What Apps Do You Use To Be A Smarter Consumer?

What apps do you use to manage your personal finances and be a savvier shopper on your smartphone?

Do you use USAA or Chase’s to deposit checks by taking a picture of them? Do you use Mint to scope out your current balances and get alerts about spending? Do you use Bejewelled as a form of escapism to forget that you have no money? What’s your favorite “undiscovered” app? Is there a common app that you use in a different way than most people do?

Post your faves in the comments and maybe we’ll check some of them out and share them with the group.

Comments

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  1. Preyfar says:

    I use “Pennies” on my iPhone. It’s invaluable to me for recording little purcahses, and really helped me find where my money was going.

  2. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I use RedLaser to get an idea of whether or not the store I’m in at the time has a good price on the item in my hand.

    • Mr. Stupid says:

      Someone told me last night that Best Buy is starting to put their own bar codes over the bar codes of boxes in their store. My assumption is that they are attempting to thwart users from instantly price-checking with Amazon and similar online sites.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        I’m not surprised. Good thing I only buy the occasional movie and game at Best Buy.

      • Destron says:

        This is a common tactic at Walmart to, except they contract the company producing it to just print a different bar code on the box. It’s pretty common to see identical electronics sold at Walmart with a different bar code than other retailers and some sometimes the products model number reflects this by prefixing the model number with WM.

        Most price checking apps that keep decent databases are pretty good at cross referencing the item with it’s real UPC though so it’s not as effective as you would think, and it actually backfires as well because if I am at Fry’s and pick up a router and scan the bar code, it may be cheaper at Walmart for the exact same router but it may not appear in the results because it has a different UPC and has not been cross referenced yet.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          I miss Fry’s. We have nothing of equivalent awesome and fail (at the same time!) as Fry’s out here in East Coast Land.

          • trentblase says:

            Micro Center is the best substitute I’ve found

            • reishka says:

              Don’t live in Connecticut. There’s no Fry’s and the closest MicroCenter is in Yonkers, NY — a good hour and a half drive without traffic. =

              • trentblase says:

                Well, it’s not like Fry’s are so prevalent even on the west coast: If you live in SF, you’ll probably have to drive over an hour to get to one as well.

              • discounteggroll says:

                Microcenter is worth the drive. I live in CT and traveled to the paramus store and it was worth it. Having a new one built in yonkers is basically a godsend. Would I like to have a Fry’s and Microcenter in say White Plains or Stamford? You bet your ass.

                I’ll take small victories like this though

            • heybebeh says:

              Isn’t that the same company?

      • Bye says:

        This is incorrect. Studios do this to save on litho costs when creating an exclusive version for a particular retailer. Instead of doing a short-run of lithos with a different UPC, the manufacturing plant prints them and applies them over the existing barcode to retain the uniqueness of the build within.

    • Willnet says:

      The laser apps seem to no recognize anything I scan. Only a few things like name brand oatmeal and other usual items.

    • consumeristjames says:

      +1 for red laser. Amazing app, it’s great to find out if the item I’m considering is a good price or not.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Is there an App that helps prevent me from buying over-priced, over-hyped smartphones, with expensive data and texts plans? Because I’m using that one.

    /snark

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Overhyped? Yes.

      Overpriced? I dunno. Considering the capabilities of these devices today, I don’t think $200 is too much. I mean, these things (Android, iPhone, BB) are way more powerful than most computers were just a few years ago. They’re pretty incredible devices for what you pay.

      Data is expensive, though. Bah. And text plans? Find me a decent text plan on any carrier that isn’t an MVNO. Bah.

    • reddbettie says:

      Ipod Touch :)

    • Brink006 says:

      I’m sorry you can’t afford an iPhone and get really upset about how others choose to spend their money (or how companies choose to spend their money on their employees).

      • DubyaT says:

        Your anger at this snarky post is causing you to lash out. Choosing not to purchase something doesn’t mean you can’t afford it. I just don’t think the data plans are worth the price that they are charging. The things I can do with $60 (the difference between my cost and and iphone data plan) a month are more worthwhile.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          $60?

