Savings on the Go!!!

As the economy begins its recovery, many of us are looking for ways to save a few bucks.  The other day, while shopping with my daughter at the mall, I saved over $20, just by using the very device that is by my side everywhere I go – my mobile phone. 

Remember the days when you had tons of coupons from mailers, newspapers etc and you forgot them at home?  Now all you need to do is turn on your mobile device, download one or many of the apps below and start searching for coupons, while you’re in the store!  No printing is usually required and many of the sales associates are aware of this common practice, which requires you to simply show the coupon on your phone. 

Here are some of the apps I would recommend (all of which were free in the Android Marketplace – other App Worlds/Stores might charge a fee, but these apps will pay for themselves):

GeoQpons

This app can be used along with your GPS to figure out where you are and what stores are in the vicinity.  If your store doesn’t show up or GPS is off, you can do a search for the store.  If a coupon exist, it will likely be on this application.  The app also has some nice additional features, including a Shopping list, a Wish List, Savings Calculator and Barcode integration to check pricing.

  

Coupons

Similar to GeoQpons, Coupons will also use GPS to figure out your location, if turned on.  Coupons also provides discounts that can be used right from the phone, but also shows discounts that can be obtained via e-mail sign-up.  Coupons main page provides the average gas price in your area, making you want to use the coupons provided, even more…

  

AAA Discounts

 

If you are a AAA member, you can get this app and it will provide all the AAA discounts offered in your area.  I didn’t know this, but apparently, New York and Company offers a discount for AAA members (don’t hold me to it, I am only going by what the app tells me).  You can also put your AAA membership number in the app, so if you need assistance, you can call right from the app and they will know your location.

 

Entertainment App

Do you have one of those Entertainment books and always forget the book when you are out?  Well, the app cannot act as a replacement for coupons in the book (it will tell you that there is a coupon for the store, but direct you to your book), but it can help for coupons that don’t require the book itself.  In addition, if you are in a store and you see there is a coupon, it will at least make you aware and you have the ability to save the offer, so you remember to clip the coupon (I am not sure about you, but I get overwhelmed whenever I start looking through the book itself).  What I have also found helpful, is letting the app find my location, so I can note all the coupons in my area.  I then go and save these under saved offers, so I know to clip, when I go to those retailers.  Membership number can be put right in the app, to validate you are a member.   

 

Foursquare

I reviewed this app awhile back and a lot more has been done to it since that time.  I will not go into a lot of details on the app itself other than to say there are some nice deals that can come out of Foursquare.  For example, I was once the mayor of Sports Authority in my area.  As a result, I received 10% off my purchase, any time I walked into that store!  There is also a coupon for a free Chips and Dip any time you go into a Chilis.  Some might think Foursquare is just a gimmick to check into places and let your friends know where you are, but as I wrote in my review, there are many practical uses – like saving money!!!

While there are probably many other apps out there, these are some of the ones I have found most helpful.  Even if you can save a little along the way, it can make a big difference in the end.  Happy savings!

Foursquare Check-in – Amazingly Addictive!

Foursquare is a location-based social networking application that can be used on various mobile devices. While I was a bit hesitant to the nature of Foursquare at first, I must say it is quite addictive.

Foursquare allows people to “check-in” to various venues based on their location. Users can connect with other people allowing them to share their location, as well as seeing their friends’ location. Foursquare uses the GPS service on your mobile device to provide you with venues in your area. Users simply pick the venue and check-in, recording it within their profile. If the venue is not already on the list, the users have the ability to create the it.

In order to make it more interesting, there are various “badges” that users can earn. For example, when I checked into 5 different Starbucks, I was awarded the Barista badge. While this might sound silly, it is actually very addictive.

In addition to badges, users can become the Mayor of each venue, by being the person that checked into that venue the most times. Again, sounds silly, but it’s addictive.

So why would I even want this on my phone you might ask? Here are some reasons:

  • Allows your friends to see where you are and meet up with you if you are in the area. When you connect to a friend, they can see where you last checked in. In addition, each venue will show people recently here, allowing friends to connect. Of course if privacy is an issue and you don’t want anyone knowing where you are, you can turn off the feature and not publicize your whereabouts.

  • Allows users to see what is in the area. Foursquare utilizes the GPS technology on the mobile device, so when users are in the vicinity of different businesses, Foursquare will let them know. This is a great way for businesses to advertise themselves to potential customers.

  • Users can get opinions and tips on the venues they visit. When you check in there is a section that allows you to leave tips for other visitors to read.

  • Businesses can also attract customers by promoting specials. That’s right – there is the ability for businesses to tag their venues with special offers! A few examples are listed below (these were taken off the Foursquare website today)

Sports Authority (Baltimore, MD)
Get a $10 Cash Card towards today’s purchase as a thank you for being our Mayor & Sports “Authority”! Exclusions Apply.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill (Baltimore, MD)
Show that you’re the Mayor of Carrabba’s and enjoy a complimentary dessert with the purchase of an entrée. Grazie!

American Eagle (Ottawa, Ontario)
Check-in to any AE store and unlock a 15% Off discount towards your next merchandise purchase. Expires 7/31/10. Limit one per customer.

Field House (Baltimore, MD)

Free house wine beer for 3rd check-in Find Carly, John or a manager!

  • Businesses and users can track venue stats. For an individual, this is a way to remember where you were and how many times you were there. Even more important, businesses have the ability to obtain real-time venue stats that show such things as most recent visitors, most frequent visitors, visitor volumes by time of day, gender breakdown etc. If a business knows that more males visit their establishment on a Wednesday night, they have the ability to use this information and sponsor a “Ladies Night”.

As with any location-based application, users should be careful what they advertise. I would not necessarily create your home venue for everyone to see; unless, you want them to know where you live.

Foursquare has also been subject to users falsifying where they really are just to obtain mayor status and badges. Foursquare has worked around this by utilizing the GPS on the phone. If you are not near the venue based on GPS, you can check-in, but will not receive credit.

Similiar to most social networking apps, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, and want to share your Foursquare statuses with everyone, you have the ability to link the accounts.

Foursquare might seem like a kid’s toy on the surface, but there is some real practical use to this application for both end-users and businesses. The application is a pleasant and addictive experience!

Check out Foursquare at http://www.foursquare.com/

ConclusionRecommend

Practicality Score3.5 / 5.0

Practical use – Social Networking / Marketing

Target Market – people who are looking to keep in touch with friends, looking for new places and deals, or want to play with a cool and addictive mobile application on the go!

Alternative Apps/Competition – Loopt, Gowalla, Yelp