Personal finance expert Jean Chatzky lends AARP The Magazine her money saving expertise, here is her list of the 5 best money-saving mobile applications. Read more at AARP.org.
How You Save: Helps you learn if you can get a better deal elsewhere — on almost anything
How It Works: You scan the bar code of an item, and the app shoots back prices from competing stores and online merchants. See a better price? Use the app to buy the item, and some stores will have it waiting when you arrive. Bonus trick: Scan a book’s bar code, and the app finds nearby libraries with a copy.
Why Jean Loves It: It gives me peace of mind. I feel new confidence that I’m getting the lowest price possible.
How You Save: Organizes online-shopping email, such as order confirmations and shipping info
How It Works: You provide up to five addresses where you get email (they can be Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail or iCloud/MobileMe). The app sorts through your in-boxes to gather and organize all your shopping-related messages, including receipts for online purchases and vouchers from daily-deal sites.
Why Jean Loves It: It saves me a headache! I don’t have to search my email in-box for receipts, and I can track packages easily.
3. COUPON SHERPA
How You Save: Helps you search for — and then redeem — coupons
How It Works: You browse for online, printable or mobile coupons by retailer or product type, either on CouponSherpa.com or via the mobile app. Take printable coupons to the store the old-fashioned way; for mobile coupons, just show your phone to the cashier to get the savings.
Why Jean Loves It: I get the savings without investing hours clipping and organizing. And no rifling through an envelope at checkout.
4. KEY RING
How You Save: Makes sure you’ve always got your loyalty-card data on hand at checkout
How It Works: You scan your loyalty cards with your smartphone, then put them away. When you pay for something in a store, the cashier scans your smartphone’s screen to get your loyalty-account information. You can also use the app to sign up for other loyalty programs.
Why Jean Loves It: I have a lighter key chain, plus an Rx Savings extra that can shave 10 to 75 percent off Food and Drug Administration — approved medications.
How You Save: Lowers your gas-pump bills by steering you around traffic jams
How It Works: You drive around with the app open. Your phone automatically reports your speed to a central database based on GPS readings. Other drivers’ phones are doing this too, giving you all real-time updates on local traffic. If there’s a backup ahead, you get a voice alert suggesting another route.
Why Jean Loves It: I save on more than just gas: With less time at the wheel, I have more time to spend at home.