Top 5 Ways to Save Money Using Your Smartphone

Turn your phone into a savings center

You might think of your smartphone as just another hefty bill to pay each month. However, your device can actually help you save money if you use it correctly. From free apps to phone-based coupons and more, your smartphone puts significant savings just a swipe, touch or tap away. Pull out your smartphone when you're shopping, and watch those savings increase.

1. Coupon Apps

Whether you're an avid couponer who pores through the Sunday newspaper or someone who doesn't have the time or interest to clip coupons, coupon apps are a free and easy way to save money on items you already buy. Several grocery couponing apps are available for your smartphone: IBotta, SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Shopmium.

Every week, these apps feature coupons for a range of items, from basics such as produce, milk and bread to non-grocery items such as sunscreen and hair care products. When you purchase an item with an available coupon, you upload a photo of your receipt, select the coupon, and once approved, the savings are added to your account. Your savings will be delivered via PayPal or a gift card of your choice. Each app has different payment guidelines - for example, Shopmium issues payments via PayPal as soon as the purchase is approved, while others require you to reach a threshold savings amount, ranging from $5 at IBotta to $20 at Checkout 51, before cashing out.

2. Store-Specific Coupons and Discounts

In addition to using coupon apps to clip general coupons, you can also access store apps as another coupon resource. Grocery stores Kroger, Meijer and Publix, among many others, offer e-coupons. Simply connect your smartphone app to your account, and the savings will automatically be deducted from your grocery bill when you scan your card or enter your ID number upon checkout. Similarly, craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michael's have apps filled with coupon deals, often including up to 40 percent off a full-price item. Just show your smartphone coupon when you check out for instant savings.

3. Price Matching From the Web

Many stores, including Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy, will price match with competitors. Visit the store's customer service desk and use your smartphone to pull up the competitor's ad or website to instantly reduce the price of your item. Price matching with your smartphone can maximize your savings, especially if you're buying with a store gift card or credit card, such as the Target RedCard, which offers 5 percent off all purchases. By price matching, you can shop at the store you want and always secure the lowest price on an item.

4. Bar Code Scanner

If you wonder whether that advertised deal is truly the best price, your smartphone can tell you. A variety of bar code scanners allow you to look up local and web prices on an item, helping you to find the best deal. With these convenient apps, you can easily price compare while you're in a store. Simply scan the bar code, and the app will bring up a list of prices from nearby stores. Then, you can decide whether you should purchase the item or shop elsewhere.

5. Printable Coupons

A home printer combined with the convenience of your smartphone can save you money when you shop. Several popular couponing websites offer web apps, which make printing a breeze. If your smartphone is connected to a wireless printer, simply select coupons, tap print and increase your coupon stockpile before your next shopping trip. Check out for coupons in a variety of categories, ranging from apparel and toys to groceries and electronics.


Your smartphone can be a handy companion on your next shopping trip, helping you clip coupons, receive instant discounts and price shop. Download a few apps, and you're a swipe away from significant savings.

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