Getting the most out of your smartphone

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October 3, 2013 by Caroline Mincks

I finally joined this century and got an iPhone.

I was resistant for a long time because I thought it was unnecessary and too expensive, but I finally gave in and I love it so much, you guysThe best part is the camera, since I take approximately 394230 pictures of Ethan a day, but I also love all the apps I can get for free. I’ve recently gone on an app binge, downloading just about any app that offers rewards for using it.

My goal is to cover at least 50% of my holiday shopping expenses with rewards from all of these apps. Realistic? Hopefully. Here are the apps I currently use to earn rewards and – occasionally – cash!

This app tracks workouts using GPS (you can connect it to RunKeeper) as well as sensing motion. Each workout must total at least 30 minutes to be counted. You choose how many days per week you’d like to exercise, then decide how much money you’re willing to place on the line per workout missed. For instance, if you choose to exercise four days a week with a $5 penalty but only manage two workouts, you’re out $10. If, however, you manage all four workouts, you get paid per completed workout from a pot split among fellow successful exercisers.
Pros: Easy to use, pays real cash, fairly quick payout
Cons: Can be hard to remember to use if push notifications are turned off, motion sensor not always perfect so sometimes workouts have to be stretched to count

An exercise app that offers rewards for your daily activity. You can connect to FitBit, RunKeeper, and several other apps in order to easily sync your various apps and earn maximum points.
Pros: Easy to use, many activities can count toward total (such as cleaning the house and playing with children)
Cons: Slow payout, sometimes rewards aren’t terribly exciting

This app uses mPoints and Pocket Change to reward its users, so you can earn for two separate rewards at once. It is simple to use and offers a wide variety in activities. Also offers GPS tracking for walks, runs, etc.
Pros: Easy to use, many activities can count toward total, opportunities for bonuses
Cons: Slow payout

You can be rewarded for watching TV! Viggle listens to your television and gives you one point per minute that you watch a program. There are occasionally sponsored bonuses, which can add to your points value quickly.
Pros: Easy to use, opportunities for bonuses, get rewarded for something you do anyway, good rewards
Cons: Slow payout without heavy use

This is probably the easiest app I’ve ever seen. Literally all you have to do is download it and make sure your GPS is turned on. Anytime you drive, walk, fly, take a train, etc. you will be rewarded points for every mile traveled.
Pros: Ridiculously easy to use, nothing to remember
Cons: Slow payout without heavy travel

This is one of my favorites. iBotta offers cash rewards (sort of like rebates) for purchasing certain items. All you have to do is complete offers for the items you’d like – things like writing a one-sentence testimonial about it, reading a fact, or answering a quick trivia question – and then scan your receipt and the barcodes after purchase. Offers change frequently enough to suit at least a bimonthly shopping schedule.
Pros: Easy to use, quick payout with moderate use, range of offers
Cons: Not many healthy options available for reward, sometimes must use social media to get credit (such as posting to Facebook in order to complete an offer)

Shopkick rewards you for checking in to specific stores and for glancing through lookbooks. They update daily, so even if you don’t go to the stores, you can rack up points in a decent amount of time. If you do go to the stores, the points build up so quickly! One trip to the mall can grant hundreds of points on the right day.
Pros: Easy to use, enjoyable to use, good rewards, quick payout
Cons: Sometimes the check-in doesn’t cooperate

Receipt Hog
A simple app that rewards you for scanning your grocery receipts. Earn “coins” and spins on a virtual slot machine for submitting valid food and beverage purchases, then exchange those coins for cash or an Amazon gift card.
Pros: Easy to use, get rewarded for something you do anyway, moderately fast payout
Cons: Only two reward choices available

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