In a simpler time, a family spent the bulk of their budget on tangible goods – food, clothes, automobiles… But within the last 10 years, the smart device spawned a whole new commodity for purchase – digital goods – and, for many, app addiction is plaguing their bank balances. Global revenue from app stores in 2013 is expected to hit $25 billion, up 62 percent from last year, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc. How much of that is coming out of your pocket?
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The ease of clicking a button to own a new song or play Monopoly on your Android can be tempting. However, it’s always best to evaluate any purchase – even seemingly inconsequential digital ones. Apps are supposed to make life easier and more fun – not more complicated. So, before you click “purchase,” consider these tips:
1. Assess your tablet or smartphone app library. Let’s try something: Count the number of paid apps across all your smart devices. Now count the number of those apps that you have opened within the last month. Odds are, it’s a pretty low percentage – 25 percent or less. So before you purchase an app, consider its longevity. Value is key.
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2. Don’t $0.99 yourself to death. Think of how many digital goods online seem so affordable. A song. An app. A low price point equates these impulse purchases to buying a candy bar in the grocery store checkout. Junkfood will cause damage to your waistline just as an app will cause damage to your bottom line.
3. Use free online software to monitor digital spending. Tools like Manilla.com categorize spending so adjustments can be made. You may just be surprised with how much fat you will trim by simply being aware of your addiction.
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4. Consider digital entertainment subscriptions. Like with anything, buying in bulk can prove extremely smart. Spending a larger sum of money can seem daunting at first, but it’s worth noting the value in what you’re consuming. For instance, do you stockpile music? If so, consider cloud based music subscription sites like Spotify or Rdio. In the app world, a $9.99 subscription can be considered pricey. But if you’re buying more than ten songs a month, it just makes good fiscal sense.
5. Consider how convenient an upgrade really is. We’ve seen it inside many of the most popular apps. “Play advertisement free for $1.99!” “$5 for 200 gold coins!” But honestly, how integral is that game to your daily life? Will you be playing it a year (or even month) from now? If the answer is a definitive “Yes!” then purchase immediately. You’ll save yourself hours of advertisements in the long run. However in the fickle app gaming world, odds are that a slicker, newer app is lurking around the corner that will beg the same question.
6. Do your research. Consult reputable tech review sites before purchasing. Reviews can now be purchased and/or planted by the stakeholders, so discerning review integrity is mandatory. Remember: There are used car salesmen in your app store as well. Don’t get sold a lemon.
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