          Uhh… my data plan costs $25 a month. How can the difference be $60?

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Don’t forget taxes. My current phone plan is pretty bare bones, although not the cheapest option. But, the taxes and fees increase it by 40%. Yes, forty percent.

            Granted higher cost plans will not have such a high percentage as several fees are flat, but still… 40%.

        • operator207 says:

          Which country do you live in that has a $60/month iPhone Data plan? that $35 higher than the US data plan, unless you have the 200mb plan and I think thats $20 or the old unlimited which is $30.

          I am just trying to keep your argument valid. I understand the additional cost, it however does not appear to be as high of an additional cost as you seem to believe.

          Here is a good argument. I had my daughters basic phone with AT&T’s “find your kid” app on a family plan with the rest of my family. It cost $9.95 a month +$25 a month for the “find your kid” service if both my wife and I wanted to find her. (2 phones on that service is $15 a month, more that 2 but less than 6 is $25 a month)
          Giving my daughter my Old 3GS that I was no longer using, and a 2gb a month data plan, ended up being the same price. So we ended up getting MORE service for my daughter without increasing our monthly cost. Odd this happened with a telco, and more odd it was AT&T.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Also, yes, I responded to snark with serious. I are fail. But I can’t help it, I love tech!

    • MMD says:

      What a surprise! An irrelevant iPhone bashing post!
      *yawn*

    • goldilockz says:

      I thought they were over-hyped too until I purchased one. They make my heart smile.

    • cardigan says:

      Thanks for the relevant commentary on this thread! Your input is provoking a useful, insightful discussion!

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Given it has the most replies than any other comment, I’d say it truly was provacative.

    • The Marionette says:

      lol if you can’t afford $55/mo (cricket) then you don’t need a phone. Good luck with your prepaid.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        My plan is $25 less than that, is T-mobile, and that’s not even the cheapest option I have.

        $25 is still a significant chunk of change a month, and is about 45% less than what you quoted.

  4. trentblase says:

    The “I Am Rich” App (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Rich)

    It’s a fairly large initial outlay, but I expect to see huge returns any day.

  5. fantomesq says:

    I like GroceryIQ – helps me keep track of and organize sale prices at each store.

  6. RobHoliday says:

    What is this “smart phone” you speak of?

  7. JRock says:

    I use HomeBudget. It’s set up so that the default screen is an expense entry, and it really helps me keep track of my finances.

  8. lin says:

    I use Balance which is like a virtual checkbook register, and Mint to view all of my accounts in one place.

  9. Bativac says:

    My cellular telephone is capable of taking a picture (one picture). Also I use it to make and receive cellular calls.

    Does that count? I call my wife and say “hey store brand tampons are on sale, should I buy a box?”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Some of us are geeks about the minutia of pricing. I actually find it very fun to track the things I buy so I know whether something is as cheap as it has been in the past, or whether this is the best deal I’ve seen in a year. If you start a good, reliable method of tracking, you can learn when to hold out for a better price and buy more quantities so you won’t have to pay more later when the sale isn’t nearly as good. I don’t have a steep trap for numbers, so apps are a great way to keep track of information.

      I know that my brand of shampoo is consistently on sale for $2.95 or $3 (as part of a 2/$6 sale). Since it I know that it’s going to be on sale at least once every three months, I know that if I time it right, I can just buy a few bottles every time it hits $2.95 or $3 (regular price is $3.75) and I’ll never need to buy it at regular price.

      • Willnet says:

        How do you do that? I’d like to track everything but I don’t know how. They didn’t teach that in school. Just to conform and be a consumer.

  10. CherieBerry says:

    Too busy to check out the management apps because I’m addicted to playing WordFlick.

  11. damageinc says:

    Toshl. Great expense tracker that syncs up with their website and gives you great statistics about your spending. All expenses are manually entered – you don’t give them any bank/cc info – which is way I don’t want to use mint. They’ll soon also be adding income tracking too.

