Can you legitimately make money from your phone?

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Our phones have turned into one of the most intimate devices in our lives. It’s a possession you never leave home without similar to your car keys or wallet. Smartphones have taken the “time waster” slot in our lives away from more traditional means like crossword puzzles. There’s so many needs that our phones have filled for us that making a little money with them seems like the next logical step right? We’ve all been drawn to the idea of making easy money over the years but most internet based money claims are usually scams that we know are too good to be true. However, not everything is too good to be true and after over a year of experimentation I have found legitimate ways to save AND earn money/rewards. All of these may not apply to our readers outside of the U.S. and for that I apologize but this is strictly written from my personal experiences. If any of you across the “pond”, or anywhere outside of our borders for that matter, have some legitimate ways of earning or saving money feel free to reach out or post them in the comments below. So without further ado here are a couple tips on how to make your smartphone use place a little spare change in your pockets!

Rewards programs are your friend

Now this is going to sound obvious but rewards cards/programs from the places you frequent are probably the simplest ways to save money, get free stuff, AND get money back! For years I ignored these programs. Every time I was asked if I wanted to sign up for a rewards program I quickly declined as I didn’t want to lug around cards or deal with the nuisance of redeeming stuff. It always seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth and for the sake of speedy convenient transactions I dodged them like the plague.

What changed my mind? Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay did. Personally, I’m a huge Samsung Pay, and sometimes Android Pay, user. I’ve gotten to a point where roughly 90% of my transactions every day are done with my phone. So when rewards cards were added to the Android Pay and Samsung Pay I decided to finally give them a shot and haven’t regretted it one bit. Yes it takes a little effort to set up (little being the optimal word) but it’s completely worth it. Whenever I go into a store now I simply turn the screen on, flash the appropriate bar code to the clerk to scan, and then pay. No physical wallet stuffed to the gills necessary, just your phone. Granted, to redeem most of what you earn you will also need to utilize the appropriate app for each store but those can all be stashed away in some random folder out of the normal use area of your phone. In my opinion this is a small price to pay.

cheap gasSo what does this get you? Well that depends upon the store. Some simply give you a couple bucks off
of your next purchase while others only give you the ability to buy products at reduced rates. Either way it all adds up over time. Other rewards programs will let you redeem your points for gift cards for all sorts of things like Netflix, Google Play, iTunes, etc… One of my favorite things is to redeem my rewards points at my local gas station for ridiculously cheap gas. Filling your car up for only $10 these days is amazing to say the least.

Use your receipts

Something I recently got into is using my receipts from various purchases to earn cash back. There are several apps out there like Ibotta and SavingStar that allow you to redeem coupons and rebates for real money or gift cards. I’ve been an Ibotta user for almost a year and here’s how it works; when you get home from the grocery store look for the items you bought at the store inside the app. If the app contains a rebate or coupon you scan the item’s bar-code with your phone, watch a short advertisement to “unlock” the rebate, and then scan your receipt. Sometimes you’ll have no matches for rebates while other times you’ll earn a about $5 or more. If you give the permission to use your phone’s GPS it can also send you alerts when there are rebates and coupons to be had from the store you’re in. Is this all work? Sure it is but what else are you going to be doing with the couple of minutes it takes to do this? For me it is completely worth it. Especially when some of the rebates are for things as common as milk, bread, and eggs?!

The next app that I’ve grown especially fond of is Receipt Hog. This app is so simple that I’m shocked that more people don’t use it. All you have to do is snap a picture of your receipt and they give you “points” in their app to do so. There are goals to hit and such which when attained will give you coins to use in their virtual slot machine to win extra points or a grand prize which is a little more rewarding for those of you that like to hit goals. Ultimately you get paid for supplying them with shopping info plain and simple. Some of you may not like to hand out information but I personally don’t care if the world knows how often I buy beer. If someone wants to pay me for that information then I’m game.

Apps worth using

Aside from the above mentioned set of apps that are more geared toward shopping there are a few Google-Opinion-rewardsother ways that I use to get a little extra scratch in the ol’ bank account or score things for free. One that I’ve used for a couple years now is Google Opinion Rewards. As an Android user for roughly six years I’ve dumped a small fortune in apps, in-app purchases, books, movies, and music. Almost every person reading this probably has spent more than they’d care to admit on all the aforementioned things. So if you’re an Android user there is simply no reason Google Opinion Rewards shouldn’t be on your phone. The premise is simple, answer short surveys and get credit to use in the Google Play Store. Each survey takes less than a minute to answer and you can sometimes make a decent amount of money for that minute. Even at ten cents a pop it adds up if you save up for awhile. Lord knows I have more than a handful of apps and rented movies that I have Google Opinion Rewards to thank for.

Not into actually doing anything at all to earn money but don’t mind giving up some information? Try Media Insiders TV MI Mobile. I know it sounds like a mouthful but it truly is a pain free endeavor. Basically you sign up to take place in their research panel, install their app, and it occasionally listens to what you’re watching on television. It uses this data to “better understand how users view and share digital, internet, mobile, TV, and social media across multiple media sources.” Make no mistake in that this app inherently is a little creepy, but again I don’t mind giving up information about what I’m doing. I just don’t fear “Big Brother” and this is doubly so when I’m rewarded for giving up my data. In my experience this app has acted in the background and I’ve barely noticed it. In about two months I’ve earned enough to snag a $10 gift card and at this rate I’ll be an awesome husband when I save my points for a $100 gift card for Sephora to give my wife at Christmas. She doesn’t need to know that I did practically nothing for said gift card right?!

Are you convinced yet?

I know that all of the above is not everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, I’m pretty sure that there are many of you that will scoff at all that I’ve written today and call me ignorant for happily giving up information about myself for money. To that I ask…is there anything in this world that pays you for absolutely nothing? The answer to that would be no. These are NOT by any means a way to get rich and most don’t give you any benefits up front. It will take months to reap any kind of truly beneficial results but does it really matter? If I weren’t doing any of this I would get absolutely nothing back from my phone in the form of monetary value. So if you’re anything like me I hope that this article helps you get that extra free soda or ridiculously cheap tank of gas.

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About The Author
Ryan St. Andrie
Father, husband, gearhead, comic lover, and tech geek. That's me in a nutshell.