Amy Clark

Day 4: Use Your Phone as a Money-Saving Tool

It seems like everyone is carrying around a cell phone these days. What once was a luxury is now a must-have item in our house. I can only justify having a cell phone for the simple reason that my entire family is long-distance for me to call. They only live a half hour away, yet I have to pay for long-distance service to be able to stay connected with them. We all have joined Verizon and utilize our mobile-to-mobile minutes daily. It is worth the cost of the cell phone to stay connected with my friends and family, although I try to chose the least expensive plan possible.

I wanted to share some ideas for saving money using your cell phone. This post was inspired by my brother-in-law, who showed me all of the great savings he was getting by using his phone. Much thanks to him for the suggestion and I hope that this will bring in some savings for your family.

Don’t Use 411- I love Google Maps and they have a fabulous service that will save you the expense of a 411 call. You can access Google Maps through your phone or (if you are home) you can have the number sent to your phone while you are online.

On the Google Maps page, type in the name and city where you want to be heading. Click on the the name of the business when it pops up and it will map out where it is located. If you look underneath the address (on the map) you will see a “Send to Phone” option. You can have the address and telephone number emailed to your phone for free. This makes for easy storing of the number on your phone and you don’t have to go through the third party to connect. Along with the phone number, the address of the business is also emailed to your phone.

Google also offers another free 411 service. You can use this service by dialing 1-800-GOOG-411.

Another free 411 service is Tellme. Just dial 800-555-TELL and say what you want! Say a business, any business. Say “Business Search” at the main menu. Ask for a business name like “Domino’s” Or a type of business like “day spa”. When you hear the one you want, just say “Text me the info” to have the phone number, address, and a map sent to your mobile phone.

Compare Prices to Get the Best Deals- Frucall is a free shopping assistant service that helps consumers make an informed decision at the point of purchase about a product they are shopping for. When consumers are out shopping in stores, they are away from their computers and have no access to the Internet. Therefore, they cannot check the best online price of an item or get product reviews and merchant ratings. Frucall delivers this valuable information to consumers’ cell phones so that they can make their purchasing decision with confidence and peace of mind. Frucall also allows consumers to buy an item over the phone.

There are three easy ways to use Frucall from one’s mobile phone:

  1. Frucall Voice
    This is the easiest and the most common way of using Frucall. All you have to do is to dial 1-888-DO-FRUCALL (1-888-363-7822) from your cell phone, key in the product barcode, and listen to the best prices found online. Through its voice prompts, Frucall also lets you get product and merchant ratings. You can save Frucall’s number in your contact list because it will come in handy every time you are out shopping! Learn more…
  2. Frucall Text
    This is a service for SMS savvy consumers who prefer to send in a product’s barcode and receive product information via text messaging (SMS). Learn more…
  3. Frucall mWeb
    This service is for those who prefer to use a mobile device capable of accessing the Internet to view the product information they need. To use this service, users can point their mobile browser (typically available via an “Open URL” menu entry on the device) to: www.frucall.com/m and search for products. Learn more…

Regardless of the access method, your search history and other relevant information are saved for you on the Internet at www.frucall.com. Through this site you can set your preferences, view your search history, bookmarks, voice notes, and order status in addition to using group messaging and other features of the system.

Get Loads of Coupons- How about coupons that don’t need clipping and where you can turn your phone around and flash it to the cashier to get your savings? Cellfire offers this free coupon service with oodles of coupons in freebies that come directly to your cell phone. Currently they have free music downloads, free food, and free movies listed on their deals page. The coupons are always with you and you can chose what deals you want to use. I know my readers love freebies so this one is for you!

Take Some Pictures- I love to do this with our phone because it helps trigger my memory for prices. When we were remodeling our bathroom, one of us would head to the hardware store while the other one stayed with the children. I wanted to remember all of the prices and what each item looked like in the store so I would use my phone and take a picture of the items and a picture of the bar codes.

When you are going to multiple stores it is hard to remember the difference between two pedestal sinks or what exactly the prices were on each item. I was able to flip through my pictures and recall my favorite items and the prices connected with each item. If you are in a superstore, you could take this one step further and actually photograph the aisle sign. This will make shopping easier because you can remember right where the item is, instead of walking aimlessly through the store. When doing big home projects like we have done, it is easy to become confused and everything starts to look the same!

Calculator Features- If you aren’t using the calculator features on your cell phone, you are missing a huge savings. Every time we eat out, I whip out my phone to use the EZ Tip Calculator that is listed under the Tools on my phone. I can enter the total and it instantly tells me what the tip should be for our meals.

I also use my calculator to compare prices in our grocery store. You will find me huddled in a corner figuring out which laundry detergent is the cheapest or who really has the best deal on soda. The calculator does the number-crunching for me and that adds up to extra savings in our grocery cart.

Potential Monthly Savings- $10 or more

Related Readings:

Programming Your Cell Phone

Sound Off: Do you use your cell phone to save money? Are there any cell phone services that your family has financially benefited from?

Published August 04, 2007 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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