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25 Free Apps to Help You Save Money

Manage your finances, catch a good deal, compare prices or get cash back


spinner image a smiling woman looks at her smartphone next to floating app logos over a gray field

Almost everyone wants to shave a few bucks off what they spend whenever possible, regardless of age or income.

Smartphone owners have the tools to put themselves ahead of the game with apps — software applications — available to download for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Who wants to pay full freight if you don’t have to? Going beyond an older model flip phone allows you to hunt in the palm of your hand for myriad ways to save:

  • Bargains on cars, groceries, medications, travel fares, even a night out attract anyone who loves to shop.
  • Coupons captivate the clippers who will investigate available discounts before they hit a local or virtual checkout.
  • Cashback incentives promise a delayed reward that some consider found money when the paper check is delivered or a digital deposit lands in your account.
  • Even budgeters — and those who aspire to keep their household budget under control — want to comparison shop to see whether they can afford to splurge on a major purchase.
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The criteria: You’ll see applications that coworkers, family and friends use or that reviewers and people who populate the Apple App and Google Play stores rate highly. The apps are available on both Android and iPhone/iPad platforms with a few exceptions noted below.

Are apps really free? Free is a relative term. This list has apps where you don’t have to spend a dime to use core capabilities. But you will see some “freemium” apps because the basic features you get gratis are a good value on their own.

In freemium apps, a paid tier promises advanced or extra features, often via an ongoing subscription, sometimes a one-time purchase. Depending on the features you’re looking for, paying may be worth the cost.

Be aware: Listings in both the Apple and Google Play stores for software with a premium tier are designated as having in-app purchases. If you decide to remain in the free zone, you may be barraged with upgrade requests.

The cost of free often means tolerating intrusive advertising and having a willingness to give up some privacy. Companies want to learn more about your online spending habits, so they and their business partners can sell you stuff.

The list below of 25 free money-saving smartphone apps and others you also might like fills the bill for all the ways you like to save

Entertainment

spinner image from left to right free entertainment apps freevee gametime libby and todaytix
AMZN Mobile LLC / Gametime United Inc. / OverDrive, Inc. / TodayTix, LLC

1. Amazon Freevee

You may have cut the cord on cable TV to stream movies and shows and save some loot. But if you’re still paying handsomely to watch the likes of Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Hulu, Max, Netflix and other streaming services, you have options.

Freevee, formerly IMDb TV, is an ad-supported service from Amazon that lets you watch iconic shows such as All in the FamilyBewitched and The Twilight Zone as well as the current sleeper hit Jury Duty. You’ll find movies and select live 24/7 TV content, including news, weather and other reruns.

You also might like: Pluto TVTubi and 10 other apps to access free TV. 

2. Gametime

Prices for concerts, plays and sports competitions sometimes drop the closer you get to show time. Ticket sellers would rather see a seat filled for a bargain-basement price than be left with no money at all.

That’s the concept behind Gametime, which lets you buy tickets up to 90 minutes after the start of a match or performance. If you find a lower price than what you find on the app, the company claims it will give you 110 percent of the difference.

3. Libby

Many avid readers save money by checking books out of the public library instead of buying. Libby enables you to borrow audiobooks and e-books on your smartphone with your free local library card. If you don’t have a card, you may be able to request one through the app.

Libby’s catalog numbers more than 273,000 titles, and 90 percent of public libraries in North America make at least part of their digital collection available to OverDrive, the app’s developer. You can send borrowed e-books to an Amazon Kindle e-reader, and in the case of audiobooks, listen in the car via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth.

4. TodayTix

Broadway prices can leave a gaping hole in your wallet. TodayTix often provides theater mavens with deep discounts, sometimes via exclusive lotteries for in-demand shows or first-come, first-served, day-of “rush tickets.”

Instead of waiting in line at a box office, you’re waiting remotely. Ticket offerings aren’t limited to the Great White Way. Ducats are available for shows in Chicago; London; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; and other global stages.

