We Scroll Insta for 32 Minutes/Day. These Apps Could Actually Make Us Money
Young people and their dagnabbit phones, right? With their snaps and their grams and their selfies…. What’s the world coming to, really?
You might guess from what you see in restaurants and at bus stops that we — the country’s young people — are obsessed with seemingly shallow platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.
We’re mindlessly scrolling our days away and never bothering to process a word or — gasp — a full sentence.
You’d be wrong.
Here’s Exactly How Much Time We All Spend Browsing Selfies
For the first time in three years, Instagram has revealed how much time users spend on its app, Bloomberg reports.
The app’s most popular demographic, people under 25, are on the app a whopping… drumroll, please… 32 minutes a day.
Do the math: That’s two minutes per waking hour.
Instagram users over age 25 spend less, about 24 minutes a day.
Snapchat users are similar, spending about 30 minutes a day on the app.
On Facebook, which captures a higher percentage of older users, the average U.S. consumer hangs out for around 40 minutes a day.
If we’re doing all three, that’s about 6 minutes an hour on social media. Not earth-shattering.
So get off your “young people these days” high horse and stop scoffing at my partner and me at dinner.
Hate Social Media? Use These Apps to Make Money Instead
Fine. Even if the number isn’t shockingly high, we could be doing other things with our time.
Almost anything else would probably be more valuable than scrolling through photos of our high school prom date’s new baby.
Here’s a compromise: We’ll use the time to make money… but we still get to be on our phones.
Here are some free mobile apps to make money while we ignore our family members over dinner tonight.
1. QuickThoughts: Go on Secret Missions
QuickThoughts turns your smartphone into private-eye technology, taking you on top-secret missions in your area.
QuickThoughts Missions relies on your input — and sneakily-taken cell-phone photography — to give businesses important feedback. And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork.
For your missions, you’ll earn points toward gift cards to retailers like Amazon and iTunes.
Bonus: It’s a great excuse to avoid eye contact with the cashier next time you go to CVS!
2. Letgo: Sell Your Old Clothes
Instead of sharing a #tbt photo of yourself in your old prom dress (‘hem, date cropped out), dig that dress from the depths of your closet — and sell it.
Stop storing clothes indefinitely, and try selling them on an app like Letgo. You can literally list something in less than a minute.
Need help getting rid of stuff? The Minimalists recently told us how to get started living more meaningfully.
3. Ibotta: Get Cash Back for Your Groceries
This rebate app lets you earn money for taking a picture of your receipt — but skip the #richkidsofinstagram post.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for Ibotta here with your name and email address.
- Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note of offers next time you go to the store (they change every week).
- Once you’ve reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via PayPal or Venmo.
And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus when you redeem your first receipt.
4. I-Say: Get Paid to Take Surveys
We need an excuse to put our opinions anywhere except Facebook. Here’s a way to get paid to share yours. Seriously, it’s better than likes.
The Ipsos I-say mobile app lets you earn about $5 for about 30 minutes of answering simple questions. Like: Coke or Cherry Coke? (Cherry, obvs.)
You won’t qualify for every panel, but if you answer surveys instead of scrolling through social media while you watch your favorite sitcom each night, you could pocket $100 this month!
5. InboxDollars: Get Paid to Watch Videos
Take a few minutes away from puppy videos each day, and flip over to InboxDollars instead.
The app’s videos are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one of the ads, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.
Plus, you’ll get a free $5 just for signing up!
6. Stash: Get $5 to Start Investing
Stop clicking on GoFundMes for your friends’ cats, and start making your money work for you (and your cat).
Penny Hoarders are kind of obsessed with Stash, because it simplifies something we know we should be doing but always put off: investing.
Anyone can use Stash to start investing. You don’t have to have an MBA or even make it all the way through “The Big Short” to understand how to invest with this app.
You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and the app does the rest.
Here’s how to get a free $5 to invest:
- Use your email to sign up here.
- Download the Stash app on your smartphone, and set up your account with the same email address.
- Within two business days, you’ll see a $5 bonus in your account — just for signing up.
7. Acorns: Save Money Without Thinking About It
When I wanted to start saving money, I tried Acorns. It connects to your bank account, plus credit and debit cards, to help invest your spare digital change.
I spent about 10 minutes setting it up, and I saved $116 in three months without even realizing it.
At that rate, you could easily save $420 this year without even noticing a change in your budget. Plus, you’ll get a free $10 when you make your first investment.
That’s enough to cover one Insta-worthy road trip this year…
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer/newsletter editor at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).