Never pay full price with these coupon-based smartphone apps

by Megan O'Neil

We all remember our mothers digging through the Sunday edition of the newspaper, clipping and cataloging coupons for her next shopping trip. And we all know that we swore not to turn into our mothers.

But no-one wants to pay full price for things that we think we can get at a discount. With a seemingly limitless supply of digital coupons and deals now available on your mobile device, you don’t have to. We have assembled the very best list of coupon-related smartphone apps for the iPhone, Android phones and BlackBerries that will keep your phone in your hand, and your money in your pocket.

Tap into deals with the iPhone

Groupon (free) is designed not only to connect you with discount products and experiences, but also to share with friends and family. You can buy a deal yourself – like a $19 whitewater rafting trip – and then refer it to someone else, or you can buy it directly for someone else as a gift. When you refer an item to a friend, you can earn Groupon dollars, saving yourself even more money. And when you go to use your coupons, you don’t have to print anything off. Just carry your iPhone with you.

Similarly, the free LivingSocial app uses location-based software to create a list of discounts and deals in your area that are then emailed to you. But this app has an additional feature that is designed specifically to connect you with great – and discounted – vacations. For example, I came across a package for a two-night stay at a winery in Napa, breakfast included, for $300 bucks.

Coupon Sherpa (free) is the app to have for those who shop by habit. That’s because the app allows you to shop for coupons and discounts by store, and by product category. So if you are heading to Target anyway, open up the Coupon Sherpa and see if any of your favorite items are on sale. It is always fun to save money, even if it’s only $5 off some kitty litter.

The free MobiQpons app is lighter on the exotic vacations, and heavier on deals for the local drugstore. It is probably best used when you are heading out for some local errands and need an oil change – $5 off at Jiffy Lube – or an ice cream - $3 off any cake at Baskin Robbins. Deals can also be searched for by store and by category, and there is something for everyone. One additional cool feature is a savings tab: it tallies up exactly how many coupon dollars you have logged.

Checking multiple coupon apps for the best deals can get a little time consuming. For those who are eager to get straight to the point, there are a couple of handy discount aggregators. The Daily Shopper app (free) allows you to construct a list of stores that you want to see coupons from. If, for example, you get all of your children’s toys from WalMart, you can sign up for notifications from that store alone. Similarly, the free iDealyzer Pro app pulls deals and coupons from discount sites such as Woot! and Groupon so you can review them all in one spot.

Discount offerings on Android

Most popular apps on the iPhone are also available on the several dozen of smartphones and tablets powered by Google’s Android mobile operating software. Accordingly, Groupon and LivingSocial can also be downloaded for free onto Android devices.

Android owners who want to brag about daily deal apps not available on the iPhone can show off Dealleak - The Daily Deal Portal. This free application aggregates the best offerings from several daily deal providers and compiles them onto one app. Dealleak lets you filter results by either new or close-to-expiring deals. It also has a great tool to let you search for deals within your proximity.

More information about these and other useful (and free!) coupon apps for Android can be found here.

Best of BlackBerry

While there are a lot of great things about BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, having a variety of useful coupon recommendations is not one of them. BlackBerry’s App World store has a small fraction of the number of apps available from the iTunes App Store and Android Market.

Still, there is an official Groupon app for BlackBerry to go along with three additional Groupon clients that help users find deals and in one case literally map out where deals are offered across the globe. As the unofficial Groupon apps can be hit and miss, it pays (and saves) to stick with the real McCoy.

If you’re willing to spend a buck (or 99 cents) to save a few dollars, wootSnoop for BlackBerry is also a compelling option.