  12. zomgorly says:

    I personally try to keep all forms on financial information off my phone out of fear of me maybe losing it or having it stolen from me.

  13. momtimestwo says:

    I use the paid versions (android) of Cloudlist and Heart. Cloudlist so I know what I need at the store and don’t buy crap that I dont, and Heart because it keeps track of my blood pressure so my doctor can see my results which keeps me off of medications.

  14. Bob says:

    Uh, nothing’s easier than my cell phone’s built-in calculator. That’s the only finance app I need.

  15. William Mize says:

    Previously mentioned Red Laser.
    USAA, because it’s freakin’ awesome.
    Amazon, when I am in B&N or Borders, so I can see just HOW much cheaper I can get it online.

  16. Dallas_shopper says:

    I don’t have a smart phone. I use online banking to pay my bills and a pad and pen or a calculator at the store to figure out the best deal (some stores don’t post unit prices). I do my budgeting and checkbook at home with a pad and pen or a whiteboard.

  17. scurvycapn says:

    I use ShopSavvy on my Android to compare prices. I can scan a barcode while in a store and it will check local and online prices. I was at Kroger one day and scanned a Brita water filter (we needed to replace ours soon). I found out that Target was selling them for $2 less. We were already planning to go to Target that weekend, so we waited and picked them up there.

    • NightSteel says:

      I tried ShopSavvy on my Galaxy S recently, and I couldn’t make it work, lots of freezes and force closes. The app comments show a lot of people having problems. I assume you have no such issues?

  18. blissfool says:

    “Fresh Xpense” to record cash/debit expenses on Xpenser.
    “Mint” for overall financial monitoring and reporting.
    “Red Laser” to perform instant price matching search.

    I also have “Key Ring” app which you can scan/input your grocery club cards (Pathmark, Duane Reader, etc.) so you don’t have to carry them with your keys… Have’t tried actually scanning them yet tho…

    • Does not play well with others says:

      I have both Key Ring and CardStar on my iPod touch but neither seem to work at the scanner. I think the problem is with the screen protector. Anyone know of a screen protector that won’t interfere with the scanners?

  19. shinseiromeo says:

    The mint.com app daily!

  20. Dragon Tiger says:

    Another vote for ShopSavvy–available on iPhone, Android, and Nokia phones.

  21. Buckus says:

    Car Loan calculator. Helps a bunch during negotiations.
    Salesman: “You’re payment is only $300 a month!”
    Me: “That makes the loan term 120 months”
    Salesman: “$300 a month!”
    Me: “No thanks”

  22. lonestarbl says:

    Barcode Scanner and Google Shop for my Droid…. saved me $30 on a vacuum last week

  23. VeganPixels says:

    GroceryIQ, Unit Price Compare, ShopSavvy. No financial/banking apps EVAR.

  24. Buckus says:

    I make my own smartphone apps at home…

  25. Destron says:

    I use Shopulator when I shop – Shop Savvy, iSearch, my local news station has an android app i use for weather and gas prices, and I use Chase,BofA, and Paypal apps. Document to Go is great as well for the Excell functionality.

  26. infamousjre says:

    safari

  27. sliverworm says:

    I use Shop Savvy, pretty slick for price matching stores.

  28. tbax929 says:

    I don’t have an iPhone, I have an Android. But I love the USAA app that allows me to take a picture of a check and have it instantly credit to my account. That’s just made of win.

    • William Mize says:

      You are so correct on that one.
      Besides being a great organization, the first time I deposited a check like that, you’d think I was on Star Trek or something I was so amazed.

  29. jefeloco says:

    Plants vs. Zombies; it keeps my seed packet choices in line while I’m at the store… fighting zombies.

  30. visualpurple says:

    I check foursquare tips wherever I am to see if there’s some secret discount or special I can get

  31. joe23521 says:

    ShopSavvy on Android FTW!

