When you’re on a budget, it can seem like the whole world is out to get you. Trying to tempt you into spending money. But there is one device you can use to your advantage. In this article, you will learn how to use your smartphone to stay on a budget.
Not that it can stop you from making impulse purchases, but it can enable you to use a lot of tools that can save you money, help you refrain from shopping, and help you keep track of and stay on top of your spending.
Whether it’s coupons, tracking your spending, or making it easy to compare prices, your smartphone can be your greatest ally when it comes to budgeting.
Banking apps & budgeting apps
Perhaps the most obvious way you can use your smartphone to stay on a budget is, via banking apps and budgeting apps. Most budgeting strategies also have apps these days, and they’ll help you save money by reminding you just how much you’re spending and what your limits are.
YNAB (You Need A Budget), Mint, or PocketGuard are just some of the most popular apps that can help keep you on track. Most of these allow you to track expenses in real time, show you how much of your budget is going to each category, and let you set limits.
A budgeting app is like having your conscience yell at you when you’re making a purchase you shouldn’t be. After a few weeks of constantly checking your spending on your phone, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to rein it in.
Coupons & deals
The best thing about smartphones? They enable you to look up any information on the spot – including to check for coupons and deals. Nowadays, most stores have their own apps where they send you exclusive coupons to be used in store. It’s free, and you don’t have to do anything to get them. Just show up at the register, scan your coupon or show it to the cashier, and boom – you’ve got a discount.
Alternatively, you can always check online for coupons for that particular store. Especially if you don’t want to deal with clipping paper coupons from the paper, this is an excellent alternative.
Plus, it enables you to shop directly on your phone and use special apps and browser extensions that automatically scour the internet for special coupons, discounts, and promo codes and apply them to your basket. That ensures that you’re getting the best deal possible without putting in all the work. So using an app is a good way to use your smartphone to stay on a budget
At first glance, it may seem like online shopping would be more expensive than shopping in physical stores, because you have the added shipping cost, right? But that’s actually false. Online shopping is more often than not cheaper, because retailers offer free shipping and they have no overhead, meaning they are able to offer better deals.
Between that and the fact that you can easily browse around different shops with just a few clicks, along with the multitude of coupons and discounts you can take advantage of, there’s just no way online shopping isn’t more budget-friendly than physical retail. Free shipping, free returns, and the ability to browse stuff for free without needing to spend time and money – what’s not to love?
The one thing that cannot be surpassed when it comes to using smartphones is the overall convenience they can provide when you’re just out and about.
If you’re browsing and looking at a TV, for example, all you need to do is whip out your phone and check out what the competition is charging for the same TV. For online shopping, it’s even easier, as there are price comparison websites that do all the work for you and just link you to the best deal available.
In addition, you can easily check the overall trajectory and evolution of the price. If you’re in a store, checking prices on your phone, you may notice that the TV always goes on sale right around Black Friday, so you know to wait a few weeks instead of jumping in now. So not only are you using your smartphone to stay on a budget, it can save you hundreds of dollars as well.
Replacing other devices
Remember landlines? Neither do we, because they’ve been made obsolete by the emergence of smartphones. There is simply no need to keep paying for a landline in 2021, because your mobile phone takes care of it. That means you can cut that monthly expense from your budget. In addition to that, you can also stop paying for radio, and even cable – you can stream anything you want from your phone directly on your TV.
But the single biggest device you don’t need is actually a computer, especially if you only use it for work. Your phone can successfully replace it as a device for email, internet browsing, video calls, and even photo and video editing or spreadsheets. Especially with wireless keyboards and the latest generations of big-screen phones, you no longer need to invest in a high-end laptop. Now you can use that money for something else.
Not only are landlines obsolete, but if you really wanted to, you could give up on paying for a traditional phone plan altogether. You see, the neat thing smartphones enable you to do is make calls online. So you can use your smartphone to stay on a budget, by using a smartphone 100%.
That means that you can use whichever service you want – Whasapp, Zoom, Skype, etc. in order to make voice calls. Yes, you will still need an alternative phone plan to pay for internet, but you can make calls over Wi-Fi so as to not run out of data. And you were paying for data either way, this just allows you to cut it one bill short.
One of the best things smartphones have given us is free entertainment, no matter where you are. It’s no longer necessary to purchase physical copies of books, albums, or your favorite TV shows and movies. You can get them all for free online, while you’re standing in line for coffee, sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, or hanging out at home.
Not needing to pay for a subscription or physical copies can save you a lot of money, while still providing the same entertainment value. E-books, audiobooks, shows, movies, and music are all available to access on YouTube, on streaming sites, or even to download, so cable has also become obsolete.
Photography & editing
With smartphones becoming more and more high-end, even at cheaper prices, having one in your pocket is more akin to having a computer, camera, and editing software all in one.
Anyone who’s ever bought a camera knows how expensive they can get. And then you’ve got the additional expenses, like lighting, editing software – it adds up. A high-performance phone takes care of a lot of those expenses because you’ve already got the camera and the editing software.
Not only are phone cameras enough for the average Joe, but they can even replace some professional equipment. Successful bloggers use their phones for photos and editing all the time. That ensures savings of thousands of dollars a year.
When smartphones first came along, it was not a matter of saving money. On the contrary, they were fancier, more expensive, and didn’t seem like they were for the population at large. But a lot has happened in a few years.
Nowadays, a smartphone is the single most efficient device you can own, that can successfully replace a lot of other tech and devices – computers, tablets, cameras, landlines. In addition, it gives you the freedom and convenience to access a wealth of online information no matter where you are and what you need.
Between not needing major devices, being able to get discounts, and not having to purchase physical copies of things, your smartphone can save you thousands of dollars a year. Although, a device is a tool, you still need to understand the budgeting concept. Learn more about How to make budgeting easier.