Apps That Save Me Money

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We’re all looking to save a few dollars here and there, right? Believe it or not, your smart phone can be a portal to all kinds of savings.

Apps That Save Me Money

I love the thrill of saving money on something I need or want. I think that is why I enjoyed the coupon era so much. The adrenaline was pumping whenever I scored a great deal.

While I no longer clip coupons with any regular frequency. I’ve found some other ways to save money — using my phone! Once upon a time, a cell phone only cost you money. Nowadays, however, it’s easily replacing coupons as a money-saving device.

I’ve shared before about apps that help me get my act together. Here are a few that help me save money:

1. Groupon

Groupon has been around for awhile. You take part in a “group coupon” and receive a substantial discount on a restaurant meal or other service in your area. There are groupons for vacation accommodations, wine tastings, exercise classes and more.

Not only have we discovered restaurants that have become favorites, but we’ve also saved on dining out costs.

You can print a voucher from your computer or just use the app on your phone. Easy peasy.


My friend Amy wanted an app to help her decide which wines to serve to family and friends. There wasn’t an app that did what she wanted, so she went out and had it made. Friendship has benefits! I got to try out the app in beta and fell in love with it. It has helped us discover some great wines and learn more about what we like.

Most importantly, we’ve saved money by not buying wines that we don’t like. So many times, we ended up with icky bottles because we didn’t really know what to buy.

You can read my review here or just download the app from iTunes.

Apps That Save Me Money

3. The Ralphs app

I am a HUGE fan of Ralphs. It’s the Southern California Kroger affiliate — and one of my very favorite places to shop.

Not only do they offer great sales and customer service, but they are constantly offering discounts in the form of digital coupons. Their phone app is such a wonderful tool for saving money. It helps you browse the weekly ad, create a grocery list, and clip digital coupons.

The app is free on iTunes. And if you live elsewhere, you can grab the Kroger app.

4. The Cartwheel App from Target

I haven’t learned all the ropes for Target’s coupon app called Cartwheel, but I’m getting my feet wet. Unlike Ralphs which allows you to clip unlimited digital coupons, Target limits you to twelve “offers” at one time. The offers change frequently, so you’re bound to find some helpful things.

You can also scan the bar code of what’s in your cart to see if there’s an offer available, instead of scrolling through all the different categories of deal.s

As with all money-saving tricks, be sure that you’re buying things you need, and not just because Target is offering a deal.

Apps That Save Me Money

5. Kindle

I am surprised at how much I love the Kindle devices. I won one years ago that was worth my weight in gold for providing books for the kids’ school. When it broke in France, I learned just how much we relied on it. I ended up buying two more bare bones Kindles at the Christmas sales.

But, even without the Kindle devices, we use the free Kindle app on my iPad and iPhone. Via the app we can check out library books at no charge. Check to see if your library is affiliated with OverDrive.

Books that I buy on Kindle are generally cheaper than the hardcovers and more than one child can read at a time, which saves us untold number of arguments.

6. Starbucks

I know. I’m such a sucker for a Frappucino. Especially when it’s cheap or even free. I didn’t learn about the Starbucks app soon enough. I used to go there every week to do my writing. I missed out on all kinds of freebies!

Better late than never. Now that I’ve got the app loaded, I can earn points for purchases I make and receive special discounts. Since a frap is usually something I treat a child to during one-on-one time, it’s nice to get it a little cheaper.

Again, the app could be an excuse just to drink more coffee, but you can use it for your benefit.

Apps That Save Me Money

7. Pandora

Unless we get hooked into buying movie soundtracks that kids play ceaselessly (hello, Frozen, Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Lorax), we rarely buy music. Instead we stream it for free on Pandora, a free online radio service.

Pandora allows you to choose stations based on songs or artists you know you like. It’s available on desktop and through the mobile app. My kids love Pandora! There have been some months when we have maxed out our allowance of free music!

Since Pandora, our music purchases are reserved for those that we really like. Or are real suckers for. The app is free, though there are paid plans.

I was late to hop on the smart phone wagon. Not as late as some; my friend Sharon is still holding out. But, nonetheless, I wasn’t one of the cool kids who got an iPhone at the beginning.

(I’m still not one of the cool kids. My iPhone 4 is on its last legs and I’m determined to see it through to the end. This means that some apps don’t work on my phone and it’s iOS 7 limitations.)

Regardless! I’ve found some apps that not only work on my phone, but they also help me save money. Boom!

I’d love to know what apps you use to save money.

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  1. I use checkout 51, saving star, snap from groupon, walmart savings catcher, DD perks, shopkick, ibotta and shop your way are a few you didn’t list. I enjoy being paid cash back fro items I buy anyway

      1. checkout 51, saving star, snap from groupon, ibotta are grocery apps. If I buy an item on the list I earn cash back. For instance on saving star they always have a freebie on Friday this week its Hershey’s milk chocolate you go buy the bar and they put the amount you pay into an account. I have my grocery cards linked to this so I don’t have to do anything, the same with Ibotta. Snap and checkout 51 you snap a pic of your receipt and you get cash put into an account til you reach a certain amount then it gets sent to you.
        shopkick you earn point to use for gift cards or other items they have listed. Like if you go to the mall you earn kicks (points just for walking into the store) no need to purchase anything, some do kicks for purchase or if you just scan items you can earn depending on the store.
        Walmart savings catcher you take a pic of the receipt bar and they check for surrounding stores to see if there’s is the lowest price if not you get the difference back.
        Snap from groupon I just downloaded the app and have $1.25 sitting in an account til I get $20.00 total. I got that from $1.00 on any gallon of milk and .25 cents for any spinach.
        You can type in search engines to learn more as there is so much info or go to a coupon blog to learn more. I do use these when the item I am buying is on sale and I have a coupon.

  2. Thanks so much for this article. It really hit the spot!! We live really far from anything so we don’t have a Target – but I do have the Walmart app since tha’s about all we have – and it really does save e money on stuff I do normally buy. And the one that really seems to be adding up the $$ for me is Ibotta. I can use it at Walmart and several other stores in town as well as restaurants and an assortment of other places. I don’t always have need for the items it gives me money back on – but if you leave the money in your account it adds up!! The best part is once you have enough accumulated you can have it put over to your paypal account or a gift card of your choice I think. I haven’t done that yet – I have almost $60 in there and that’s only since late Novermber/early December!!. And of course I didn’t think the Starbucks app would benefit me since we don’t have one in town – nearest one is 25 miles – but when I do go and/or take the kids – it can score me some great goodies! If nothing else a free treat on my birthday. Now to get my hubby on it!!!! And I too held out with my Iphone 4 for the longest – but since I’m getting older – when they came out with the 6Plus and I was very overdue for an upgrade I went ahead and got it!!! Passed on my old 4 to my daughter – and when I look at hers now I feels like I was looking at a postage stamp!!!! If you can give yourself a treat – hubby just got the 6 and he’s happy!!! (he has better glasses than I do!! ha ha ha)

    1. We used that the other day when our Ralphs gas rewards were going to expire. Found out it was cheaper to go to Costco without the rewards. Haha!

  3. cartwheel has awesome deals! The more you play around in it and the more you use it the more spots you get. I have 24. One of my favorite features is searching by scanning barcodes. You could scan everything in your cart before checkout to get all your coupons loaded. Do you get their mobile coupons too?

    1. I don’t do the mobile coupons too regularly, only when I see the signs in store, but I am getting better at remembering to scan everything before checkout. The 5% savings are a little misleading… 10 cents?! Better than nothing, but still.