I would say I’m a pretty decent shopper. In fact, I’m really good when it comes to getting in and out of stores as quickly as possible. Once a week or so, it’s my turn to run out to Target or to get groceries for the family. I always imagine myself being timed, weaving through the other shoppers, making sure I snag everything I need, then speeding back to the register while racing against the clock.
It’s not that I don’t like shopping, it’s just that I usually have other things on my mind, things like work and stuff that needs to get done around the house—and fantasy football, of course. Shopping feels like an obstacle between me and the more important things I want and have to do (see: fantasy football).
Recently, though, I’ve gotten into a new sort of game: Android and iPhone apps that make you money while you shop. It’s really changed shopping for me. These apps—which mostly involve completing tasks while you’re out at the store—are engaging, both because they turn shopping into the sport I’ve always kind of imagined it to be and because they let me save money that I can spend elsewhere.
I’ve actually been toying with a few different apps, getting a feel for how they work, the tech involved, the amount of savings that are possible with each, and whether or not I actually like to use them, which is probably the most important factor. Now, I’m ready to share with you what I’ve learned. My wife has also picked up the habit, and we’ve become a can’t-be-beat point-getting team, making money while we shop with these apps. Here are a few of my favorite recommendations. Go, team!
Slidejoy: A Simple App That Pays to Replace Your Pics
I have the coolest picture on the home screen of my phone. It’s my wife and me on our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, tanned (and relieved the wedding went well), knee deep in bright blue water. I’m sure you have a cool picture on your home screen as well, either of your kids, a vacation, or your favorite team. There is, however, a way you can use your home screen to make money while you shop, if you’re willing to sideline that family pic, via smartphone apps.
I tried this app for myself for a while before ultimately going back to my honeymoon photo. Slidejoy isn’t the only app that pays you to have ads on your home screen while you shop, but it is the one I used longest and liked the best.
- How Slidejoy works: With Slidejoy, I was making about $10 a month, although there were some months I only made $5 and others where I made $15. All I had to do was check my phone, then swipe left to learn more about a news story or promotion or swipe right to use my phone. I made the same amount of money regardless of whether or not I clicked on the ads, so I basically got paid just to have it on my phone.
- The tech: The only problem I found was that this app is only available on Androids. When I switched to a new iPhone recently, I had to give it up.
Mobee: An Android and iPhone App That Makes You Money
When I was a kid, I used to watch Inspector Gadget. Each time he was assigned to a new mission, the message would self-destruct, even though it was just a piece of paper. Sometimes I think about that when I’m using one of my rewards apps because it shows me missions on my phone that are nearby, missions you can make part of your routine when you go out shopping, and it makes me laugh a little.
I’ve tried quite a few of these apps. Some have more missions than others, and some have super simple missions, like going to Starbucks and answering some questions about the quality of the service and of the coffee, while others have harder missions like straightening up a product display and taking a picture. Mobee is the app I enjoyed the most, though.
- How Mobee works: There’s nothing super unusual about Mobee that sets it apart. Where I live, it just seems to have the most missions with the simplest objectives and the highest amount of cash back. Most missions on Mobee give you between 250 and 750 points. Once you earn about 500 points, you can cash it in for a gift card to Starbucks or any other places. I usually go with Starbucks, so the way I see it, doing a mission or two every time I go out shopping earns me a free cup of morning coffee that’s much better than the burned stuff they have in the breakroom at my office. Not too shabby.
- The tech: Mobee is available for both iPhone and Android.
Shopkick: The Best Android and iPhone App to Make Money While You Shop
Growing up, I was a Cub Scout. I never quite made it to Boy Scouts because I got into video games and that was that, but I did go on a few camping trips with the Cubs. My favorite part was always the troop scavenger hunt, where I’d get to run around the woods with my friends looking for clues to find some special item.
This last app on my list basically turns every trip to the store into a scavenger hunt for points, called kicks, which you can then redeem for gift cards. It’s like making money while you shop. It’s probably my favorite of the bunch, and it’s definitely the one I use the most.
- How Shopkick works: Shopkick is a shopping rewards app that gives you kicks for going to the store, scanning barcodes on certain items, and making purchases. I have Shopkick open on my phone all the time because it sends me push notifications whenever I get within proximity of a chance to score more points. That’s what makes it like a scavenger hunt. How it works is pretty simple, too. Sometimes I’ll be out—alone or with the family—and I’ll see a notification. I’ll make a quick stop into a store just to score points. Other times, I’ll get points from Shopkick for finding certain items while I’m in Target or any other store where I was already going anyway. It’s essentially a free app that pays you to grocery shop, among other things. In my opinion Shopkick’s notifications and points system makes it both the coolest tech and the platform I engage with the most when it comes to both Android and iPhone apps that make you money while you shop.
- The tech: Shopkick is available for both iPhone and Android.
Now that I’m using apps that pay me to shop, I’m definitely kicking butt with the budget and also having way more fun when I’m out. I mean, it’s a natural fit for me because I use apps to do basically everything these days, from booking flights to keeping my work calendar to checking my fantasy football scores every Sunday (and Thursday and Monday…) Now, I’ve been able to integrate the app life I live into my weekly shopping. It’s easy and not a bad way to spend an hour, which are two things I never expected to say about running out for diapers.
Learn how you can start getting paid to shop before the next time you have to make a Target run. Download Shopkick’s free app and get ready to be wowed. Welcome to the fun, Shopkicker!
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