty penny. Luckily there are a number of apps to help keep prices (and aggravation) down.
The only native app (though based on Google Maps) on our list is a no-brainer for anyone who relies on public transportation. Integrating directions, schedules, traffic and more into this mega-app, you’ll find the closest, fastest, and most importantly cheapest route with ease.
8. Gas Buddy
Drivers can use this to find the cheapest filling stations nationwide. With prices varying as much as 20% (even in the same city) this could mean big savings. Get distance, directions and time estimates to each location. Just stay off that phone when you’re behind the wheel!
Since the iPhone is, after all, a phone, we should point out some ways to offset that monthly service fee. Chatterboxes, take note.
This is an interesting option for those looking to completely eliminate a portion of their monthly phone bill. Be aware, this app must be open in order to receive a text, and certain features from the native iPhone version are unavailable. For light users, though, this could be a good alternative.
Already a popular desktop application for placing worldwide voice calls over the Internet, now Skype has an iPhone app that many feel delivers an even clearer connection. Calls between Skype users are free, and peanuts to landlines or cell phones. If you have international friends and family, this could save you a bundle.
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