3 Ways Your Phone Can Save You Time and Money at the Store

person shopping at the grocery store looking at the phone

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Do they even make phone calls anymore?!

key points

  • Few of us leave home without a phone, making them the ideal place to keep your shopping list.
  • Use retailers’ mobile apps to earn rewards and redeem digital coupons.
  • Barcode scanners allow you to easily compare purchases by scanning an item’s barcode in different apps to check prices at competing retailers.

In some ways, managing your personal finances hasn’t changed much in decades. The basics of balancing budgets, tracking expenses, and even using coupons are relevant today.

While most of the concepts and methods are similar, tools We have evolved to keep up with our fast-paced digital lifestyles. Perhaps the most important modern tool for managing your finances?

Your phone.

From mobile banking to budgeting apps, you can basically manage every aspect of your finances with your small pocket computer. Moreover, your smartphone is one of the best tools to save time and money while shopping. Here are some examples.

One of the most foolproof ways to stay within your budget, especially when shopping at the grocery store, is to shop according to a list. This will help you get everything you really need, while avoiding the temptation to buy things you don’t need.

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Or, at least, it to want Be perfect — if I could remember the goddamn list. Somehow, between home and store, that little piece of paper often seems to go up and disappear.

Solution? I put the list on my phone. Since I’m more likely to leave the house without shoes than without my phone, this single move saved me time and money (and no less for my sanity).

It doesn’t matter how you keep your list, as long as it works for you. Most smartphones offer some sort of pre-installed note app, reminder list, or to-do feature that you can use to create your shopping list.

2. Easy digital coupon clipping

In the old days, when you joined a store’s frequent shopper program, they would give you a physical card with a barcode (and sometimes a really ugly picture of you).

A boon for wallets everywhere, those days are gone. Now, it’s all about mobile apps.

Almost every major retailer (and not a few smaller ones) has their own apps, and the best ones are really helpful. Among the many features, most merchant apps include a simple way to add digital coupons to your account. Even better, many retailers include app-specific coupons you won’t find anywhere else.

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In addition to the retailer apps, there are also loads of third-party savings apps you can use. These cashback apps have coupons and discounts that you can stack with retailer coupons for extra savings.

Another great benefit offered by many retailers’ mobile apps are in-app barcode scanners. These handy tools let you use your phone’s camera as a barcode scanner so you can check the price of items while you shop.

While this is a great tool for finding prices on unlabeled items in the store, it probably has another better application: comparison shopping. Because barcodes are generally universal, you can scan an item with different mobile apps to find its price across various stores.

For example, while browsing Target, you may come across a sale on your dog’s favorite treats. But how do you know if it’s really a deal? A quick barcode scan with your Petco and Walmart apps lets you compare prices in minutes without leaving the pet aisle.

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Truly an all-in-one device!

Like many people from previous generations, I have had my share of lamenting the days when phones were just a calling thing. The rosy simplicity of pre-smartphone life seems strange (and quiet) in retrospect.

But in reality, I’m one of the many people who rely on my phone – well, for pretty much everything. And that everything includes many ways to save both time and money. Whether you want a harder-to-lose shopping list or do everything in retail apps, your phone can be one of your best tools to save money.

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