12 Free Money-Saving Shopping Apps

Americans spent $1,178 each on phone services last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if you have a smartphone, you could be using it to save money.

“One of the best tools for smart shopping is a smart phone,” as Consumer Reports recently put it. “Download certain apps and you can find the lowest prices on many items, download coupons, and even find a garage sale in your neighborhood.”

The magazine reviewed money-saving apps for its December issue and found the following 12 – all of which are free – worth checking out. If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t feel left out. Eight of these apps are spin-offs of money-savings websites available to anyone with an Internet connection…

Coupon and deals apps

Cellfire

  • Compatible with: Android; BlackBerry; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch; Windows Phone
  • Android Market rating: 3.5
  • BlackBerry App World rating: 1.5
  • iTunes App Store rating: 2
  • Windows Phone Marketplace rating: 1.5
  • Consumer Reports review: “Loads coupons from grocery stores and other retailers onto your loyalty cards. You’re sent a mobile reminder that you have a coupon when you enter the store that provided it.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit Cellfire.com to take advantage of similar features.

Foursquare

  • Compatible with: Android; BlackBerry; HP Pre3, HP TouchPad, HP Veer; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch; Nokia Ovi; Palm Pixi, Palm Pre, Palm Pre2; Windows Phone
  • Android Market rating: 4
  • BlackBerry App World rating: 2.5
  • HP rating: 4
  • iTunes App Store rating: 4
  • Nokia Store rating: 4
  • Windows Phone Marketplace rating: 4
  • Consumer Reports review: “By tracking your location, it alerts you to deals at nearby stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and other places. It also hooks you up with daily deals from Groupon and other social-shopping sites.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit Foursquare.com to take advantage of the same features – although Foursquare isn’t as useful on the computer only.

Grocery iQ (by Coupons.com)

  • Compatible with: Android; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • Android Market rating: 4
  • iTunes App Store rating: 3.5
  • Consumer Reports review: “Tracks down coupons in real time. When you create a shopping list, the app highlights items that have online coupons. Works on Android and iPhone.”

Pushpins

  • Compatible with: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • iTunes App Store rating: 4.5
  • Consumer Reports review: “Lets you scan grocery items in more than 2,000 stores nationwide and notifies you of up-to-date coupon savings. The deals you choose are sent to your loyalty card, and the savings are deducted at the register.”

The Coupons App

  • Compatible with: Android; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • Android Market rating: 4.5
  • iTunes App Store rating: 4.5
  • Consumer Reports review: “Pinpoints your location, then finds coupons for nearby retailers and restaurants. You redeem coupons by showing them on your phone when you check out.”

Where

  • Compatible with: Android; BlackBerry iPad, iPhone, iPod touch; Windows Phone
  • Android Market rating: 4.5
  • BlackBerry App World rating: 4
  • iTunes App Store rating: 4.5
  • Windows Phone Marketplace rating: 3
  • Consumer Reports review: “Once you’ve followed a few steps to tag favorite retailers, it tells you every time they post a coupon.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit Where.com to take advantage of similar features.

Price-comparison apps

Grocery Smarts

  • Compatible with: Android; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • Android Market rating: 4.5
  • iTunes App Store rating: 5
  • Consumer Reports review: “Tracks items and prices in the latest store circulars from CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, then cross-references all manufacturers’ coupons with the circulars and shows you the bottom line for each item.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit GrocerySmarts.com to take advantage of similar features.

PriceGrabber

  • Compatible with: Android; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • Android Market rating: 3.5
  • iTunes App Store rating: N/A
  • Consumer Reports review: “Lets you know who’s selling whatever you’re looking for at the best price, including tax and shipping fees. Scan the item’s bar code or type in the product name.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit PriceGrabber.com to take advantage of similar features. Last year, Consumer Reports rated the website the best price-comparison search engine.

SnapTell

  • Compatible with: Android; iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • Android Market rating: 4.5
  • iTunes App Store rating: 3
  • Consumer Reports review: “Uses bar code, visual search (take a photo of the product’s cover), or title to find books, CDs, DVDs, and video games at the best prices online and at nearby walk-in stores.”

Travel apps

FareCompare

  • Compatible with: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • iTunes App Store rating: N/A
  • Consumer Reports review: “Sends real-time airline-ticket price-drop alerts on itineraries you specify.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit FareCompare.com to take advantage of similar features.

Kayak

Yardsale apps

Garage Sales Tracker

  • Compatible with: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
  • iTunes App Store rating: N/A
  • Consumer Reports review: “Finds garage sales, flea markets, and consignment shops in your area.”
  • If you don’t have a smartphone: Visit GarageSalesTracker.com to take advantage of similar features.

For more ways to save money with your phone, check out 5 Smartphone Apps That Can Earn You Money and How to Get All Your iPhone Apps for Free.

Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page, writes “Today’s Deals” posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and covers consumer and retail issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at karla@moneytalksnews.com.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,257 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.