Get smart: the smartphone apps that can save you money

From WhatsApp to Loylap, Revolut to RevApp, these free apps are worth downloading


Our smartphones have never been smarter, and there are now apps for managing almost every aspect of our lives, including all sorts of free apps that should – if used correctly – save you money.

This might help you access codes which lead to discounts on multiple websites, shops and restaurants. Its geo-location element lets you find places offering deals near where you are at any given moment. Last week, we found deals close to the Irish Times building in Dublin in Lifestyle Sports, Dominos, Kiddie Kuts, Halpenny Golf, Marks & Spencer and a whole lot more.

If you haven’t downloaded this app yet, you probably need to get on the case. You will never pay to send a text message or a pic or a video again.

This is both a hideously complex and very simple app which compares prices – both online and in-store – on thousands of items across dozens of categories. It also allows you to scan a product’s barcode and it will point you to the best value – and, critically, tell you if the product you are actually holding in your hands can be found cheaper elsewhere. You can set up alerts for when the price of whatever it is you are in the market for falls to below a certain level.

Here we go
We assumed this was an app devoted to the Irish soccer team and were mildly disappointed to discover it was just a travel app. Then we looked more closely and realised it was a very natty one which can be used at home or abroad. When you are away, you can download maps of the cities you’re going to and use its offline mode to help you get where you want to go – saving you money and allowing you to access the maps in internet blackspots. At home, you can use it to plot your route from A to B, and it uses real-time traffic info to tell you if you’d be better off driving, cycling, taking the bus, walking or taking a cab.

Toyota Face it Down
We love this. It won’t save you a fortune, but it might save your life or the life of other people by discouraging you from talking, texting or tweeting on your phone while driving. The idea is brilliantly simple. You download the app. And then, before you start driving, you fire the app up and earn a point for every kilometre you drive without picking up your phone. Pick up the phone and you lose all your points for the journey you are on. Get enough points and you can buy yourself a cup of coffee in a Topaz garage.

We have downloaded but not actually tested this app, which we are told will identify the location of speeding cameras and the like – which should encourage people to slow down, thereby saving them money and possibly saving lives too.

This is an excellent and easy-to-use app from the people at Revenue that makes paying your taxes easy – or at least slightly less painful. There is a receipts tracker to help when filing tax returns or making claims for rebates. The app also allows PAYE taxpayers access balancing statements and apply for tax rebates on health and tuition expenses. The self-employed and people with rental income have access to the Revenue’s online service and there are calculators and tools to help you calculate PAYE, Property Tax and VRT.

Not one to brag, but Pricewatch found an amazing sofa for sale using this app while sitting in a restaurant waiting for a menu to be delivered not long ago. Three hours later the sofa was in our livingroom. What’s not to love about that?

It is not really going to save you money, although it might save you from being clamped, which – now that we think of it – will surely save you money. It could do with being nationwide – its usefulness is currently confined to Dublin and areas around the capital. It allows drivers pay for and top up parking from their phones instead of having to fumble for change. And the best thing about it is it allows you pay for parking remotely, so if you find yourself unexpectedly delayed you are not going to find yourself unfortunately clamped.

If you are anything like Pricewatch, you have signed up for dozens of loyalty schemes over the past 20 years and lost more cards than you care to remember. Or maybe you take the little coffee cards off the friendly baristas that promise you a freebie if you get 10 stamps and then don’t go back to the coffee shop until the card has decomposed in your wallet. Fret no more. We downloaded this online version of the loyalty card and found there were more than 20 locations near where we work that have signed up to the system.

When we asked on Twitter for money-saving apps, there was a lot of love for this money-sending app. It will help you transfer money abroad at rates which are significantly less than what the banks have been charging us for years.

We are not entirely sure we are there yet, but this app is at the vanguard of disruptive technologies aimed at taking on the banks. And for that we salute them. You can use its card without fees, track expenses, exchange currencies at very good rates. It claims users can open a current account in 60 seconds – although it took us a bit longer. Users can exchange currencies at the interbank exchange rate, transfer to any bank in the world, and spend fee-free in 120 currencies with a contactless MasterCard. Irish users (and there are more than 40,000 already, apparently) will soon to be able to open a personal IBAN account and have their salary paid directly into their Revolut account. We understand if you feel a bit weird about doing that.

The jury is still out on whether the Nest app we have on our phone is saving us money or costing us money. You need to buy hardware (which costs from around €140) and, once you do, you will be able to control your home heating. It also doubles as a smoke and carbon monoxide detector and there are add-ons that you allow you to monitor your home with cameras. It allows you turn on and off your heating remotely, which means you will never have to heat your home when you are not there or come home to a cold house. It also tells you each month how your energy usage stacks up – which should, in theory, lead to savings.

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