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Free apps can save you money

Our phones can cost us $600 these days. At least we can use them to run free apps that help us save money.

Here are seven of my favorites.

Flipp. My friend Erin told me about this one and I love it. Say you run out of Dove deodorant. You can search Flipp for it, and Flipp will show you all the Dove deodorant coupons that are available. Then you can add them to your loyalty rewards cards. Or say you already have your Dove deodorant coupon and you want to find the best price to match it with. Search Flipp and it will bring you the clipping from every single sales ad that mentions Dove deodorant. You can easily compare every store’s deal and decide which one is the best. It’s awesome.

Mint. I can’t use this app anymore because my bank is not compatible with it, but it’s such a great app, I didn’t want you guys to miss out. It keeps track of all your accounts, tracks your spending and cash flow and comes up with a budget. It even analyzes your purchases and uses the data to create slick graphs so you can see at a glance just how much silly stuff you actually buy. It really helps you see your spending through new eyes and keep yourself on track.

Shopkick. Install the app on your phone and you’ll get awarded “kicks” every time you walk into certain stores, scan barcodes on certain products or buy certain things. Once you accumulate enough of them, you can redeem them for gift cards.

RetailMeNot. I used to hyperventilate when I would get to the register and realize I’d forgotten a coupon that could have saved me valuable dollars. What a sinking feeling to hand over more money than necessary. Then, technology got to a point where I could try to search the web randomly for coupons that would translate to in-store purchases. Now, I don’t sweat it, I just whip out RetailMeNot. Search the store, tap on the coupon, then hold it up for the cashier to scan.

• SnipSnap. I love my coupon binder. I’m pretty proud of it actually. It took a long time to get an organized system for all that mess. But this app lets you save any printed coupon to your phone, and – get this – turns it into a mobile-ready one that can be stored in your phone. That’s worth giving up my binder for. It also lets you search for digital coupons like RetailMeNot does.

ibotta. Select Ibotta coupons, such as 50 cents off a box of Lucky Charms, then complete a little task, such as watching a short commercial. After you buy the product you’ve selected, scan your grocery receipt to redeem the savings. You can cash out within 24 hours using PayPal or Venmo, as long as you’ve earned at least $5.

Cartwheel. I have a love/hate relationship with this one. It’s Target’s coupon app and, since I do a lot of my shopping there, I pretty much have to use it. If I don’t, I’m leaving money on the table.

But using it is a pain. You have to scroll through dozens and dozens of “offers” to see if any of the savings match anything in your cart. If they do, click to add them to your list, then click “checkout” and hold the barcode up for the cashier to scan. It’s pretty clunky, but you can save quite a bit. Use it with your Target debit card and you’ll get another 5 percent off.

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