Spend a penny with our guide to some of the best money saving apps around
We all like to spend a penny here and save a penny there, but which do you prefer: impulsively splurging your paycheque at the end of the month on something frivolous, or storing it away in a tightly-sealed, Gringotts-esque vault, only to be touched by landlords or your children’s children?
If you lean towards the latter, then chances are that you’re probably quite into saving your money where you can. Handily, our smartphones and tablets can now advise us on what corners to cut, what loopholes to exploit, and what coupons to take advantage of when it comes to spending your hard-earned dough on goods and services.
And lo, like an oasis in the desert, here is TechWeekEurope’s guide to some of the best money saving apps available.
- Toshl Finance
Finding that your spending is spiralling just that little bit out of control? Well, Toshl can help you curb your monetary urges. Its well-reviewed (5* ratings from The New York Times and the BBC) service makes managing your personal finance “fun”, helping you track bills and spending, set up budgets, and “live easy” (with “a financial sense of mind”, that is). An intuitive and easy-to-user interface guides you through this usually quite-dull process, made all the more amusing by Toshl’s ensemble of Monsters Inc.-esque characters, who pop up now and again to display your bank balance. That’s one way of soothing that particular blow, we guess.
- Daily Budget Original
Does what it says on the tin, really: Daily Budget aims to help you set and then maintain an, er, daily budget. With bright-coloured backgrounds and clear fonts, it certainly goes about its not-so-sexy task in an attractive manner that’s very easy to comprehend. Formulating a budget that’s based on both your income and your fixed costs, the app calculates how much you should or shouldn’t spend on a certain day, with presumably the preferable end result being the gradual maturation of your overall budget.
- Meter Readings
This is a rather more specific money saving app in that it tracks how much electricity, water and gas you’re using at home, before converting it into a rough estimate of how much your monthly utility bills will come to. Handy, right? A snip at 99p, it gets to work once you enter your household energy and water readings, enabling the app to then calculate your costs (and potential savings) in easy-to-visualise graphs. You can enter up to nine meters, compare usage across a specific time range, and get an estimate of how much your next bill will be.
Ugh, expenses – amIright? Expensify isn’t so much a money saving app as it is a godsend from the heavens: capture receipts, track mileages, and create expense reports quicker and easier than ever before. Simply use the app to take a photo of a receipt, and then upload it to whichever report you’d like the expense to be registered on – and that really is it. You can also create and edit expense reports on the go, and work out your hourly rate if you’re employed in such a capacity. Ensuring that you don’t miss any expenses, Expensify will make sure that you get all that you’re entitled to.
Another rather self-explanatory service from its name alone, Vouchercodes.co.uk’s money saving app entitles the user to a wide range of special offers and money off vouchers on a whole host of goods, services and experiences. Simply choose your voucher, select your location, and then get your code – and voila! There’s some money off a meal or cinema ticket right there. Splendid.
- Spending Tracker
Should you go a bit crazy with those aforementioned voucher codes, you could always download the Spending Tracker app (for free, naturally) to help sort out your finances. A user-friendly and intuitive platform, Spending Tracker permits you to enter in your income and your expenses for the month to see how they match up (or don’t match up, depending on how you manage your money at the moment). It then presents the findings in either list, pie chart or bar graph form for you to cry over – but, once you see the error of your ways, you can then start to sort your life out, blessing Spending Tracker for helping you see the light.
- SpendToday – Save Tomorrow!
Its optimistic, sloganised name aside, the SpendToday – Save Tomorrow! App is actually quite a nifty invention. Focusing on helping you save money for the weekend (rather than for that fancy yacht that you’ve had your eye on), the app encourages you to set a daily budget that’ll help you have more pennies to throw away once the working week has ceased. Displaying “today’s allowance” whenever you open up the app, you’re then able to see how your daily spending affects your funds for either the rest of the week or the month. And its piggy bank mascot, whilst being quite an obvious choice, is actually quite endearing.
- OnTrees Personal Finance
Kendrick Lamar may have written a song about ‘Money Trees’ once, but we’re pretty sure that he wasn’t referring to the OnTrees app (although I’m sure the latter would love K. Dot to endorse their product). Set up by the formidable moneysupermarket.com family, OnTrees “gives you the tools you need to make the most of your money” by providing clear information on your expenses and income. So far, so familiar, right? Well, OnTrees differs by being official enough to be able to partner up with a number of major UK banks to help you properly keep on top of your bank account (although you can’t use the app to make transfers or transactions).
A name that you’re probably already quite familiar with (if you’re serious about saving money), it’s not unwise to suggest that it’s pretty essential for you to have the Groupon app on either your smartphone or tablet. Delivering “unbeatable deals for 50-70% off the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 500 cities located mostly on earth”, it really is quite an impressive claim – so it’s handy that they’re able to back it up by having thousands upon thousands of satisfied, money-saving customers.
Our final entry is Wish: yes, Wish. Not heard of Wish? Well, you’ll probably wish that you’d have heard of Wish sooner than you have, because Wish wishes you to… Ok, that’s enough. The app seeks out “trending items” of clothing and electronics across the web and secures its users savings of anywhere between 50% and 80% off the retail price. The “#1 shopping mall [we think they mean virtual shopping mall] in Europe and North America”, it also comes with this thrilling testimony from ‘Olivia’: “Love, Love this app. Its a fun app that u can wish on things u love and want. Highly Recommend [sic] it to frndz & fmly.” Presumably she was so engrossed in the app that she forewent the standard rules of spelling and grammar: quite the endorsement, we think you’ll agree.