Parents Perspective

The Best Money-Saving Apps

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Ellie Kay, a Moms Money Clinic advisor for Parents, guest blogs regularly to answer mail about money issues. Today she's helping parents looking for money saving sites and apps.

Q. I love to save money online and by using my smart phone. But I only have so much time to search sites and space to store apps. What are your favorite tools for budgeting, travel, couponing, and more?

A. There are several apps I love to recommend. One is RetailMeNot, which is so easy to use. Every one of my family members has the app, which features more than $400,000 worth of coupon codes for brick-and-mortar stores as well as online shopping sites. It literally saves each of us hundreds of dollars a year. The beauty of it is that you can look for coupon codes instantly. The other day at Old Navy I saved $5 off a $10 purchase while standing in line at checkout.

But I'm always learning about more and more websites and apps through the people I encounter. Here are some more great apps for busy parents.

Budgeting Mint is a terrific site and app for budgeting that I recommend frequently. It lets you set up a spending plan, pay your bills, and see your credit score. Also check out GoodBudget (formerly EEBA) if you're a family that likes using the envelope system; it also lets you share the budget with your partner so you stay on the same page.

Saving on gas Waze is my favorite GPS app. It calculates the best route using both highways and side streets. Plus, it tells you the gas prices for stations in your area and calculates how far off your route each one is. AAA's TripTik calculates mileage based on the most economical route. GasBuddy is another tool for calculating trip cost, gas prices, and more.

Coupons While RetailMeNot is my top app for retail shopping, you should also check out Coupon Sherpa for in-store coupons to make sure you're getting the best deal. If you're a fan of paper coupons, use SnipSnap to take pictures of the coupon, and then use your phone when it comes time to redeem.

Entertainment Tickets Goldstar is a great site for finding half-price tickets for shows, concerts, and events. Veterans and their families should take advantage of the Veterans Tickets Foundation, which provides free admission to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities for family members of troops killed in action, members of the military, and veterans.

Parking You'll never overpay for parking when you use BestParking. You can search by city or airport making it a valuable tool for trip planning and getting a good price on the go.

Airfare Looking for a great rate for an upcoming trip? Keep an eye out for the best time to fly at the best price with Hopper or BookingBuddy.com. TravelZoo is another place to find affordable last-minute deals.

Cleaning up your inbox You probably sign up for e-mails from your favorite stores and brands because they send out frequent sales, deals, and coupons to keep you shopping. But if you're tired of getting 30 e-mails in your inbox every morning, sign up for Unroll.Me. It lets you unsubscribe from companies and lists you don't want to hear from anymore.

What are some of your top money-saving apps and websites? Let me know so I can keep spreading the word!

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Mother and daughter putting coins into piggy bank via Shutterstock

Ellie Kay is a family financial expert, the author of The 60-Minute Money Workout, and a mom of seven. Read more of her advice at elliekay.com.

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