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!

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The Tipping Point – Mobile Communication Devices

In the book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell, the author describes points in time where certain trends, social behaviors or ideas cross a threshold, tip and spread like the plague. These tipping points are the points in time when epidemics are born, products take on a new level of popularity, and fashion designs become the trend.

Over the course of the last few years, I have witnessed an event in my household. Three years ago, I was the only one in the house with a smartphone. Having a smartphone required a data plan, which was considered ridiculous because I had to pay an additional $40 a month. Texting was considered anti-social and a waste of time. Why wouldn’t I just pick up the phone and call the person, I heard over and over.

Time warp to the present day and I am not alone with the only smartphone in the house. In fact, I don’t even have the latest and greatest phone anymore. Text messaging has become the norm and now people wonder why I would call someone, if I can just text them real quick. Data plans are no longer the exception, but the rule. The world seems to have caught up to my ways and thinking when it comes to mobile devices!

As I watch the major players set the stage for what is to come over the next few months, I believe we have reached that tipping point with mobile communication (many might argue we already tipped). Verizon has taken a huge step with its smartphone inventories, releasing various Droid phones over the course of the last 3 months, with the prospect of more to come by the end of this year. I remember when it took Verizon 3 years to announce the prospect of a new smartphone, and it was usually already out on another network for sometime. There is also chatter about the iPhone being released for Verizon at the beginning of next year, which is long overdue. I use Verizon here as the example because they were always so conservative with the release of their phones, yet their model is evolving with the new demand.

The introduction of the iPad has set-off another campaign when it comes to mobile communication technologies. Blackberry seems to be working on a “pad” of its own and Google has already teamed up with Dell to release a “pad” utilizing its Android operating system. Gone are the days of the Palm Pilots, which were too small, and the tablets, which were too bulky. Someone actually figured out how to come up with a very usuable portable portfolio. These devices are giving people even more of a reason to utilize mobile technologies in the communication space. They are putting an emphasis on the data plans and helping the industry tip.

The advent of the new digital “pads” and flood of smartphones leads me to believe we are tipping. We are tipping into a new age where mobile connectivity to the web and web based applications are the standard, even for someone who had no previous interest in technology. (Remember the days your grandparents swore they would never give in to cell phones)

What I see on the horizon are a flood of new mobile technologies, some great, other sub par, as the companies try to secure their claim in the market. For those who get discouraged from buying the latest and greatest on the market to only be out done 2 weeks later, it’s gut check time.

The industry standards will also be changing, which AT&T actually already followed suit. What was once an unlimited data plan attached to a voice allowance will likely reverse. You will start seeing unlimited voice plans becoming the norm, with tiered data plans. Data is becoming the bread winner these days for the wireless companies and I expect they will capitalize on it.

It won’t be long until all those people who looked at us gadget freaks have the devices we use to come home with so excited to show-off. We won’t have to justify all the applications and features anymore. Instead, we will be teaching and showing everyone how to work their new device. Grandma will be updating her Facebook status from her new Droid, while she asks us how to upload a Youtube video of the grand kids playing outside.