From tablets to smartphones, mobile devices and the applications we use on them have made our lives easier and much of our daily routine more convenient. Did you know that mobile apps can do more than provide entertainment or the fastest route to your friend’s house?
Mobile apps can go a long way toward helping you to plan a smart budget, save money at the gas pump, or learn about coupons and promotions during when you’re out shopping. Mobile apps can help you save a significant sum of money if you use them to help set and keep a budget.
The following five applications (or apps) are all geared toward that goal. Try downloading one or all today and watch your monthly spending (and savings) change for the better.
Mobile Banking Apps
The first mobile app you need in order to plan your budget and become a more responsible spender is the app that’s offered by your personal bank. Most major banks around the country, from Fifth Third to Chase, offer their own bank-specific mobile apps. Each one makes it easier than ever before to deposit checks, schedule bill payments, or to monitor your account balances. Knowing exactly how much money you have in your account can help you make smarter purchasing decisions, improving your budgeting skills and even letting you know when suspicious withdrawals or debit charges occur.
One of the biggest challenges for spouses or roommates working on a shared budget is keeping track of the spending responsibilities divided among multiple people. HomeBudget with Sync is designed to put an end to the confusion. The app uses a colorful and easy-to-use interface to track bills and other household expenses (as well as income) across different members of a household. For married couples, this app is a good home budgeting tool, not only because it puts all of your budgeting information in one place, but also because any changes or payments are immediately synced across multiple devices. HomeBudget with Sync makes sure you and your spouse are always on the same page as far as household spending is concerned.
For a bigger monthly picture of your spending, the Mint Personal Finance app is a good aid to have in your pocket. The application links to your Mint.com account, which you will in turn link to your credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial information. The app will goes through your recent spending and generates a basic budget based on what you’ve bought recently and how much you’ve spent. You can edit and change the budget as needed, but the goal is to split your spending into various categories (gas, food, and dining, and so on) and then to track that spending to avoid going over the monthly limit you set for yourself. By providing charts, graphics, and monetary read-outs, the Mint app will help you make money-saving decisions, from planning when to buy a computer to deciding whether or not you should go out to dinner with friends from work.
Many people don’t use coupons because saving them or searching through them can be a hassle. However, coupon promotions can save you a lot of money, whether you are shopping for groceries, clothing, Christmas gifts, or most any other type of purchase. The free Coupon Sherpa app can help you find discounts for your favorite stores, saving you money while removing the time-consuming process of clipping coupons. Simply find the coupon you are looking for, pull up the barcode on your phone, and have the cashier scan it at checkout. You’ll be surprised at the savings this app can provide you, and since it’s a free download, there’s no reason not to have it on your smartphone.
For many people, one of the biggest and most unpredictable expenses in any given month is refueling the car. If you’re a frequent commuter, you can’t afford to be paying the highest price for gas. The Gas Buddy app was designed with that thought in mind. After all, why should you pay $4.15 a gallon when there’s a gas station a mile or two away selling it for $3.89? Gas Buddy gives you a comprehensive list of gas stations in your area, tracking your location to pick out the ones that are closest to you, and directing you toward the stations with the best bargains. A 5- or 10-cent-per-gallon savings may not seem like much, but those nickels and dimes can easily add up if you refill the gas tank once or twice a week.
These apps aren’t the only mobile tools that can help you save money, but they can give you a good start at becoming a better budgeter and a smarter spender. Who knows, you might save so much money that you can afford to buy a house sooner than you expected, or help your son or daughter through college. Small savings add up over time, and these apps all specialize in providing small savings that pay big dividends later on.