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A Smarter Way to Use a Smartphone

Have you seen that Geico commercial where a Humphrey Bogart wannabe asks the audience, “Can switching to Geico really save you 15 percent or more on car insurance?”

He then asks the question, “Do people use smartphones to do dumb things?” Obviously the correct answer is, “Yes.” So the next scene shows three nerdy guys doing stupid things like playing air guitar on their cell phones.

We may laugh, but Geico certainly gets the point across. And there’s a lesson to be learned. Use your smartphone to do smart things like making or saving your family money.

(It’s also a great way to cover the investment you made when you bought that new Samsung Galaxy S2 you had to have.)

Money Making Ideas

  • Design a free app, but add a premium version for sale. Many apps offer an upgrade to a paid version with more features and benefits. And many people will buy the upgrade if they like your app and want the added benefits.
  • Design an app that you can give away free then sell advertising or include AdSense ads on it. This will still attract a lot of downloads, but the addition of the ads will create a revenue stream you wouldn’t otherwise have.
  • If you’re a designer yourself, you can offer your services to others who want a custom app but who aren’t skilled at creating one. Other small business owners, in particular, will be interested in outsourcing application design if the results are good and the price is reasonable.
  • Specialize in just one type of app or one field of study so you become an expert in that area. For instance, create only financial apps, money saving apps, apps for Christians, apps for work-at-home parents or anything else. The ideas and possibilities are endless.
  • You can also create tools for other developers such as portability tools or GUI toolkits, for instance. You may even want to teach developers to create their own apps, if that’s something you would enjoy. There are unlimited opportunities for offering online training that others will gladly pay for.

Money Saving Ideas

  • Try GasBuddy, a free app that helps you find the best per gallon price for gasoline in your local area. You can even earn a chance to win a $250 gas card by sharing your low price finds with others.
  • Our Groceries a an ad-supported app that helps you save money by eliminating duplicate purchases at the grocery store. You create an electronic list, then share it with family members who install the same app. It also helps to reduce extra trips to the store because you forgot your list.
  • Use Mint’s personal money management app to create a budget, be alerted when your balance is low or your spending limit is reached, and keep up with expenses real time.
  • Not sure what to fix for dinner? Instead of eating out, save your money by using Dinner Spinner. A free app from  AllRecipes.com that helps you find recipes for the ingredients you have on hand.

There are many smarter ways to use a smartphone than just playing games. Consider your options for saving or making money and try the ones that work for you. Your smartphone can be a distraction, or it can be a money making tool. Let us know how you use your smartphone to make money in the comments!

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