The Money Files #1- Apps I Use to Make and Save Money

The Money Files 1- Apps I Use to Make and Save Money

As a twenty-something, I’m always trying to save money in any possible way that I can. Also because I’m a twenty-something, I use apps to make that happen. Some apps are awesome money-makers, and some that claim to be are, well, not. Some require you to spend money to make money, some don’t require it but you’ll only make two cents a day if you don’t, and some will give you a decent amount for free. This can all be very daunting to sift through, so I’m here to do the heavy lifting for ya. Here’s a run down of all the apps I use to make or save money, and the pros and cons of each.

1. Swagbucks

Pros

  • There are lots of ways to make Swagbucks. You can get a few by visiting websites, watching videos online, searching via their search engine, shopping online, playing games, taking surveys, etc. They also hide Swag Codes all over the internet that you can find and type in for more bucks.
  • They have a lot of partnerships, so their gift card offers are really good. You can get almost anything from Starbucks gift cards to phone data to travel discounts.

Cons

  • You’re not getting actual money, you’re getting “Swagbucks.” A Swagbuck equals out to about a penny in real-life-people money. Like, I have 6,200 SBs right now, and that equals about $62 in gift cards.
  • The big bucks come from doing things that cost money, which is to be expected, but not great for someone who rarely shops online.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell what you have to do to get the SBs, and sometimes the reward is delayed, so you don’t know for sure if it worked until six weeks later when you’ve completely forgotten about it.

2. Shopkick

Pros

  • You get points just by walking into stores sometimes, and the other way you can get points is by scanning products in the store. You can get enough Kicks for rewards without having to spend any money.
  • In addition to having the scanning and point systems, they also give you coupons to lots of popular stores.
  • You can get extra points by checking out their product collections and watching ads.

Cons

  • They don’t have as many partnerships as Swagbucks, so they don’t have as many rewards.
  • It takes 250 Kicks to make a dollar, which is a lot if you ask me.
  • I once accidentally bought a reward because I was holding my phone with the screen unlocked while looking for the products I needed to scan. When I contacted them about it, they strongly insinuated that I was lying about what happened because they make it “pretty hard to do that.” Well, I wouldn’t know how hard it is to do it, because I wasn’t looking at the damn screen when it happened. As it turns out, the rewards are non-refundable. Luckily, it was Christmas time and I could find a use for $25 to Yankee Candle.

Inbox Dollars

Pros

  • You get actual cash, not points that translate to something sort of like cash
  • There are tons of ways to make money, including e-mails sent straight to your inbox. For each one you open, you get two cents. It’s not a lot by any means, but you don’t get two cents to open any of your other e-mails.
  • You can also get Sweeps, which are basically raffle tickets. They have something like this on other sites, but you have to gamble your money in order to get a chance at more. This site has a separate bargaining tool for the sweepstakes, which lowers the *stakes* if you will.

Cons

  • You have to earn $30 before you can withdraw your money to your Paypal account
  • It’s basically the same as Swagbucks, but with actual money and the Sweeps feature.

Field Agent

Pros

  • This one pays in cash
  • It’s higher paying because it’s a secret shop app, where you have to follow job instructions to get the cash. I’ve seen jobs go for up to $15 if they’ve been sitting for a while.
  • You can cash out anytime, whether you’ve got $2 or $100.

Cons

  • Depending on your location, you may not get many job offers. I’m lucky to live in an area with lots of retail and chains nearby, but if you don’t, you might not make as much.
  • They can sometimes be picky about what they want. For example, I once stood in Whole Foods taking pictures of the local ice cream section for like twenty minutes, and after submitting the job, they told me they couldn’t pay me because some of the pictures weren’t perfectly clear. I understand the need for the pictures to be perfectly clear, but it’s frustrating when that happens.

Ebates

Pros

  • You get a $10 signup bonus and you can choose a store to get it from
  • You get cashback and rebates for shopping online at tons of stores. Literally hundreds of stores. So many. And good ones, too. Target, Chegg, Groupon, Amazon, etc.
    • I find that I use it most during textbook-buying seasons. Last semester, I had a textbook I could rent for $44 from both Amazon and Chegg, but Ebates was giving 3% cashback at Chegg, so I was able to get it cheaper from there. (Plus, Chegg always gives free stuff and you can usually get yourself free shipping but that’s a post for another day)
  • In addition to the cashback, Ebates also offers coupons
  • They have a referral program where you can earn money if your friends join and earn money

Cons

  • You have to earn a certain amount of money before you’re able to cash out.
  • The cashback amounts always change, so you can’t like, notice the amount you get at a store and come back to it later. It could have been at 9% and then be at 3% when you come back.

Qmee

Pros

  • You literally have to do zero work. You just sign up, add the little icon to your toolbar, and let the money roll in.
  • When you browse for products on the internet, a Qmee sidebar sometimes pops up with similar products it thinks you might want to check out. If you click on them, you usually get a payout of 5-10 cents.
  • It works on lots of sites, like Amazon and Google. I got a couple rewards shopping online at Target the other day, too.

Cons

  • It’s extremely sporadic and the payout is extremely small. I forgot I had it because I hadn’t seen or heard from them in months. I’ve had Qmee installed for over a year I think and I have $1.14.
  • Sometimes the sidebar pops up and you get all excited for your seven cents, and it turns out to just  be coupons for similar stores, which is usually pretty disappointing.
  • If you click for the reward and don’t stay on the page very long, it can tell, and it won’t offer you rewards as often. That’s how they try to get you to only click on things you’d really be interested in, but no one wants to pass up cash, so it’s really just a frustrating roadblock to money.

Ibotta

Pros

  • I love this app, because it gives you money back on things you were going to buy anyway.
  • They’re partnered with hundreds of stores and products.
  • Any of your Facebook friends who are also on the app are considered your “teammates,” and their rebate activity helps you all to get bonuses.
  • You can “nudge” your friends which is basically useless as far as I can tell, but my old roommate and I nudge each other just to be annoying sometimes and it’s gotten us into a funny sort of war, just like poking on Facebook.

Cons

  • I really love this one, but the only con I can think of is that it sometimes takes a few days to get your rebate once you send in your receipt. Not a big deal, but for the sake of consistency I’ve added a con.

Are there any other good money-saving or money-making apps out there? Leave a comment sharing your experience with these or others. It’s also a great idea to share this post and be the good samaritan that helps your friends save bunches of money .

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