Long gone are the days when we used our mobile phones just for ringing people and the occasional game of Snake. They’ve become our cameras, music collections, social media accounts, maps, newspapers, and more. Mine’s even my personal trainer!
There are apps for almost everything, including helping us make informed decisions about how to spend our money. From reducing regular expenses such as the weekly food shop and phone bill, to saving money on occasional treats, your phone can be transformed into a trusty money-saving sidekick at the touch (or slide!) of a button.
Here are five great apps that can help to cut costs without cutting corners. Better still, they are all completely free! (Hurrah!)
If you use a car, petrol and diesel prices are likely to be a major consideration when it comes to your budget. Shopping around for the best price on fuel can save you money each time you fill up, and WhatGas (available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows) makes the search easier. This app uses your location to tell you where your nearest petrol stations are and how much they charge for the type of fuel you use.
Once, this showed me that my local petrol station was charging me 16p more per litre than one a little further down the road, and switching saved me £7 – it really brings home the old saying “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”!
Waiting in a queue to speak to a call centre operator is essentially paying through the nose to listen to a decade-old Robbie Williams track, on repeat. Not exactly everyone’s idea of a good time.
WeQ4U (available on iPhone and Android) puts you through to 08 numbers without having to queue. Call the number through the app and it’ll hold your place in the queue. You can then disconnect, carry on with your business, and the app will call you back when an operator is free.
How does this save money? All calls are charged at your standard national rate and included in your minutes, so you save up to 30p per minute when you call 0800, 0845, 0844, 0843, 0870, 0871 or 0872 number from your mobile.
Not only does it make it cheaper to call expensive lines, but you don’t have to pay for the time you spend waiting either. Technology is a marvellous thing!
With UK food prices among the highest in Europe, the weekly food shop is a significant place to make savings, and mySuperList (available on iPhone and Android) can help you make your budget go further.
This app compares supermarket prices across a range of UK stores including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Aldi, and it’ll tell you the cheapest place to buy everything on your list before you even hit the shops.
While you’re filling up your trolley, you can scan the barcode of an item and the app will let you know if there are better offers in store or in another shop. See an offer you like? The app has a share button so you can let your friends know to stock up too.
What I love most is that you get cashback across a range of items when you order online through the app, so it puts money back in your pocket too!
When you’re on a budget, rewarding yourself every now and then can be motivating, and with some forward planning it doesn’t have to be pricey.
From money off meals out to discounts on day trips there are plenty of offers online, but looking through them all can be time consuming. Worse still, missing an email might mean missing out on a great deal!
Redeemia (available on iPhone) does all the legwork for you by taking deals from across various services, including Groupon, LivingSocial and Wowcher, and putting them all in one place. The app can use your location to see what’s on offer near you, but also lets you search offers by city and category, so you never need to miss out on a deal again.
5. Pocket Expense
Finally, Pocket Expense (available on iPhone) is an online personal finance tracker. It won’t save you money in itself, but it’ll let you easily check at a glance whether you’re on budget.
As long as you don’t mind putting up with the adverts, the free version of Pocket Expense is no different to the paid version. It allows you to set weekly or monthly budgets by category, such as entertainment, groceries, or travel, and shows you how much you have left to spend every day, week or month. There’s also a snazzy graph function so you can see what proportion of your cash goes where.
Check out MoneyAware for more information and advice on creating a sustainable budget.
Do you use any great phone apps that no one else knows about? Tell us all about them in the comments!