Written by lifehacker
Your smartphone might be an expensive pocket computer, but it can help make up for its high price tag by cutting costs in other ways. Here are our top 10 ways to save money with your smartphone.
10. Find Fee-Free ATMs
ATM fees are ridiculously high, with many charging around $3 for a transaction outside of your bank. This is easily avoidable by simply checking for the nearest fee-free ATM using your bank’s smartphone app. Most large banks have them for both iPhone and Android, and if not you can always save a bookmark for your bank’s ATM locator page. Either way you’ll be able to check in a pinch and avoid that hefty fee.
9. Always Have Your Coupons
Coupons are an obvious way to save some cash, but you don’t always have them with you. That’s where coupon apps come in. They provide you with a large database of coupons for various stores so you always have them when you need them. There are tons of options, but Coupon Sherpa for iPhone andThe Coupons for Android will get the job done. You may also want to download store-specific apps for access to exclusive deals.
8. Use an App to Compare Prices When Shopping
When at a brick and mortar store, prices tend to be higher. If you’ve got a smartphone you can quickly check to see if any online prices are better than what you’re seeing locally. You do this by scanning the barcode on the back of a product with your smartphone’s camera and a price comparison app. For iPhone, we likeRedLaser and Google Shopper (or Amazon Mobile, if all you need is Amazon). For Android, Google Shopper is the way to go (orAmazon Mobile if that’s your thing).
7. Keep Digital Copies of Discount Cards
Discount cards are really handy when you’re shopping, but once they start to accumulate they become pretty much unmanageable—at least in the real world. Your smartphone, however, can store these cards for quick retrieval. While you could just take pictures of them and store them on your phone, a free app called CardStar (for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry) will help you manage them all. It’ll also give you relevant coupons, too, which is a nice added bonus.
6. Actually Use Your Phone to Save Money
If you’re trying to save, it helps to put together a budget and track your spending. These are both things your smartphone can handle pretty well with just the right app. We like the free Jumsoft Money app for iPhone, butBillMinder is also a good option as it tries to keep you from forgetting your bills so you don’t end up paying late fees. On Android, check out Moneywise, Pageonce, orEasyMoney (if you’ve got $10 to spend on an app).
5. Save Money on Groceries
We’re very fond of Grocery IQ, which is an all-around great app for managing all of your grocery shopping needs. When you run out of something at home, you can just use Grocery IQ to scan the barcode and immediately add it to your groceries list. What’s particularly helpful, however, is Grocery IQ’s excellent abilities to keep track of your grocery store discount cards and any current deals/coupons so you never miss out. It’s really handy and a free download for both Android and iPhone.
4. Get Cheap Gas
It’s easy to just go out and pick the closest gas station, but generally one of the gas stations a bit our of the way is going to be your best bet. You don’t want to venture off to a farther gas station just because it’ll save you money, as often times the transport costs will eat up your savings, so a gas price finder app us really helpful to have in your pocket. We like GasBuddy on both iPhone and Android.
3. Make Calls Using VOIP
Maybe you’ve got unlimited data. Maybe you’re on Wi-Fi a lot. So long as you have a good means of keeping your phone connected you can start making VOIP calls to save your minutes. The simplest way to go about this is to just use Skype (for iPhone, Android, andBlackBerry). Alternatively, Talkatone lets you make free Google Voice VOIP calls on your iPhone and GrooVe IP does that same for Android.
2. Don’t Pay for Text Messages
Text messages are a pricey add-on to your service plan but there are tons of apps that let you do it for free. Most notable is the freeGoogle Voice, which provides free SMS text messages and a free phone number. TextFree for iPhone and Android also gets the job done, but you can’t have a single, unified phone number like Google Voice can provide.
1. Tether at Little to No Cost
Cellphone carriers love to gouge you on tethering, but if you’re paying a specific price for a data connection you should be able to use that connection however you want—especially if you’re paying for a finite amount. To tether without the monthly fee on your iPhone you’ll need to jailbreak and purchase MyWi. Yeah, it’ll cost you $20 but you’re only paying it once. On Android, just grab PdaNet. Both should have you tethering freely in no time.
Got any other great ways to save money with your smartphone? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!
Bonus: Great turn out at the r/antarctica meet up