Best android apps for travel and shopping
A reader recently asked what the best android apps were to save time and money with your smart phone. This is the fourth in a series of articles to answer that question. The first article explained how to install and use widgets to make the information you want to see the most instantly available on your screen. The second article looked at the most used apps and communications apps. The third article was about entertainment apps. This weeks article is about saving money. Here are the best apps for shopping and travel
1. Google Keep is the app I use for shopping lists. Because my shopping list is on my phone I have it wherever I go and can add something to it whenever the thought occurs to me. This app allows me to check things off and make changes quickly. It’s not just a shopping list though, I also use it as a to do list, as described in my article about widgets. There are several other apps that do very similar things, such as Out of Milk, which my wife uses.
2. Carr Matey This is a GPS based app that helps you remember and find where you parked your car. I don’t like to pay for parking, so I often find myself parking further away from wherever I want to visit to save a few dollars. This app has a fun pirate theme, so whenever I park I tell this app to “drop anchor”. Then whenever I am ready to find my car again Car Matey provides a compass on my smart phone to find my way back to my ship. There is also a feature to create a timer and let you know when your parking meter is about to expire.
3. Google Maps is a GPS app that comes standard on all Android phones. It works just like a car navigator, helping you find your destination, or helping you find points of interest like hotels, restaurants, or gas stations along the way. I know there are fancier navigator apps you can use, like Waze, but I have never bothered trying those because Google Maps has always done everything I wanted it to do. If your going to be traveling somewhere that your cell phone’s data signal may be spotty, you will want download the part of the map you will be traveling through so it is available offline.
4. Gas Buddy Whenever I need gas, I check out gas buddy to see which gas station has the cheapest gas along the route I am traveling. You have to use a little bit of judgement though, remember that driving too far out of your way to save a few cents on gas really doesn’t save you any money.
5. Cartwheel by Target- I know have said before I don’t use coupons, but the Cartwheel app from Target takes all the trouble out of using coupons. You don’t have to clip coupons, you don’t have to organize coupons, and you don’t have to pay extra on name brands to use the coupons. Target shoppers will also want to get an extra 5% off my using the Target Red Card.
6. Craigslist Of course if you really want to save a bunch of money when shopping, you will want to shop on Craigslist. There are several Craigslist apps available and I don’t recommend any of them in particular because I haven’t found one I feel is significantly better than the others. Having a Craigslist app on your phone has two advantages over the plain old website. First, it allows you to set an alert so you will be notified whenever the item you are looking for goes up for sale. Secondly, many of these apps make it easy to list items for sale because you can take pictures right from your smart phone and upload them directly into your post.
7. Flashlight Sooner or later, everybody needs a flashlight. This app, and many more exactly like it, helps you turn the lights on your phone on to help you find your way.
8. Expensify I travel a lot for work, and this is the program my office uses for preparing expense reports. If your still preparing expense reports on paper you might want to check this out. It is easy to use, and also free.
9. Play store- This app comes standard on all Android phones. You will use this to find the apps you want on your phone, download movies and TV shows to watch, and buy products straight from Google. The movies and TV shows really aren’t that good of a deal, so I have never bought one from the Play store. The Google Chromecast is available on the play store and allows you to watch streaming internet video on our high definition television. I have recommended several times that everybody with a smart phone should be on the plans from Republic Wireless, but if you aren’t interested in saving that much money, the best deals for other carriers are probably the android phones you can buy straight from the play store such as the Motorola Moto G,Motorola Moto X, or Google Nexus 5. The best deal on a tablet is probably the Google Nexus 7 Tablet which is also available on the play store.
10. Shop savvy– When you find an item in a store and want to see if a better deal is available somewhere else you can use this app. Just scan the bar code and it will search for the product at other stores to see if there is a better price available. I have used this a few times and shown the store where I can find a better price. Instead of making me go to the other store, they just match it for me.
11.Amazon– This is my go to shopping website. Whenever I shop for a significant purchase I always double check to see if I can get a better deal on Amazon.
Photo by Senza Senso.