I’ve always been a ‘gadget’ guy. I’ve always had to have the best smartphone or the best tablet etc. and as we all know, these can be rather expensive. And by rather, I mean REALLY expensive. So, I thought about how I could start recuperating some of the cost of these must-have-gadgets. Selling them obviously wouldn’t be an option, that’s just crazy! But, what if I used them to help me save money otherwise, or even make money? It turns that out there, amongst the masses of apps on the App Store, Google Play, Windows Marketplace or Blackberry World (if you live in 2008) there are apps that you can use to your benefit in such matters, and the following are some of my favourites.
Keeping track of your finances and budgeting is important for anyone, and as this is a reality, Toshl is your friend. Toshl is a budgeting and expenditure app that allows you to simplify what usually is a tedious and drawn out task. It splits your finances out into 4 categories: Budget, Earnings, Expenditure and Summarise and it keeps each process very manageable. After you input your weekly or monthly wage into the app, you can then enter all of your outgoings and the dates that they are due. The app can then give you a visual representation of what your excess is for the week/month and give you an option of setting a ‘savings’ goal as a monthly expenditure.
The app also lets you input what you are spending out with your essential outgoings, such as a gym membership or cinema outings and will give you a total at the end of the week or month. This lets you see what you are spending the most on and can help you in figuring out where you need to cut back.
Bonus Tip: Make sure you’ve got your bank’s mobile banking app downloaded and set up. This can be helpful if you can’t remember where or what you’ve spent on a particular day. I use the Clydesdale Bank app, and it’s really easy to use, very streamlined, but obviously if Clydesdale isn’t your bank, don’t download that one, that would just be silly.
Various TV Apps
Did you know you only need a TV license if you watch LIVE television? I didn’t. I very, very rarely will watch live television these days, I wasn’t even using my Sky+ box. I found myself just using Netflix and on demand & catch up television, particularly on my tablet. So, I thought, “Why am I paying for a TV license if I don’t need to?” So, I’ve ditched the Sky box and now only watch television exclusively on demand and on catch up. Now, when my TV licence runs out, I don’t have to renew it (I had to gill out this online form) saving nearly £150 right there and as I said, I don’t have my Sky box any more, and I honestly do not miss it.
There are a number of TV apps out there for you to download. My two favourites are the BBC iPlayer and the 4OD app, which now allows you download hundreds of shows for free to your phone or tablet. There are loads of television apps out there, you just need to find the ones you like, but always remember that it can’t be live. If you’re watching the show at the same time it is being broadcast on the app’s channel, then this means you will need to pay for a TV licence, and we don’t want that, do we?
Bonus tip: if your parents, a friend or anyone that you know really has a Sky account they can register up to 2 devices to be eligible for their Sky Go account, at no extra cost, to anyone. So, if they’re not using both their devices, you can always sweet talk them into letting you use it. Although again, it has to be on demand or catch up television.
Surely we’ve all heard of Skype? I’d be surprised if you hadn’t, but seeing how I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to explain it all for you anyway. Skype is a free messaging and video calling app. Video calling being one the main reason why Skype beat WhatsApp onto this list (that and WhatsApp is no longer free) It’s fairly simple, you download the Skype app, sign up (or in if you’re already registered) and you use this to message your friends and family rather than running down your text allowance, easy as that. It’s fast, it’s easy to use and it’s an all round good app that everyone should have. Also, it’s now owned and maintained by Microsoft, so you know it’s a well designed and working app. The most likely reason why Skype hasn’t taken off as a must have app (yet) is that it has always been associated with a desktop program used for video calling people that are far away. Granted this is true, but with the introduction of it as an app for smartphones, it won’t be long before everyone has Skype in their pockets.
Bonus tip: I would only use the video calling feature when connected to WiFi. As with most messaging apps, it uses your mobile internet connection to send and receive messages and while simple text messaging won’t drain your data, video calling may.
While we’re on the subject of data, I’d like to introduce you to one of my all time favourite apps, Onavo. With more apps and games and movies and yadda yadda yadda being available to download or stream on your smartphones, data usage is something that everyone should be keeping an eye on in order to make sure you don’t accrue any unwanted, extra charges when you get your bill. Onavo does this for you. It works almost invisibly in the background to make sure that you are not downloading unnecessary data e.g. when you are browsing sites on your phone, pictures and videos automatically load whether you are looking at them or not, Onavo changes this process so that these are only loaded as you scroll to them. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you think of the amount of pictures , videos and music etc that accompanies almost every website these days, it can mount up to a lot of data used over the month.
Bonus tip: Onavo has personal settings that you can change to your liking. In mine, I have it set so that it only runs when not on WiFi, therefore freeing up memory on my phone and it also alerts me when I come within a certain percentage of my data limit.
One thing my mother always said to me was to never go shopping hungry. It’s a piece of advice that I’ve always thought was simple, yet effective piece of advice and one that I’ve been able to maintain by using my smartphone. I know what you’re thinking, but no, I didn’t eat it. I downloaded an app called Big Oven. Big Oven is a recipe app, but it does a lot more than list off recipes. One of my favourite features about the app is it’s ‘Menu Planner’ feature. This lets you, well, plan your menus. You can create a shopping list to take with you into the supermarket that you can stick by so you don’t make rash, impulse purchases of things that you don’t need, and possibly end up wasting. Through planning your shopping list and meals, you can stick to your shopping budget and ultimately your overall budget for the week or month.
Another great feature is that it allows you to enter 3 items that you have in your pantry, and it suggests recipes based on these e.g. you can enter ‘pasta, cucumber and onions’ and it will give you a recipe based on this. Granted, I don’t think the recipe it would suggest for those particular items will taste very nice, but it will try it’s best to come up with something for you. This way, you can use up everything you have, not wasting anything, and therefore not wasting money.
Bonus tip: you can integrate it with the desktop site and use it’s Recipe Clipper to drag recipes from a whole bunch of cookery and recipe sites to save your favourites and get suggestions of what you might like.
Know of any other money saving apps? Let us know in the comments
My name is Chris and I’m a 25 year old guy who’s not long out of University. I love football and through my time at Uni I had to be quite frugal, so I decided to mesh these together to create my blog, Spend It Like Beckham. I write about financially related football (and other sports) stories while giving out money saving advice to the best of my ability. You can find me on Facebook here and Twitter here