4 Free Money Saving Apps

by Andrew Schreiber 9. April 2013

Mobile PhonesWe could always use new ideas to help us save money on a daily basis. With the popularity of smartphones and the availability of hundreds of thousands of smartphone applications, there are many new ways to save money. We all know the popular game apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Words with Friends, but there are plenty of money saving apps.

GasBuddy (Available for iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry)

Those of us that do a substantial amount of driving can save a significant amount of money by finding the cheapest gas price. GasBuddy allows you to search by city, zip code, or your current location to find the cheapest gas in your location. GasBuddy relies on its users to report the most up to date gas prices. When you report gas prices you earn points which can earn you opportunities to win gas money. Not only is this a money saving app, it also gives its active users a chance for it to become a money earning app!

ShopSavvy (Available for iPhone, Android, Windows)

The primary use of the ShopSavvy app is to scan barcodes and compare prices between stores. You simply scan the barcode of any product and it will search retailers to find you the best price available. It lists online availability separate from local store availability which can help you to decide if it’s worth buying a product in stores or if you should purchase it online. The app also includes coupons to a variety of retail stores including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Best Buy and Ace Hardware.

CouponSherpa (Available for iPhone, Android)

Couponing is one of the oldest and most common ways to save money. With the growing popularity of smartphones and online shopping, couponing has evolved with these trends. CouponSherpa is a great example of the new way to use a coupon. This money saving app uses your current location to show you which stores near you have coupons available. You can then pull up the coupon at the register and the cashier can scan it or enter the coupon number for your purchase. Not all merchants will accept a coupon on a smartphone and will require a printed version, so CouponSherpa allows you to email a coupon to yourself which you are then able to print out.

1st Mariner Bank Mobile Banking App (Available for iPhone, Android)

Of course we had to throw in our Mobile Banking app! Having your current account balance at your fingertips can help you make smart purchasing decisions and help you to avoid overdrawing your account. In addition, you can pay your bills through the app. In case you suddenly realize that you have a bill due and you are on the go, you can avoid those pesky late fees. Also, the ATM and Branch Locator will help you find a nearby ATM in our network so you can avoid fees from other banks and ATMS outside of our network.

Although cutting coupons from your Sunday paper is still a great way to save some money, smartphone technology has one again gone above and beyond to help us save money and shop smarter!

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The Future of Technology and Banking

by Andrew Schreiber 25. March 2013

Future Banking Technology

Technology is continuously changing the world we live in and how we as humans interact with others. For better or for worse, technology is continuously changing our everyday lives. I want to focus on how future technology could potentially change the way we interact with our bank. Two highly anticipated and talked about products expected to be released in the near future are the iWatch from Apple and Google Glass from Google. These two products have the potential to revolutionize the way we live our lives, including how we interact with our bank, handle payments and track our spending.

iWatch

Apple is developing a wrist watch that will be able to connect to and interact with your smartphone. Text messages, phone calls, appointments and alerts could all be displayed on your watch and you would never have to remove the phone from your pocket. So how can this innovation revolutionize the way we bank? Well, let’s think about it...

We have seen the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in smartphones before, but never in a wrist watch! As you step into a checkout line and go to pay the merchant, you could simply wave your watch over a reader to pay. No fumbling with a wallet necessary. Current NFC technology still requires you to use your phone; this new technology will make the process much more convenient and natural.

But the technology won’t necessarily stop there! After you make your payment, you could have a receipt sent to your watch to confirm the transaction. If you want to be alerted when your balance drops below a certain threshold, this alert could be sent right to your watch. With many of us starting to use personal finance management tools, we could receive an instant update on our current budget after a purchase. The more informed we are about our money, the more comfortable we can feel about our financial security.

Google Glass

The potential of the iWatch is exciting, but in my opinion, not nearly as exciting as Google Glass! Google Glass is a new type of wearable technology that Google has been testing for the past several months. It is a pair of eyeglasses that have the ability to display an augmented reality to the individual wearing the glasses. Like the iWatch, the glasses would connect with your phone and interact with the technology in your phone (i.e. weather updates, text messages, internet browsing, driving directions, etc.) while still maintaining an interpersonal connection to the people around you.

