Let’s face it, raising a family is expensive, especially this time of year. First there’s back-to-school shopping, then Halloween, followed by winter clothes shopping. And don’t get me started on Hanukkah and Christmas! I have four kids, so I’m always looking for ways to save a few bucks here and there.

Here are 5 phone apps that I use to save money almost every day. Oh, and did I mention they’re free?

5 Phone Apps That Save You Money-Gas Buddy

As soon as my low fuel light comes on, out comes my GasBuddy. With the press of a button, or should I say icon, this app uses your phone’s GPS to help you find the cheapest gas around. In just seconds, you’ll have a list of all the gas stations within a 6 mile radius. You can sort the list by distance to find the closest station, or by price, to locate the least expensive gas. And once you decide where you’re going to buy your gas, just press the Directions to Station tab to get the best route. Reported gas prices are consistently accurate, because they are reported by users of the app. You can use the app anonymously, but if you register and help keep gas prices updated, you’ll have opportunities to win prizes.

Key Ring
For the longest time, mainly because I didn’t want to bulk up my wallet and key chain with plastic cards, I was missing out on opportunities to earn discounts and other incentives. But when my local grocery store started offering discounts on gasoline with every $50 I spent on specified purchases, I knew I had to find a way around my aversion. The Key Ring app was the answer. Now, I have all my rewards cards with me all the time and I’m racking up the savings. In addition, I can also use it to store my library card, my gym card, and even my reusable grocery store coupons. And if that weren’t enough, no more worrying about losing your information; if you choose to register, you can use the app’s cloud service to back up your information, and even share your loyalty cards and e-coupons with your friends.

5 Phone Apps That Save You Money-KidsMealDealsKidsMealDeals
If you have kids, you know all too well how expensive it can be to take the family out to eat. Well, this app makes the check a bit easier to swallow. KidsMealDeals will provide you with a list of restaurants in your area that offer Kids Eat Free and other promotions for children. You can then choose a restaurant to get further details including the address, phone number, maps and directions, as well as the specific details of the promotion. Because this app integrates to my phone’s GPS, I find this particularly useful when I’m traveling or on vacation, and I’m not familiar with the area restaurants.

If you’re a price shopper, then you’re going to love this app. ShopSavvy uses your cell phone’s camera to scan an item’s bar code. It then searches the internet, and provides you with a picture of the item, a list of on-line retailers and local merchants who carry the same item, and their listed price. You can use this app to plan ahead and decide where to make your purchase; use it right in the store to see if someone else sells your item for less, or use it to take advantage of a store’s price matching policy.

Read Related: 10 Tips for Extreme Couponing

5 Phone Apps That Save You Money-Coupon SherpaCoupon Sherpa
Have you ever been standing in the check-out line at the store and noticed someone else with a coupon, and wished you had one too? Well, Coupon Sherpa gives you on-demand access to hundreds of internet coupons and discounts for both national and local retailers. Plus it’s a very easy-to-use application that provides you with up-to-date coupons issued by both local merchants and national retailers. Just as an example, this afternoon I was able to pull up and use a coupon for Sears which saved me 20% off my entire purchase.