In my last blog post, I mentioned that there were some apps for your phone that could make you more mindful about saving money. Since your phone is your constant companion, it makes sense that it could have some tools that help you see where the money is going, in real time.
Of course you can always go old school and use the envelope system to see where your money goes each month and an Excel Spread sheet to list your groceries, but why in the world would you, if there are so many great apps to make life easier for you? Even though these tried and true methods work and may be your preference, many or most of these apps are free and the good news is they help you manage your resources and make you think about what you are actually using. With these apps, you can do many tasks including realizing how you can conserve food space for the essentials, and save money on gas, energy and water. With the budget app, you track where your money is actually going for every part of your itemized list. Nerd wallet is a great source of money-saving information and has much more detail about these budget apps. Dave Ramsey’s website also has a wealth (no pun intended!) of information on other no- nonsense tools.
Let’s start with the apps that will give you an overview of your entire financial picture. The advantage to having a budget app is knowing how much you really have, not just a best guess so that you don’t overspend. Each of these recommended apps is unique and may have just the functionalities you want or need.
- Every Dollar,
- Personal Capital
To find out which budget app works best for you, check them out here:
Food Pantry Apps: I had never thought of this until my son created his own version for a data analysis project to declutter our pantry and help me use items that had been there for quite a while. These apps help you know what is already in your pantry so you don’t store fourteen cans of tomato sauce, and they also help in menu planning. Another plus is knowing the expiration dates so that you don’t have to throw away food. Here is the list of consumers’ favorites:
- Fridge Pal
- Fresh Box.
- Fridge Check.
- Grocery Hero.
- Best Before.
- Grocery IQ
- Best Before
- Fridge Check
- Out of Milk Shopping List.
Here is a link to more extensive information on these favorite apps here
Gas Apps Some stores, like my local grocery store, give cents off per gallon because you are a regular shopper or have a membership (think BJ’s and Sam’s). Upside and Checkout 51 are cash back apps for gas, groceries and restaurants. Some of these apps locate gas stations that have cheaper gas because you know it would break your heart to know that you passed by a place that had cheaper gas last week on your weekly errand run!
These are the apps that locate the cheapest gas and more information can be found here:
- Gas Guru
- MapQuest Gas Price
Drivvo is a “car management” app that tracks the real cost of the vehicle you are driving, including gas expenditures and maintenance. This app might be particularly useful for people who use their cars for business.
Energy saving apps
There are ways to continue feeling comfortable in the winter without wearing loads of blankets and in the summer, without turning the air conditioning down. These apps will collect data on your home and then create energy reduction strategies. You may be surprised with what you find out! Some of the apps have minimal fees but they will be definitely worth their cost.
Energy Cost Calculator.
The Alliance to Save Energy has more app information here:
Water Conservation Apps
Even though water is not the biggest cost, each leak or dripping faucet can lead to a surprise at the end of the month. As everything is going up, community water systems have to be up to date and the price for staying current is passed onto the consumers. These apps can compare your use internally and also to your neighbors’ usage.
- E-Water Footprint. …
- Water1der. …
- Virtual Water. …
- Water Use Calculator. …
- Waterprint. …
- H20 Tracker. …
- Rain Harvest.
Knowledge is power! The more you know, the less you spend. More information about these apps can be found here.
Hope this was helpful. Since I have discussed small ways to save, next time we will look at the “Big (Financial) Picture” and make a list of who you should be going to see about your money. You may be surprised who did or didn’t make the cut!
I would love to hear your thoughts or additions. Feel free to contact me here.