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Very few of us save enough money. According to research by the Economic Policy Institute, almost half of American families have no long-term savings, and the national median is just $5,000.
Given experts agree you should be saving at least 20 percent of your household income every month, most of us clearly have a long way to go.
Of course, saving isn’t easy. The burden of mortgages, student loans, and credit cards can quickly eat into your salary. It seems like we could all do with a little assistance.
And that’s where your smartphone comes in. There are lots of apps that can help you shave a few dollars off all your expenses. Before you know it, you’ll have reached that magical 20 percent.
Here are 16 Android apps that you help you save money on (almost) everything.
Groceries and Shopping
After you’ve paid bills and other fixed costs, grocery shopping is the next largest expense for most people. Download these apps and slash your supermarket bill.
With offers often worth $5 or more, SavingStar is one of the best grocery coupon apps in the Play Store. You don’t need to print anything — all the deals are offered and selected via your smartphone.
Your account is linked to your loyalty cards at various stores. Big names such as Walmart, Target, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, Stop & Shop, and CVS are all part of the scheme.
Download — SavingStar (Free)
It might be hard to believe, but some businesses still place ads in newspapers and local circulars. Frequently, you won’t find those ads online.
Flipp grabs print media ads and flyers from more than 800 retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, Home Depot, Macy’s, JCPenney, Best Buy, and Lowe’s.
It’ll match your physical location to local deals in your area, so if you see a deal you like, just clip it to the app’s shopping list.
Download — Flipp (Free)
How many times have you seen a store offer a “money back guarantee” if you can find the same product for a lower price elsewhere? And how many times have you bothered (or remembered) to check other stores?
Paribus solves the problem by tracking your online purchases from major retailers. If the price drops in another shop, the app gets the refund for you (though it does keep 25 percent of the rebate for its trouble).
Download — Paribus (Free)
GoodRX lets you save money on your prescriptions and medication. The developers claim it can save you hundreds of dollars a month, even if you have insurance.
It scans thousands of pharmacies to find the lowest prices, it searches for any available coupons, and it lets you know when there are sales on your specific medicines.
Download — GoodRX (Free)
Moving to a New Home
Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life. If you use these two apps, you’ll ease some of that stress.
5. Zillow Real Estate
Zillow boasts values for more than 100 million homes around the United States, thus giving you an unrivaled insight into whether your next property offers value for money or is overpriced.
It also lists the nearby schools and other amenities and provides links to local mortgage lenders and realtors.
Download — Zillow Real Estate (Free)
If you want to save money when you move, one of the biggest factors to consider is the cost of living in your new neighborhood.
Cost of living goes beyond utility bills and grocery shopping. How much do schools cost? How far will your commute be? Is there a good public transportation system? Which internet service providers are available?
Dwellr, an official app from the U.S. Census Bureau, collates 40 data points on every town in the country. You can even answer a quick survey, and it’ll recommend the best location for you to live.
Download — Dwellr (Free)
It’s no good saving a few dollars on your shopping if you’re not putting your savings to good use. Get your money working for you with these two apps.
7. Debt Payoff Planner
Paying off your debts is the fastest way to save money. It’s so important that many “celebrity” financial planners say it’s the first thing you should do after saving a $1,000 emergency fund.
To get rid of your debts you need two things: a well-planned strategy, and a way to monitor your progress.
Download Debt Payoff Planner to track your debt reduction accomplishments. The app supports several proven strategies and gives you all the charts, projections, and graphs you could want.
Download — Debt Payoff Planner (Free)
There are lots of budgeting apps in the store, but my favorite is Goodbudget. It uses an “envelope” approach: just allocate how much money you want to spend on each category and stick to it.
Log everything for few months, and you’ll quickly discover some areas where you can cut back.
Download — Goodbudget (Free)
There’s nothing more satisfying for the soul than traveling the world, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. You’ll get all the fun without spending a fortune if you download these apps.
Stepping out of the airport in a foreign land can be a daunting prospect. Taxi drivers want to rip you off, the train timetable is three years out of date, and rental car providers want to flog you a vastly overpriced insurance scheme. How do you know which is the cheapest and fastest way of getting from A to B?
Simple. Download Rome2Rio. It’s a global transport planner than covers flights, trains, buses, ferries, and rental cars. Enter your destination, and you’ll get estimated travel times and fares for all possible routes.
Download — Rome2Rio (Free)
10. HERE WeGo
Slash roaming fees with HERE WeGo. It offers offline maps and GPS tracking, and also includes transport ticket prices and car-sharing information.
It’s a must-have alternative to Google Maps.
Download — HERE WeGo (Free)
If you’d prefer a “staycation,” download GasBuddy. It’ll help you find the lowest gas prices in your local vicinity, which is especially useful if you’ve hired a car on the other side of the country.
It’s even worth downloading if you live in a large metropolitan area and have a lot of gas stations to choose from. With the increasing fluctuations in global oil prices, it’s impossible to keep track of the deals without some help.
Download — GasBuddy (Free)
12. Best Parking
Finding cheap parking is a nightmare in larger cities. Costs are becoming astronomical; it’s often cheaper to take an Uber.
Best Parking covers 105 cities and 115 airports in the United States and lists a price for each of them. You’ll never be ripped off again.
Download — Best Parking (Free)
It’s tough being a student. All you want to do is spend money on parties and go on holiday, but your bank balance won’t allow it. Check out these two apps; they might help you live a little more.
13. Campus Special
Parties and vacations are great, but let’s set our sights a little lower. Campus Special helping you save money on your daily food bill.
It’s a coupon app that focuses on offering you deals from restaurants and fast food places close to your campus. As you use the app, you can accumulate points, which you can then trade in for even bigger discounts.
Download — Campus Special (Free)
14. NUS Extra
This is one for our British readers.
NUS Extra is the official app from the National Union of Students. It offers students in the UK savings on everything from the cinema to Spotify. You just need your student number to register and start saving.
Download — NUS Extra (Free)
Life wouldn’t be any fun if you didn’t let your hair down occasionally. But you can be saving even when you’re out enjoying yourself.
If live music is your thing, install Dice. Clubs, gigs, and festivals are all covered — you just buy your ticket via the app and show up at the door with your smartphone.
So how does it help you save money? No booking fees.
Download — Dice (Free)
16. Out to Eat With Kids
If you’ve got a young family, it can be challenging to find a good spot to eat. As an adult, you want good food and cheap prices; your kids probably only care about whether their nuggets come with fries and if there’s a playground available.
Out To Eat With Kids supplies menus and prices for children’s meals at thousands of eateries. You can filter by location and daily specials, and even slowly build a database of your favorite locations so that you never miss a deal.
Download — Out to Eat With Kids (Free)
Which Apps Do You Use?
I’ve shown you 16 awesome apps to help you save money on almost anything. If you download and use all of them, you’ll be able to drastically cut back on your monthly expenses.
I’d love to know what you would add to this list. Which apps are indispensable for someone who needs to slash their spending?
As always, you can leave all your tips, recommendations, and opinions in the comments below.
Image Credit: imnoom via Shutterstock.com