What do crop27, bigbassscott, and 64airstream have in common?
They are all nicknames of people who are volunteering to help you save money on gasoline!
With the rise in prices, many people are searching for various ways to reduce consumption, or save money, and there's a smart phone app that's helping them out in the latter case. It's called Gas Buddy, and is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.
Even if you don't yet have a smart phone, you can still check gas prices daily, or even moment by moment, since the prices are updated whenever a volunteer uploads a new one, at http://www.gloucestertimes.com/gas or the website www.massachusettsgasprices.com.
For example, as this column is being written, the site quotes the price per gallon at the Gulf station at 120 East Main St. at $3.75 per gallon, and the price per gallon at the Mobil on Essex Avenue at $3.81. If you needed to purchase 20 gallons of gas, that would mean a difference in price of $1.20. Not much, maybe for just those 20 gallons, but multiply that by a tank per week, and the total saved is $62.40. Maybe the cost of cable TV for one month, or a few more groceries purchased. If your gas tank holds 40 gallons instead of 20, then you'd save $124.80, perhaps the equivalent of a month's worth of electricity.
The nice part of the Gas Buddy application is that volunteers can help keep it current. When you notice a price, and place it into Gas Buddy, you are helping others to save, too.
Another smart phone application that can save you money when you shop is called Card Star, available at www.mycardstar.com. Now, you can access all your "rewards cards" from your phone and finally have them out of your wallet and off your key ring! That might be an incentive to sign up for even more rewards cards, and save even more money.
Shop Savvy (www.shopsavvy.com) is an app that allows you to scan UPC, EAN or QR barcodes on items you might wish to purchase, and find the best deal on the item from either local, or online, merchants. Users can also create an alert to tell them when a product's price falls within a certain range. Comparison shopping has always saved money for consumers, but now you can do it without wasting gas going from store to store.
Consumers can save money on big ticket items as well. Www.TrueCar.com helps car buyers find out what others paid for the make and model they might wish to buy, as well as helping them find the dealer cost, and what others paid for the same car, to see if they are getting the best deal available in their area. It has a mobile app so that shoppers can easily check a make or model while at a dealership by using their smart phones.
While there are a lot of smart phone apps that are just plain fun, in this time of rising gas and food prices, it's nice to know that technology can help users save a little cash, too.
Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann's local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.