“The discounts are significant and make Broadway accessible when you don’t want to spend $300 on a seat,” says Stephanie Forrest of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a theater patron who turns to the app each time she visits New York.

Food and dining

spinner image from left to right free food apps flashfood mealime and too good to go
Flashfood Inc / Mealime Meal Plans Inc / Too Good To Go

5. Flashfood

Flashfood promises sweet deals of up to 50 percent off on perishable items you pick up at the grocery store before the food might go bad. Once choosing a local grocer through the app — some 1,000 stores are available, the company says — you can scroll to see the food with marked-down prices, original prices and “best by” dates.

Depending on the items, those dates can be for the same day or several days out. You pay directly through the app, but you have to head over to the store to pick up your order, usually stopping at customer service first.

6. Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes

How often do you find yourself throwing out food you didn’t cook or eat before it spoiled? Mealime helps you plan meals with recipes the company says are crafted to simplify preparation and reduce food waste.

The app tells you which ingredients you’ll need, helping you curb impulse purchases when you’re hungry. You can pick them up in store or online from the likes of Albertsons, Instacart, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Walmart and other integrated grocers. A $2.99 a month Pro version adds extra recipes and benefits.

You also might like: Your local grocery app, including digital coupons, some targeted to your preferences.

7. Too Good To Go

Restaurants, cafes and grocers often throw out food at the end of a day. The folks behind Too Good To Go say 40 percent of all edible food in the U.S. is wasted each year.

Through the app, you can find stores and restaurants that place surplus food in “Surprise Bags” you buy  for less than the food otherwise would cost. You can list dietary requirements such as vegan or vegetarian when you set up the app. If you have food allergies, alert the restaurant or store. If you receive food that’s gone bad or have a safety concern, you can initiate a complaint through the app.

Finance

spinner image from left to right free apps for your finances intuit mint nerdwallet and wallethub
Mint.com / NerdWallet / WalletHub

8. Intuit’s Mint

The free tier of Intuit’s Mint lets you track your spending by category, create a custom budget, produce personalized financial insights and see trends in your net worth. PCMag.com awarded Mint an Editor’s Choice designation, “thanks to its simplicity, usability, and smart financial tools.” 

You’ll have to pay 99 cents a month to eliminate ads or spring for the $4.99 a month premium version to get features that include daily trend updates, projected monthly spending and help with managing subscriptions.

You also might like: Rocket Money, which organizes your subscriptions in a list of recurring bills so you can assess them.

9. NerdWallet

This well-received personal-finance tracking app, selected as an Editor’s Choice in Google Play, helps you manage your cash flow, track your expenses and monitor your net worth. It’s also a resource that can help you choose and compare auto loans, credit cards, mortgage rates and personal loans.

10. WalletHub

Folks with excellent credit can get more favorable rates on credit cards, auto loans, car insurance and mortgages. WalletHub provides tips to help you improve your credit score.

You can examine a daily credit score. WalletHub says it keeps an around-the-clock watch on your TransUnion credit report and will alert you to any important change. Of course, for WalletHub to monitor your credit, you must be comfortable sharing your birth date and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

You also might like: Intuit Credit Karma.

Shopping

spinner image free shopping apps from left to right top row cargurus fetch flipp freebie alerts and goodrx from left to right bottom row groupon k c l rakuten and shopsavvy
CarGurus / Fetch Rewards / Flipp Corporation / RoMa LLC / GoodRx / Groupon, Inc. / Krazy Coupon Lady LLC / Rakuten Ebates / ShopSavvy, Inc.

11. CarGurus

If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, the CarGurus buyer-seller marketplace has new or used vehicles. The company says it has more than 5 million listings in the U.S. Entering your ZIP code allows you to search by make, model, body style or keyword.

CarGurus rates each offer from great deal to overpriced. It will surface cars that have had recent price drops. The app also allows you to prequalify for financing.

You also might like: Autotrader.

