You don't like to think about it, but between the upfront cost and the monthly data plan payments, your phone or tablet costs you a fair bit of money. Depending on which gadget and plan you pick, you can easily spend $1,000 or more over the course of two years.
What you might not realize is that your smartphone and tablet can make you money, too. No, we're not talking about selling your old phone when you get a new one or using it to run your own business, although both of those are good ideas. No, we're thinking of more everyday uses to save or make money. It's not as hard as you might think if you know about these apps.
1. Do tiny tasks for big payoffs
If you don't mind getting out and about, you can take small jobs around your city. These are things like verifying a display stand has been put up in a store, or the arrangements of products on a shelf. If you don't like to travel, some tasks can even be done from your living room.
Just grab Field Agent (Android, Apple; Free) and create a profile. Then do a few fast "screener" jobs that open up certain types of work. It could be taking pictures of your pet or the kind of beer you drink.
Once you're approved, you'll be able to take real jobs. These pay from $2 to $12 a task, which might not sound like much, but if you're already at the store or it's something you can do at home, it's no big deal.
Payments are sent through PayPal or Dwolla, so you will need a free account with one of them. Field Agent says it's paid out over $4.5 million to agents so far. Some of that could be yours if you get going now.
Another great app for this kind of work is TaskRabbit (Android, Apple; Free).
2. Get cash back for shopping
Shopping is something you have to do, so why not get some money back on products you've purchased? No, we're not talking about mail-in rebates, which take forever and can be hit or miss.
Ibotta (Android, Apple; Free) gives you instant rebates on items you purchase. You can use it at stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Sam's Club and many more. Plus, it works for online stores like Amazon and many retailers' online shops. You can even use it on top of other coupons, promo codes and discounts you might have for extra savings.
The money you get back from Ibotta can transfer to your bank account as cash via PayPal or Venmo. Or you can turn it into gift cards for Best Buy, Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon and more online places you or your family like to shop.
3. Give your opinion and get money
Whether it's a product, brand, movie, TV show, government policy or something else, you probably have an opinion. Now you can get rewarded for sharing that opinion.
Market research company Ipsos operates a service called i-Say. After you sign up, it will send you surveys about a wide range of topics. The average user gets about eight surveys per month.
You can sign up to get email notifications or occasionally check the website. To access and fill out surveys, you can log into the i-Say site on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Every complete survey gives you reward points you can use to exchange for gift cards or products at major retailers. Plus, every survey you finish gets you an entry into a drawing for prizes like overseas vacations, TVs, iPads, gift cards and more.
Ipsos is very clear that you won't get rich with i-Say, but it is good for a little extra spending money. You might also be a lucky winner and get a gift card or that gadget you were saving up for.
Another app for making money on opinions is iPoll (Android, Apple; Free).