Smartphone applications have the power to make our lives easier and often more enjoyable. Many also facilitate you earning money directly through your smartphone. Here are five free apps that can lend a hand to your bank account:
iBotta. Using iBotta, You pick the products you are going to buy on your next shopping trip and earn money by completing small tasks associated with those products. Tasks include earning $0.50 for answering one question about the product, or earn $0.25 for reading one fact about the product. Also, you can often score $1.25 for posting the product to your Facebook page. Next, you'll go do your shopping at one of the 35 participating national retailers, and verify your purchase by snapping a photo of your items, along with the corresponding barcode. iBotta then adds money to your account which you can withdraw via PayPal or donate to any school in the United States. (Available on iPhone and Android)
Receipt Hog. The Receipt Hog app is similar to the iBotta app but simpler to use. Essentially, it rewards you for snapping pictures of your grocery store receipts from your smartphone, as well as taking surveys on your shopping experience. You earn "coins," which you can redeem for cash or donate to the charity of your choice. Does it sound too good to be true? It's not, as the folks behind Receipt Hog make money by sharing gathered information with consumer brands. Your personal information stays anonymous and is not sold to third parties. (Available on iPhone and Android)
Saving Star. The Saving Star app lets you link your grocery store loyalty cards and collect your savings automatically. Once you have downloaded the app, select the eCoupons you want to take advantage of. When shopping, you'll use your loyalty card like you normally would, then the savings you collect is added to your Saving Star account. Once your account reaches the $5 minimum threshold, you can choose your payout option, which includes PayPal, bank deposit, or Amazon.com gift card. (Available on iPhone and Android)
iPinion. The iPinion app lets you earn points for participating in surveys on your mobile device. Survey topics include things such as movies, technology, and specific research panels. A hundred points earned translates into $1. Some surveys are good for up to 450 points. Points can be redeemed for cash or specific store gift cards. (Available on iPhone and Android)
GigWalk. Created by three former Yahoo! employees, the GigWalk app pays you to walk (or drive) around your local town and complete small "gigs" to earn cash. Gigs include things like taking a picture of a restaurant street menu, mystery shopping trips, or completing a small survey about a local business. Expect to earn $2 to $15 per gig; generally the longer the gig takes, the more money you will make. You get paid via PayPal and those who get high ratings from clients gain access to higher-paying gigs.
GigWalk uses your smartphone's GPS location info to help you find nearby gigs, so if you are out shopping anyways, why not make some extra cash? The app is currently available in eight major markets: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. (Available on iPhone and Android)
These five apps will take some time to set up and get familiar with. However, once you get past the introductory stage, they have the potential to put a little extra cash in your wallet each month. At the very least, they can help offset your monthly cell phone bill. Who wouldn't want that?
Kyle James runs a coupon website titled Rather-Be-Shopping.com which has a new iPhone coupon app that allows users to display and redeem coupons directly from their smart phone.