It’s time to put your smartphone to work as a super-powered savings machine.
Market analysts report the majority of smartphone buyers “make the commitment” because fascination trumps frugality. Buyers get so caught-up in the joys and wonders embedded in all the functions and apps they just cannot resist. When the thrill begins to fade, though, then smartphone owners must begin converting their handheld mega-computers from toys to tools, at the very least making-up the difference between monthly charges for a regular old ordinary cell phone and data plan charges for the wizardly wonderwork of modern technology. In fact, once users begin discovering and capitalizing on the money-saving apps and gadgets built-into their smartphones, they realize the microchip marvel more than pays for itself.
The technorati suggest you begin your smartphone savings plan by using all of its organizing and management tools to your advantage. Combine map apps with a task manager to minimize travel time and distance, cutting fuel costs for routine errands and saving productive daytime for your work. Touchpad tutors say you become a smart user of your smartphone when you start working its special features in synch with one another: The camera and scanner drive all the most intelligent features in your phone, so that when you start snapping and scanning you begin multiplying your savings exponentially.
Your smartphone will pay for itself each month when you save time and gasoline by doing all of your banking and bill-paying with your apps. The bigger banks have developed technology for making smartphone deposits using either your scanner or your camera. Several major credit and debit card providers also have adapted their bill-pay and money-management functions for smartphones. You similarly should receive all your news and features via your smartphone, and you should be downloading all your literature via the fiercely competitive book apps. This year, if you file EX Form tax returns, you can get that nasty task out of the way with your smartphone, and then you can track your refund with IRS2Go.
Consumer advocates constantly survey and test new smartphone apps to find the ones that work most efficiently and save the most. If you search “money saving apps” on the internet, you will find at least 100 reputable sites with links and downloads for good apps. Naturally, each advocate and each site has its own favorites, but there is a consensus among them on the very best money-saving touchpad applications…
Popular Travel Apps
All the most popular travel websites now have smartphone complements; and, in fact, some of the smartphone versions of travelsites have more features and are more user-friendly than their old-fashioned internet brothers and sisters. Priceline, for example, guides you through locating, booking, and securing a boarding pass for a domestic flight in approximately four touchpad taps Total time approximately five minutes; average savings about 50% from full ticket price, and some airlines eliminate baggage or meal fees when you use electronic reservations services.
Grocery IQ and Other Coupon Apps
Grocery IQ really is a stroke of supermarket genius. As you compose your shopping list, it shows you the exact price of each product, and it searches for discount offers and coupons; it also lets you compare and contrast different brands of the same product, and it suggests product alternatives. When you finish your list, you can send it to your “personal shopper”—also known as your husband or child. And if your shopper is little aisle-challenged, Grocery IQ can group the products several different ways for easy in-store locating. Planning the perfect low-price shopping trip takes a little longer than jotting items on a post-it, but it saves an average family of four approximately $50 per supermarket stop.
Some savings apps are cute or nice or intriguing; some are “valuable” or “useful.” And a precious few are absolutely essential. GasBuddy is absolutely essential, because it delivers up-to-the minute gas price information from stations in and near your neighborhood. The prices sometimes vary as much as 30-cents per gallon.
ShopSavvy and TheFind
Here’s where the scanner function kicks-in: While you are browsing your favorite stores, ShopSavvy and TheFind let you scan the barcode from each of your favorite items, showing you the same item available online or at retailers near you. The savings do not always justify extra travel or time waiting for delivery, but the discounted prices sometimes save more than 30%, more than compensating you for the minute you spend comparing.
If you winced a little as you invested major dollars in your smartphone and data plan, you now can breathe a sigh of relief as you begin realizing great savings from your apps and start discovering that the phone not only pays for itself but begins putting a little extra cash in your wallet every month.