12. Fetch Rewards

Turn paper receipts into points for free gift cards , sweepstakes entries and charitable donations. When you use the app to scan a receipt from a physical store or e-receipt from more than 250 online retailers , you’ll receive 25 points, plus 1 percent more in points if you bought an item from a participating brand.

The company says 1,000 Fetch points equal roughly $1. You have two weeks to submit receipts, but can’t turn in more than 35 in seven days. Fetch wants to see your shopping habits and won’t award points for airline, concert or movie tickets; medical and utility bills; and takeout receipts without a restaurant name.

13. Flipp: Discount Shopping Deals

Many people don’t clip paper coupons or pore through advertising circulars and flyers like they once did. While you still may receive paper ads and coupons through the mail, Flipp delivers the digital equivalent: circulars from local grocers, pharmacies and more than 2,000 stores across the country.

If you spot a sale price you like, you can clip the deal to your Flipp shopping list through the app and in some cases to the store’s loyalty card. Flipp will also match digital coupons to in-store offers so you can save more.

14. Freebie Alerts

If you like curb alerts from NextDoor or scour Facebook Marketplace for free stuff, Freebie Alerts gathers your neighbors’ posts from Craigslist, Letgo, Nextdoor, OfferUp and TrashNothing. Though the company doesn’t list Facebook Marketplace, users say you’ll see alerts for freebies from there, too.

Type in your ZIP code and listings start to flow immediately, especially on a weekend in suburbia. The app approximates the distance you will travel to pick up an item. Click to make a claim and contact the person. If the number of alerts is overwhelming, add keywords to receive notifications only for items you’re interested in. Post your own giveaways, too.

15. GoodRx: Prescription Saver

GoodRx can shave 70 percent off some prescription drug prices , the company says. You can use the coupons instead of insurance or Medicare Part D but not in combination. Pet meds also have deals. The app may help you find a pharmacy with the best discounts.

“It’s a legitimate way to get a much better price on meds that otherwise aren’t covered that well,” says Stephen Schloss, M.D., a urologist at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. “I’ve used it personally a couple of times and [asked], ‘Wow, why does it cost so much less because I have this card?’ ’’ 

You also might like: RxSaver Prescription DiscountsSingleCare.

16. Groupon

Spa treatments, beauty and fashion items, nightlife, travel — Groupon is all about helping you score promo codes and local deals for these and other aspirations. Savings are up to 70 percent off, Groupon says, though you’ll want to compare elsewhere to make sure the offer is as good as it appears. Merchants pay fees to Groupon when consumers take advantage of a deal.

17. KCL: Coupons, Deals & Savings

The Krazy Coupon Lady clues you in on deals and rebates from your favorite retailers and brands. The app includes coupons, shopping tips and tutorials for people new to couponing, plus the company says it will coach you on finding deals on other money-saving apps, including Groupon and RetailMeNot. Deal alerts inform you of freebies, including samples and stuff for your birthday.

You also might like: RetailMeNot.

18. Rakuten

You may already shop at Kohl’s, Macy’s, Michaels, Nike, Nordstrom, Target, Walmart and other well-known retailers. Rakuten, Japanese for “optimism,” dishes out cashback rewards of 1 percent to 10 percent and sometimes more when you shop at 3,500 stores.

Stores pay Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates. Then it shares a portion with consumers. Be aware: Not every product you buy results in cash back. Shop in person to earn rewards by linking an American Express, Mastercard or Visa. Rewards are paid every three months via check or to a PayPal account.

You also might like: DoshIbottaUpside.

19. ShopSavvy

When you scan a product’s barcode or QR code, this app helps you compare local and online retail prices. Add products you’re keen on to a watch list to be notified of price drops.

You also can peek at graphs that show how prices for a product you’re interested in may have changed over time. But you’ll have to spring for the Pro version to eliminate ads and access other features. The cost of Pro varies by smartphone platform: $19.99 a year, $1.99 a month on Android; $29.99 a year, $2.99 a month on iOS.

