5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many apps we can download on our phones promise to save us money or earn rewards. From scanning a barcode to taking a survey, there are hundreds of programs you can choose from.

One blogger tried dozens of them and narrowed it down to the top five free apps she’s cashed in on.

“All of my family will come to me and say, ‘I’m going to be buying this, how can I save money?’” blogger Sarah Carlson said.

She’s come a long way from clipping coupons for her mom every Sunday — now, Carlson shares her savings secrets on realhousewivesofmn.com. She regularly blogs about the apps she’s tried.

“There are a lot of apps out there right now where you can either save money or make money too,” she said.

And she had no trouble coming up with her top five.

Shopkick

“I think my top money saving app is Shopkick,” she said.

Shopkick offers rewards for shopping online or for walking in to stores. Scan bar codes on products for more kicks or points. Then, redeem them for gift cards or merchandise from Target to Best Buy to Starbucks.

“It’s really easy and that’s why I like it so much.”

ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy made the second pick on her list. Scan the bar code and the app searches stores to find the best price. Most will price match if you find a better deal.

Carlson usually uses it any time she’s about to spend more than 20 dollars for an item. She saved 50 dollars on a TV the last time she used it.

“You’re still walking out of the same store with the same item with 50 more dollars in your pocket. Why not?” she said.

PocketFlip

Don’t bother leaving your home to be able to use the third on her list — PocketFlip is survey-based.

“You go through the surveys and earn points, and once you earn enough points you can cash out for gift cards,” Carlson said.

Each survey is under five minutes. They’re usually based on beauty and home products commonly used.

Ibotta

“These apps are a little bit different in that you make the purchase first and then you upload the receipt afterwards,” Carlson said.

Ibotta pays you cash back on many items, mostly groceries. You cash out once you reach the $20 mark either through PayPal or a gift card.

Gift Card Granny

“Another great app is Gift Card Granny,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an app that shows you things that are for sale for less than their value.”

It’s that simple — shop for gift cards less than their value. We saw 21 percent savings for Fandango gift cards for movie ticket savings and 14 percent on Starbucks cards.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carlson suggests just picking a couple of apps and you’ll save something.

“Use the ones that work for you,” she said. “That’s better than saving nothing.”

Another app you might like is called Qapital. Everytime you use a credit card it rounds up to the nearest dollar, and that money goes straight into a savings account.

[“Source-minnesota”]

Moto Makes a Strong Comeback in the US, Enters Top 5: Counterpoint

Moto Makes a Strong Comeback in the US, Enters Top 5: Counterpoint

Lenovo brand Moto made a significant comeback in the US in the third quarter this year, almost doubling its volumes and market share annually and was the fastest growing brand, Counterpoint Research said on Saturday.

The US smartphone shipments remained flat during the third quarter. Moto, ZTE, and LG registered strong gains and Verizon remained the largest smartphone sales channel, revealed Counterpoint’s Market Monitor programme.

“Motorola jumped back into the top five rankings after a long time. Motorola’s focus on affordable devices for prepaid/unlocked market and breaking out from Verizon’s shadows helped drive growth during the quarter,” said Research Analyst Archana Srinivasan.

Motorola also benefited in terms of visibility with presence across all four of the major carriers with its Moto Z2 Force Edition in premium segment.

“The Moto E series was actually the key volume driver for Motorola during the quarter across prepaid and open channels,” Srinivasan added.

Verizon had a good quarter and remained the biggest channel for smartphone sales, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint.

“LG had a strong quarter recording highest ever volume for the third quarter closing on Samsung volumes, especially at T-Mobile & Sprint,” said Research Director Neil Shah.

Apple iPhone 7 was the most popular smartphone in the US. The Moto E4 and LG Stylo 3 were also solid performers. LG grew its share to 17.6 percent.

ZTE grew its smartphone volumes 34 percent (year-on-year).

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

5 Reasons Budgeting Apps Don’t Work For Most People

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Can we all agree that one of the secrets to achieving financial independence is figuring out a way to spend less than you make? OK, good. Then why aren’t more of us better at it? Credit card debt levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Clearly, finding a way to budget is a bit of a holy grail for many people.

The thing is, there is no perfect way to track or control spending. The way people make spending decisions varies as much as the number of ways to order at Starbucks so as a financial coach, I’m always on the look-out for new ways to make it simple and painless. In other words, I’m in search of the My Fitness Pal for money.

However, I’m not so sure an app is what’s going to move the needle. In fact, using a screen to make financial decisions may actually promote bad behavior. How many times has a notification popped up that lead to you filling a digital cart? Here’s why I think we need to stop trying to find the perfect app and instead master the pen and paper or spreadsheet way of tracking money:

1. It’s too easy to ignore. If I had a dollar for every person that confessed that they tried Mint, but eventually the text alerts and notifications started driving them crazy, I could afford a personal chef. Yes, money apps can help you set alerts to notify you when you’re coming close to overspending, but they can easily get lost in the myriad of more fun notifications that already flood your screen. Just nagging isn’t enough to actually keep money in your account.

2. You still have to actually maintain it. No software is perfect. So even if you are able to effectively link your apps to all of your accounts for an accurate look at where you are, you still need to log in regularly to make sure it is categorizing correctly.

If you’re trying to track spending on dining out and booze, you have to go in and make sure it doesn’t think your liquor store is a grocery store (that happened), and what happens when you buy wine while grocery shopping or if your restaurant lunch is actually reimbursed by work? You have to manually fix that stuff, and if you don’t do it regularly, it will become too much. You might as well use that time maintaining a spreadsheet.

