There are more free mobile apps than you could even begin to count, which is both good and bad. It’s good because that means there are plenty of apps that help you effortlessly cut costs and be smarter about spending, but its bad because where to start?!? We cut through the clutter and here’s what we came up with:
Whether it’s an apartment for a night or a villa for a month, Airbnb is a marketplace for people to discover and book unique accommodations around the world—many of which are very budget friendly. The app can be used from a mobile phone or tablet and connects people with amazing homes around the world at any price point; simply select your price in the search and watch the listings populate in front of you. Inexpensive trailers and docked boats make for an Instagram-worthy stay, to make all your friends jealous without blowing your budget.
Gas prices are always in flux and GasBuddy, a free mobile app, makes it easy to find cheapest gas closest to you, whether you’re on the go or just leaving your house. You can earn points and compete against others by reporting good prices, and the app has weekly challenges with a daily prize of $100 in free gas for winners. As if that wasn’t enough, you can stop pulling your hair out over gas math for your next road trip: use their trip cost calculator instead.
Nearly one-third of the U.S. dollar is spent on eating out, according to a 2014 report by the USDA. It’s likely a good portion of your annual income goes to eating out, in addition to shopping and grabbing drinks with friends. Enter Scoutmob, an app that serves as a pocket-guide of deals nearby, perfect for anyone living in a big city. As a user, you get access to free incentives for local restaurants and shops, even the small artisan shops you love to frequent. Fun daily deal features allow you to find the best place to eat every day and keep you up to date on all under-the- radar events that even your coolest friends don’t know about. Don’t miss the witty reviews and recommendations that are listed, and have a chuckle over your half-off sandwich and fresh brewed iced tea.
Their tagline, “Grocery shopping made simple” will attract anyone who’s ever done groceries—who likes going to the supermarket anyway? The app helps you not only organize your shopping plans for a more efficient trip, but it also makes it easier to save money every time you go. Grocery iQ is a detailed grocery shopping list platform that features a database of millions of items, that you can use to build your detailed grocery list—hello organization, goodbye impulse ice cream purchases (maybe). The app allows you to add items to your list using barcode scanning or even voice recognition and features integrated coupons for the most affordable stores, to further maximize savings.
If you live in or near a city, then you know the pains of paying for parking—the worst when you only need a spot for 20 minutes but still have to pay for two hours. Best Parking makes it easy to compare your options to find the cheapest one, which is especially helpful on vacation. Nothing says buzzkill more than driving around for an hour to find the cheapest option—and somehow getting lost along the way—just to choose an expensive garage because you’re frustrated. After choosing your city within the app, a map populates with parking options and the total rate for the timeframe you need. Finally, you can say goodbye to pre-dinner fights with your SO and hello to blissful date nights.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a lifestyle blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading and Carpe Daily. She is also the owner of her own small fitness business, Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Twitter at @Jlsander07.