[Host] Hey there! Welcome to Money Talk, the podcast series that helps you manage your money—and improve your financial well-being! In this episode, our guest is a financial blogger who goes by the name Johnny Moneyseed. In his blog, JohnnyMoneyseed.com, Johnny writes about his journey toward the goal of retiring early and investing his time in things that matter. One of the key items in Johnny’s money management toolkit is his mobile phone. So today, he’s sharing a few of his top tips for using your phone to save money.
Okay Johnny, so a lot of us use our phones every day to check email, play games, scroll through Twitter, but how often do you recommend people use their phones to manage their money?
[Johnny Moneyseed] Everyday. Every time you’re holding your phone or every time you pull your phone out. You could be checking your finances through Mint or something that basically shows you all of your account information across the general spectrum of finance, or you could be looking at strictly your budget through YouNeedaBudget, or you can look at your investments through, a program that I use is Personal Capital and it shows you how your investments have grown daily or over the course of the year.
[Host] Yeah, why do you think taking a hands-on approach to your budget is important?
[Moneyseed] It makes you more accountable to your money and you really have to know if you have money available and you can see it right from your phone. It will say, well you have $20 to spend in this category this month and you know what you have left so you won’t let yourself go over. It’s kind of like playing a mind game with yourself—like competing to spend the least amount possible.
[Host] Yeah, I know there are a few apps out there like Mint or even some offered by banks that let you set goals around your saving and spending so you can see where your money goes, which is always handy. Are there any apps you rely on for convenience?
[Moneyseed] It’s great to be able to log into my bank’s mobile app and deposit checks and check my account balances any time. I pretty much never have to go to a physical bank because I can do everything right from my phone.
[Host] Definitely. So now that you’re using apps to track your spending, do you think you’re becoming a better budgeter?
[Moneyseed] I feel a lot more strongly toward my ability to budget now mainly because of having apps on my phone and being able to enter in all of my transactions. Before it was kind of a crapshoot. At the end of the week, maybe I spent the amount that I wanted to on certain things—I really had no idea. My old phone didn’t support really any apps so once I upgraded to a new phone and the availability of apps opened up immensely, I could honestly say that my finances improved significantly from that point.
[Host] That’s awesome. On your blog, you’ve mentioned that you use the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest gas nearby. Are there any other ways your phone helps you save?
[Moneyseed] I would definitely recommend using the calculator on your phone. You can have a dumb phone now will be built with a calculator in it. So when you’re at the grocery store you can calculate exactly how much you’re paying per ounce or per pound for something to see if it really is a good deal. Because a lot of times you might see that something’s on sale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best price. There might be generic items or other sale items that are actually better for your dollar. Another app that I use on an almost daily basis is my Amazon app. And the thing that I like most about it is the red laser where you can scan a bar code of an item when you’re out shopping—when you’re at a department store or even Goodwill. Pretty much anything that has a bar code on it and you can check the price in the store versus how much they’re selling it for on Amazon.
[Host] Thanks Johnny! There you have it, Money Talk listeners: If you’re shelling out for a data plan on your phone, there are ways you can make it pay off.
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