Smartphones have become a necessary part of life; it’s become incredibly difficult to get by without one. The ability at a moment’s notice to call, text, check email, surf the Internet, and much more has become second nature. We tend to take for granted just how much we use our smartphones for, but are we actually taking full advantage of everything they can do for us?
Most people are woefully underusing their smartphones, not realizing the vast amount of apps and tools available at the touch of their fingertips. Use your smartphone to its fullest capacity and let it help save you money; after all, it certainly cost you a big chunk of change. Here are some apps on the smartphone that can help you save money:
If you don’t know the first thing about investing, don’t worry; there’s an app for that. There are several investing apps designed specifically for beginners, and one of the easiest to use is Acorns. Simply link your debit or credit cards to the app and it automatically rounds up each of your purchases to the nearest dollar, investing the change in a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that it then manages for you.
There’s no minimum balance required to open an account, and the app will start investing for you once you’ve accumulated at least $5. There’s a flat fee of $1 a month for a standard investment account and $2 for an individual retirement account. Investing is a great way to let your money make you money and Acorns helps you to do that with little to no effort.
Left your wallet at home? No worries! With the use of a digital wallet such as Apple Pay or Google Pay you can check out almost anywhere. Most major grocery stores and shops accept digital wallets; all you have to do is link either your debit/credit card or your bank account to your digital wallet and you’re good to go. Digital wallets can even verify your credentials in some places, such as verifying your age when buying alcohol.
Many credit cards offer unique rewards to people signing up for the first time, and one of the most popular rewards they offer is a higher cash back reward whenever you pay via a digital wallet. The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card, for example, offers 1.5% cash back when using the card normally but offers 1.8% when using it via a digital wallet. Take advantage of your digital wallet and let your smartphone earn you more money with every purchase.
One of the most annoying experiences when going out to eat is having to split the bill at the end of the night. When you’re dining with a large group of people, it’s nearly impossible to get out without paying more than what you owe for what you ordered. With Venmo, however, you can easily split bills and send funds to friends. Simply link your bank to the app and you can send and receive cash without difficulty.
While funds will take a day or two to transfer, it’s still a great way to share expenses among friends. It’s also especially helpful when trying to avoid covering that one forgetful friend who always leaves his wallet at home; with Venmo, there are no excuses! And you won’t need to worry about forgetting whether or not you’ve paid someone, because every payment is publicly visible.
Groupon is a great way to find savings when you’re out and about; you’d be surprised the different services you can find for amazingly low rates. Groupon allows you to purchase a service or event for a reduced price, with many places offering incredibly cheap groupons for purchase by first time customers.
When searching for fun new experiences, browse the Groupon app on your smartphone; very often you’ll find fun events at discounted rates that you can take advantage of. If you’re looking for a particular service such as getting a photo framed or even getting your teeth cleaned, check Groupon to see if there are any deals being offered nearby. More likely than not you’ll find a groupon for the thing you’re searching for.
Most companies have replaced the customer rewards card with an app: Starbucks and Sweetgreen are two examples that have specifically designed apps that allow you to pay and collect rewards via your smartphone. Not only does the hands-free payment allow you more ease when purchasing their product, but it also helps to ensure your rewards are protected. You no longer have to worry about losing your rewards card that you so diligently got stamped every time you made a purchase; all of your purchases are now recorded in one place where the rewards can rack up.
Another huge benefit of these rewards apps is the ability to order online through them and add gift cards. The Starbucks rewards app lets you order ahead of time for pick up, saving you a lengthy wait in line. They also allow you to enter in any gift cards you may have been given and even consolidate multiple gift cards into one single card you can use. And again, there’s no fear of losing the card because it’s all there on your smartphone.
If you’ve ever had your card declined for insufficient funds, you know how embarrassing it can be. With a smartphone, that never has to happen again. Most major banks have smartphone apps that you can use to access your account instantly. You can monitor your checking account moment to moment and, if necessary, transfer funds over from your savings account.
This can be particularly helpful when you’re up next in line at the grocery store and you realize you’re about to spend more than you have. Instead of ducking out of line to call your bank, transfer the funds in an instant with your smartphone and you’ll save on overdraft fees.