I’m sure you already know this but living in this world without spending at least a little bit of money is nearly impossible. Almost everything we want and need comes with a price. That, unfortunately, is an inescapable fact of life.
But, what if I told you that there are apps you can take with you anywhere you go to help you save money?
These apps can be used for virtually everything from groceries and shopping, restaurants, airlines and hotels, and everything in between.
Having said that, below is a list of these apps grouped into categories to help you find the best apps for every occasion. Let’s start!
The best apps for saving money on groceries
SavingStar is an app specifically made to help you save on groceries without having to bring cut out coupons. It can be used in two ways:
- Taking a picture of your receipt
- Linking your loyalty card
For both ways, you will first need to scan the app for offers on grocery items that you want to buy. If you find anything you like, tapping on it will activate the offer.
After that, all you have to do is go to the store and buy your groceries.
For the receipt option, take a picture of your receipt and scan the barcodes of the items with offers using the SavingStar app. After they’ve verified your purchase, cashback equivalent to the amount on the offer will be credited to your account.
On the other hand, I find the loyalty card option a fair bit easier. After activating offers on your app, all you have to do is shop as you normally would and give your linked loyalty card to the cashier at checkout. SavingStar will automatically detect your purchase and credit cashback to your account as soon as they finish their validation process.
Cashout options include bank deposit, PayPal, or gift cards.
When you search for money saving apps, Ibotta is one of the few who always make its way into anyone’s list.
It’s great, it’s simple to use, it’s free, and it has a ton of offers for all sorts of products (yeah, all kinds!). Personally, though, I like using Ibotta for when I’m grocery shopping so I’m listing it here.
Like SavingStar, you can take advantage of their offers in two ways: linking loyalty cards or snapping pictures of your receipts.
With both options, Ibotta works the same exact way as SavingStar.
Other than those two, however, Ibotta also allows you to pay through their app. With this option, you will have to link your credit or debit card to your Ibotta account. Also, if you do pay with Ibotta, you won’t have to wait days before any money is given back to you (unlike the other two options) because cashback will be credited to your account instantly.
Moreover, paying with the Ibotta app is meant to be used when you shop at participating retailers and not just for individual products. This way, you don’t just get cashback on just a few items; you get cashback for your entire purchase.
ShopSavvy is a little different from Ibotta and SavingStar, although it does also require the use of your phone’s camera.
You see, ShopSavvy doesn’t give you back money for taking pictures of your receipts. No, because with this app, you save money by scanning barcodes.
What this does is when you find an item you want to buy, you whip out your phone, open the ShopSavvy app, and scan the barcode on the item. This, then, will display prices of the same exact item from other retailers so you can compare them and see which one sells it the cheapest.
Have you ever seen those coupons from newspapers and magazines? How about printable coupons from different coupon websites? They’re great ways to save money when you’re shopping!
BUT! Let’s face it: tiny pieces of cut out paper can be easily thrown out or misplaced.
Moreover, sometimes we just don’t cut these coupons regardless of how great they are because, you know… getting scissors can also mean we get up off the couch, and that can be very tiring sometimes (don’t judge me).
Having said that, with SnipSnap, you will never miss out on those coupons!
All you have to do is take a picture of the printed coupon using the app and it will generate a barcode, promo code, or image that you can use at checkout.
No more cutting, no more printing, and no more getting off the couch!
This app started off as a place where you can gather and use all your loyalty cards in one place.
Personally, because I have a bunch of loyalty cards in my wallet, this helps tremendously with managing the clutter.
The app has now evolved into something better though. Something much, much better.
Now, apart from its original purpose, Key Ring has added more features to help you save, such as:
- Following stores whether or not you have loyalty cards for them. This should help you see sales and coupons that you can take advantage of.
- Searching for a specific product and checking multiple stores for the best price
- Creating a shopping list which you can also share with other people
These are just some of the best money saving apps for groceries that you can install on your smartphone but – believe me – there are a lot more out there that you might want to use. If you want to read more about grocery rebate apps, we have another list I think you should check out.
The best apps for saving money for a trip
Their iconic catch phrase has been making noise all over TV and the internet and, honestly, their advertising is just as good as the app itself.
With 1.8 million hotels around the world and 180+ booking sites in their database, this, in particular is what impresses me most about Trivago. This vast web of information allows them to find the best hotel deals virtually anywhere in the world!
