Software and Websites Frugal People Should Know

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It’s good to be frugal, and being frugal is easier when you have the right tools at your disposal. There are a few bits of software, websites, and general tech tools that frugal people should know about if they want to take their money-saving efforts as far as possible for the least amount of effort.

Spotify

spotifySpotify is a music streaming service. There are various account plans available, but prices start at free. There is a huge catalogue of music available, which includes most big hits past and present as well as a range of more obscure, specialist, niche artists. Unless you have a paid account, adverts will be played every few minutes which is how the service is funded, but they are not intrusive. A few competitors such as Deezer can also offer a good experience, but Spotify is definitely the market leader. This essentially translates into free music. Spotify and most competitors also offer mobile apps for portability but these can be tough on your data plan and generally have restrictions. For example, the Spotify app allows unlimited free streaming, but only in shuffle mode. In other words, you can choose an artist or album but not which specific track to play or the order they play in.

Google Shopping Search

Google Shopping Search, also sometimes known by the catchy name of Froogle, is sort of like a price comparison for physical products. When shopping online, you can type in the name of the product you are looking for and Froogle will search a number of sites, including the likes of eBay, for the best prices. It’s not perfect and it shouldn’t be taken as gospel that the things it finds are the very, very best deals going, but it is still well worth checking if you are shopping around for a bargain on a specific product.

mySupermarket

The mySupermarket website is sort of like Google Shopping Search but for actual, physical shops. It is quite comprehensive, covering a fairly complete range of high street retailers and a huge variety of everyday items. You might not think your weekly shop really needs a price comparison site, but the website makes it easy enough that it can be well worth putting in your shopping list and seeing which store comes out as offering the best deal. It mostly focuses on the kind of things you would put in your trolley week after week, but does also cover a respectable range of other products such as electronics, books, and entertainment.


How Your Mobile Could Save you Money

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smartphonesIt’s not that long ago that mobile phones made texts, received calls, played basic games and browsed the internet at the speed of a heavily-laden snail. Then the first smartphones hit the market and everything changed. Now, many of us have phones that are really complete miniature, portable computers. However, a lot of people don’t realise quite how many ways there are to save money with their phones.

Turn it Into a Sat Nav

If you’re in need of a sat nav, you could just use your phone. Perhaps you’ve tried the in-built navigation app and found it pretty rubbish, but that’s not your only option. There are several excellent free and paid-for sat nav apps available in app stores. This includes apps from some of the major sat nav brands such as TomTom which, though they cost money, are much cheaper than buying an actual sat nav from that brand. With the right app, there is little or nothing your smart phone can’t do that a sat nav can. You will need to buy some sort of holder or cradle for your phone and ideally an in-car charger (sat nav functionality can be a big drain on the battery), but this will only set you back a few pounds.

Showrooming

Most people have been in this situation at one point or another: you’re in a shop looking at something you want and the price seems good. You think you could still probably get it cheaper online, but you’re not completely sure and you’re worried about missing out. Instead of just heading to the checkouts and hoping for the best, you should take out your phone and indulge in an increasingly popular practice called “showrooming.” This is as simple as using your phone’s internet browser to check prices online and see if you really are getting a good deal. If you don’t do this because you’re simply shy about whipping out your phone in a shop in case staff guess what you are up to (naturally, shops aren’t keen on this practice), then just leave for a wander around some other shops and come back if you do decide to buy.

Special Offers

It’s not uncommon for companies to offer incentives such as vouchers or discounts in order to get people to download their latest app. Assuming the app is free, or worth less than the incentive on offer, then this is definitely something to keep an eye out for. Unless the app is a genuinely useful one (often it is just an easy shopping utility for the company offering the incentive), there is no reason to keep it cluttering up your phone when you’re done. But when it would probably take a couple of minutes to install it and claim your reward, neither is there any reason not to get that free item or a voucher for 10% off your next purchase.