3. My Fitness Pal doesn’t actually stop the chips from going in my mouth. You can have your phone tell you six ways ‘til Sunday that you’ve blown your calorie allotment for the day before you even get to dinner, but unless I’m in the first four days or so of tracking, I’m probably still going to eat before I go to bed. Financial apps work the same way. They give you the data, but only you can take that next step of keeping the money in your account.

4. My brain is changing and I don’t like it. I do think I’m addicted to my iPhone. My compulsion to check email when I’m already feeling overwhelmed with tasks is constant, even when I don’t actually want to be working.

I’ve also noticed that it’s become totally socially acceptable to be texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, etc. while hanging out with friends. I hate that! Adding financial management to my phone just exacerbates the problem. So I’m putting the phone down and I think you should too.

5. We notice what we pay attention to. When I purchased my Mini Cooper, “Sheldon”, I was excited about the white racing stripes that I thought made him unique. Then I started to notice how many other electric blue Mini Coopers had white racing stripes.

Was there a sudden surge in the popularity of this style? No. I just started noticing it.

The same thing goes for your money. I started tracking my net worth on a monthly basis a couple of years ago. Nothing complicated – I just list all my accounts and about the same time each month, I add a new column with their current balances.

I love watching the amount grow in my 401(k) while seeing the value decrease on my car loan. And I LOVE putting a big fat zero down in the student loan line these days! This is a great way for me to make sure I’m checking in on my money at least monthly and it is fun to watch my net worth slowly but steadily increase. Try it and see if it doesn’t also get you starting to track other things like how much you spent the previous month on carry-out dinners.

There is one thing I think you can use your phone to help with and that’s checking your bank account daily. Every morning when you’re doing that first check to see what you missed on social media, add in a quick check of your bank account to see if anything funky posted overnight. This can save you from expensive overdrafts and help you catch fraud much sooner.

[“Source-forbes”]

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

Android Apps Weekly featured image

Welcome to the 210th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Pokemon Go might get some new features soon. The developers acknowledged that playing games on AR is rough. You spend all your time looking at your phone. The new feature could include audio cues. That way you know when Pokemon are around, where Poke Stops are, etc. There is talk that it might be a hallmark feature in the follow-up game to Pokemon Go.
  • The classic infinite runner Into the Dead is getting a sequel. Into the Dead 2 is launching to the Play Store on October 13th. The new game will contain 60 levels across seven chapters. Most of the mechanical elements should be similar to the first game. It’s available for pre-registering on Google Play right now.
  • Chainfire released a new website this week for root users. The site is a spot for devs, root users, etc to find stock boot and recovery images. It’s mostly stuff for Google Pixel and Samsung phones. It should expand over time to include more devices. It should also make finding such files easier for beginners and advanced users alike.
  • Google Assistant is getting some new features. At least we think so. During an APK tear down, it revealed some new information. Included is an Active Edge feature that may be similar to HTC’s phone squeezing feature. There are also hints of features like customizable short commands for Assistant. These may or may not be real, but it would be cool if they were.
  • Minecraft’s long awaited Better Together update is out. The game allows for cross-platform play between console, PC, and mobile. Namely, it works on Xbox, Windows 10, VR, and mobile devices. In addition, they added a bunch of other items to the game. They also announced that the game is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

You can find more Android apps and games news, releases, and updates in our weekly newsletter by clicking here! You can also subscribe to the newsletter with the form below! As usual, check out our Android Authority app for even faster updates.

Codex of Victory is a new strategy game. The game is a hybrid of a classic strategy game and a kingdom builder. You build bases, upgrade units, and conduct combat against the enemy. It features a story-driven, single player campaign mode. The developers also boast 20 hours of single player campaign, over 25 units to build and upgrade, and more. The levels are also randomly generated. That means no two playthroughs are alike. It runs $4.49, but has no in-app purchases or advertising.

Reverse Dictionary is a simple dictionary app. It helps you figure out a word that you can’t think of. You simply type letters of the word, a phrase describing it, or synonyms of the word. The app then attempts to tell you what word you were looking for. It features a light, simple design. The app also does work pretty well. Otherwise, it’s a simple little app that shouldn’t take up too much space on your phone. It’s completely free with no ads and no in-app purchases.
Reverse Dictionary

Stormbound: Kingdom Wars is an indie strategy-puzzle game. You play battles on a checkerboard. Your goal is to make to the other side and assault your enemy’s stronghold. It features card-collecting mechanics as well. You collect various units to use in battle. It features single player options, multiplayer options, a bunch of cards to collect, and more. The art style is a little typical of indie games. We’re not going to complain because that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is a freemium game, though.

Mint Browser is a newer browser app. It boasts a heavy emphasis on privacy and security. That includes an Incognito+ mode. It allows you to keep a separate (and encrypted) set of notes, bookmarks, and browser history. The app also includes fingerprint scanner support. Tor support, local weather, and an Opera-style Speed Dial feature. In terms of browsing, it does good enough to be good. The base app is free to download. The pro version runs for $1.49 as an in-app purchase.
Mint Browser

Terra Battle 2 is the latest game from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. It features a deep and prominent story line. There are also various improvements from the first game. It features a unique puzzle-style battle system, a world map to explore, and you can even move the bad guys around. The game is suffering from some control issues and the occasional bug. However, we assume fixes are coming sooner rather than later.

If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about them in the comments! You can also hit me up on Twitter if you want to suggest an app for this segment. Thank you for reading, we’ll see you next week!

 [“Source-androidauthority”]