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Travel

spinner image free travel apps top row from left to right gasbuddy kayak hoteltonight and hotwire bottom row from left to right the points guy and pruvo
GasBuddy Organization Inc / KAYAK / Hotel Tonight Inc / Hotwire, Inc. / The Points Guy / Pruvo NET Ltd.

20. GasBuddy

People are always looking to save a few dollars at the pump. GasBuddy can help you locate the cheapest gas in and near your neighborhood or wherever road trips take you. The app also can deliver notifications to let you know if fuel prices are rising. With a free GasBuddy card, you can save up to 25 cents a gallon at select stations.

You also might like: Navigation apps Google Maps for Apple devices and Android phones and tablets plus Waze, where you’ll find fuel prices when you search for gas or gas stations.

21. HotelTonight

Though you can book a room up to 100 days in advance and stay more than one night, HotelTonight offers access to last-minute bookings. You can filter hotel searches for top deals, lowest price or most premium. Keep in mind that most rooms can’t be canceled, so forget about getting a refund.

You also might like: Booking.comHotels.comTrivago.

22. Hotwire

You sometimes can save a bundle on a luxury hotel — if you’re willing to book a room you can’t cancel without knowing the property’s name or address. After you book, the information is revealed.

Why? Hotels worry about diminishing their reputations by advertising low prices when they have rooms they can’t fill. So sometimes, they turn to Hotwire. Consumers don’t go in completely blind. Hotwire tells you the neighborhood, nearby landmarks, consumer ratings and star ratings. You also can book flights and cars through the app, but you’ll know the business you’re booking with.

You also might like: Priceline.

23. Kayak

Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites simultaneously to help you find the cheapest flights and hotel rooms. The company says it will even show you what it calls “hacker fares,” two one-way tickets on the same or different airlines for a total cost cheaper than a round-trip ticket.

Kayak’s app also has an augmented reality measurement feature that will help you determine whether your carry-on bag complies with airline policies.

You also might like: ExpediaHopperSkyscannerTravelocityTravelzoo.

24. The Points Guy

For those who earn frequent flyer or credit card points, keeping track of them can be a hassle, especially if you belong to numerous loyalty programs. The Points Guy can help with that.

The app supports more than 70 loyalty programs and reminds you how many points you need to take your dream vacation. It also can dispatch alerts when miles in your account are about to expire. For now, the app is iPhone/iPad only though an Android version is in the works.

25. Pruvo

Pruvo is out to prove that you can save money on a hotel room after you book it. Here’s how: Book a hotel with a free cancellation policy and forward your booking to Pruvo. The app will monitor the price to see if it drops before the date of your stay. You’ll be notified if it does.

You then can rebook the room through Pruvo at that reduced rate. Pruvo cautions consumers not to cancel the original reservation until receiving confirmation on the new one.

Bonus: From AARP

AARP Now

Don’t rely on memory alone to discover nearby AARP member discounts. The list of benefits, your digital membership card and the ability to renew your membership are always in your pocket or purse with the AARP Now app.

Members and nonmembers alike can receive alerts to read news and features geared toward 50-plus readers. Bookmark stories for later or to share with friends. Sign up for AARP Rewards to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards, discounts on gift cards and other deals. Sync your fitness tracker to earn even more points.

You also might like: AARP PublicationsAARP SafeTripAARP Staying Sharp.

MAIN PHOTO CREDIT: maroke/Getty / AMZN Mobile LLC / Gametime United Inc. / OverDrive, Inc. / TodayTix, LLC / Flashfood Inc / Too Good To Go / Mealime Meal Plans Inc / Mint.com / NerdWallet / RoMa LLC  / WalletHub / ShopSavvy, Inc. / CarGurus / Fetch Rewards / Flipp Corporation / GoodRx / Groupon, Inc. / Krazy Coupon Lady LLC / Rakuten Ebates / GasBuddy Organization Inc / KAYAK / Hotel Tonight Inc / Hotwire, Inc. / The Points Guy / Pruvo NET Ltd. / Nenov/Getty / kundoy/Getty

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