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Posted: 10:49 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

4 apps that pay you to use your phone

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Get more consumer advice on ClarkHoward.com and The Clark Howard Show.

By Joel Larsgaard

ClarkHoward.com


Smartphones cost consumers big money every month. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have one, but it is an added monthly expense. That’s why I love helping people ditch the cell contract for something more sensible that helps them save a bit more dinero every month.

But what if your cell phone didn’t exist solely to suck your wallet dry similar to your teenage children? What if you could get paid for using your smartphone? There are a few apps promising that very thing these days. Here are four that I find incredibly interesting.

Gigwalk
 - Available for Iphone and Android

Are you out of work these days? Or maybe just looking for a way to score a few extra bucks. Gigwalk is a creative new app that allows you to see businesses near you that are hiring for specific tasks. They’re not looking to bring you on full time, just to hire you to complete an assignment. One company might be paying $15 for a couple of photographs of their restaurant menu. Another may be offering $18 to review their service and write a review. A tantalizing $20 to interview a tenant renting their house pops up from someone else. Another might even offer as much as $100 if you’ll write some Craigslist ads for them. These are all real jobs posted right now on Gigwalk by the way. So check it out and see if there are any good gigs available near you. It varies greatly from market to market.

Is it worth it? This app is really cool. I can see it taking off in the near future as their presence spreads. The pros are that there is real money at stake. Not just pennies. The cons are that the jobs could be unreliable. And right now, the diversity of jobs are slim. In my city of 6 million people there is only one gig posted. In other cities there are many more. Many of them are posted by the same company asking for the same task to be completed in different parts of town though.

Shopkick - Available for Iphone and Android

Using this app can net you gift cards and other perks just for window shopping. Shopkick offers you incentives to check out specific stores and items inside of those stores.You’ll earn even more by making certain purchases that Shopkick recommends.  Macy’s, Old Navy, Target, Best Buy, and many more participate in Shopkick’s experiment. You’ll earn “kickbucks” by visiting those stores and you can earn even more by scanning certain brands with your phone and by purchasing certain items. You can redeem your kickbucks for gift cards, movie tickets, or even a Vespa. Although it’ll take you roughly 31,000 store visits to nab that sweet ride!

Is it worth it? Probably. But don’t let this be an excuse to go spending willy nilly like there’s no tomorrow. The rewards are pretty cool and the app is easy to use. Shopkick will even offer you discounts for visiting that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise – like 15% off at American Eagle. Just know that it might take you a while to earn perks like that $10 gift card. And even longer for that gorgeous Vespa.

Ibotta - Available for Iphone and Android

Looking to save more dough at the grocery store? Ibotta claims to help you out there. You can learn more about different products, watch videos, take polls, and like the company on facebook to earn money off of your bill at checkout. Go to the store and buy those products that you checked out on the app beforehand. Then scan your receipt and Ibotta will promptly send you the cash for your time to your Paypal account.

Is it worth it? Depends on how far you’ll go to pinch your pennies. I felt a bit silly reading about toilet paper to save a quarter and then taking a poll about why that toilet paper was so awesome to save another quarter. Ibotta features mostly name brands as well. The big savings at the grocery store come from generics. In my opinion there are much easier ways to save money.

It’s kind of amazing that these four apps could pay you some real money every month. Let me know what you think. Are you going to give any of these a try and pocket some extra dough? Or are you already using any of these? Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Locket- available for Android onlyNOT CURRENTLY PAYING YOU!

How many times do you pull out your cell phone in an hour? In a day? Locket is a new app that will pay you one cent every time you unlock your phone. Why? For looking at an advertisement, of course. Every time you go to your phone’s unlock screen you’ll see a very pretty ad. Seriously, they look pretty good. You’ll have the choice to either engage with it or not. Either way you’ll make a cent. Engaging with it means watching the movie trailer, going to the website, or grabbing the coupon that pops up.

Is it worth it? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. For me, not really. It already feels like there are enough pop up ads in my face wherever I go. If Locket paid better than 1 penny per view I would consider it. Since they cap out at a maximum payout of 3 cents an hour (every ad you view after that you don’t get paid for) it seems that Locket will be making all the dough, not you. The maximum you could make in a year with Locket is roughly $260. That sounds like a lot of money, right? But you would have to unlock your phone 3 times an hour, 24 hours a day to reach that amount. It’s likely you’ll earn just a small pittance from Locket and become annoyed that it takes you a few extra seconds to get to your Words with Friends app – to view even more ads. But at least it’s almost effortless!

Check out more money saving tips from Joel on his blog SaveOutsidetheBox.com or follow him on Twitter.

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