Money might not buy you love, but it can buy you a whole lot of stuff and getting a good deal via your iPhone, well, that might just make you happy. For a bit.
You see, that iPhone in your pocket cost a lot of money, so why don’t we put it to use and get some of those bucks back. With the right apps, you can rack up rewards, get the right coupons, and even earn cold hard cash in return for your time. What’s not to love?
There are a lot of apps on the App Store aimed at making us all smarter shoppers, and even ones that just cut to the chase and give you cash for your efforts. After all, advertising costs a lot of money, so lots of companies are looking to cut out the middle-man and straight-up give people cash for their time. Even better – unlike the Wild West of the Internet, Apple actually tightly controls the App Store, so most scams are kept at bay. What we’re saying is, there are legit ways to make money on your iPhone.
In this article we’re going to look at two different types of deal: saving money with your iPhone, and making money with your iPhone. Both are worth your time.
Best coupon & rewards apps
We’ll start with saving money. The iPhone is an indispensable tool when you’re out and about shopping. Shoppers are becoming smarter by the minute, and having an internet-enabled iPhone with you at all times makes a big difference.
One of the most prominent apps you should look at is Shopkick; this rewards shoppers with gift cards while shopping. You get “kicks” for shopping at named stores, such as Macy’s, Best Buy, JCPenny, and Target. You don’t even have to buy stuff; you get kicks from walking in the store and scanning products with the iPhone. You turn these kicks into gift cards for stores like Starbucks, Target, and Sephora. You get to pick the gift card you want.
Coupons are also a time established means for stores to attract customers and get offers, but another app called RetailMeNot has turned the whole game on its head by giving you targeted coupons for big brands like Footlocker, Walmart, Kohl’s and JCPenney when you’re out and about. You just need to show the barcode on your iPhone instead of using a coupon.
Jet is another name making waves in smart shopping. Jet aims to make it easier and cheaper to buy household goods. It has a range of cleaning and laundry products, baby products, snack foods, and beverages uses a pricing algorithm to source the best prices. It keeps track of the stuff you buy, and then smartly offers to send you goods as you need them. You can also make big purchases with Jet, and get JetCash coupons in return (which can be used to buy smaller household goods throughout the year).
Rather than replacing your weekly shop, Grocery IQ looks to make it smarter. On the surface, it’s a shopping list app, and you add your to-buy items. But it’s smart and has barcode information for over a million items. So you can add items by scanning them. Over time it starts to create lists automatically, organizes them by store and even by aisle, making shopping easier. It then scans for coupons directly, so it makes sure you have them.
iBotta is a final name in shopping that cuts out all the coupons and offers you cash rebates for buying selected brands. There are 188 brands included, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and Frito Lay. The app tracks your age, gender, location, and shares it with retailers, who cut to the chase and give you money (rather than offers and deals). You’re still having to spend, but make money at the same time.
If you’re just looking to spend less than Flipp is a big name app that provides weekly ads from 800 stores like Walmart, Dollar General and Staples. It can show you what’s on offer at your local store, and be used to compare prices from all the big stores.
Best apps for making money with your iPhone
Most of the deals we’ve looked at so far involve spending money and either saving on the cost or getting coupons. Now we’re going to look into making money, which is easier than you think on an iPhone.
The big name here is GigWalk, which uses your iPhone’s GPS to pair you up with local micro jobs, mostly involved with visiting shops. It’s like the modern version of a mystery shopper, and you’re paid to visit stores, check that individual displays and offers are visible (you may be asked to take a photo), or buy and rate products. These “gigs” typically pay between $5 and $10 each, so you can earn decent money while you’re out and about. Jobs are densely concentrated on the east and west coast, and you’ll find more in cities.
While the cash you make won’t be a full-time job, you can find tasks nearby while shopping and do them while you’re out and about; racking up a few extra dollars as you go.
Rewardable is another big name in money-making on the iPhone, unlike GigWalk there are far more online jobs (and fewer real-world tasks). Most tasks involve downloading an app (and leaving a review on the app store), signing up with a website, taking part in online surveys, or watching videos.
You’re paid in points, or “acorns” as they’re known (100 acorns translated to us to 68¢), but these are converted to cash, and you get the money via PayPal. You pick up around 50 acorns (34¢) for each app you install, which isn’t bad considering you often don’t have to do anything other than installing it. The appeal for developers is that it’s cheaper than taking out ads.
Like GigWalk, Rewardable offers real-world tasks that may pay out directly. But it doesn’t have as many jobs available and seems to be mostly focused now on promoting app installation and online services. You might not ever get rich, but it’s a good way to make beer money in your spare moments.
When you’re done, you can checkout via PayPal and get the money in your bank account.
Buy & Sell
If you’re looking to get a little extra cash you can use your iPhone to buy and sell things from the home. Bookscouter and Cash4Books both enable you to sell off your old textbooks by comparing offers from buyback vendors. Use the camera to scan the barcode, and the apps search for websites looking to buy the book. Nonfiction books, especially college books, tend to be worth more than fiction and children’s books, but it’s a good way to dispose of old books and make a little cash.
Of course, eBay remains the top player in online selling, with its official app. Craigslist is a good alternative, and an app called cPro is good for second-hand selling and buying via the service (be careful to meet in a public place).
Gone is an interesting alternative to eBay for electronic products. It takes care of the entire listing process, all you have to do is snap some photos of your app. Gone then sets a price depending on an appraisal automated via an algorithm. The item is shipped to Gone’s warehouse, and it is inspected and put up for sale.
Vinted is one of the best fashion reselling app and a good way to offload old clothes. Like Gone, you have to send them to the site for inspection first, but this does make the service more reliable for buyers. Chairlish is a similar service for homeware and jewelry.
While you may not get rich on your iPhone, it can help you earn some extra cash. Just be careful when signing up for services, and spend your money to get a reward.