Note to My Blog Readers: I am now writing a weekly column for some local newspapers in my area. Two weeks after I post the article, I'm going to be running them on my blog so I can archive and share them further. If you want to know more about this column, check out my newspaper page. This will be one general interest technology column a week, but I'll have a few extras I have to post to catch up with what I've already shared. As I post these columns, they will appear on my Newspaper Archive page. It won't take away from the main mission of this blog in that many of you will (hopefully) use these technology tips to improve your lives and help people see the usefulness technology can have when used well. From now on, I'll just disclose this at the bottom of the post. If you think your local newspaper might be interested, let me know.
4 Money Saving Apps
Let's start our technology tip series with some free apps available on all types of smartphones that can save you money.
Money Saving App #1 RED LASER
Red Laser is an app for your smartphone that lets you scan the barcode on a product and it looks up prices for that product on the Internet.
When we were traveling to Atlanta last year, we stopped at Tanger and my daughter found THE dress for Homecoming. THE only problem was THE pricetag was over THE top. So, I told her to hold on as I scanned the pricetag on my iphone and found that I could get the SAME dress for over $150 less than the one I was holding in my hand. I ordered it while standing there and it was in the mailbox at home before we got back from our trip. Now that is THE sort of thing that smartphones should do for us.
I recommend using Red Laser for more expensive items, even if just to make sure you're getting a fair price. Don't forget shipping! Many online sites charge shipping so unless the price difference is more than it would cost to ship, it is often best to buy where you are. Remember also that sometimes stores will price match if they are way off if you ask kindly.
Red Laser Tip:
Some stores are putting their own barcodes over the manufacturer's so you should look for the original barcode by the manufacturer.
APPS TO FIND CHEAP GAS
Money Saving App #2 Gas Buddy
Money Saving App #3 Road Ninja
While sometimes these apps aren't as accurate in small towns, they are a must-use for traveling. These apps will help you find the cheapest gas. Sometimes an extra half a mile off the Interstate can save you money. If you find the app is off, you can usually report the correct gas prices.
Money Saving App #4: GROCERY IQ
Grocery IQ: http://www.groceryiq.com
You can make (and share) lists using Grocery IQ, but it will also find coupons for what you're buying.
Tip: print out the coupons before you leave home because some stores don't take coupons on smartphones.
WHAT APPS CAN'T GET YOU
Unique needs, personal attention, fast help – these are all things you only get from shopping locally.
I like to buy wedding gifts locally, for example, because local stores are very kind about exchanging and making sure that new couples are able to mix and match and get what they need.
Technology can improve your life but it is only as smart as the person using the app. Thanks to Carl Stokes for asking me to help us all use technology in better ways. Let me hear from you if you have questions.
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is a full time teacher and author of the award winning Cool Cat Teacher Blog and the upcoming book Reinventing Writing. This newspaper column first appeared in the Camilla Enterprise and Pelham Journal in January 2014 with permission from Vicki Davis. All rights reserved, Vicki Davis.
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