How your smartphone can save you money!
Feeling guilty about splashing out on that iphone or Android? Well put away those pangs of guilt, and download some apps that can save you time and money!
Since buying my smartphone a year ago I must confess to becoming totally addicted. There are so many different things I can use it for, and by downloading the right apps, I've been able to get the cheapest deals and save time!
What is an App?
‘App’ is short for a software ‘application’, which has often been designed for use on a smartphone (or iPad) to perform a task that the user wants or needs.
Apps tend to be free, or cost less than a fiver and there seems to be one to cover most problems! So let's look at some of my favourites.
Top Apps for Saving Time and Money
Free Phone calls and texts
Fancy making calls and sending instant messages to your friends, worldwide, for free? As long as you can connect to a Wi-Fi network (or can use a mobile data plan, depending on your service provider’s bandwidth) it’s easy:
Users of Skype will be happy to know it’s available as a free app, offering video calling to other Skype users worldwide, for free.
Viber is also free to iPhone and Android users, and offers free voice calls and texts between Viber users, worldwide. It’ll even check your contacts list and tag the friends who have also signed up to Viber, making calls between you free.
Whatsapp allows users to message each other without having to pay for SMS, as well as send images, videos and audio media messages.
And you can avoid calling rip-off 0870 numbers by downloading the SayNoTo0870 app (69p from the iTunes App store and free from Android Marketplace).
Want to know if the DVD you’re perusing in HMV is a good price? Then use the RedLaser app to scan its barcode with your camera – and find out if it’s cheaper online, or in a nearby store.
And if you always forget that discount voucher when shopping/dining out, free apps Vouchercloud and Quidco will search for all of the discount vouchers and deals available at retailers and restaurants in your vicinity using your phone’s GPS.
Then, simply show staff members the voucher or barcode on your phone’s screen to get the discount. You can even earn cashback using the Quidco app. Fantastic.
Your smartphone can even save you money on the road. Download the Petrolprices Pro App (£2.99 from Appstore or Android Marketplace) and you will always pay the lowest price when filling up.
And if you want to reduce your parking costs in London, download Nosey Parker (£2.99 from Appstore) to locate secure, cheap or even free parking!
Save yourself some money when booking that holiday by researching with your smartphone. Find the cheapest deals with the Agoda app – and then find out what previous occupants have had to say on Tripadvisor.
News & Books
The Telegraph and Independent newspapers offer their apps for free, while The Times and Daily Mail will allow you to try the full versions for free for 30 or 60 days respectively.
And if you’re too broke to buy a Kindle, no problem – simply download Stanza, Kobo, ibook or Ebook reader and with thousands of free and paid-for books to choose from, your smartphone is also your e-reader!
Food & Drink
Smartphones are just perfect as portable cookbooks and there are loads of recipe apps available, many of which are free.
Check out the free Big Oven and Allrecipes apps for a wealth of ideas.
Good, paid-for apps include Jamie Oliver (£4.99) for clear instructional videos and BBC Good Food (£1.99). And for inspiration, tell MyPantry (free for Android) the contents of your larder and it’ll come up with a recipe for you.
Feeling disorganised? The use Evernote (free) to get your notes, emails, photos, recipes, you name it in order – and you can even synch it to your computer.
And while I don’t often pay for apps, I reckon the WeetWoo! App (£2.50) for kids is worth the money for entertainment alone..
It filters thousands of child-safe programmes from YouTube into age appropriate categories, meaning you can leave your kids to watch Charlie & Lola etc. as well as loads of educational programmes on your smartphone, safe in the knowledge they can’t stray into unsavoury areas. Note that you will need a Wi-Fi connection for the best quality.
So there you have it – a number of top apps that could save you time and money!
But what if you don’t want to pay?
I personally tend to stick to free apps and will pay only if I know an app is great. If you’d like to try a paid-for app, check if it has a free ‘Lite’ version first. These cut-down apps will give you a feel for their usefulness before you commit.
Alternatively, if you're an iPhone user, sign up and download your app through Truevoo. If you write a review about it and submit it to iTunes, Truevoo will credit you with the cost of the app if your review is published.
And remember, you don’t have to have the app. I like to read a few newspapers on my phone but am unwilling to pay for their apps – so I simply read them on their websites instead.
If you’ve got an idea for an app why not make it a reality? And let us know your favourite apps in the comments below.