My Favorite Free Apps to Save You Money

by Jamie Simmerman · 4 comments

Family reunions, church, shopping centers, sporting events, festivals, conferences — spend some time watching people, and you’re likely to notice one thing: smartphones and tablets are everywhere.

In the same day, I had an 80-year-old man give me a twenty-minute lesson on a genealogy app, and I watched a five-year-old entertain a group of adults with bird calls from a bird watching app.

Young and old, mobile devices are a part of everyday life for most households. But that smartphone or tablet can be used for more than entertainment and killing boredom. Mobile apps can also help save you time and money.

Here are three of my favorite money-saving apps.

Three Apps to Save You Time and Money

1. GasBuddy

Want to know if gas is cheaper on the other side of town? We’ve all had that moment when you fill up the tank, drive to your destination, and find out you could’ve saved five, ten, or even twenty cents per gallon by getting gas in the next town.

GasBuddy is a mobile app that lets you search for the best gas prices near you. You can search by zip code, price, or distance. The app also features an easy interface with a “find gas near me” button that provides instant results within a given radius.

Users have the option of uploading gas prices to earn points and enter to win free gas. When you find a good price, you can easily share your findings via social networks, text message, or email so that your friends and family can also fill up for less.

2. ibotta

If you like coupons but can never find them when you need them, you’ll love ibotta. This app lets you view products that are eligible for special rewards from nearby stores. Find a product you’re interested in purchasing at stores like Walmart, Target, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, and Giant Eagle.

Purchase the item, scan your receipt within the app, and earn cash back directly into your PayPal account. You can also complete tasks related to an item — like viewing an ad or providing feedback on a product — to earn extra cash with your purchase.

Products offering cash back include popular DVD new releases, health and beauty items like sunscreen and shampoo, and food like milk, eggs, butter, canned goods, and bread, as well as a few specialty items you may not have tried before.

3. TextNow

If you want to drop texting charges on your monthly bill, or need to send texts over Wi-Fi when out of the country, TextNow is the answer. This free app provides you with your own phone number to send free texts to others with the same app over a data connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G).

You can make free calls, send pictures, and text all within the app without incurring extra charges beyond your data usage.

Our family downloaded this app to an iPhone, Android phone, and an iPad to to use when we were in Mexico. I could connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi for free and keep in touch without using international charges from my cellular carrier, since I wasn’t using my phone’s data network to power the app.

What are your favorite free money-saving apps? 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Free Money Minute July 11, 2013 at 5:37 am

Good tips on apps. I also like the Google Voice option for free texting. This service also allows you to create one phone number and have it forward your number to all of your phones, none of your phones, etc. You can also setup voicemail prompts by number or block whatever numbers you want.

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Joshua Rodriguez July 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

They have apps for everything now! The TextNow app sounds awesome. I’d like to check out the Ibotta app too since I always loose track of my coupons or simply forget to bring them out.

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Alexa July 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I definitely like these ideas for niche apps that help save on social networking, gas, and other daily needs. I use an application that helps me save money every time I make a purchase by depositing a small percentage into my savings account. It works really well because you can manage the amounts and percentages yourself. It’s called SavedPlus and should work on most smart phones.

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Gwen July 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

Saving Time:

-In Washington State the WSDOT app (free, Apple OS and Android) provides information on Traffic, Ferry schedules, Mountain pass/weather reports, Toll rates, Border waits (both directions) at US/Canadian crossings and includes NEXUS/PACE/FAST lanes.

You get current traffic conditions as well as blocking accidents, upcoming events that impact traffic and construction restrictions.

-Google Maps (free, Apple OS and Android) and the Map App (free, Apple OS ) use local traffic data to propose not only different routing options, but how long it will take depending on the current traffic congestion. Less time on the road means you use less gas.

Save Money:

Starbucks (free, Apple OS and Android): Even if you don’t buy coffee, they offer free music/apps every week. While you are traveling, use the location feature to find a clean restroom. Oh yeah, there are also discounts on food/beverage if you lean that way.

Appsfire (free, Apple OS): Free and discounted apps. Includes notifications for apps going on sale or are offered free for a limited time. Not just games, but productivity, utilities, photography tools, finance tools, travel, etc.

Safeway (free, Apple OS, Android unknown) Keep track of coupons and specials. No need to carry store coupons, they are associated with your Safeway Club card.

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