Use your smartphone to save money

A smartphone may be considered to be a pricey accessory, but it could actually save you money in the long run. According to this article published on Essentials, having a smartphone could be just the device you need to help you manage your financial situation and save you Rands overall.

1. Comparison-shopping app
Nowadays, most prices and product information are available online, so it doesn’t take much more than a few clicks of the mouse to do a bit of research and comparison-shopping. However, things start to get a bit trickier when you’re actually in the shop and not sure whether an item is fairly priced or available elsewhere.

Luckily, Price Check — South Africa’s leading price comparison app — gives you a retail shopping search engine in the palm of your hand. Thanks to this app, you can research a range of consumer goods, and even flights, using keywords or bar code numbers, and the app surveys a long list of retailers to find the best price available.

2. Budgeting app
When times get tough, you may need to put yourself on a good old-fashioned budget. However, this doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Your smartphone can make budgeting simple with an expense-tracking app, such as Pennies, Spending Tracker, Personal Finance or Saver. It may seem contradictory to spend money on an app to help you to save money, but it really can help you to streamline your expenses and review your financial situation clearly.

Each app offers something slightly different so you’ll have to decide which one suits your own habits and needs best. However, the general idea is that these apps give you the chance to enter your monthly spending allowance, then enter the amount of every purchase and assign it to an expense category. As the month goes on, you will see how much you have left to spend, and statistics will show you your daily spending average and top expenses. After a month of tracking your transactions, you should have an informative idea of your spending habits, which will allow you to work out where you can cut back.

3. Social entertainment app
The Entertainer is an app that initially requires an upfront annual fee of ZAR395+, but if you like to dine and drink out, go on holiday, or enjoy a healthy fitness and beauty regime, it can end up saving you money over the course of the calendar year that is valid.
This app gives you access to almost 2,000 buy-one-get-one-free offers, from restaurants, spas, hotels, activities and even some retail stores. There is currently an app for each of the following areas in South Africa — Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, or Durban — and the price of the app varies for each place. So if you live or go out frequently in one of these cities, then it’s worth buying the area-specific app to start enjoying savings while being social.

4. Energy-saving app
There are even smartphone apps that can help you to control the energy consumption and costs of your home or business. By downloading an energy-saving app, your commitment will not only be to the environment, but also to your bank account, as a good way to start cutting energy costs is to keep tabs on how much energy you consume in the first place.

Watching your electricity meter rise and seeing how much money you burn every month is a great motivation for making small changes, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights when not needed. So, get a grip on your monthly energy costs by using an app, such as Meter Readings or Wiser, on which you can record your meter readings and get estimates on your monthly energy consumption. Turn energy efficiency into an enjoyable challenge with an app that gives you energy-saving tips and notes your achievements, then save cash while saving the planet.

5. Fuel-tracking app
Many people’s budgets are feeling the pinch of the high price of petrol and diesel nowadays. So it can be very useful to track on a Fuel Log app how much you’re spending and how far your money is taking you. Every time you fill up at the petrol station, use the app to record your current odometer reading, litres and total price. As time goes on, you’ll be able to track your fuel consumption and find out whether you’re being as cost-efficient as possible.

6. Loyalty card app
Keeping organised is key to managing your household budget, and while loyalty cards can be a great way to save money, it can be annoying to keep a wad of them in your wallet. Luckily, apps like Stocard for Android phones and Wallet for iPhones have been designed to help you to digitally store your loyalty cards and say goodbye to all those loose bits of card and plastic that are causing clutter. These apps are not to be sniffed at as loyalty cards can allow you to save a sizeable amount when you tally up all your cashbacks and freebies.

As with all aspects of financial health, a smartphone is just one way to help you to save money. It can help you to be organised, maximise discounts and offers, and to avoid making foolish expenditures. However, it’s all part of a balanced financial diet, and if you wish to review your financial situation and discuss other ways to save money for your present and future, then don’t hesitate to arrange a meeting.

Posted in Blog, financial-planning.