The rise of the smartphone has been meteoric. Living up to the promise to “change everything,” smartphones now find themselves in the hands of 68% of Canadians. While they can be addictive, smartphones can also be used to alter behaviours and save money.
Between Snapchat and Instagram, consider these money-saving methods:
Savvy consumers shop around and compare prices before spending their hard earned money on things they need. Flipp (available for iOS and Android) delivers the latest flyers from more than 800 retailers to simplify the search for the best deal. The app matches users with coupons from local stores making physical coupon clipping a tradition of the past.
For shoppers that don’t want to browse through specials, Checkout 51 (available for iOS and Android) allows users to earn cash on previously made purchases. When a customer’s account reaches $20, they’ll automatically receive a cheque in the mail. Best of all, product purchases can be made from any store, including Walmart, Canadian Tire, and even Costco.
Keeping track of your expenses may reveal valuable trends that can help shape your financial habits. While Mint might be the most widely known budget-tracking app, there are alternatives that cater to different types of savers. For example, Goodbudget (available for iOS and Android) lets users keep their finances in check using the envelope system.
Banking apps are also improving with several major financial institutions offering convenient mobile cheque deposits. Cheques can be deposited from anywhere at any time simply by snapping a picture of both sides of a cheque. Fewer visits to a bank branch or ATM means time better spent elsewhere.
Consumers have long been limited by the quantity of data and voice minutes available in common mobile plans. While Canada-wide minutes have been incorporated into services, unlimited plans are expensive and carriers still charge high rates for slight overages. A few unintentionally long conversations could result in a large phone bill at the end of the month.
Fortunately, smartphones offer a better way to stay connected with friends and family—especially over long distances and while travelling. With a Wi-Fi connection, familiar apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook allow users to call each other for free given they’re using the same app. The Google Hangouts Dialer (available for Android) enables free calls to phone numbers within Canada and the United States, including landlines.
To make and receive calls without using up valuable minutes, consider Fongo (available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry) for unlimited free calling across 85% of Canada. The service offers a real phone number with free features including visual voicemail, caller ID, and call waiting.
The last word
The smartphone in your pocket is an incredibly powerful tool that can lead to significant savings. It can be used to compare products, take advantage of virtual coupons, and earn cash back. Not only does it track expenses and save time but it also can keep us connected with loved ones for a fraction of the cost of traditional services. Incorporating some of these practices into daily routines will help you save money.
Flickr: Jason Howie