10 Great Money-Saving Apps
These mobile apps will help you find deals, get the best prices and spend less.
If you have a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet, it can be your ticket to saving a lot of money. How? By allowing you to access a multitude of free apps that can help you get the best prices on products and services, earn cash back or gift cards for purchases, and track your spending so you won’t go over budget. Here are ten great mobile apps that don't cost a dime yet can help you save money every day.
GoodRx. Compare prices of prescription drugs at pharmacies near you and online to find the best deal with this app for Android and Apple devices. GoodRx, which received high marks from Consumer Reports, also offers coupons and savings tips to help cut the cost of prescription drugs even more.
Ibotta. This app for Android and Apple devices helps you score rebates when you shop. Check the list of products with available rebates, click on the ones you want to buy, and then complete a short task, such as watching a video or taking a poll. Purchase the products and scan your receipt (or use your loyalty card at checkout if the store is an Ibotta Preferred Partner) to redeem rebates, which are typically 25 cents. Your can transfer your earnings to PayPal or Venmo once you've earned $5, or get a gift card once you've earned $2.
Kayak. From a favorite online source for cheap airfares, this travel app helps you not only find the best prices on flights but also hotel rooms and rental cars. You can get price alerts for hotels and flights through the app. It’s available for Android, Apple and Kindle devices and Windows Phone 7.
Key Ring. With this app, you no longer have to weight down your key chain with those miniature loyalty cards from retailers (or library, gym and other similar membership cards, for that matter). Use the app for Android and Apple devices to scan and store the barcodes from all of your cards. Then, show the scanned barcode when you check out to get your loyalty program discounts and rewards. The app also lets you search for coupons from more than 13,000 brands and retailers, browse exclusive weekly sales and add items to your shopping list.
Last Minute Travel. This relatively new app from the Web site of the same name offers travelers access to wholesale prices for hotels in more than 150 countries and flights from 175 carriers. It also offers discounts on theme parks, sporting events and similar activities. Despite the name, the wholesale rates are available any time – not just for last-minute bookings. We recently compared hotel rates in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, and found that the prices typically were lower – by at least $10 but as much as $100 or more – on the LMT app than on Hotels.com, Expedia and Priceline. The app currently is available only for Apple devices but and Android version will be released later in 2014.
Mint Personal Finance. This app from the popular money-management site Mint.com helps you track your spending and stick to a budget. You can link your financial accounts to the app, and it will automatically track and categorize your transactions to show you where your money is going and pinpoint ways you can save. You can receive alerts to notify you of fees, remind you to pay bills and warn you if you’re going over budget. It’s available for Android, Apple and Windows 8 devices.
RedLaser. You can use this app when you’re shopping to scan the barcodes of items to find out if they’re selling for less at other retailers or online. If the store where you are shopping has a price-matching policy, you may be able to use the app as evidence that another retailer has the same item for a lower price (see How to Get Retailers to Match Prices). This app for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone also lets you scan the barcodes from store loyalty cards and store them in one place.
RetailMeNot. This app for Android and Apple devices has thousands of coupons from a long list of retailers that you simply show the cashier at checkout for savings. It couldn't be easier to use. You can search for coupons by store or category (such as clothing, electronics, food and travel), or just peruse the day's hot deals. You also can sign up to get alerts when there are deals at nearby stores.
Shopkick. You can earn points (known as "kicks") that can be redeemed for gift cards when you use this app for Android and Apple devices at participating retailers such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Old Navy and Target. Simply activating the app at a store entrance as you walk in gets you points, but you'll collect even more points when you scan products and make purchases. You can link your MasterCard or Visa to the app to earn additional points on qualifying purchases.
Waze. If you're on the road a lot, you can save time and money with this app for Android and Apple devices. It provides real-time traffic information contributed by users, so you can find the best route and avoid backups (so you don’t waste gas). You also can use Waze to find the cheapest gas station along your route.