Sneak money back into your wallet this month. By Rosa Heyman, REDBOOK.
1. Get value from gift cards
"If you find partially used or completely unused gift cards sitting in your wallet or desk drawer, it's time to sell them and get cash back for it instead of letting the balance expire," says consumer savings guru Andrea Woroch. GiftCardGranny.com will purchase 92 percent of the value of unused gift cards!
2. Clip coupons the high-tech way
The Coupon Sherpa Mobile Coupon App (free) uses GPS to give you digital coupons based on your location. "Just present the coupon on your phone to the cashier at check-out and you will receive instant savings," explains Woroch. "The app also offers grocery coupons that load directly from your phone to your loyalty card so you never have to waste time clipping or searching for coupons."
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3. Comparison shop
You want to get the best price, but who has time to run from store to store weighing the options? The RedLaser mobile app does all that hard work for you. "The barcode scanning app provides instant price comparisons on your smartphone so you know where to find the same goods for less," Woroch says. The Amazon Price Check app works similarly with a barcode-scanning feature to compare prices on Amazon, enabling you to make purchases directly from the app.
4. No-waste deals
Attention those with an arsenal of unused Groupon and Living Social deals: Scoutmob, a mobile app and daily e-mail, is great because you don't have to purchase ahead of time. "Buy the deal on your phone when and if you decide to go with the offer and present it for instant savings at checkout," explains Woroch.
5. Track your savings
With the free Savings Goal Tracker, you can chart your savings progress. Even better: "The spreadsheet helps you choose exactly how you want each deposit allocated," says Woroch.
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6. Set short-term and long-term goals
Whether it's a new house or a new handbag you're after, big ticket purchases require careful planning. "To save effectively, you need to create a budget, keep track of your expenses, have a target savings goal and work toward it," Woroch explains. LearnVest's My Money Center, built specifically for women, helps set budgets so that you can work towards short-term and long-term goals and keep spending in check.
7. Make it easy for yourself
Use mint.com, another online savings and money-management tool, which links all of your credit card and bank information into one place. Download the mint.com app to stay on top of your finances on-the-go.
8. The beauty of cash-back
Save yourself a trip to the bank - or worse, a $3 to $4 ATM withdrawal charge - by opting to get cash back the next time you're at the grocery or drugstore. It'll almost feel like you're being paid to shop!
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9. Skip the bookstore
Instead of spending a bundle on brand new hardcovers, visit the library. If you've switched over to reading on an easier-to-tote around e-reader, Kindle books can be loaned to others for 14 days, and the borrower doesn't need to own a Kindle. Just download the free reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices.
10. Get Organized
Always forgetting which online coupons you purchased? Manilla, another great free online money management tool, not only stores your banking info, but lets you keep track of purchases from deal sites like LivingSocial and Groupon. Check accounts from anywhere by downloading the free app.
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