This blog entry is part of a continuous writing on the topic of “optimizing smartphone usage for smarter life”.
If you haven’t done so, please start reading from the first article on this series.
Smartphone can help us to save money. From online catalogs with discounts to Passbook discount coupons. From monitoring our internet/phone usage to avoid over-quota to checking foreign currency exchange rate and stock prices. When I’m in a store and want to buy something, quite often I can find a cheaper price somewhere near using my smartphone. So who says that smartphone can only cost us money? It can help us to save money too !
This blog post is the last part of 8 posts I write about optimizing smartphone for smarter life.
I will write this guide based on iPhone. Simply because iPhone is my primary smartphone for now. Most of my tips and guides should be applicable for Android, Windows Phone and other smartphone OS. But you might need to do a bit of more research to find out how to get similar function in that OS.
This guide will NOT teach you step-by-step how to setup or use the features. Rather, I am trying to inspire you with a feature’s functionality and how we can benefit from it to live smarter life. More productive, more time efficient, more organized.
There are many ways to save money. This blog post can’t possibly list all those possible ways, but I will try to inspire the ideas by explaining about some basics.
Price Comparison and Discounts Hunting
First, let’s talk about price comparison and discounts hunting. Before the era of smartphone, we need to check out stores in multiple locations to find which one sell something with cheaper price. Sometimes, it was not even worth the effort to go to all those store locations when the price difference is not much. With smartphone, we can check prices without leaving our house, decide which store has the best price, and go directly to that store.
There are apps available to help us finding the best deals around. In Australia, I use an app called Lasoo to quickly find which store sell something cheaper. I can search by the item name, or I can browse digital catalogs offered by big retailers, updated daily. These online catalogs are very helpful to find out things we might need, but we’re not aware of it yet. If you live outside Australia, you need to find similar apps for your country.
An app called ShopperNova automatically detects my location and informs me about stores near me which offer something, from special price to a percentage discount to a buy-one-get-one pancake in a local restaurant. This app generates digital coupons that I can store in Apple’s Passbook app. If I’m interested in taking an offer, all I need to do is show the Passbook screen to the store guy and I get the promised promotion.
Even with shipping cost, price of products and services can be cheaper online. Of course, we need to very careful about which online stores we can trust, and which ones we shouldn’t. I bought a lot of stuff in eBay (worldwide) and an online store called Catch of The Day (Australia). Both of them allow me to buy things directly from my smartphone and have native apps in iPhone. There are huge selection of apps with online stores available in your phone’s app store. Choose carefully and wisely. Not all of them are trustable. Not all of them offer cheaper price than buying in physical stores. I can’t really tell you how to choose because it will be a different situation for every country.
In Australia, major online retailers generally have their own native app in iPhone, or at least a mobile site easily accessible from smartphones. This makes it easier to check their prices anytime, check their latest offers, promotions, etc. An iPhone app called MenuLog (Australia) even allows me to order take-away food with lots of special price and discount offers, cheaper than going there or ordering by phone call.
Other Ways of Saving Money
We can easily check foreign currencies exchange rate from our smartphone so we can decide the best time to buy a currency. We can monitor stock prices using iPhone’s default Stock app. We can monitor our usage and bill of Internet connection, phone calls, etc to avoid surprise bill. We can read online reviews about a product to avoid buying a bad product (which essentially a waste of money).
Have you ever want to try entering a restaurant, but wondering if the meal price is affordable to you or not? Fear not, there are apps for that. The one I use is Urbanspoon. Depending on which country you live in, you might want to find an app with reviews and information about your local restaurants.
There are also apps for monitoring our own monthly spending. So we can record how much we have spend this month for meals, for grocery, for clothing, for entertainment. If used properly, this can help you avoid overspending. But of course, you need to be consistent in using it (and filling in the information) or it will be useless.
Optimizing Smartphone for Smarter Life, list of topics in this series:
1. Calendar, Reminders, Notes
2. Maps and Trip Planning
3. Communication and Collaboration
4. Reading and Learning
5. Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation
6. Content Creation
7. Personal Database
8. Saving Money
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Apple and/or Google and do not receive any financial benefit from writing this article.