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Big Assets: Apps that save you cash

Articles on money apps always mention Mint.com. It is a great app for those that are diligent about their finances.

The problem is that most of you are not! You need instant rewards when you do a good money deed. So I have chosen three great apps that save cash while shopping (something all of you do too well).

My favorite money-saving app is Barcode Scanner. All you do is open the app and point the camera at a product barcode. A list of nearby stores and their price pops up for that product. You instantly see if you’re getting a fair price or can buy it cheaper at another store.

Try using this app at home instead of at the store. It’s difficult to leave once you are standing in the aisle holding what you need. It’s better to scan that empty container of laundry detergent (or whatever you’re shopping for) while at home. Then see which store has the lowest price and that’s where you go shopping.

You can also use this app for big-ticket items like computers, televisions and appliances. Go into a store, scan the model you want, and find the lowest price. Show the store manager the lower price at their competitor and they usually match it.

We all know gas is ridiculously expensive right now. But GasBuddy, my second money-saving app, helps you find the lowest gas price in town.

Just open the app and a list of nearby gas stations and prices show up. It’s based on customer input and has been accurate since I’ve used it. There’s also a points system for those users that report gas prices. Use those points to enter contests to win free gas.

Tired of carrying around all those loyalty club cards? Concerned about telling the checkout clerk your cell phone number with that big line of strangers standing behind you? Then CardStar is for you.

CardStar holds all your loyalty club bar codes for places like Ralphs, Rite-Aid, Petco and Ace Hardware. This app also feeds you special coupons based on your spending habits. It’s creepy and cost-effective at the same time!

Those are three apps that save you cash. I’m not a huge techie, but I’ll keep looking for other ways your smartphone can help save you cash. And definitely share your favorite money apps in the Comments section below.

Steve Doster, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner offering fee-only, hourly financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. Visit his website or his Facebook page to see his favorite personal finance article of the week.