10 Free Apps That Will Save You Big Money
Sure, you may stumble across the occasional dollar on the street, or rob a bank, or win the Powerball jackpot. But most of the time, there's no such thing as free money. There is, however, an easy way to score some serious scratch with a few smartphone apps. Whether it's helping you invest your pocket change or finding hotel suites at steep discounts, these 10 free apps will set you up for savings.
It’s always tough deciding whether to book a flight at its current price or risk waiting for it to drop (or go way, way up). Hopper is like your trusty pseudo-psychic travel agent, predicting whether a given flight price will go up or down, while constantly trolling prices to and from given cities on certain dates to notify you when they drop significantly. There’s a reason Apple named it one of last year’s best apps.
Budgeting like an "adult" sucks. Mint is like a little financial advisor that keeps you on track by creating budgets you can actually stick to, syncing with your bank account or credit card to track your spending patterns, letting you know when you’re slipping up, and spotting ways to save.
Rather than waste time scouring side streets for a safe spot to park, only to give up and opt for an overpriced garage, you can take the power back by firing up BP, which maps out the cheapest and most convenient lots and garages in your vicinity. It’s great day-to-day, but it’s a serious lifesaver on game day and at the airport.
Acorns makes slowly building an investment portfolio a little less intimidating for us average schmoes. It rounds up everyday credit and debit card purchases to the next dollar, and deposits the difference into an account. So for example, if you buy a coffee for $2.63 using a linked card, it will charge you $3 and automatically deposit the $.37 into a diversified portfolio. Plus, it only costs $1 a month (if your account is under $5,000) and you can withdraw whenever you want without a penalty.
If you’re a compulsive (and impulsive) Amazon Primer like me, you owe it to yourself to download Slice. Not only does it track every purchase you make online (and automatically pick up tracking numbers to monitor the whereabouts of whatever package(s) is headed your way), but it will also let you know if its price drops after the fact, so you can petition for a discount.
RetailMeNot is the less embarrassing modern-day equivalent to stuffing your wallet with random coupons you might use, if you remember they're in there. All you need to do is launch the app while you're shopping and it'll cull all the deals and discounts available in that store, then display a barcode for any you want to redeem at checkout.
Hotel TonightiOS: Free
If you’re into spontaneity and don’t mind waiting until the last minute to book a place to stay (or if a night out turns into something... uh, more), Hotel Tonight is your new favorite travel buddy. The app sets you up with killer deals on rooms in some of the hippest and most luxurious hotels in major cities all over the world. Basically, if a hotel has a block of unbooked rooms in the morning, it’ll offer them up via Hotel Tonight that afternoon at a steep, steep discount -- just to get people in the door.
Whereas Mint monitors your fiscal behavior from 30,000ft, Level is more of a ground-level day-to-day expense tracker, helping you understand how much you have left to spend in a given day, week, or month. If you're perpetually perplexed about how you ended up with an empty wallet by the end of the day, this is for you.
Rebtel's just-launched Rebel Calling feature allows you to make crystal-clear international calls for free via your local network, no Wi-Fi required. All you need to do is fire up the app, dial your pal, and Rebtel connects the call via each of your local networks, so you're not on the hook for your carrier's exorbitant international rates.
If you've amassed a stack of gift cards from clueless relatives to stores you never shop in, Raise helps you sell them for cold, hard cash, while Aunt Jean is none the wiser. Conversely, it's a marketplace where you can buy gift cards to anywhere from The Home Depot, to Target, to Apple, to hundreds of other brands and stores at a big discount.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He's got a red-hot gift card to Party City if anyone's in the market.