Where the smart (phone) money is: The best money-saving apps and websites

There are hundreds of apps and websites which claim to save users cash online. Some are cunning, some make you think ‘why has no one done this before?’ David Crookes rounds up the best of the bargains

Travel

With petrol prices sky-high, the AA says 76 per cent of motorists have decided to cut down on driving. You could save money by hitching a lift to work (liftshare.com/uk). Alternatively, tap your postcode or town into petrolprices.com or use its iPhone app and you can see just how wildly varied prices of petrol and diesel can be in your area. Android phone owners can download the acar app which tracks fuel mileage and costs and keeps a check on the general expenses of your vehicle. And for those who prefer the train, this link ind.pn/trainoffers has the latest rail offers. You can sign up to be informed the moment advance tickets become available at thetrainline.com/ticketalert.

Phone bills

Calling 0870 and 0845 numbers can be expensive. Dial from a mobile phone and you can expect to pay through the nose (although Vodafone has announced that the cost of phoning 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers is falling from 35p per minute to 12p). Use saynoto0870.com instead, it directs its readers to cheaper landline alternatives.

Shopping

During peak periods last Christmas, a delivery lorry left the Amazon distribution centre once every three min and 23 seconds. This year, hundreds of thousands of people will once again visit this giant internet retailer but if you start scouring for gifts now, you could bag yourself a bargain. Using camelcamelcamel.com (so good they named it three times), you can copy and paste an Amazon item's URL and discover how the price has fluctuated. Click "track" and the website will keep an eye on the price, sending you price-drop alerts. Just be ready to pounce. For food and grocery shopping, try mysupermarket.co.uk which compares prices at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Ocado.

Auctions

The auction site eBay might now be the refuge of big, high-street brands taking advantage of its "Buy Now" facility, but it's still chock full of individual sellers. Some of whom, erm, aren't very good at spelling. Canny buyers can take advantage of this fact by using the aptly named goofbay.com as well the likes of typozay.co.uk and fatfingers.com in scouring these badly written listings. These sites pick up on iPoods, camaras and Dizney items that regular eBay searchers would miss. More bargains can be had at nobids.net which looks for items that are about to end without a bid.

Hotels

UK travel watchdog Abta says that 53 per cent of consumers booked their foreign holiday through a high-street travel agent or tour operator over the past year. Booking online can be a headache with so many websites offering different prices for the same hotels and trips, so use a comparison website such as hotelscombined.com, which trawls through a host of major travel sites from ebookers to lastminute.com for the best prices. There are also deals aplenty at halfpricehotels.co.uk. And if you are booking a Travelodge, play around: often booking each night separately online gives a better price than booking two or more in one block.

Software

With more than 500 million users, Microsoft's Office software suite dominates 94 per cent of its market but that doesn't mean there are no viable alternatives. Far from it, in fact. Most obviously, Google's cloud-based home office system Google Docs lets you write documents and create spreadsheets online and share your work with others. Google Docs are now available for use offline too. For those who don't worship at the church of search, you can try the brilliant LibreOffice (www.libreoffice.org), a full productivity suite that won't cost you a bean. There's even a brilliant, free download alternative to Adobe Photoshop called GIMPshop. Despite the name, it's a smart choice.

Entertainment

There are plenty of ways to enjoy a cheaper night out with only a little bit of online digging. Freecinematicketsuk.co.uk is the place to go for special previews, especially if you live near a major city. The online equivalent of the West End's theatre discount stalls can be found at discounttheatre.com. But there are plenty of options for those who like to stay at home for fun instead. Use the site megashopbot.com to find you the cheapest price for books, games, CDs and DVDs.

Rewards

Excluding fuel, £1 of every £10 spent on retail purchases is spent online. It's not a money saver, but for those keen to receive their purchases as quickly as possible Shutl promises web shoppers for companies including Warehouse, Argos and Karen Millen that it will deliver within 90 minutes of ordering.

But it's a competitive market which is why many offer cashback and points schemes aimed at rewarding savvy shoppers. By signing up to sites such as quidco.com and mutualpoints.com, you can search for a retailer and see the incentives they are offering in return for a sale. Buying clothing from Tesco.com, for example, will earn you 5.05 per cent with the well-rated Topcashback.co.uk.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

    Ashdown Group: Junior SQL DBA - London - £39,000

    £37000 - £39000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Database Administrato...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Expanding creative studio requi...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin