The best apps to help you save money

Published by Nathalie Bonney on 15 March 2011.
Last updated on 16 August 2011

iPhones with apps

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

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?

Here are Moneywise's top apps that could help you give your finances a boost.

1. To help you budget...

It can be difficult to keep track of our various bank accounts and direct debits but this app makes things a bit easier. Account Tracker costs £1.79 and gets rave reviews on the app store. Features include bill alerts to remind you of upcoming bills, while another alert warns you if any of your accounts are about to go overdrawn.

Slightly pricier at £2.99, Pocketmoney provides a similar service. It provides charts to show you what you're spending your money on. However, there is quite a lot of American jargon.

2. To help you save money when shopping...

Not sure if the smaller bottle of ketchup is better or worse value than the next size up? Supermarket app (59p) helps you work out which product is cheaper to buy, by inputting in the final cost and units. You can compare different units making it an especially useful app in the fruit and vegetable aisle.

Redlaser app (free) 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.

3. To find the best discounts...

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.

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.

MyVoucherCodes also offers a free app to find the best voucher deals according to your current location. You can then download them straight to your phone.

Price comparison site apps Kelkoo and Pricerunner, both free, show you which retailers are selling certain products for the least.

4. Keep car costs down...

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 within a five, 10,15 or 20–mile radius or within two miles, in built up city areas.

The Fuel Economy Calculator (£1.79) lets you log fuel stops and work out how fuel efficient you are.

For 59p Cameralert warns drivers of upcoming speed cameras with both noise and visual alerts.

Aviva Myclaims is a free app to anyone with Aviva motor insurance. In the event of making a claim it helps you find and record the exact GPS location of your breakdown, collect information from the other driver, take and store photos of the accident or scene and even record audio statements from the other driver.  

5. Cut the cost of phone calls...

If you hate having to call costly 0870, 0845 or 0800 numbers, the 'aptly' named 0870 app (59p) 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.

6. 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. (£1.79) provides up-to-date exchange-rate information for over 70 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 and for the same price icurrency pad lets you convert over 150 currencies.

7. Reduce the cost of bills…

Households are struggling with rising utility bills but there are ways to make sure you are only paying for what you use.

Meter readings app costs £1.19 and tracks meter readings then compares your energy usage with that of customers' usage with other providers, to see if you'd be better off switching.

British Gas and Npower have their own free apps, which allow you to submit your meter readings to check their estimates are in line.

8. Bank on the go…

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.

First Direct's app is also free and offers a similar service as the NatWest app.

9. Never be stuck for cash

ATM Hunter (free) will locate the nearest cashpoints for you without the need for you to enter your address. It doesn't just work in the UK either, so if you're abroad and want to find a cashpoint, it can help you then too.

10. Keep an eye on the markets

Real investment heads will want to know what's happening in the markets 24/7. Having an app that allows you to do this – and make a trade is therefore ideal.

Interactive markets mobile is free and allows you to trade CFDS, forex and spread bets. You will need to register your trading account with first.

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

11. Have access to expert advice

You can watch Moneywise TV online direct on your iphone with iitv. The free app has several channels to browse through, including top stock tips and investment analysis from interactive investor and our sister magazine Money Observer. And of course plenty of help from Moneywise on personal finance hot topics.

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

Leave a comment