5 Money-Saving Mobile Apps
The Starks had it right all along: Winter IS coming. And it’s going to be a doozy. That means turning the heat up (like, all the way up), flipping the light switch earlier, taking longer showers… Sure, it sounds cozy, but it’ll cost you.
Luckily, we live in a time of magic and wonder (i.e. the 21st century), where technology rules and where you can use your smartphone to turn on the porch light from 100 miles away. As the weather turns chilly, download these 5 apps to keep your bills low and your spirits high!
Fact: an appliance that is turned off but plugged in could still be using energy! It’s called “Vampire Energy” and it’s driving your energy bill up the wazoo. Enter Meter Plug, a device that sits between your appliance and the outlet. Meter Plug measures the energy usage of your appliances, then sends that information to your smartphone, helping you determine which household items are costing you the most money. You can program Meter Plug to turn off the Vampire Energy when the appliance is turned off, saving serious dough on your energy bill. Leaving for a trip or just to work? Program Meter Plug to turn off when you’re away, and to turn on when you come home. Or program the device to power off when you’ve used a certain amount. For example, if you’re budgeting $.80/day for your space heater, Meter Plug will automatically turn off the heater when you’ve hit your max.
Nest isn’t the new kid on the block any more, but it seems to be the most popular one. The kid with the shiny new bike and the coolest parents and no curfew. You know… THAT kid. Nest, for those of you who don’t keep up with every gadget article on Mashable, is a “smart” thermostat. For the first few days you’re living with Nest, set it to your desired temperatures. After that, it learns your habits and adjusts automatically. Nest can sense when you leave the house, and turns itself off when you’re out for the day, even if you don’t install it near your door. It also adjusts the temperature settings when seasonal changes bring significant changes in the weather. With it’s high-tech, super-automated personalized-sensory capability, Nest is almost creepy… until you realize it’s saving up to 20% of your energy bill.
“You know what’s a sexy new industry? Light bulbs,” said no one ever. Good thing Light Bulb Finder doesn’t share the public’s apathy toward their bulbs, eh? Believe it or not, about a quarter of our energy bills come from lighting. Furthermore, incandescent bulbs that one Mr. Thomas Edison is credited with developing are super inefficient, converting something like 90% of the electricity they use into heat. The solution? Swap out your energy-wasting bulbs with ones that will do what they’re supposed to do (light your house) efficiently. Tell Light Bulb Finder what kind of bulb you’re replacing with a few taps on your screen, and they’ll give you a list of recommended alternatives, the savings you’ll see on your energy bill, and where to purchase the bulbs. Or, for the truly lazy (present!), buy the light bulbs directly through the app. Voilá!
Picture it: 6pm on Friday. You’re out with colleagues, celebrating your company’s latest accomplishment (making to the weekend). You know you should go home… after all, there have been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood recently, and your dark, empty apartment is a tempting invitation for prowling burglars. But what’s that in your pocket? It’s your phone! And what’s on your phone? Your WeMo mobile app, which allows you to turn the lights in your house on and off with the tap of your finger. Gone are the days of leaving your porch light on for the duration of your weekend trip so that passersby think someone is home. With WeMo, you can control your lights remotely using your smartphone. You can do other fancy things, as well: program your lights to turn on at sunset, turn off the fan you accidentally left running when you ran out the door, and pre-set the mood lights for your romantic date (garlic fries? really?).
We’ve all been there: we see and ignore a coupon for $2 off our favorite Campbell’s soup, we promptly forget about the “free drink with purchase of sandwich” coupon, and we toss the coupons from Walgreens for things we ACTUALLY use in the trash, ahem, recycling bin with the rest of our receipts. The truth is, those discounts could save us a couple hundred bucks… if we ever remembered to use them. What if there was a way to save all our coupons with just a snap of our camera phone? Thanks to SnipSnap, now there is. Take a photo of your coupons, and redeem them in the store using the barcode or confirmation code. Or search SnipSnap’s database of coupons and save even more dollar bills! The savings will continue, thanks to SnipSnap’s super smart geolocator: when you enter a store for which you’ve saved a coupon, SnipSnap will alert you. You’ll be featured on TLC’s Extreme Couponing before you know it!
We live in the age of technology, my friends. With so many free apps out there designed to save you money, you’d be straight silly not to see if you can keep your bills down this winter season. For more tips on living with a budget, check out these five ways to have fun for cheap!
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