How to make money with your smartphone
You already know what it's like to pay for your smartphone.
(And how!) Wouldn't it be nice if your smartphone could pay you for
It can, if you stock it with a few special apps. Just by going
about your daily routine -- shopping in stores, watching TV, and so
on -- you can earn points good for rewards, prizes, or even cash.
In most cases it costs nothing for the app or the service that
provides it. Your only investment is a few minutes of your
Get paid to shop
The only thing better than finding a sale? Getting a reward
every time you set foot in a store, buy something, and/or point
your camera at a product.
, for example, rewards you for scanning
product barcodes, checking in at various stores, and completing
offers on your phone. You can redeem your points for things like
Amazon and Walmart gift cards. Shopkick
works similarly, awarding
points when you walk into stores like Best Buy and Old Navy, and
more points when you actually buy something.
serves up offers for various products at
grocery stores, drugstores, and popular retail chains like Target.
Before you head out, just choose the products you plan to buy. When
you're done shopping, simply scan your receipt to score cash
rewards. (Think of it as reverse couponing.)
Get paid to watch
Couch potato? How about couch earner? Some apps will
actually pay you to watch TV shows and videos.
For example, Jingit
pays you cash to watch ads on your PC,
smartphone, or tablet. Play a few in the background while you're
making dinner, or knock out some commercials while you're stuck in
line at the post office. It adds up. (The Jingit app also offers
store check-in rewards, much like CheckPoints and Shopkick.)
If you're a fan of Swagbucks, which earns you points for all
kinds of online activities, be sure to grab the Swag Bucks TV Mobile app
. Every time you watch a video
clip, you score extra Bucks.
Finally, there's Viggle
, a must-have app for TV junkies. Just
watch your favorite shows to earn points you can redeem for gift
cards, gadgets, and even charitable donations.
Get paid to share
Feeling generous? Why not earn a few bucks in return? For
example, if you have a spare room to rent (or even a spare house),
use the Airbnb app
to snap photos, schedule
availability, and accept or decline reservation requests.
Or how about renting out your driveway when there's a big game
or other special event happening nearby? Parking Panda
lets you list an available parking
space, upload an image, set your price, and monitor bookings.
Finally, there's Foap
, which pays you to share the photos you snap on
your iPhone. Just upload any photos you're comfortable turning into
stock artwork. Once they're approved, they're made available via
the Foap Market. When a company or individual buys one, you get
Have you found any other apps that can turn your smartphone
into a profit machine? Share your favorites in the comments.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC
World and Wired.