Money-Saving Apps for the New Year

by Gerri Willis

Jennifer Jolly, Tech Lifestyle Editor for Tecca.com, dropped by tonight to share the best apps for 2012. Below is the full list of her recommendations:

Financial Apps

1. Pageonce

Pageonce gives you a clear picture of what's going on with your money by displaying your spending, deposits and payments with tables, charts and graphs. Whatever your display preference, you can easily understand your financial status and decide what you want to do about it.

•You can track cell phone minutes, monitor frequent flyer miles, and get flight information.

•Ever find yourself wondering how much is left in your checking account? Did you pay the cable bill on time? Has your paycheck cleared?

•Get the answers to these questions - when and where you need them - dedicated to simplifying everyday finance

2. Weemba: http://blog.weemba.com/

This site lets you search for a loan by posting nontraditional details like a description of the need for the money - debt consolidation, a mortgage refinance, or a kitchen makeover complete with the designer's plans, for instance.

•The details posted add depth to the usual credit score and financial information that banks and other funders may review, and the site opens the lending request to a wider audience.

3. iAllowance:

This app is a service that tracks chores and rewards for parents managing their child's finances which allows parents to teach him or her about saving and spending money.

4. Saveup.com

This is a game aimed at helping people pay down debt and build savings

•Instead of encouraging you to spend money to rack up points, the program credits you for each smart financial action you make.

•Credits give you sweepstakes entries or instant games for big prizes.

•Every time you pay down debt, save for retirement, or add money to your savings account, you get rewarded. (SaveUp monitors your linked accounts to issue credits.)

•Watching financial education videos and participating in challenges also earn you credits.

•The types of prizes you could play for range in value from $100 to $2 million. Prizes include a Kindle Fire, a Toyota Prius, and $50,000 debt payoff (oddly enough, all games cost the same 10 credits).

•If you like entering contests or scratch-off lotto games, you'll like SaveUp. You're limited to playing three times a day, though (this levels the playing field for all SaveUp members and encourages you to come back).

5. Wikinvest

This app follows the wiki-format that contains a database of user-generated investment information on popular stocks.

It is designed to give individuals trading advice on par with professionally trained humans.

Household Apps

6. ZipList

This app makes saving time and money on food a breeze.

•You can search for recipes based on items you have in your pantry, or use the app to save all your favorite recipes (from food blogs or notable chefs like Martha Stewart) all in one universally accessible place (thru your ZipList account on the web, the iPhone or android app) or even by text message.

•Then with a single click, you can add ingredients from your favorite recipes to your shopping list and share that list with others in your household.

•So if your spouse is running out to the store, they know to get you the pulp free OJ.

•Your grocery lists are automatically arranged by your local grocers aisles, so no more backtracking thru stores or getting seduced by impulse buys.

•The app also has hundreds of food coupons, so with everything accessible and updated in real time on your phone, you never have to worry about leaving your shopping list and coupons at home again.

7. Key Ring Reward Cards

•Loyalty cards can save you money, but how often do you turn them down because you don't want another fob on your keychain or card to lug around?

•This app lets you snap a photo of the barcode with your smartphone.

•When you're ready to make a purchase, simply log back into Key Ring, select a card, and let the cashier scan it from your screen.

8. ShopSavvy (Free: iPhone, iPad, Android).

•Use your smartphone camera to scan a product's barcode and ShopSavvy will find the lowest price for it on the Internet as well as show you the prices at local brick-and-mortar stores.

•The "Deals" feature will update you on shipping promotions, coupon codes, and other ways to nab what you want for less, while "Price Alerts" lets you set your buying price and receive an alert when the product dips below your threshold.

Restaurant Apps:

9. Urbanspoon (iOS/Android/BlackBerry)

Urbanspoon started as a BlackBerry app, and its trademark "shake to randomly select a place to have lunch" slot machine feature is still well loved. However, the restaurant slot machine is a bit of a gimmick that sits in front of a large list of smaller local businesses that other apps often miss. The app also allows you to share and compare your reviews with friends, find restaurants near you, and everything else that most restaurant-search apps do. To augment its ratings and reviews, Urbanspoon also integrates reviews from newspapers and food blogs. Doing so adds some real authority and weight to the reviews that other services are

10. Foodspotting: (iOS/Android/BlackBerry/WP7)

Foodspotting's claim to fame is that it encourages you to search and share dishes that you enjoy, not just restaurants. So when you use Foodspotting, you'll be encouraged to take pictures of the food and drink that you like, upload it to the service, share some thoughts, and then tell the community where you are. When you use the mobile app, you're shown photos of dishes and foods near you, not just a list of nearby restaurants. The community then chimes in to like or favorite photos, and trade "wants" and "noms" for dishes they want to try and dishes they really love. Foodspotting's visual approach to discovering new food is a refreshing departure from a other food discovery apps.

12. Savored

This app rings access to insider pricing with the most popular restaurants across the U.S. in a convenient, affordable way, allowing consumers to make reservations through its site to receive a 30% discount automatically applied to the entire bill.

Miscellaneous Apps:

13. Gas Buddy

This app lets you search cheap gas prices in your city and is updated in real-time and posts national averages and trends to allow you to discover the gas station that fits your budget.

14. Truecar.com

This app guarantees a no-haggling, online car-purchase experience, with thousands of dealers across America.

•The site also offers significant savings off MSRP prices.

•How does it work? Find the car and discounted price you want via TrueCar.com and print out a certificate guaranteed to be honored at a local participating dealership.

•"It is the only [Website] that guarantees a low price to the consumer and gives them a certificate that they can bring to the dealer so they don' t have to haggle," said company spokesperson Lisa Hendrickson.