How many times per day do you reach for your phone? According to this Gallup poll the answer is at least hourly.
I’m not pointing fingers here. Trust me, I know how addicting smartphones can be!
But what if, instead of mindlessly looking at social media and email very time you reached for your phone, you did something to better your finances? That could make a significant improvement, right? Probably more than you would think.
We’ve rounded up some of the best money making and money saving apps we could find. If you used these on a consistent basis you could potentially earn and save yourself at least an extra couple thousand per year.
Top Money Making Apps
While these apps aren’t going to replace your day job, using them is far more productive than scanning Facebook for the 110th time of the day. Am I right?
Used on a regular basis it’s very possible to earn an easy $50-$100 per month with these apps.
Apps Your Just Install And Make Money With
If you don't want to do anything but simply install an app to make money, check out Neilson Digital. You simply download the app and do what you normally do. The app runs in the background and you are entered to win rewards. Simple, easy way to get money for nothing! Download the app here.
Mobile Expression is a similar app for iPad. You can earn rewards for installing it and leaving it on your device for at least 90 days.
Another app is Smart Panel. With Smart Panel, you get $15 for installing an app for 2 weeks, then $5 per month ongoing. That's $75 per year for doing nothing but installing an app on your mobile device!
A new app that just came out is QuickThoughts. You can get QuickThoughts here. This app gives you free Apple iTunes Cards (on iOS) or free Amazon giftcards (on Android) for just filling out surveys on your app.
Slidejoy is an app you can download to your Android that will display an ad on your lock screen. You still unlock your screen like you normally would by swiping right or you can swipe left to learn more about the ad being shown you.
You’ll earn $5-$15 per month regardless of whether you choose to learn more about a particular ad or not. That’s not too shabby for installing an app on your phone and letting it run in the background.
If you’re not highly sensitive to advertisements this could be a good app for you try.
(P.S. This app is currently only available for Android.)
Inbox Dollars is by far one of my favorite “easy” ways to earn extra cash. In fact, I’ve used this site to earn Christmas shopping money for several years now.
With InboxDollars you have the ability to earn money in several ways:
- Searching the internet
- Taking Surveys
- “Reading” Emails (which is pretty much just viewing advertisements)
- Referring Others
- Signing Up for Special Offers
While you’re definitely not going to get rich with InboxDollars you can make a pretty decent amount over the course of a year with extremely minimal effort.
Here’s a look at my current earnings: (I’m up over $400 for the year – which definitely plays a large part in my Christmas shopping fund!)
You need to earn $30 before requesting a payment.
If you’re looking for a sneaky way to get healthier plus earn a little cash, the Pact app is for you.
After downloading the Pact App you’ll commit to doing certain healthy living activities like working out, logging your meals, or eating more fruits and veggies. You’ll also set a certain amount of money that you’ll pay if you DON’T meet your goals.
If your goals are met you can earn $0.30-$5.00 per week depending on how many pacts you made and kept. If you fall off the bandwagon you lose the money you wagered.
Swagbucks is very similar to InboxDollars only they lack the “reading email” portions of earning. With Swagbucks you earn points that are called “SB’s.” You only need 2200 SB’s for your first $25 Amazon gift card, which isn’t hard to accumulate.
Swagbucks offers many different prizes and gift cards you can cash in your points for, including PayPal cash.
Viggle wants to know what shows you’re watching and what music you’re listening to. Every time you let them know they’ll reward you for it.
To earn money with Viggle simply download the app and then activate it when you’re watching TV or listening to music. Viggle will auto-match to the TV show or song and will reward you with points.
You can cash in your points for movies, songs, e-books, and audiobooks.
Field agent is a pretty cool app that allows you to do tasks for businesses. Common jobs would be price checking items at certain stores or even taking photos of certain merchandise. Jobs generally pay in the range of $3-$12 and you can withdraw the money you’ve earned via PayPal.
Receipt Hog is another extremely easy app you should add to your money making collection.
Receipt Hog is simple: after you’re done shopping take a photo of your receipt and upload it to Receipt Hog. You’ll then earn coins that can be redeemed for cash or Amazon gift cards.
Another way for you to get paid for your normal shopping is through an app called Ibotta. With Ibotta you can unlock rebates on products your normally buy by completing simple tasks. After you purchase the product with the available cash reward, simply scan the UPC of that product and upload your receipt to the app. Your cash reward will be deposited in your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
You can also earn with Ibotta by linking up your store loyalty cards through your account and looking for cash rewards before shopping online.
Top Money Saving Apps
When it comes to the money making apps having a wide variety can make your earnings much larger – especially since most of the money making apps are for specific tasks. Spending only a minute on each per day can really add up.
However, with the money saving apps it’s better to narrow down to the select few that you will really use and that will make the absolute biggest impact on your wallet.
These are my favorite money saving apps.
Personal Capital has very quickly become the most popular money management software in the financial world. This is because Personal Capital allows you to link up all of your banking and investing accounts and will give you a snapshot of your personal finances at any time.
Personal Capital tracks your net worth for the past three months, shows you a breakdown of your income and expenses, your investments asset allocation and more. They even have some nifty tools like their new retirement planning calculator.
Digit is an app that could revolutionize the way you save money.
Here’s how it works: you install the Digit app and connect your bank account. Digit will recognize your spending patterns and will move small amounts of money (that you won’t miss or need based on their algorithms) from your checking to your Digit savings account. The typical withdrawal is in the range of $5-$50.
You communicate with Digit through text message to check your account balance, withdraw your savings (you can withdraw at any time) or to tell Digit to save more or save less money.
If you’re not good at saving money yourself Digit is one app that is definitely worth checking out. Even if you are good at saving money Digit might be able to help you step things up a notch.
Another cool money app that will help you increase your savings rate is Acorns.
Once you create an account and link up your banking info Acorns will begin rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and investing that amount for you. Your money will be invested in ETFs and Index Funds and you can add more money to your account anytime you want.
If you want to keep tabs on your credit score (which is always a good idea), Credit Sesame is a good app to have installed.
You can use Credit Sesame’s free app to view your credit score and credit report
With the app, you can monitor your total debt, including credit cards, loans and mortgage. You can see how your credit score has changed, learn how to improve your financial standing, and keep your financial information safe.
Use That Idle Time Wisely!
The next time you’re surfing Facebook on your phone remember, you could instead be making your phone work for you.
Start experimenting. While I highly doubt that every single one of these apps will be right for you, there’s no doubt that at least a few of these could help improve your financial situation.
Finally, if you're looking for investing apps, check out our list of investing apps that let you invest for free.
What’s your favorite money app?