Some Favorite Money Saving Apps

“The art is not in making money, but in keeping it.” Proverb

I’m all about using technology to save a little money, and there are more than a few app developers out there more than willing to assist in my quest. The following is a list of some of my favorite money saving apps. They are available for download in the Apple Store and Google Play, and some are also available for download directly to your computer.

Flipp is probably my number one favorite app for saving money, especially since I cancelled my local paper subscription. Flipp is customizable based on where you live and provides up-to-date copies of all the sales flyers from your favorite stores. It’s easy to access them even from your phone while you’re out shopping to make sure you’re getting the best price. While I’ve never tried this, you may even be able to use the information in the Flipp app to get a store that price matches to match a competitor’s price on an item. If you have done this, please share how it went!

If your local library is supported, Overdrive is an awesome app to use to borrow books. Ebooks, audiobooks and videos are available for loan. A multitude of devices are supported and it’s a great way to satisfy the bookworm in you and not break the bank.

Are you a magazine junkie? If you are, Flipster is the app for you!!! This app is also supported by local libraries and has digital copies of national magazines available to temporarily download and read from your tablet. I use this one a lot, as I have been cancelling magazine subscriptions to save a little bit of money. It also helps to save a few trees!

I was not familiar with Roomer before I started researching this post so I’m not sure how well it works, but I thought I’d include it since it sounds intriguing to me. Roomer promises amazing last-minute deals on hotel rooms. One of the features that is especially appealing to me is that you can sell your reservation to someone if your plans change. If you have used Roomer successfully, please share your experience in the comments.

While I realize there are mixed views on the need and validity of credit scores, it’s still a good idea to keep track of yours especially if you are job hunting or purchasing insurance, since many insurers use your credit score to set your insurance premiums. Credit Karma offers free credit score monitoring as well as insights to how you can improve your score. They also promise that they store your data securely and will not sell your information to third parties.

With as much as I LOVE to shop there, I really need to learn how to effectively use Cartwheel by Target. Penny Pinchin’ Mom has written a FABULOUS post on how to use Cartwheel. Glad I found it, and now that I’ve shared it with you, let me know if you’ve used it and had good experience with it.

According to Wikipedia, Ibotta is a Denver, Colorado based mobile technology company that enables users with its smartphone app to earn cash back on in-store and mobile purchases with receipt and/or purchase verification. As I write this, I’m in the middle of setting up an account with Ibotta and will let you know if I have any success with it.

So, these are some of my favorite apps to use to save money-what are some of yours? Leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

I Want My CHEAP TV!!

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.” Groucho Marx

If you’re a TV watcher, how do you get your signal these days? When I was a kid, we had 6 or 7 channels to choose from. My siblings and I took turns being the TV remote, which ever one of us was told by Dad to change the channel or turn the sound up! Fast forward to my junior year in high school when cable TV first came to be-HBO was all the rage. Cinema movies on the home TV-what a novelty! And who among us didn’t say at least once, “I Want My MTV!!”?

Television viewing choices have come a LONG way from the days of the rooftop TV antenna, and with these choices have come some astronomical expenses. We had cable TV from the time we returned to the states in 1991 until 2003 when we took the leap from cable to satellite. Back then I was a BIG football watcher. The installer commented on how great it was that my husband was getting all these sports packages. He just looked at the guy, smiled, and said, “the sports packages are for HER, not for me!”

Cable TV started with a promise of commercial-free TV, but once we consumers made the switch from broadcast to cable, the providers knew they had us. The commercials came back with vengeance and no one cared. It’s too bad the prices didn’t go down when the commercials returned. We had our satellite for a LOT of years and spent a ton of money over the years until we finally decided enough was enough. We HAD to get a handle on how much we were spending on TV! For crying out loud, it’s TV-while it’s nice to have, it’s not exactly the smartest way to spend your hard-earned money. Thankfully, technology has changed a great deal in the last 15 years and our choices are much more plentiful and affordable. I’m not going to detail satellite or cable choices in this post only because I’m thinking everyone is pretty familiar with them, how they work, and how ridiculously expensive most of them are! There are some other great choices out there at all kinds of price points-it really all depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.

