Dollar Shave Club recently asked me to write about different ways to “shave time and money”, something that I honestly paid no attention to until I graduated from college and realized my life kind of depends on it. It seems like I can never have quite enough time or money. Or if I do, I decide it to blow it all on something unnecessary, like binge-watching Netflix instead of using my time for something productive (but we’re all guilty of that, aren’t we?).
But don’t worry. If you’re like me and aren’t naturally inclined toward saving money or making the most of your time, you’re in luck. Interning at a start-up surrounded by other start-ups and apps has taught me that there are tons of apps out there I didn’t know about and most of them are, in fact, meant to save you time and money. Poor post-grads and young professionals of the world, it’s time to use these apps to our benefit. If you learn to save time here and there throughout the day, that leaves you with extra time at night to watch House of Cards or Game of Thrones. Or extra money to treat yourself to Chipotle for lunch. Or both if you’re really lucky.
If you live in a city where Uber has already taken off, you’ll know exactly why it’s on this list. If you don’t, just wait. You can use Uber to get a ride basically anywhere in your city using your phone. You connect your credit card to your account on the app, meaning you never have to pull out cash or worry about how to pay. The best part: if you live in NYC, using Uber instead of a regular taxi will actually save you money. That’s right. As of July 2014, Uber X (the low-fare Uber option) is cheaper than taking an NYC taxi. You can also get free rides on the app by getting your friends to use it. Next time you’re out at 2 a.m. trying to figure out how much your cab will cost (or how long it will take to find a cab at all), take Uber and rest easy knowing you saved some time and cash getting home.
Never again will you have to waste 20 minutes figuring out how to split a check between 10 friends at your favorite happy hour restaurant. Venmo allows you to pay your friends with the click of a button. Users connect their debit and credit cards and add friends on the app, allowing them to easily pay someone back. This can save you tons of time and stress. Plus, it’s totally safe, don’t worry.
You know all those plastic loyalty cards you use to get discounts or rewards at stores? Key Ring keeps you from having to pull out your key chain each time and shuffle through your membership and loyalty cards. You scan the barcodes from your cards and then can use that scanned barcode when you make a purchase in-store. But it doesn’t end there. Key Ring also has a database of coupons from tons of brands so you can save money and find good deals too. Win win!
Your rush hour traffic nightmares are finally over! With Waze, drivers in your area share information about traffic and road conditions in real-time. A map with different symbols tells you what to expect ahead of you on your route home or leaving town. It can tell you if there is bad traffic, an accident or even a police trap. But we all know what we really want to save when it comes to driving – gas money. And Waze helps there too. You can also use the app to find the cheapest gas station on your route. Time to drive happy!
This one is essential to managing (and saving) your money. Mint is a personal finance management app. You enter your account information (you can add checking, savings, credit cards, investments and retirement) and Mint automatically detects when you spend money and what you spend it on. It enters your transactions for you without you doing a thing! This allows you to track your spending habits and see which areas are out of hand (Fast food and Starbucks, for example). You can create a budget for yourself as well to help you stay on track. I actually kind of think this app was made for me. Thanks, Mint, that’s so sweet of you.
I can just see it now…one of the worst shopping scenarios: You buy some cute shoes and are telling your friends about them only to find out your bff got the exact same pair for half the price somewhere else. Sometimes, especially when it comes to clothes, it’s better to treat yourself to higher quality items. But when it is available at exactly the same quality for a lower price, well then it’s silly not to take the deal. RedLaser will save you time you usually spend comparing prices at different stores. You can scan an item’s barcode and instantly see where else you can find it and for how much. You can quickly find the best prices and deals all over your area. You can be sure you’re getting the best deal because the app includes price comparisons at local AND online locations. It’s like having a personal assistant do all the work for you, but…it’s fo FREE.
Speaking of shopping for clothes…PoachIt is so necessary for finding good deals on clothes. Here’s how it works: you scan the barcode of an item you like, the app finds the item online and sends you an alert when the product’s price drops or there is a coupon code you can use for it. What can be better than loving a dress and getting a notification sent to your phone when the dress gets cheaper? Pretty much nothing, in my opinion.
Just a note: you can use the app but there is also a PoachIt website. Also, you can add an item to your alert list with the click of a button while shopping online – you don’t have to be in the store to use it.
I don’t think a single person on Earth could say they enjoy waiting on hold to talk to a customer service rep. It’s even less fun when they ask you to push a million numbers just to hear you have to wait even longer to talk to a live person. FastCustomer actually does all the waiting for you, so you don’t have to waste your precious life on hold. You tell the app who you need to talk to (as specific as a particular department within the company) and they do the navigation to a live customer service rep. Then the app calls you back once they have someone on the line ready to talk to you. Genius, just genius.
I hope these apps can be useful to all my fellow young adults struggling to find ways to survive in this post-allowance place we call the real world. Save money on gas and clothes and you might just be able to toss the Ramen and indulge in some real food. Shave some of your time off commuting or on hold and you’ll have more time to dedicate to the Underwoods. Whatever you decide to spend your extra time and money on, be sure to have fun with it!
Of course, I can’t end this without a shout out to Dollar Shave Club, the company that inspired this post. If you don’t know about them, what they do is save you time and money (just like these apps) by shipping quality razors to you each month for low prices. Might just have to check them out to shave some money!