How can this change the way we bank? Well, envision asking the device to show you the nearest ATM and then seeing that ATM right in front of your eyes. As you turn your head, it could show you the ATMs or branches in that direction and the distance they are from you.

Imagine using an ATM at a remote location and communicating with a bank employee through your Google Glass. The functionality of an ATM could possibly be expanded to include transactions and services that you would normally complete in person. Using ATMs this way would be much like a video conference, with bank tellers providing support on an individual basis.

In recent years, personal finance managers that allow you to track spending and set goals have become popular tools. Imagine going to a store and just by looking at the barcode of a product you could see how purchasing it would affect your monthly budget.

This same concept could be applied to large purchases that must be financed. When you are discussing how much you can afford for a new house or car, you could virtually see what your budget would look like with the new obligations. You glasses would show you what your cash flow would look like if you decided to take on the new debt. Seeing this visual aid right in front of your eyes could go a long way to help you make the most informed decision before making a major purchase.

Tools as convenient and interactive as the iWatch and Google Glass could greatly alter the spending habits of consumers. The final decision obviously rests with the consumer himself, but if we get to the point where we have insights and information literally right in front of us, it gets easier and easier to make smart financial choices.

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The Best Things to Buy in the Winter

by Andrew Schreiber 7. February 2013

Winter Sales

 

If you are like me, now that the holiday season has passed you’ve been counting down the days until spring. We all try to pass the time in different ways, but some of those things you plan to do in the spring might be beneficial to do sooner rather than later. The slow times of the winter are felt across many industries including real estate, consumer electronics and construction. This is good news for those of us that are always looking for a good deal. Here is a list of the best things to purchase during the winter.

Homes

For those of you who are looking to purchase a new home, winter is a great time to find a good deal. Most people don’t want to trudge through the winter weather to shop for a house, so they put the shopping off until the spring. This lack of demand provides a great opportunity to find a good deal. Less competition for available homes allows you to offer below the list price, especially since if a home is placed on the market in the wintertime when sellers are aware that they could make more money waiting, it could mean they are motivated to sell quickly.

Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Everyone spends a lot of money during the holiday season which often causes them to put off any big purchases for awhile so they can recuperate funds. This provides a perfect opportunity to those of us who plan ahead. Contractors have large holiday bills as well, but demand for contractors is down in the winter because of the spending during the holidays, which makes them more eager to find jobs that will keep them busy. Also, material demand is lower due to the slow time of the year so you are likely to save some money there as well.

Electronics and Cameras

The International Consumer Electronic Show in which technology companies introduce their new and improved products occurs in January. This event helps build buzz and demand for the new products. So if you are one of those people that doesn’t always have to have the newest, most up-to-date gadget, now is a perfect time to buy last year’s model of TVs, cameras, home entertainment systems, etc. With all of the new products and lines being introduced, retailers need to make room for the new inventory. You can usually find higher end items that weren’t on sale for Black Friday on sale now to make room for the newest models. If holiday sales were less than expected, you can expect better deals on a wider range of products after the holidays are over. Despite the winter being a good time to purchase most electronics, laptops are not one of these.

Transportation

Sometimes the best time to purchase something is when it is painfully obvious that you have no reason to currently use it. The winter months are a great time to purchase motorcycles, bicycles, and even boats. Demand for motorcycles is low during the winter so you can usually find dealers having sales to help boost sales. These sales have a trickle-down effect, causing current motorcyclists purchasing new bikes to sell their old ones. So whether you are looking for a new or used bike, winter is the best time to find a good deal. Bicycles are also on sale due to the lack of demand during the winter months, plus retailers are looking to clear their inventories after the holiday season for the newest models due out soon. Finally, boats are also a good buy in the wintertime; most dealers offer their best sales during the slow winter months, especially at winter boat shows.

Overall, when planning your annual purchases, a good bet for finding discounts is to buy at a time that seems to make the least bit of sense. Take a look at your fellow consumers’ behaviors…and do the opposite!



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