Just a couple decades ago, the best way to save money was to pour over the Sunday paper cutting coupons and browsing store ads. Nowadays you have 1000 times that savings power in the palm of your hand and with you at all times. Apps to find deals, compare prices, get instant discounts and collect rewards make the smartphone the most powerful savings tool that ever existed.
The apps are free, using them is easy, and there are several ways to save, everytime you shop.
1. Get the lowest price available
What if you could always be assured that you are paying the lowest available price for an item? Shoppers today are armed with the only tool they need to negotiate in a store: information on the lowest price available at other stores. Combine that with many stores’ price matching policies and there’s a recipe to always pay the lowest price.
All you need is a price comparison app like ShopSavvy on your phone. ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of a product in a store and see what other local stores and online retailers are charging for the same product. The app also provides detailed directions on how to use the store’s price-matching policy to get the best deal. Some of the most popular stores highlighted by ShopSavvy’s price-matching feature include Walmart, Target, Sears, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Staples and more. ShopSavvy also allows you set alerts on stores and products that you are interested in and get sale notifications.
2. Have a coupon for that
No more cutting coupons! (Does anyone do that anymore?) With an app like RetailMeNot you can pull coupons for the store you are in while you are shopping. Cashiers scan them straight from your phone at checkout. Many malls support the app’s location-based service as well. When you use that feature, your phone will alert you when you get near a store that has a sale or a coupon available.
3. Get rewarded for shopping
Walking into stores is part of life for most of us, and Shopkick gets you rewards just for doing that. Shopkick makes a game of shopping, giving you points for scanning products and buying stuff. Whether you’ve heard of it or not, Shopkick has become the most used real-time shopping app according to Nielsen. Shoppers have earned $25 million in rewards and redeemed 7 million gift cards since its launch in 2010.
Bottom line: integrating the plethora of easy to use saving and rewards apps into your shopping routine will add up to big savings over time, likely more than enough to pay for an upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone you’ve been saving up for.