Fire up your smartphone and tell me what's on your Home screen?
How many of those apps cost you money? I bet a lot are free with some in-game sales. If the apps free, they can still sell you stuff inside. All good.
Today I'm going to share a few apps that will save you money when you shop, save you money when you travel, and save you money when you are just going about life.
Swagbucks is one of my favorite paid survey apps and they'll give you $5 just to sign up — earn more by answering surveys, watching videos, playing games, and many of the other things you're already doing online… for free.
You earn SB (Swagbucks) for all those activities and can convert them to gift cards to many retailers, including Amazon. (read our Swagbucks review)
Drop Rewards is a rewards program where you link up a credit or debit card to earn rewards for the spending you're already doing.
It's completely automatic – you spend as you normally would and earn points at the same time. If you get credit card reward points, you get those too. If you're at Starbucks and get Starbucks Stars, you get those too. Then redeem your Drop points for gift cards!
Ibotta gives you rebates on the products you buy when you take photos of your receipts. Download the app, search the list of rebates, and select the ones you want to activate. When you buy the product, scan the bar code, the receipt, and receive the rebate into your account.
For a limited time there is a $10 bonus after your first rebate done within 7 days of signing up and I did it with a $1 rebate on Tazo teas (including a $1 off coupon from Whole Foods). Many of the rebates include specific products but there are also generic ones too like a 50 cent rebate on a dozen eggs, 50 cent rebate on any gallon of milk, and $1 at any grocery store.
Retailmenot is a crowdsourced coupon site that has spawned about a million clones, all of which are just crappier versions of Retailmenot. They boast over half a million coupons for tens of thousands of stores and now you can get them on your phone through their native app.
The best part about being one of the largest crowdsourced coupon sites is that you have verified coupons and none of the BS those smaller sites play with fake coupons.
MobileXpressions is a market research company that will pay you to install their app on your phone or tablet. You may not be familiar with the MobileXpressions name but you've probably heard of comScore Inc, a publicly traded company with a $1.16 billion market cap. They're based out of Reston, Virginia and were founded in 1999. They are a media measurement and analytics company – MobileXpressions is their mobile arm for phones and tablets.
When you join the program, download the app and connect, you'll get a token in their weekly drawing. Minimum prize is a $5 Amazon gift certificate.
I've been a fan of Slickdeals for years and it's one of the first websites I open every single day. I've saved a ton of money on everything from landscaping gloves to monitors (the two Dell monitors I'm using now were found on Slickdeals) to TVs.
They've added a ton of features to their deals listing but the most valuable one is the forums. Each deal is linked to a forum discussion and you can see real time updates about the deal itself. Sometimes people run into problems and share workarounds. Sometimes they share the deal is dead — it's a great site and completely free. They've easily saved me thousands of dollars.
Credit Sesame is a service that gives you a free credit score and free credit monitoring based on your TransUnion credit report. They also have a free smartphone app so you can always keep on top of this critical area of your finances.
The Amazon App makes it easier to buy stuff on Amazon and the savings on this one has to do with the promotional bonus Amazon will give to new users to their app. There's a referral program where you can get $5 off your first purchase if you use our promotion code MARTH549N.
GasBuddy or Waze
I use Waze for navigation, it's owned by Google, offers great directions, and up to date information on road conditions. It's reported by other drivers and you get a chance to offer feedback. There's also a part of the app for local gas prices, which I find are updated on a daily basis. Their user base is huge but the gas search is limited to the local area.
I can't bring up cheap gas without mentioning the grandfather gas app – GasBuddy. If you have a favorite app for navigation and just need a great service for gas, you can't do worse than GasBuddy.
Normally, last minute hotel reservations are absurdly expensive. That's surprising because hotel rooms are perishable and an empty room is one you can't sell tomorrow – so you'd think they'd be willing to give you the room for any amount over their own cost to clean it tomorrow. The only reason that doesn't happen is because they know you need a place to stay… and so the dance begins.
Hotel Tonight is an app that helps you find same day bookings until 2 AM. If you make a last minute stop somewhere or fancy yourself a gambler, give them a look.
JetSetter is another great app that does a similar thing – though you can get good deals on mystery hotels in advance. Sometimes I just look at these and daydream about staying at some of these fancy hotels. 🙂
Parking in most major cities sucks and it feels like if you drive around you'll see prices that vary widely. Best Parking is an app that will find the cheapest and most convenient parking options in 105 cities and 115 airports – it takes all the guesswork out of parking.
It includes dedicated parking lots AND hotels, which is something other places don't always offer.
What's your favorite money saving app?