Of course you have a smartphone. The odds are, you are reading this article on a smartphone. You have, in the last half-an-hour, used your smartphone to check the time, read your emails, laughed at a joke someone has sent on WhatsApp and checked how many ‘likes’ your last selfie got on Facebook.
Or you may not have done any of those things – but what we intend to help you understand in this article is how to use your smartphone to save money, which might be a more worthwhile occupation for it than the things I listed in the previous paragraph.
The most obvious way a smartphone enables money-saving is financial apps like mint, moneylife, moneycontrol, Intuit and so on. Some of these are portfolio trackers, giving you the ability to track the status of your investments on a real time basis. Others are true wallet-managers, allowing you to track your expenditure and thereby keep it under control.
Banks offer financial apps as well, as do stockbrokers such as ICICI Direct among others. These let you trade shares and bonds on the move, ensuring you never miss out an opportunity even while away from your trading screen.
But financial apps are still a fairly esoteric matter, mainly useful for those active in the stock market or similar. What about day-to-day life? Did you know shopping apps like Amazon or Flipkart (or any other for that matter), also often have exclusive ‘app-only’ deals? On certain goods, they offer discounts for shopping on the app that are very attractive indeed. Flipkart has been known to give additional discounts of a thousand rupees on App purchases compared to those made on a computer. Often, delivery fees are waived off as well for app purchases! Try shopping on apps when you want to do your e-commerce shopping and see how much you can save.
Price comparison apps
For all the convenience of e-commerce, we still do a fair but of shopping offline. It is here that price comparison apps like Junglee (or similar) are useful, in ensuring that you are able to find the best price for whatever it is you are buying. The shopping apps are also useful here. If the item you are buying is also available online at a lower price, the dealers often try to match that price, ensuring you get the online price along with the offline quality service!
Retailer / Restaurant apps
Often your favourite retailer or restaurant has an app of its own. We do not usually bother to install them, especially if we know we are going to go there anyway. But here’s the thing – restaurants and retailers see app-installers as loyal users and frequently roll out exclusive offers and discounts for them! So even if you were going to eat at X restaurant or shop at Y supermarket regardless, getting a nice discount would be a real icing on the cake, would it not?
You have probably used the Calendar app on your smartphone at some point of time to save friends’ birthdays, maybe even schedule meetings for business. But do you realise you can also use it to set up a recurring alert for your bill payments? With the sheer number of things we get bills for – mobile phones, landlines, credit cards, internet packs, TV subscriptions – it is rare indeed that we do not miss a deadline or two – and these deadlines carry a hefty fine! So just do a one-time mapping of your bill due dates into your calendar and ensure you always pay your bills on time. No more late fees!
We do not usually think of mapping apps like Google maps or M-indicator as money-saving in nature, but the fact is, that they are. Google Maps will tell you which routes have traffic congestion, allowing you to take the one that saves the most time (and uses less petrol). A taxi-fare app ensures you do not get cheated by the cab-driver. In these little ways, you could find are saving quite a respectable amount of money if you are a regular commuter.
These are but some of the ways your smartphone could save you money. There are others – using your smartphone for making international calls (WhatsApp lets you bypass expensive ISD altogether provided there is a strong data connection at both ends). Even a calculator app is invaluable for saving money – how else will you know if you get the best deal at 10% off on Rs 400, 15% of on Rs 450 or 20% off on Rs 500?
Use them all, and watch your savings grow!