First Person: Using My Smartphone to Make and Save Money

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For the longest time, my family and I decided to hold off on getting a smartphone. Yet, we finally gave in and purchased one smartphone for the family. We enjoy having the phone while traveling. In addition, it's nice to have a camera and unlimited information at our fingertips. Yet, since the data package runs us an additional $30 a month, I knew I had to come up with a way to make our smartphone profitable. Here are a few ways using my smartphone makes and saves our family money.

Rewards Programs

I use reward apps that give me money for engaging in leisure activities. For instance, Viggle is an application that rewards me for watching television shows. While I don't have cable, I can check into shows that are streaming. In addition, I take advantage of watching short ads and playing trivia. All of these actions give me points which I can redeem for perks like gift cards. I also use a shopping app called Shopkick that gives me points simply for walking into stores. It also allows me to take pictures of bar codes for additional points. Like Viggle, it gives me points that I can redeem for gift cards. Most of the gift cards are instant or e-gift cards so they can be used immediately. I make about $25 in gift cards a month. I don't devote a lot of time to these programs and it's easy money. Thus, for me it's a win-win.

Comparison Applications

I usually won't buy something until I think I've found the lowest price. Comparison shopping helps me do just that. Comparison shopping apps help me compare prices on the go. Pricegrabber is a must-have app for comparison shoppers. This one enables me to search by product name, UPC or other ways to find great deals. It also has a bar code scanner and an option to sort products by price, popularity or rating. A Gas Buddy app allows me to find the cheapest price for gas. The last time I used this app, I found gas for 20 cents per gallon less than another gas station. The stations were only about one mile away from each other. Thus using this app can save me close to $10 a month on gas. It's also very helpful while traveling.

Coupons

I use paper coupons. However, it is so much more convenient to go paperless. Apps like Coupon Sherpa have a lot of coupons to retail stores and restaurants. There are both in-store and online coupons. I receive plenty of 15%-20% off offers this way.

All of the money saving applications I use are free for download. I like saving money without having to pay money upfront.

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