For basic television viewing, not much will beat a digital antenna. You purchase one time and watch TV without having to subscribe to anything. Your viewing choices will definitely be limited, but your budget will be free of a recurring expense. I did a search of “whole house digital antenna” and found this wonderful article from Crutchfield New Media detailing what you should look for in choosing the best HDTV antenna for your location. There are a lot of variables to consider, such as the terrain of the area where you live, the direction of the transmitter, and the distance from the transmitter. If you’re unsure of which type of antenna to purchase (indoor or outdoor), they suggest contacting your local television station for a recommendation. They want to keep their viewers happy and will usually give you a good suggestion. Some of the choices are DIY, while others will probably require professional installation in order to be done correctly. Still, once it’s installed, the price for watching TV is definitely right! Hello, FREE!

If you’re looking for something more than standard network television, you’re probably going to want to look at a streaming service. Most TVs these days are equipped to either stream the signal directly or to connect a streaming signal device, such as a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. These devices are pretty inexpensive and connect easily to the USB port on your television. As for the streaming service itself, this guide published by Consumer Reports offers a comprehensive list of both network apps and streaming services such as DirecTV Now and Hulu. One thing to keep in mind with a streaming service, though, is your internet connection. Buffering is pretty annoying, so you’ll want to make sure your internet connection is up to the task. This article from Nerd Wallet is a pretty good guide to the best internet speed for your streaming needs.

After a bit of experimenting we settled on a streaming service that gives us most of the programming we had on the satellite at about one-third the cost of what we were paying for satellite TV. One of the things I have been missing, though, are a couple of shows on PBS that my sister turned me on to. Alas, my local PBS channel is not on the streaming service. Good news-I just discovered America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country on YouTube. Some of the episodes are behind a pay wall but most of them are the best price ever-FREE! I’ve learned a LOT about cooking quality food at home from these shows and I’m happy to have discovered them on YouTube.

So, are you a TV watcher? Have you “cut the cord”? Share how you did it in the comments. Thanks!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Recurring payments – friend or foe?

“When you pay attention to detail, the big picture will take care of itself.” George St-Pierre

Technology these days makes it very easy to pay for things without your being aware of it. When I started on my frugal journey one of the things that surprised me was the number of items I had set up on autopay. It was only after I really started paying attention to my finances that I realized how many of these things I was subscribed to. Some of them hit before I had a chance to cancel them, but they were cancelled immediately so the charges won’t recur. When this happened once too many times to make me happy I did a good scan of my accounts to look for recurring charges. When I found them, I went to the vendor website and cancelled the recurring charge. It took some time, but it was worth taking the trouble since most of the recurring charges were for items I was no longer using. How crazy is that? Some of the items it was just a simple “click” on their website to cancel the charge but on others I had to actually get on the phone, stay on hold for what seemed like forever, and talk to someone whose job it is to talk me out of canceling. They’re good, but I was better! I figure I have probably saved myself at least $100 per month by taking the time to do this, which makes my wallet very happy. The vendors, not so much…I recently got a postcard in the mail from a vendor whose account I had removed from autopay because I no longer need their service. The postcard had all kinds of gloom and doom predictions if I didn’t renew the autopay to the subscription. Oh, the HUMANITY! I think I’m good, thanks.

While I did my analysis the old-fashioned way, I thought I’d take a look and see if technology was available to do the search for me. Lo and behold, it is! I truly think there IS an app for just about everything. While I’ve never used any of these products I wanted to make you aware that they are available so that you know what your options are. I’m not a paid endorser of any of the products listed and accept no liability for their performance. (Yep-it’s those pesky lawyers talking again…) Special thanks to creditcards.com

https://www.truebill.com/

https://www.asktrim.com/

https://claritymoney.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hiatus-manage-subscriptions/id977040079?mt=8

It’s a worthwhile exercise to really take a close look at your financial statements so you can get a handle on your spending, including your recurring charges, so you can keep track of where your money is going. Make it work for you!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…