Movies and television and books and “inspirational” Pinterest quotes all like to let us know money isn’t everything. And you know what? They’re totally right. Money isn’t everything. Neither is food, or shelter, or oxygen. But if the point they’re trying to get across is that money is unimportant or unnecessary, then that’s where most working class individuals might take exception. Do we need all of the newest expensive distractions or frivolities? No. Do we need enough money to be able to take care of our families? Yes.
Lucky for us, even though the modern world is always coming up with new expenses, some forward thinking designers have put technology to good use, and found ways to help us all save a little bit of money. Here are my 10 best money saving apps available today.
1. Mint Personal Finance
If we’re talking about saving money, we better just start with something that can help you get your financial act together all at once. After all, what good are things like coupons and special deals when you can’t balance your checkbook?
The Mint app keeps track of your money, and helps you budget. It also monitors where you’ve been spending money, and will even suggest ways for you to save a little dough.
For most money saved, I’m going to have to go with Vinny. Vinny is an app that I used recently when I went used car shopping.
It’s easy to use; you just scan the VIN barcode of the car you’re interested in, and Vinny finds the approximate wholesale price. So when the car I wanted was marked at $18,500, but Vinny let me know that it was actually worth about $15,000, I showed the salesperson. Vinny ended up saving me a few grand, and for that, I say thanks.
It can be annoying when you know exactly what you need to purchase, but instead all you get are coupons for wisdom tooth removal and vent cleanings. Vouchercloud lets you search for the things that interest you, and in return it uses GPS to find the best deals near you. It’s like having your own military satellite that’s been calibrated to spy on bargains.
When you pick up something in the store and you notice it doesn’t have a price sticker on it, you can do one of two things: you can put the item back and go on your merry way, or you can track down a store employee and have her scan the item for you. The problem is, once you’ve gone to the trouble of locating a salesperson and forcing her to do a price check, you sort of feel obligated to make the purchase (even if the price is too high). At the very least, you feel like you need to make some excuse or apologize for not wanting the item. And sometimes you’ll put the thing into your cart so you can ask about it at checkout, only to forget and have it end up on your receipt. If only you had your own scanner, so you could check prices yourself. Well, with RedLaser, you do.
5. Fuel School
When you fill your car up with gas, you are literally (or figuratively or whatever) burning money. And even though alternate energy transportation hasn’t quite figured everything out yet, you can still cut down on gas costs by using Fuel School. Fuel School analyzes your driving style and the routes you take, and helps you use your car more efficiently.
Look. I’m not a tech guy. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a terabyte and a bug-bite. What I can tell you is that I downloaded Onavo, and it saves me money on my data plan.
It does this by compressing information or some other fanciness. Again, not my area of expertise. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be your area of expertise either for you to save money with it.
Few things strike as quickly and cost as much as auto repairs. The worst part is that it’s only when we have to take our car into the shop that we realize just how much we depend on the old clunker. Well, RepairPal won’t save you from having to get your car fixed, but it will help you locate the quickest, most inexpensive repair shops in your area. It also provides an estimate on how much you should be paying, just in case you need a second opinion.
8. Gas Buddy
While we’re on the subject of cars, let’s take a moment and consider Gas Buddy. But wait, you might say, didn’t you already cover fuel issues with Fuel School? Well first off, stop talking to Internet articles. Second, Fuel School teaches you how to be a more efficient driver; Gas Buddy just shows you where to get inexpensive gas.
It tracks the prices at nearby pumps so that you don’t have to waste a tank’s worth of energy just to find a place to fill up.
This one gets the prize for best name. And much like the Sherpas that guide thrill seeking trust-funders up frozen mountains (and often carry them back down again), CouponSherpa is your guide to coupon use.
By checking your location, this app will locate nearby stores and shops that have available coupons. You can then simply pull up the coupon on your phone, use the coupon ID number, or email a copy to yourself for printing.
A good way to save money on purchases is through the use of loyalty clubs. The problem is that everything from grocery stores, to novelty shops, to media retailers all seem to want you to carry a specific card. That can become more hassle than its worth once your wallet gets too thick to close. Loyalli is an app that keeps track of all of these different clubs, and takes the place of all your different cards, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on deals or savings.