Saving money – and cutting back – feature at the top of many people’s priorities for 2016. Perhaps you’re saving for something specific, or there may be a general need to tighten your belt. Either way, reducing outgoings and avoiding spending where it isn’t necessary are topics on many of our lips. When it comes to helping to cut back, technology has proven to be one of our most useful allies. Apps, in particular, offer the kind of ‘in your pocket’ solutions that can help you manage money better, keep track of outgoings and handle payments, and find the latest deals and discounts to make your cash go further. The range of helpful money saving apps is constantly changing but below are 5 top apps that will help you save money today.
Groceries are one of the most significant household expenses for us all, particularly if you have a family to feed. It’s difficult to work out where to spend the money that you have and there is always a sneaking suspicion that perhaps you might be able to get it cheaper elsewhere. My Supermarket is a very useful app that is designed to make sure that you always know where to get what you need at the cheapest price – so that you’ll never overpay for your shopping again. The app compares prices on thousands of products, instantly showing where you will find the cheapest cornflakes, beans and bread. The app displays prices from most major supermarkets, such as Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado and Aldi, and prices are updated daily.
In the UK we throw out 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year. The cost of this food waste is thought to be around £600 a year for a family, a pretty significant number that could easily be reduced. Food Planner is one of the new series of apps that is designed to help you minimise food and drink waste. It works by taking the ingredients that you have in the cupboards and the fridge and coming up with recipes that work to tastily combine everything without the need to buy anything extra. This innovative solution has integrated lists of what you have in your store cupboard with a database of recipes so you need never waste your food again.
3. Red Laser (available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone)
Very few of us have the time to spend trawling the Internet – and high street stores – making sure that we’re buying something at the very cheapest price. However, the savings that you can make from reducing the cost of your purchases – £1 here, £5 there – can really add up. The solution is an app like Red Laser, which has been designed to show you where you will find the cheapest price for the item you want. It works by scanning the barcode of the item in question and then searching through online and local retailers to reveal where it costs the least. It works well for just about any purchase but is particularly useful for something like printer cartridges, which can be enormously expensive, and which vary significantly in price from one retailer to the next.
4. Toshl (available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Symbian)
Toshl is a budgeting app that can help save you money by staying in control of your finances. Although there are lots of budgeting apps on the market, most experts agree that this is one of the best when it comes to being easy to use and effective in helping you make sure you save more and spend less. You can set budgeting goals, record income and spending and monitor how well you manage your money – if you forget to add the data the app will even remind you to do it.
While there are plenty of voucher apps available, VoucherCodes is one of the most comprehensive, offering deals on everything from pizza to flights. The app works to display all the offers available in your area – and beyond – so you can find a cheap deal on lunch, or look for the latest retail discounts, while you’re on the move. The app claims to have the largest selection of retail vouchers in the UK and includes plenty of big brands, such as Marks & Spencer.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley