Top 3 Money-Saving Apps to Download Now

Savings Apps These days, your smartphone may be the key to getting the lowest prices on groceries, clothes and more. Here are the top three money-saving apps, which, of course, you can download for free.

If you're headed to the supermarket to buy groceries, Cellfire is a must-have app. This handy tool sends discounts directly to your loyalty card during checkout, eliminating the need to pick up those circulars. There's also an alert feature that reminds you about in-store coupons as you browse.

For those who want to take a trip to the mall, try RetailMeNot. This app provides thousands of in-store and online discounts for shops and restaurants, and also offers location-based alerts, which are extra convenient.

For on-the-spot savings, try the RedLaser app, which turns your smartphone into a barcode scanner. By scanning the barcode of a desired product, you'll instantly get detailed item descriptions, reviews and tips on where you can get the best price. This app has been around for a while, but it's a must-have that has withstood the test of time.

So, make sure to download before you shop. If you keep your phone loaded with these three apps, you won't have to spend a dime to save a few bucks.

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Top 3 Money-Saving Apps to Download Now -- Savings Experiment

There's a sale at Penney's!

Yes, the deals are back with a vengeance at J.C. Penney (JCP) after the "fair and square pricing" experiment turned into a debacle. In August alone, there were more than 20 sales and coupons. Some of these were specific to product lines, but there were plenty of across-the-board sales, including a 20 percent-off online sale, a $10-off-$25 apparel coupon, and a 25 percent off sale that was good in-stores and online. In fact, more than half the days in August saw some kind of universal sale at the retailer. And even when there wasn't a big sale or coupon, there were also a number of department-specific sales, including a sale offering 40 percent to 50 percent off in the bedding, bath, window and luggage departments.

Dealnews confirmed what my inbox already told me: Banana Republic has a lot of sales, and they're usually very good. In July, for instance, it had five sales that all offered between 30 percent and 40 percent off.

Yes, sometime there's a lull of a week or so, but the magnitude of the discounts means it's almost always worth the wait. Sure, if you urgently need a new shirt for a job interview, you might have no choice. But if it's not a clothing emergency, why spend $100 when you can wait a few days and spend $60? 
The Gap is owned by the same company as Banana Republic, and it shares its enthusiasm for sales: Over a two-month period, it had nine sales that applied to all or most regularly priced items, so you're rarely more than a week away from a sale there. Discounts tended to fall in the 30 percent to 40 percent off range.

And what of Old Navy? The third of the Gap brands is also the cheapest, and that's probably why it's less keen on having big sales that take 40 percent off everything in the store. There were a few sales in the 20 to 30 percent-off range, but in general, the sales we saw were of the "up to 40 percent off activewear" variety. You can wait around to see if something you want goes on sale, but otherwise you might as well just take advantage of the already-low prices here.

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