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The Coupon Lady: Use apps to help you shop

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I have to admit, my family loves electronic gadgets and computers. My brother and my husband were a part of the Nintendo generation and now both work in the computer science industry. My children enjoy playing educational games on many types of handheld devices.

While my family loves all kinds of electronic gadgets, my interest is mostly centered on how they can make my life easier. I love saving money, and I love saving time even more. Applications, or apps, for smart phones, tablets and electronic readers make saving money simple and easy.

I want to share some of my favorite apps for saving. Most of these are available on more than one platform.

First of all, let’s look at some money-saving apps available though the iPhone and iPad. If you are familiar with daily deal sites, Groupon and Living Social should be familiar names. Groupon and LivingSocial have apps that allow users to buy and redeem vouchers directly through their apps with no need to print out vouchers from your computer.

If you are considering starting a price book, Best Price Book is one of my favorites. It has a free trial version that lets you input 10 items and can be upgraded for $1.99 to hold more than 1,000 items. You simply input the item, some basic information such as the size of the product and the price at each store. Another similar program I’ve used is called Grocery IQ.

My other favorite app for price comparison is the Price Checker by Amazon. It allows you to scan a barcode with your phone’s camera and compare prices at several stores. That way you can make sure you are getting the best price. It also compares your item to Amazon.com pricing. Sometimes Amazon has the better deal, but that’s not always the case.

Use keywords while shopping in iTunes to help you search. I used key words such as “coupon” or “price book” or “circular ads” to find relevant apps.

For the Android operating system, finding apps can be tricky, but it helps to use only one key word. It also helps to know the actual name of the app.

Grocery Tracker Shopping List is an app that makes shopping easy. Not only is it a price book, but it also keeps track of what you have in your pantry and can be used for meal planning. You can input coupons into your list and it will calculate taxes before you check out.

Groupon and LivingSocial also have versions of their app available for Android.

In April, I became the owner of a Kindle Fire. In addition to reading, I love using apps on my Kindle. The screen is bigger and therefore easier to see. There is a large selection of apps available through the device. However, one disadvantage of using the Kindle is that you cannot connect to the cloud storage that most apps use unless you shop in a store with Wi-Fi coverage. However, Wi-Fi is not available in most grocery stores in our area. A Kindle owner can use the app to mark off items or read lists but cannot perform searches.

The last three apps I want to talk about are available on all three platforms: Coupons.com, Cellfire and Grocery Pal. Coupons.com and Cellfire allow you to see available e-coupons instantly and load them from your cell to your shopper card in as little as 10 minutes. Grocery Pal keeps track of weekly sales at specific stores by searching ads, and it allows users to create shopping lists from those ads.

I hope this piques your interest in finding new ways to save for your family. There are hundreds of apps out there – just take a look.

LEARN MORE

Are you a business, church group, or social group and want to share your passion for savings with fellow members? We are accepting requests for free coupon classes to be held at your location or event. For more information, contact Carol Gunter at The Augusta Chronicle at (706) 823-3318 or augustacouponlady@yahoo.com.


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