Save on bills and everyday purchases with these apps.
Unemployment is rising, as are prices at the grocery store. With no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, you'll need to be smart about your spending to keep your finances stable in the months to come. Mobile apps offer an easy way to save on everything from everyday purchases to monthly bills. Here are 10 apps we like for their ease of use and innovative approach to savings. Each is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices, unless otherwise noted.
Founded in 2013 as an online gift card marketplace, Raise can be used to either make money or save money. "In a time like this when lots of people need money, it's an easy way to get extra cash," says Jay Klauminzer, the company's CEO.
Users can earn money by selling unwanted gift cards on Raise. Meanwhile, those who are looking to save money can shop for discounted gift cards or receive cash back ranging from 3% to 30% when buying gift cards at face value from partnering brands. Plus, the app provides access to a variety of coupons, promo codes and other discounts. "We pride ourselves on having the best deals available," Klauminzer explains.
Gift cards are loaded into a virtual wallet, making it easy to track balances and use cards both online and in stores.
Dosh offers up to 10% cash back on purchases made at restaurants and retailers such as Sam's Club, Disney+ and Home Depot. Hotel rooms can also be booked through the app and may result in as much as 40% cash back.
To use the app, link your credit cards to your account and then shop as normal. Dosh automatically applies cash back offers to eligible purchases without any further action from you. Money can then be transferred to a bank account or PayPal or donated to charity.
While many people know RetailMeNot as a website for finding online coupons and promo codes, the company also has a money-saving app. "The app was originally created for people to shop in stores," says Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for RetailMeNot.
Users can input their ZIP code to find deals nearby, and coupons can be redeemed directly from a person's phone. The app provides access to more than 200,000 deals across 15,000 stores and brands. RetailMeNot also has an in-store cash back feature, which earns money that can be redeemed through Venmo or PayPal.
"The best thing about RetailMeNot is that it's a one-stop shop," Skirboll says.
The RxSaver app is part of the RetailMeNot family and offers discounts of up to 80% off the cash price of prescription medications. "Most people don't realize that the exact same prescription in the exact same strength can vary in price (by pharmacy)," Skirboll says.
To use RxSaver, search for your prescription to find available coupons at nearby pharmacies, including those at Costco, Kroger, Walmart and drugstores. While you can save your prescriptions in the app for easy access, RxSaver doesn't require registration or collect personal data so it can be used anonymously.
The discounts offered on RxSaver cannot be combined with insurance coverage, so check with your pharmacy to determine whether your insurance price or the RxSaver price is lower.
Money-saving apps are available from a variety of insurance companies, and these may offer discounts for paperless statements, automatic payments and other programs.
Allstate Mobile, for instance, provides up to 21% savings on auto insurance premiums for those who activate the app's Drivewise feature. Once activated, the app tracks a person's driving and doles out discounts based on safe driving habits.
Good driving also earns Allstate Rewards that can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards and more. Rewards are offered via promo codes received in emails and distributed for completing challenges such as driving three consecutive days without any sudden braking.
Those who want to avoid credit card interest charges when shopping online can check out Sezzle. The app offers a way to pay for purchases and then spread payments out over six weeks without any interest.
"While you tend to need a higher credit score to qualify for a 0% APR credit card, a majority of our users are either subprime or have no credit score at all," says Sezzle spokesperson Erin Foran. Sezzle performs a soft credit check to set a person's spending limit, and payments can be scheduled to match paydays.
Currently, Sezzle users can shop at more than 10,000 retailers.
ShopKick isn't an app that provides direct savings, but it allows users to earn rewards points -- known as kicks -- that can be redeemed for gift cards. By earning gift cards for retailers such as Walmart and Target, people can free up money in their budget for other expenses.
In pre-pandemic times, walking into stores and scanning products were easy ways to earn kicks. However, now that many parts of the country are still under stay-at-home orders, Shopkick users can watch videos or make online purchases to earn rewards. Kicks can also be earned by buying items with a linked card.
Slickdeals uses the power of crowdsourcing to direct people to the best deals. The app has been installed 15 million times and is an extension of a website that attracts 10 million users each month.
While the app has editors who curate deals, users can also add coupons and sales they find. Community members then up-vote the best deals to make them easy to find or leave comments with feedback about how to get the best price.
In addition to browsing for the best deals in hundreds of categories, Slickdeals users can receive alerts for items that interest them.
Older Americans may find Silvur is the best money-saving app for their needs. Currently available only for Apple devices, Silvur is designed specifically for those between the ages of 50 to 70.
"This demographic is making very different decisions than (younger consumers)," says CEO and founder Rhian Horgan. She created the app after helping her parents prepare for retirement and saw there were limited resources to assist people as they navigate this complex time of life. The Silvur app includes a number of educational resources, tools and calculators, but it also has money-saving features.
Special discounts are available from partners for services such as tax preparation, wills and refinancing. Silvur users can also receive up to 10% cash back on brands such as CVS, Hulu and Target.
Lowering monthly bills is another strategy to save money, and that's the specialty of Truebill. The free app will scan bank and credit card accounts and look for recurring payments. Then, it helps cancel any service or subscription no longer needed.
Truebill will also negotiate bills, such as those for cable and wireless service, on your behalf. However, this service isn't free, and the company takes a 40% cut of whatever savings it secures. If no discount is negotiated, no fee is charged.
10 Best Money-Saving Apps:
-- AllState Mobile.