Like Trivago, HotelTonight is an app that helps you find the best hotel deals for your vacation.
Unlike Trivago, however, HotelTonight specializes in booking (and saving you money) on last-minute hotel reservations. Considering how pricey these reservations can be especially on top-shelf hotels, I’m glad this app is free!
Really, DealNews is a coupon site for a multitude of categories, including clothing, electronics, health, sports, and pretty much all other types you can think of. So, if you’re looking to save money on everything, DealNews probably has coupons for it.
With that said, I’m placing DealNews here because it also has deals for airfare and I think they’re great.
AwardWallet is an app that I believe you should always have on your phone whenever you’re on a trip.
You see, when you’re on vacation, chances are that you’ll be riding a plane, staying at a hotel, eating at a fancy restaurant, and shopping. Also, if you do this often, you probably joined loyalty programs that fetch you rewards after acquiring a certain amount of points.
The problem, however, is although you joined loyalty programs, you probably don’t track your points or even know when they’re expiring. Hence, your points are useless most of the time.
This app tracks loyalty points from loyalty programs (credit cards, airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc.), let’s you know of any changes to your balance, and notifies you before your points expire. This way, you make the most of your membership and, consequently, save money.
The best apps for saving money on food
OpenTable is an app and website that you can use to reserve seats from restaurants across the nation and several countries across the world.
Although they don’t give you discounts and deals on restaurants, they do award you points every time you make and honor a reservation. These points can then be used to dine at any of OpenTable’s participating restaurants.
If you eat out a lot, this could be a great way to save money.
Unfortunately, iTip Calc is only available for iOS (sorry Android!) but it is a great money saving app nonetheless.
Anyway, isn’t it frustrating when you eat out with your friends and you end up paying more than you’re supposed to because – no offense – you guys just can’t do the math right?
Well, iTip Calc is here to save the day.
This app adds the total bill and the tip you should be leaving so you don’t have to. Plus, it also has a feature that splits the bill (and the tip) so you and your friends only pay exactly what you’re supposed to.
Get the app here:
Apart from OpenTable and iTip Calc, you could also download your favorite fast-food chain’s app.
Of course, each chain’s app has different features to help you save money so I don’t think there’s a general way to describe them.
On that note, I’ll let you check them out yourself. Here’s a list of a few fast-food chains (and their apps) you might be in to:
- McDonald’s – Has coupons and deals to help you save money
- Burger King – Get deals and coupons exclusive to the apps
- Android users, click here
- Burger King – Get deals and coupons exclusive to the apps
- iOS users, click here
- Wendy’s – Free Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger with any purchase for simply installing the app and creating a new account.
- Dairy Queen – Get exclusive deals and rewards which you can then use to redeem your favorite meals
The best apps for saving money on gas
This app helps you find gas stations and their respective gas prices across the nation. It’s a fairly simple concept but it can help you save money by letting you look ahead into cheaper gas stations.
Personally, I like using this when I’m on my motorcycle with my friends. Knowing where the cheapest gas is lets us plan our stops ahead of time so we don’t just “wing it” and waste a few bucks in the process.
Plus, if you want to save even more money, you can also pay using the GasBuddy card where you can save 5 cents per gallon of gasoline from every gas station in the country. To get a card, simply link your checking account to your GasBuddy account and they’ll deliver the card right at your doorstep.
Get the app here:
At this point in time, who hasn’t heard about Waze?
I mean, it’s probably the most popular traffic app right now – and everyone hates traffic! So, if you haven’t installed the app on your smartphone yet, there’s no better time than now.
That being said, Waze is great at connecting actual drivers to each other so everyone can let everyone know what’s happening on the road (e.g. accidents, constructions, etc.) and what the best routes are for avoiding traffic.
Although Waze doesn’t give you discounts or deals on anything, it helps you save money on gas because you get to your destination faster. And, the sooner you get from point A to point B, the less gas you consume.
Whatever it is you’re spending money on, trust me, there’s a way to save a bit of cash.
So, I guess the bottom line here is if you want to buy something, check money-saving apps and websites first before you actually buy it. Who knows? Maybe it’s cheaper somewhere else, or there’s a coupon for it, or maybe you can get a fraction of your cash back.
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