In today’s tough times, everyone’s looking to make their pennies stretch. But if you wanna get a step up in the saving game, I have a few smartphone applications I want you to check out. Times are a changin’ in the mobile environment of smartphones. If it’s not paying for itself, you’re doing it wrong.
Most people are still putting away their cup of coffee towards gaining a chance to win up to $1.5 billion in the lottery once or twice a week. Too much work, too little chance. If you have enough free time to walk around a convenience store, you have enough time to watch an advertisement or two, take a survey or a poll, or pick up a few investing tips and tricks to keep your class classy and your beau bourgeois. Money doesn’t buy friends or happiness, but it sure helps keep them around that much longer.
For those unaware, there is a whole new, well, not so new anymore, currency that’s all the rave on the Worldwide Web. It’s called Bitcoin. Actually, there are many different digital currencies out there and encrypting all of them is not impossible, but definitely is a chore. Get yourself an online wallet for these new digital monies and check out the slew of selection of apps that help your earn them, little by little, for doing things as simple as watching 15- to 30-second ads or spinning a slot machine reel. Coinbase is a cross-platform wallet that is great for your beginner collector.
During this process you might have realized the first step in obtaining a wallet is having a linkable and compatible bank account. If you are an adult human being living on this continent you should have one of these. And then your next step is budget. Figure out how much money each month you can actually “play” with. How much do you spend on coffee a week? Gas? Gems for your Clash of Clans Castle? Anything superfluous in your life, budget this out and start putting fractions of your income into two areas: savings and investments. This will be something your bank should be able to guide you through.
For iOS/Apple/iPhones & iPads
Check out Bitcoin Free, Free Bitcoin, Bitcoin Tapper, Bitcoin Alien, and Bitcoin Wonder Machine. It may seem like Satoshis are cheaper than Yen, but work all these apps together and before you know it you’ve earned an extra ticket in the next billion dollar lottery drawing. With Bitcoin being volatile, meaning it’s constantly changing and unpredictable paces, it’s mostly a long-term investment of time. When in 10 years Bitcoin is worth double what it is now, in the words of Mr. Hotline Bling, you can thank me now.
Also check out Free Bitcoin, because unlike iOS, the Android version can be known to pay off a bit more generously than its Steve Jobs counterpart, actually getting you into the bonus reels in its slot machine-like game, earning you exponentially more Satoshis. BitMaker also is a pretty-much do-nothing type of faucet that is automatic and lets you collect every half hour. BitMaker also has an advantage over Free Bitcoin in that you are connected by a wallet address, instead of an e-mail address, essentially enabling you to earn more the more devices you use it on. Unless you have a bunch of iPads and spare Apple IDs to go around, Free Bitcoin will not be as efficient as BitMaker.
For Windows and Windows Mobile
Your options here are much more limited, as to be expected by now if you are at all familiar with the Windows Store. No reason to lose hope yet with Bitcoin Miner by GroupFabric, Inc. Leave this app running overnight on a charging device or devices and your dreams of mining come true. You don’t even have to dream, you just wake up and they’re there. Bitcoin Miner also is linked by a wallet address like BitMaker on Android so you can mine on as many Windows devices as to your heart’s content, on your Windows tablet or Windows smartphone, or even your laptop or desktop.
Bitcoins too much of a gamble for you? Don’t believe in the dreaded mark of the beast, barcodes, and all that sci-fi hullabaloo? No worries, there is a much safer way to invest in the app-investing phenomena.
Well, if you have ever watched an ad on your phone, you have probably come across one for Acorns, the money-saving app that puts away that spare change you keep throwing away on the street or in that parking meter, and invests it for you. Sure, one of its first areas of investing your money is the New York Stock Exchange, and after the scare we had in January, I’d be iffy too about investing this way, putting my faith in a system I actually know pretty little about.
I have very little knowledge in our economic atmosphere. By and large, it’s a tremendous amount of time and effort involved and natural ability needed to work this system in a way that makes any tangible or immediate profit, but anybody with access to free trades can play the long game and hold out for the good stuff like dividends and capital gains. A dollar a week, a quarter a day, 20 bucks a month, whatever you can afford. Put something, anything away, not to be touched, ever, unless you are dying, already dead, or in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Which brings me to my next point, pay your taxes, and budget that return.
The Bank Account
Kids, get a bank account as soon as possible. Don’t sign up for credit cards. Good credit can get you far in life, and there’s no sense in spending life trying to work your way back to the acceptable standards of society. Get a bank account, get a Bitcoin Wallet, stop playing games, start getting paid to watch ads. I know your games make you watch ads anyways, you might as well be getting paid for them. Or play some relaxing Coin Flapper and earn Bitcoins playing the best game for mobile ever invented: Flappy Bird.
Adults, budget, build a portfolio. Apps are now available that allow you to trade common stock in the NYSE for free. Free trades, NOT free stocks. Figure out which stocks you can afford, and buy a little at a time. I promise this is more worthy of your time than solitaire or Temple Run. Find a company, subscribe to updates of that company via Yahoo! Finance, CNN Money, Forbes, or Morningstar, etc.
For stock trading, iOS users check out Robinhood, an app that allows you to buy, collect, and keep track of stocks and your stock portfolio with a nice, easy-to-read layout and buying and selling format suitable for any smartphone and stock market skill level. Before checking out Robinhood, however, double-check whatever app your bank employs, as the big ones like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and USAA allow for stock trading and portfolio building within their own application environments. Robinhood, just released last August, has yet to make its way to the Google Play Store, but with increasing popularity among millennials it is sure to find its way soon enough.
So, bitcoins and stocks just don’t quite do it for you, huh? Maybe some good ol’ fashion nickel and dimes are more along the cut of your jib. Nickels and dimes not enough? Earn anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar with average surveys paying out about a quarter on iPoll, an application that allows one to take surveys for a little bit of extra cash, deposited right into a PayPal account. Or check out Surveys on the Go, like iPoll, get paid in real U.S. currency from both Apple and Android devices.
Please, please, please, take my advice with a few grains of salt. I am not a money manager, a CPA, or even a fan of Money Matters or Mad Money. Learn the app market asap, its transforming and start investing with it. There are new generations learning how to put aside money for the future. The only real advice I can give you is don’t get left in the dust. Do something, rather than nothing.
Is giving up that extra cup of coffee a week really going to kill you? Probably not. And in fact, a few extra dollars in an emergency fund can put a hospital bill to rest in crunch time. So prepare. Budget and prepare. But these days, a lot of that work can be done for you. And apologies for the lack of mentions of the countless budgeting tool apps that are available on every platform, including Windows.