Mobile apps that can help you save on fuel, groceries and be better organised

These mobile apps might help you save some money.

These mobile apps might help you save some money. Photo: Getty

Almost everyone has a mobile phone, but far fewer people are making use of the plethora of apps that can help you be a savvy consumer and save money.

It can be hard to untangle the mess of ads on the app stores of both Google and Apple to work out whether anything on there is actually useful at all.

So with that in mind, what are a few of the best apps you can download for your budget?

Pay less for petrol

Petrol is one of the largest expenses motorists face, and those living on the east coast of Australia typically suffer massive swings in bowser prices to highs well in excess of $2 a litre.

Because the market is so volatile, it can be difficult for motorists to understand where the best deal is at any given time, leading many to just fill up at their local service station even if it’s expensive.

Luckily, one of the best apps you can have on your phone is a fuel comparison service that will map out how much petrol costs in your surrounding area so you can make good choices.

There are plenty of options too, some are run by governments – including New South Wales’ FuelCheck app – while others are run by private companies, including Fueltrac and Fuel Map Australia.

Download a few and compare how each performs in your area.

Also, keep in mind that you can look up petrol prices in far-flung destinations before you begin a road trip.

Grab the best grocery deals

A few of the most underrated apps for saving money are those of Australia’s major grocery chains Coles and Woolworths.

It may sound strange, but the supermarkets routinely update digital catalogues on their apps that have all the latest prices and discounts each week.

That means your phone can become a hub for myriad information about which chain has the best price for the groceries you want, helping you shop between both brands.

Also check out third-party app WiseList, which will let you compare products and prices at Coles and Woolworths and make a decision about what might offer the best value.

Avoid out of sight, out of mind

This is an app you likely already have on your phone but might not be using all that often.

The calendar or reminder app can be a good way to avoid overspending, especially these days as budgets drown in a flurry of online subscription services set to auto renew.

If you’ve signed up for a free trial or simply want to know when you’re being re-billed for everything from Netflix to utility bills, stick it in the app and set a push notification reminder that will let you know when you’re about to be direct debited.

That way you can cancel or pause a subscription if you’re not using it and therefore aren’t getting any value.

Cash back?

Shoppers looking to make their online spending go a bit further might want to check out some of the cash back programs floating around app stores such as ShopBack and Cashrewards.

These apps offer you extra rewards, including discounts and (you guessed it) cash back when you shop online with approved retailers, which can potentially be a good deal if you’re already shopping with those chains.

Keep in mind though that by directing you to approved retailers these apps could be limiting your ability to shop around and find cheaper prices for the same products at other retailers.

That could limit, or even eliminate the value of any rewards you might receive through the app, so always make sure to research what the best deal is for the product you want before buying.

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