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Thrifty apps and tech for the New Year

Mon Jan 09 08:45:00 EST 2017

Christmas, that wonderfully expensive time of year, has been and gone. Spending soars during the festive period, with the average person expected to have spent £923 splashing out on gifts and indulging in festivities. It’s no surprise then that with January here, everyone’s wallets (and waistlines) might feel a little sorry for themselves.

With New Year's resolutions in play, as well as political uncertainty and inflation creeping up, many of us will be looking to save in 2017. But, saving cash doesn’t have to seem like an impossible feat, thanks to the multitude of apps and websites dedicated to money management. Get the lowdown on some of them here…

Track down a bargain with mySupermarket

It’s not just Christmas dinner that takes a good bite out of our pockets, as spending throughout the year isn’t as trim as it could be either. At £50,000 per year, UK-household spending is the highest in Europe. However, shopping saviour mySupermarket proposes potential savings of 30%, by finding the cheapest stockists.

The mySupermarket app compares prices across 15 supermarkets, pointing users in the direction of the cheapest option. Other thrifty features include a showcase of the best discount deals, and alerts when selected items are available for less elsewhere.

For spontaneous in-store shoppers, the app can also scan barcodes and tell users if a product is cheaper in another outlet. Of course, if a cheaper store is further away, convenience might still win the day on occasion.

mySupermarket Shopping

Feed thy neighbour with OLIO

One of the world’s biggest issues is food waste. Cutting it out completely would have the same effect on the environment as taking one in four cars off the road. The OLIO food-sharing app is aiming to minimise food waste by encouraging users to offer up or request unwanted food from those nearby.

95% of food on OLIO is given away for free, meaning that the app could enable users to whip up their weekly dinners without handing over any money.

However, for sharing to be possible the service needs to think hard about logistics. A free loaf of bread sounds great, but is not so handy if it’s located 10 miles away. Already popular in bigger cities, OLIO continues to grow as the word spreads, so 2017 could see more free food initiatives like this popping up nationwide.

OLIO food sharing app

The cost of warming up could come down

Apps like Hive and Tado aim to make smart home-heating more efficient than traditional systems. As well as learning and adapting to users’ preferences, heating can be altered from smartphones or use GPS to track users and heat the house ready for their return home. Clever, right?
Using an app to manage utilities isn’t just convenient but can save money too. Hive claims customers could save up to £150 a year by making the switch, with Tado proposing savvy savings of around £240.

Forking out for the systems and installation might be an initial setback, but most claim to pay for themselves and aim to reduce heating bills rather speedily. These clever systems help reduce unnecessary expenses, and there’s no doubt that they’ll get smarter in 2017.

Hive App in use

Pay by the mile with contactless

Trialled in December by Loughborough’s Kinchbus, paying for travel fares could get cheaper thanks to contactless payments and the cloud.

Similar to Oyster, touching a contactless card or device when getting on and off a bus allows for the cheapest possible fare to be calculated for the journey.

Instead of working out the best ticket option, or pre-buying set journeys, paying this way is designed to be more economical. Touch-on-touch-off payment seems the next logical step for travel, as does saving money by paying for your precise journey.
As testing is going well, 2017 could see this active in additional UK locations, enabling more travellers to save.

Loughborough Kinchbus

It all adds up

With the help of apps and tech, saving is getting easier and smarter. Although they may seem small, alterations like these could change spending patterns and increase savings throughout the year.