Smartphones cost consumers big money every month. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have one, but it is an added monthly expense. That’s why I love helping people ditch the cell contract for something more sensible that helps them save a bit more dinero every month. But what if your cell phone didn’t exist solely to suck your wallet dry similar to your teenage children? What if you could get paid for using your smartphone? There are a few apps promising that very thing these days. Here are four that I find incredibly interesting.
Locket – available for Android only
How many times do you pull out your cell phone in an hour? In a day? Locket is a new app that will pay you one cent every time you unlock your phone. Why? For looking at an advertisement, of course. Every time you go to your phone’s unlock screen you’ll see a very pretty ad. Seriously, they look pretty good. You’ll have the choice to either engage with it or not. Either way you’ll make a cent. Engaging with it means watching the movie trailer, going to the website, or grabbing the coupon that pops up.
Is it worth it? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. For me, not really. It already feels like there are enough pop up ads in my face wherever I go. If Locket paid better than 1 penny per view I would consider it. Since they cap out at a maximum payout of 3 cents an hour (every ad you view after that you don’t get paid for) it seems that Locket will be making all the dough, not you. The maximum you could make in a year with Locket is roughly $260. That sounds like a lot of money, right? But you would have to unlock your phone 3 times an hour, 24 hours a day to reach that amount. It’s likely you’ll earn just a small pittance from Locket and become annoyed that it takes you a few extra seconds to get to your Words with Friends app – to view even more ads. But at least it’s almost effortless!
Update: Locket doesn’t pay money anymore. I have deleted the app from my phone. BUT, there is another great app that does just what Locket used to do – and it does it better. It’s called Slidejoy. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now. You aren’t going to get Warren Buffet rich from it but expect to earn $3-5 a month just for having an ad on your lock screen. Some might scoff at that but a few extra bucks every month has never hurt me!
Gigwalk – Available for Iphone and Android
Are you out of work these days? Or maybe just looking for a way to score a few extra bucks. Gigwalk is a creative new app that allows you to see businesses near you that are hiring for specific tasks. They’re not looking to bring you on full time, just to hire you to complete an assignment. One company might be paying $15 for a couple of photographs of their restaurant menu. Another may be offering $18 to review their service and write a review. A tantalizing $20 to interview a tenant renting their house pops up from someone else. Another might even offer as much as $100 if you’ll write some Craigslist ads for them. These are all real jobs posted right now on Gigwalk by the way. So check it out and see if there are any good gigs available near you. It varies greatly from market to market.
Is it worth it? This app is really cool. I can see it taking off in the near future as their presence spreads. The pros are that there is real money at stake. Not just pennies. The cons are that the jobs could be unreliable. And right now, the diversity of jobs are slim. In my city of 6 million people there is only one gig posted. In other cities there are many more. Many of them are posted by the same company asking for the same task to be completed in different parts of town though.
Shopkick – Available for Iphone and Android
Using this app can net you gift cards and other perks just for window shopping. Shopkick offers you incentives to check out specific stores and items inside of those stores.You’ll earn even more by making certain purchases that Shopkick recommends. Macy’s, Old Navy, Target, Best Buy, and many more participate in Shopkick’s experiment. You’ll earn “kickbucks” by visiting those stores and you can earn even more by scanning certain brands with your phone and by purchasing certain items. You can redeem your kickbucks for gift cards, movie tickets, or even a Vespa. Although it’ll take you roughly 31,000 store visits to nab that sweet ride!
Is it worth it? Probably. But don’t let this be an excuse to go spending willy nilly like there’s no tomorrow. The rewards are pretty cool and the app is easy to use. Shopkick will even offer you discounts for visiting that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise – like 15% off at American Eagle. Just know that it might take you a while to earn perks like that $10 gift card. And even longer for that gorgeous Vespa.
Ibotta – Available for Iphone and Android
Looking to save more dough at the grocery store? Ibotta claims to help you out there. You can learn more about different products, watch videos, take polls, and like the company on facebook to earn money off of your bill at checkout. Go to the store and buy those products that you checked out on the app beforehand. Then scan your receipt and Ibotta will promptly send you the cash for your time to your Paypal account.
Is it worth it? Depends on how far you’ll go to pinch your pennies. I felt a bit silly reading about toilet paper to save a quarter and then taking a poll about why that toilet paper was so awesome to save another quarter. Ibotta features mostly name brands as well. The big savings at the grocery store come from generics. In my opinion there are much easier ways to save money.
It’s kind of amazing that these four apps could pay you some real money every month. Let me know what you think. Are you going to give any of these a try and pocket some extra dough? Or are you already using any of these? Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.
[photo courtesy of Yago]
15 Comment responses
Great list! I need to check these out.
Thanks Michelle. Let me know what you think of them once you check them out.
It doesn’t look like Gigwalker is available for Android, but I did sign up for Locket. It may only be a few cents an hour but it all saves up!
It is available for Android. It isn’t displayed very well on their website though. Type it in a search in the google play store and you’ll see it. Report back on how it goes earning money on your smartphone!
Actually, I just clicked on the Android box to sign up to be a Gigwalker on the page where you can choose between the Iphone or Android versions and it took me to a page to register if you want to be included in future beta testing for the andorid version. It apparently is not available yet. I did sign up for potential future notification about the beta testing though.
Try going through the actual google play store. I downloaded the app and it worked totally fine for me. It is definitely odd that both of you are having trouble. I really think they just haven’t updated their website.
Great list of apps Joel. I didn’t even know such apps existed.
My wife just got her first smart phone (Galaxy S4) and, when it comes to apps, we don’t know what we don’t know. Can you recommend some of your favorite apps? The more the merrier – I still have a feature phone so I’m of very little help to her.
Glad they were helpful Brian.
I really love having a smartphone although I will say I’m not an app addict. I use Twitter, Netflix, Instagram, Mint (keeping track of where the $ goes), Dealnews, Redfin (for looking up properties), Untappd (for keeping track of the awesome beers I drink), dropbox, Google Keep (similar to evernote), Trip Advisor (best travel app), and a few news apps like NPR. Oh, and definitely Scoutmob if you have it in your city. That saves me crazy money going out to eat.
Got it. I’ll pass them along to her. Thanks Joel.
No problem! I hope she enjoys her new phone.
A great idea. Unfortunately, I don’t see any for a WindowsPhone. Any WindowsPhone suggestions out there?
Unfortunately they aren’t available for Windows Phone. I’ll look into that and try to keep Windows Phone users in mind for the future. Windows phone has far fewer apps available and far fewer of the most popular apps as well. The developers just aren’t taking to Windows Phone like they are to Android and iOS.
Just a follow-up, I ended up uninstalling Lockit. Unfortunately it’s just too much of a power drain on my Samsung Galaxy S3.
Bummer man. Thanks for the feedback though. As I said in the article, 1 cent per unlock just wasn’t enough for me to keep at it. If they raised it to 5 cents per ad I might reconsider.
Nice write up here for people who want to make a little cash for using their phone. In regards to the portion on Locket, the change in the earning scheme is pretty major. For those of you who liked the old system, check out tTap. Similar to Locket, but earn points every 20 minutes and cash out sooner ($1 minimum). Not to mention the major differences in the actual lock screen functionality.