Want to save money? There's an app for that — in fact, many.
Whether you're looking for budgeting guidance, shopping deals or ways to make cash by selling unwanted stuff, several free apps could add a little extra to your wallet. And the timing is spot-on, given that so many people are facing a tough economic situation.
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
Even better, using most of these apps costs nothing, whether you grab them from Apple's App Store, for iPhone or iPad, or Google Play, for Android smartphones and tablets. And many can synchronize with a web version for Macs and Windows PCs.
Shopping apps aplenty
Rakuten. Known as Ebates until last year, Rakuten (and apps like it) pays members up to 40 percent cash back every time they shop online through participating retailers. And it includes outlets you're likely patronizing anyway, such as Amazon, eBay, Kohl's, Macy's and Walmart.
Here's how it works: Sign up for a free account and start shopping at the Rakuten app or site in order to get the cash back. Once you buy an item, you'll start earning cash that can be sent to you via check or deposited into a PayPal account quarterly if your total proceeds are more than $5. The percentage of cash back varies by retailer.
Realize that the price you pay for the cash back is having your browsing and purchases tracked, but that's something that already happens now on each retailer's website as well as through your credit card company. Rakuten and similar apps also combine your information with that of other users, to spot trends and analyze consumer behavior.
Do use a credit card that rewards you with cash back or other benefits when shopping online. Yes, it's OK to double-dip.
Flipp. For when you shop at stores in person, this app delivers weekly newspaper circulars to your phone or tablet and lets you store coupons and loyalty cards on the app that you scan at the cash register. Browse by store or search by keyword to see deals at clothing chains, electronics stores, groceries, home-decor outlets, pet food stores, pharmacies and sporting goods retailers.