Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
You’ve probably accepted the fact that you can’t live without your smartphone, even if it is an extra expense on top of your other bills.
Of course, if you use your phone wisely, it could turn out to be a great investment.
Check out these ways your smartphone can actually help you save money.
1. Helping you pay your bills on time
If you’re not the most organized person when it comes to getting payments in before the due date, then your phone can help. Most creditors give you the option of getting text and/or email alerts to remind you when a bill is due, but there are lots of great apps for managing all aspects of your budget and bill paying, including Mint. Or, you can set up your own reminders in your calendar app.
The same goes for introductory deals on subscription services. I always set a reminder on my phone for two days before I need to cancel. That way, the subscription doesn’t automatically renew for a much higher price. (And when you cancel, it’s worth calling customer service to see if there are any new deals that they can switch you to. Most companies want to keep you as a customer, even at a discount, instead of losing your business entirely.)
Saving on those charges and late fees (not to mention preventing your credit score from tanking) is a great way to get more bang for your smartphone buck.
2. Saving money while traveling
You can keep an eye out for the best deals on gas with the GasBuddy app. Our tech expert Eric Rosenberg writes:
“GasBuddy gives you a listing of gas prices at stations nearby, so you can choose a gas station close to you with the lowest price possible. For anyone with a car, this is one of the best apps to save you money on the go.”
“Bonus tip: GPS app Waze has gas prices built in as well, and it can suggest gas stations on your route,” he adds. “However, that feature can be a bit clunky to use. GasBuddy is an easier app to navigate, particularly for the less techy crowd.”
When you’re ready to stop for the night, the HotelTonight app is designed to book last-minute rooms at the best rate, but you can book up to a week ahead.
3. Taking a break from the gym
If you’re paying for a gym membership that you’re not using, why not cut out that monthly fee and use your smartphone to work out?
You can use it as a pedometer with Map My Walk, get inspired to become a runner with a “Couch to 5K” program or track your fitness goals with MyFitnessPal.
Many of these apps have a social networking aspect, too, so you get motivation from friends and new connections.
4. Never paying more than you should
How many times have you been out shopping and see what you think is a good deal, but then end up kicking yourself when you find out it was cheaper somewhere else?
Sure, you can return it, but who wants that hassle? With comparison shopping apps, you can check the prices of items online or in other stores simply by scanning in the bar code, snapping a photo, or typing in the item’s name. Some good ones to try include PriceGrabber and ShopSavvy.
5. Keep in touch without paying extra
If you’re on a cellphone plan with limited data and don’t want to go over your allotment, you can start using text and chat apps to avoid overage fees. The same goes for when you’re traveling abroad, or want to speak to someone in a different country.
Turns out your smartphone really is pretty smart when it comes to saving money.
What are your favorite ways to use your phone to save money?
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