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Cost-cutting apps can recoup cost of smartphone, tablet
Smartphone
A smartphone might have cost hundreds, but the apps on it will help pay it back and more. - photo by istockphoto.com

A smartphone or tablet can cost hundreds of dollars, but the money saved by using frugal friendly mobile apps can more than pay back that cost.

Here are 11 areas where a smartphone app can save its user money:

Personal finance

Mint.com

“This little powerhouse allows you to keep track of all your financial activity from all your accounts: checking, savings, retirement. … Mint makes note of your spending patterns (to help you) create a budget. Additionally, on the iPad, it generates graphs to give you visual representations of your net worth and cash flow. For those worried about security, the app is password protected and there is a way to deactivate access from your phone through the Mint website,” says Lifehack.org.

BillTracker

“Never miss a bill payment again with this great app from SnapTap. Passcode-protected, BillTracker allows you to keep all due dates and amount totals in one place and even gives you notifications for impending payments. Due dates are highlighted on the calendar for quick views,” continues LifeHack.org.

Groceries

Coupons.com

“Coupons.com is a giant when it comes to offers for groceries and everyday items, and its app makes it easy to access the deals on the go. Coupon savings arrive in three ways: e-mail that’s printed from your computer, or added to your store loyalty card to scan at checkout. It all depends on the deal.

“When shopping for items other than daily basics, users of Apple devices can browse digital coupons from retailers such as Old Navy and Petco, add coupons to their Passbook app (Apple’s mobile wallet that stores rewards cards and gift cards in one place), and show their phone at checkout to get the savings,” writes Consumer Reports.

Retail shopping

RedLaser

“RedLaser is a bar code-scanning app for price comparisons. Scan a product to find out what it costs at nearby retailers; you can also buy items directly from the app and pick them up in-store,” says Mashable.

Amazon Price Check

This is Amazon’s version of RedLaser. “The app allows consumers to scan bar codes in local stores and compare prices directly with Amazon,” reports Forbes.

Target Cartwheel

“Target’s Cartwheel app allows you to shop sales and coupons and add them to a shopping list. It then creates one bar code hosting all your coupons to scan at checkout. If you ask me, that sounds much more appealing than cutting coupons, bringing them to the store and rummaging through the bag to figure out which ones you need,” says U.S. News.

Online shopping

Retailmenot.com

“Browse coupons and deals from J Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, Target, Sephora, Bed Bath & Beyond, Forever 21, Bloomingdale’s, etc. Save the coupons you want to use for easy access and get notifications for coupon expiration dates. You can also search for deals at the nearest stores. Don’t worry about printing the coupons; all you have to do is show your phone at the register,” writes Lifehack.org. The app allows you to browse discount codes for nearly any online shop.

Gas

GasBuddy

“You can save $500 or more every year simply by choosing the lowest gas prices in your area when you fill up. Apps like GasBuddy find the best prices on gas near you. It’s as easy as opening the app and typing in your zip code. Take the extra two minutes and check your fuel app before filling up,” says U.S. News.

Eating out

Savored

“The Savored app gives you a great way to save on your next meal. You can receive discounts of up to 40 percent on your food and drinks at hundreds of restaurants throughout the U.S. Reservations you make through the app are free and you’ll receive confirmation instantly. Just select when and where you’d like to eat and Savored offers similar restaurants with discounts and open tables,” says the Huffington Post.

Scoutmob

“An exceptionally well-designed and clever app, this is an excellent option for those living in a big city; it is only available in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. In addition to finding great discounts at different eateries and shops, you can also search through articles and other local happenings,” explains Lifehack.org.

Groupon

“Redeem Groupon deals (as much as 50-90 percent off) on everything from restaurants to retailers to hotels. You can search by location to find deals closest to you. Groupon consistently offers great, diverse deals and they even have options tailored for the holiday season. It’s also a great way to step out of your comfort zone and try out new places,” continues Lifehack.org.

Take out

GrubHub

“This app is a delivery and takeout lover’s dream come true. You enter your address or search your current location to find nearby delivery and takeout options. The restaurant network includes more than 20,000 dining locations in more than 500 U.S. cities, and you can browse menus and order delivery right from the app. You can also save past orders so you can get to them quickly when the craving hits,” reports the Huffington Post.

Parking

Best Parking

“Best Parking shows prices for all the local garages in your vicinity, so you can find the cheapest one,” says a blog called maclife.com.

SpotHero

“Another great way to save is to use apps like SpotHero to find cheap parking spots around your city,” says U.S. News.

Hotels

Hotels Tonight

“Hotel Tonight categorizes hotels as hip, luxe, solid, basic, charming or appropriate for high rollers. Click on the hotel, and you get a list of amenities, such as Wi-Fi and breakfast. There’s a ‘Why We Like It’ section. … One drawback: You won’t get a guarantee on a specific room or bed type until check-in. But you definitely get one of the steepest discounts of any of the apps,” reports USA Today. Another disclaimer, the hotel deals don’t appear until noon for rooms available that night. The app is best for last-minute booking.

Flights

Google Flights

“Google bought flight software ITA (used by other consumer searches including Hipmunk) and the result of the purchase is Google’s own flight search. The site works best on domestic flights in the U.S. … A map view allows you to drag and drop your route to another location to see the price changes, while a bar graph view visualizes how fares change over time (changing trip duration by a day or two can cut down on cost as well),” writes Mashable.

Skyscanner

Europe’s response to Kayak. “Acting as a search and recommendation engine, users can have Skyscanner search various travel agents, travel sites, and airline reservation desks to show them the best deals for their airline flights,” says Forbes.

Video games

GameFly

“Most gamers have heard of (and used) Gamefly, and the app just further solidifies the brand as a fantastic, money-saving resource. Browse for, rent, pre-order or purchase your favorite games at killer prices, as well stay in the loop on the latest in video game news. Earn GameFly rewards and use coupons to save you even more money. The ‘Game of the Day’ app is particularly nice feature that highlights a free or discounted game every single day,” says Lifehack.org.

Email: dsutton@deseretnews.com