Everyone likes to save money, and few are as deserving of doing so as the small businesses of the world. These are just some of our favorite apps, plug-ins and insider tips to make shopping for your business more affordable.
Save money with online coupons
When you're about to pay for an online purchase, they automatically scan the web for coupons, test them and then apply the one that will save you the most money. You don't have to enter any codes or leave the site – just accept the discount and pay, no strings attached.
Comparison shop automatically
Pricescout is a free price comparison extension that can save you major cash on online purchases. When you shop online, Pricescout searches the internet for the same product at a lower price. If it finds one, it gives you the option to buy it from the cheaper source. Pricescout also automatically checks for coupons for the product you're purchasing.
When you're shopping in person, you can use ShopSavvy to comparison shop in real time. ShopSavvy allows users to scan barcodes in stores and see if the price is a good deal. If the price you see at your local store is competitive, ShopSavvy will tell you; if it's not, it recommends alternative stores that offer the product at a lower price.
This is not only a huge money saver but a major timesaver as well. With it, you don't have to spend time (and gas money) driving from store to store price checking different items. Editor's Note: ShopSavvy is owned by the same parent company as Business News Daily, Purch.
Optimize your credit card usage
Most entrepreneurs have at least two credit cards for business expenses. Using credit cards for business expenses is a great way to easily track spending and get points, but since different credit cards have different points policies, it's easy to accidentally leave points on the table by using the wrong card.
Tools like Walla.by help people with multiple credit cards get the most out of their rewards points. Once you download the free app or extension, you input the type of credit cards you have, then, before you make a purchase in-store or online, you consult Walla.by, and it will tell you which credit card to use to maximize your points. Wallaby is also available on wearable devices like Apple Watch and Android Wear.
Track rewards points, loyalty programs and frequent flier miles
There's no point in racking up credit card points and frequent flier miles if you never use them. According to a study by Bankrate, three out of every 10 credit card holders never redeem their hard-earned reward points. One of the reasons people don't use their points and miles is because keeping track of several rewards programs is confusing and time-consuming, but it doesn't have to be.
Such free services as AwardWallet track all of your rewards programs so you can monitor your points, receive notifications before points expire and make purchases that take advantage of your accrued points.
While you're at it, you can ditch your Starbucks card, grocery store card, and all of the other store cards in your wallet by scanning them into Stocard, a free app that allows you to keep all your rewards cards in one place. Just input the card number, and the app saves it a barcode for the clerk to scan.
Save big on Amazon purchases
If you're a big Amazon shopper, there's an easy way to make sure you're always getting a good deal. Keepa is a helpful website and browser extension that every Amazon user should download. When you're shopping on Amazon, Keepa shows you the price history of the item you're looking at and gives you the option to select your own ideal price and set a notification.
So, for example, if you're searching for the best deal on printer ink, you can have Keepa tell you when the items you need drop to the price you want. Price notifications can be sent to your phone via push notification, to your email, Twitter, Facebook (privately, of course), or even directly to your desktop in the form of a notification.
Save money with in-store coupons
Coupon clipping is still a great way to buy the things you need at a discount, but no one wants to walk around with a binder of coupons. SnipSnap is the perfect way to bring couponing into the modern world.
SnipSnap can scan coupons from newspapers, mailings and magazines directly into your smartphone. The app notifies you when your coupons are about to expire and sends you in-store reminders to use coupons you've saved. If you regularly do business-related shopping in person, you should download SnipSnap stat.
Track travel deals
When it comes to business travel, you can't always resort to last-minute bookings and off-season travel to save money, but aggregate websites and apps make finding the best price on flights, car rentals and hotels easy.
There are lots of aggregates that allow you to compare travel costs, such as Kayak which has proved to be a reliable source for finding travel savings. Kayak itself isn't a booking service; it just directs you to the best deals online, so you might find a great flight on Kayak that you book through Travelocity or Priceline (third-party sites). If you want the best of both worlds, you can use Kayak to find a great deal and then go directly to the airline, car rental or hotel's website to book it.
If you're planning a trip by plane, Skyscanner is an app that can help you find the best possible prices. Before booking, input and save the destination and time of your trip, then wait as Skyscanner aggregates and notifies you of newer, cheaper flights and price drops. The app uses ticket price history and trends to predict if a price is as low as it's likely to go, so you know when the right time to book is.
Rainy day savings
If you frequently use a credit card for spending and are interesting putting away some money into savings, Qapital is a banking app that puts a little bit of money into a savings account every time you use your credit cards. You get a special debit card that rounds up the change from your purchases and deposits it into a savings account. You can set savings goals and budgets for certain types of purchases. If you come in under budget, it puts the remainder of the budget into savings. You can customize it however you wish.
If you want to put your savings money to work, Acorns is a similar app that takes the rounded-up change of your credit card purchases and puts it into an investment account. You can choose from different investment plans ranging from strategies that involve safe bonds to aggressive stocks. Depending on how frequently you use your cards, the money put into these apps can add up quickly.
Sometimes the key to saving money doesn't involve coupons or special deals, but just a sound and smart budget. Get a grip on your income and spending with budget trackers like Mint and Mvelope. These apps help you set your monthly budget and can help you make better spending decisions. Mvelope can connect to your bank account to get a good picture of your budget. Setting finance goals and spending priorities, the app can let you know if certain purchases are acceptable or considered overspending.
Additional reporting by Mona Bushnell.