I Guess I’m Just a Cheap Wad

I have only ever paid for one iPhone app in my entire life. And it was an app that I bought just because my friend built it…but I never used it, and its not even on my phone anymore. I was a charity buy. Other than that, I’ve downloaded only free apps – no paid apps. I know what you are thinking – that I’ve somehow illegally downloaded some, or “stolen” some apps. Well thats not the case at all. What I’m saying is that I use nothing but free apps on my phone. Hundreds of apps downloaded over the course of the past several years, all at the cost of $0.00.

Most of them are free by design, but some of them are free due to some special promotion through the App Store. Like the recent promotion where I downloaded Day One for free when its normally $4.99.

I’m not really sure why I don’t pay for apps. Maybe I’m just trying to save a buck. But mostly its just because I honestly haven’t found an app that seemed “worth it” for me to pay for – and on the flip side, I’ve found many apps that are fantastic and are free. I’ve been quite happy with free.

But the interesting thing is that there are several apps that I have downloaded for free that I would have paid for had I known how awesome they would be. Genius Scan is one of those. I have used that app so much during the process of preparing to move to Italy – scanning documents and passports. Another is Day One – I have only used it one day and already I can tell that I would be willing to pay for it. You know why? Because my alternative method of using the “Notes” app to write my journal just wasn’t cutting it.

And that is another issue: one of the big reasons I don’t pay for apps is due to a drive to piece together free tools to do the same job that a paid app could do. Like writing my daily journal in the “Notes” app and using my to-do list app to remind me to write in it each night. But what I’m finding is that sometimes the experience of an all-in-one tool is so much better than several apps scotch taped together that it is worth paying a buck or two for.

But would I pay $4.99 for the Day One app? Oh no. $4.99 is much to expensive – thats on the high end of apps, I’m sure I could get similar features for $0.99 or free. I’m in this mindset of comparing apps to apps when what I don’t think about is that its only $4.99 to have an app that works for the rest of my life. Only $4.99! Sometimes I need to zoom out and realize things like this.

I’m sometimes one who will drive 10 miles to save a dollar only to realize that I spent two dollars to get there.

So I need to work on that. But I will also say that there are lots of awesome free things out there. Apps especially. In fact, I just looked at the 20 top paid apps in the app store right now, and I have no desire to buy any of them. Not because they are paid, but because I wouldn’t even download them if they were free. Hmmm, but that iTranslate Voice app might come in handy in Italy…I wonder if there is a free version?

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  1. You just might be a cheap wad. But if there will be one person in our family who will be debt free, it will be you and that is grand! I need to take a lesson or two from you. We all just have to find a balance that works. I have yet to find the balance- but I’m working on it. I’ve known people who have scrimped and saved their whole married lives (and who have been fairly miserable in the process) so that they would be financially secure in retirement only to get divorced and die in a plane crash. Never reaping the benefit of their labors. I’ve also known people who haven’t given much thought to what they spend, thoroughly enjoyed their lives while spending and spending and then had to deal with the stress of debt and bankruptcy. I’d like to live somewhere in the middle. Moderation in all things. That includes spending and saving. Great post.

    1. I hope to be debt free – and as soon as I sell this car, I will be! I am really looking forward to that. Its something I’m going to have to work on sustaining my whole life.

      Definitely a balance. Its so unfortunate that the time people are typically able to have the money to do the type of things that take money, they are often too old to do them! Of course, there are always things to do even in old age, but I’m sure you get what I am saying. Hopefully you, and I, and many others! can learn to manage our finances well enough that finances aren’t stressful and money doesn’t consume our lives – because I’ve seen and known too many people who have let it do just that.

  2. Oh man… I’ve spent hundreds on apps. Usually I will make sure I really want it but $1 usually isn’t a big deal to me and almost always it has been worth it!

    1. Serious! Wow. But you make a good point that $1 is not a big deal – – – for some reason $1 for an app occupies the same place in my mind as buying more expensive things that I can talk myself out of buying. I often just need to pay the $1 and get over it 🙂

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