June 27, 2011

Category: Smart Spending

Save money using a smartphone

Thanks to the large and growing number of smartphone applications devoted specifically to helping consumers find ways to save money in their everyday lives, having such a device can be extremely beneficial for individuals' wallets, according to a report from the tech news site Gizmodo

 For example, several applications exist to help consumers with their online banking needs, which can be helpful for keeping tabs on their finances. But these apps typically also make use of the smartphone's GPS feature to help users find nearby ATMs in their network, the report said. By using these machines instead of those that are not in the network, consumers will be able to cut the typical ATM fees out of their lives and save considerably every month. 

Further, a number of smartphone apps will use that same GPS feature to help consumers combat the rising cost of gasoline, the report said. Instead of visiting the nearest gas station and paying $3.90 per gallon, it may help you find one that offers the same fuel at $3.85 just slightly farther away. However, it's also important to keep in mind the cost of getting to that station, as driving across town may cost more than simply fueling up at the nearer station.

 In addition, several smartphone apps also help consumers not only find coupons that will help them save on the items they normally buy, but also store them, the report said. With these apps, consumers can keep better track of such deals and not worry about leaving their coupons at home or losing them. Some major chains will also have individual apps that grant coupon savings of their own, or even let users keep their store loyalty rewards account information on the device, rather than carrying around a card. 

Similarly, a number of apps now exist that use a smartphone's camera to scan an item's bar code, the report said. It can do this for several reasons, but one of the most common is to comparison shop. Consumers may scan an item that costs $5 at their current location, but the app might find the same product at another store or even online for $4, providing an instant 20 percent savings. 

Another major charge consumers may face every month is the cost of their home phone and cellular bills, the report said. One way to avoid these costs may be to set up VOIP account through a service like Skype and use its smartphone application to make phone calls. These are typically far less expensive than standard phone calls, and would allow users to reduce their minutes plans to the company's minimums for additional savings. Some applications even allow consumers to make free VOIP calls through the service known as Google Voice

Another Google Voice service that could come in handy for regular smartphone users is the ability to send free text messages using the associated app, the report said. But this is just one of many apps that allow consumers to send free texts, though others can cause some problems, such as messages not always coming from the same phone number. 

Consumers who have smartphones can also research other ways to save money with their apps, based on the things they're interested in. Ace Cash Express is a leading provider of financial services including prepaid cards, short term loans, auto insurance and check cashing.