  32. NightSteel says:

    I use an Android app called, simply, Mileage, to calculate my fuel stats. Whenever I fill up, I punch in the odometer, price, and gallons, and it calculates everything out for me. Pretty handy. I also use the Amazon app to do price comparisons on some items, since ShopSavvy didn’t work on my phone.

  33. mischlep says:

    I used to use Pocket Quicken when I had a Palm Tx, but there is no equivalent on iPhone/iPod touch.

    • James T. Savidge says:

      Check out PocketMoney from Catamount. They also have MPG which is a program for tacking expenses and maintenance on vehicles.

      I’ve used both apps since they were first published for the Apple Newton.

  34. TheFingerOfGod says:

    I use iBank on both my desktop and my iPhone 4. It is an amazing little duo that keeps my meager finances in sync. I can enter transactions on either platform and then sync them in the cloud. It keeps me up to date. I also use bills which keeps me up to date on what bills I need to pay.

  35. ballookey says:

    Nothing fancy, but these two apps have become invaluable:

    Balance – Free, simple checkbook-register app. I no longer forget to log things in my checkbook register, or have to worry about logging receipts when I get home. I enter everything at the moment of purchase and always know how much money I have.

    Bills on your Table – Not free, but inexpensive. It’s been incredibly helpful. I put all my recurring monthly bills in there, and set it up to give me an alert a week before they’re due. I immediately deduct the amount due from Balance and voila, I don’t have to worry that there will be money in my account. If I don’t immediately mark the bill as paid in the app, it’ll continue to remind me once a day. So now, when payday rolls around, I know exactly how much money I have committed to bills, and don’t overspend on the weekend.

    • bovinekid says:

      I save money by not having a smart phone and thus not spending $100/month on my phone bill.

      • Willnet says:

        I save money by having a jailbroken smartphone that is a unlimited data wireless internet hotspot that I use for surfing the net and streaming videos and such on my computer (25$/mo.?). Oh yeah, I use it as a camera, barcode scanner for finding great deals, alarm clock, music player (ipod/pandora) in my truck, gps navigation for finding my way around the city, a planner, financial tracker, texting (free), and sometimes use it to make phone calls.

  36. jiubreyn says:

    Mint is a great website, but their app is seriously lacking, their data is never in sync with what my accounts actually state….even days later!

    Pageonce Finance on the other hand is the best app hands down. You can keep track of your utility bills, bank accounts, email accounts, social networking sites, travel accounts you name it. All from one app, and they have a website much like Mint: http://www.pageonce.com/

    In addition to the above, I also use the Chase Mobile app to pay my bills on the go and deposit checks when necessary. Talk. About. Convenient.

  37. firepup says:

    Save Benjis, Red Laser, Amazon, Google. Those are the applications i use to search for prices.

  38. Saltpork says:

    I do a ton of nerdery to keep my finances safe and organized, but it’s all desktop based.
    Keeping track of purchases isn’t hard. My gas and groceries go on my cc and get paid off every month.
    Outside of that it’s just the other typical bills.
    A chunk goes into savings every month and the rest is slush.
    As long as I can cover all my bases(including savings) then I really don’t care.

    I have a smartphone and have not once thought of using it for banking/buying. Not secure enough for me.

  39. Willnet says:

    MYWI. The greatest thing since… free wireless internet. I no longer pay for home internet.

  40. elizabeth33 says:

    My husband and I swear by ScoutMob.com! Everyday, ScoutMob shares a new 50%-off (or more!) deal for local restaurants, museums, boutiques, and more. We almost never pay full price for eating out anymore! The best part? The deals last for a full 90 days, and you don’t have to pay up front to “buy in” to the deal — just go the the restaurant or other deal location, show the coupon to the business on your smartphone, and SAVE! Right now they’re only in Atlanta and New York (though I hear a San Francisco version is coming soon).

  41. steveliv says:

    I use ShopSavvy and other similar apps where you can scan a barcode and see the prices at other places.