How phone apps can save you money

11 December 2009

From helping you manage your budget, to finding you savings on the high street, there are no end of applications you can get on smartphones.

Mobile phones are no longer about just making calls or sending texts - mobile technology has become even more advanced with smartphones, giving users access to the internet on the go. They also offer customers the opportunity to customise their phones by downloading and adding applications.

Like the advert says, “there’s an app for just about everything” – from recipe finders, to tube maps and even spirit levels. There are also plenty of silly apps too – but rather than wasting your money on an app that makes fart noises, why not download some that could actually leave you better off?

Launched in the UK in June 2007, iPhones are probably the most popular type of smartphones with contracts now offered by O2, Orange and Tesco Mobile. Here are Moneywise’s top apps that could help you give your finances a boost.

1. To help you budget...

Keeping a budget is arguably the most savvy thing you can do to stay in control of your finances - which is why Moneywise offers a free app that enables you to easily track your expenditure and income.

You can tag entries under different spending categories, and even include recurring expenses such as insurance premiums. Writing a budget is rarely fun, but with the Moneywise app at least it’s easy and you can keep yours up-to-date while you’re on the go.

You can also watch Moneywise TV on the app and read the latest news and features from Moneywise.

2. To help you save money shopping...

If you’ve ever bought, say, a new item of clothing only to discover it’s cheaper somewhere else, or eaten a meal out in a restaurant where everyone other than you has a discount voucher, then there are plenty of apps to help.

Redlaser (£1.19) lets you scan barcodes and then search for lower prices in your area using Google Product Search. Shopsavvy offers a similar service among 20,000 retailers for free.

If you aren’t great with percentages, Discount Calculator (59p) will work out exactly how much money you get off a purchase.

Finally, Local Sale Finder (free) allows you to search for vouchers, which you can then use in shops and restaurants without the need for a printer. 

3. If you’re looking for cheaper petrol...

Drivers who suddenly find themselves running low on petrol while out and about should consider paying £2.99 for PetrolPrices Pro.

Simply enter your location on this app and it will hunt out the cheapest forecourts in the area.

Alternatively, for 50p you can download the Petrol Finder app to find petrol stations in your local area and their last reported fuel prices.

4. To cut the cost of phone calls...

If you hate having to call costly 0870, 0845 or 0800 numbers, the ‘aptly’ named 870 app (free) will turn these into 01 and 02 numbers – which come out of your contracted minutes – or cheaper 08 numbers.

For £1.79, CallSaver offers a similar service. Although it’s not exactly a money-saver, another useful app is Calling Code (59p) – this provides calling codes for nearly 250 countries around the world.

You can now download a Skype app – for free – onto iPhones, meaning free calls and instant messages to anyone else on Skype.

5. To make more of your holiday money...

All too often, holidaymakers pay for purchases or services without really understanding the true cost because they aren’t familiar with the currency or don’t have the means to convert the cost into sterling.

The Currency app (free) provides up-to-date exchange-rate information for over 90 currencies, so you can check the ‘true cost’ of purchases before you reach for your wallet. eCurrency (59p), meanwhile, allows you to convert more than 190 currencies while on the go.

Five other useful money-related apps

1.    NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers can check their balances, mini-statements and manage their money on the go with the free NatWest or RBS app. All you need to do is register for mobile phone banking.

2.    Shareprice (free) offers investors real-time streaming, allowing investors to track their investments via their iPhone.

3.    The PayPal app (free) allows you to send money to friends or family through your existing account.

4.    Use an iPhone 3G or 3GS? ATM Hunter (free) will locate the nearest cashpoints for you without the need for you to enter your address.

5.    Tip Calculator (59p) or Tipulator (£1.19) both help you split restaurant bills and work out how much tip to leave.

Have you got a favourite app? Recommend it to others in the comment boxes below


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