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A Question For My Readers

telephonelady

The phone bill came yesterday. 

It was significantly larger than normal.

I have no long distance, no caller id, and no call waiting, and I’ve saved a significant amount not paying for each of those over the years.

The increase was enough to make the change to getting a cell phone.

I haven’t had a cell phone in 17 years. The last time I had a cell phone, it was a work phone. It was the kind that had a walkie-talkie option, which made for a rather amusing situation one day at work when one of my male co-workers decided to ask me via walkie-talkie where I was. I was in the ladies’ room at the time. The woman in the stall next to me heard the question and started laughing. 

 

I’ve been just fine without a cell phone for all this time.

 

I know I’ll be getting an android phone like the one my husband uses for work. 

 

My question for my readers is this:

 

What are your favorite money-saving aps?

 

And because I know you’ll ask, I actually already have an Instagram account. I just haven’t been able to take pictures with it before and I only have used it to follow people. You can find me under theprudenthomemaker

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97 Comments

  1. Checkout 51, Ibotta, and Saving Star are the ones I use most frequently, because they include discounts for things like produce, bread, and milk. It’s typically not a lot, but every little bit adds up. Checkout 51 can be used at any store with an itemized receipt.

  2. Walmart savings catcher is great! It scans all the local ads and if anyone advertised a better deal, they give you back the difference in a card. It is great so you only have to go to one store to get all the deals.

    Only draw back is they don’t so buy the pound things or generic.

  3. I only use Facebook and Google on my android phone, so I am no help…..lol. I do not have internet at my house, so I use my phone if needed after hours for work. However, I work a lot of 12 hour days and some weekends, so usually, I do not have to do computer work at my house. I am also at a hospital about an hour an a half away, with one of my kids, a lot, so I am not working then. just sleep here at my house. I know your situation is totally different. I know a lot of folks use the Wal-Mart savings catcher. I buy almost zero name branda when there, so that does not help me.Also, I have friends who love Ibotta.

  4. You can put Swagbucks on your phone & watch videos to earn points! That is if you are getting a smart phone . We ditched our landline about two years ago

  5. Thanks Janet; you answered my question about Checkout 51. I think it will make up the $4 difference between my home phone bill and the cell phone bill (I plan on going with whoever my husband is using that is a set fee with no monthly contract and unlimited everything).

  6. Price Cruncher (grocery shopping price book app). Also, check out the prepay plans for Republic Wireless phones. I pay $17.50/mo, and often get a refund of $2-4 at the end of each month.

  7. MileUp is an app that tracks your mileage when you drive, and offers you gift cards for the info.

    Receipt hog gives you gift cards for taking pictures of your shopping receipts.

    Shopkick is another great app for gift cards. You scan products in stores for points, get points for walking into stores and get points for buying certain items.

  8. For those without unlimited long distance. I use What’sApp. You have to be in WIFI.
    Most of the newcomer immigrants I know use it for long distance calling overseas .

  9. Those are the ones I use most often, too, along with ReceiptHog. I also have the Swagbucks video apps—but they can kill a battery pretty quickly, so use them while it’s plugged in, and turn off the data to those apps so that they only use wifi.

  10. I hope you realize that when you get rid of your land line at home, then you will most likely need to get at least one more cell phone to have at home for children to use in case of emergency when both parents and their cell-phones are not at home. the cheapest option for an “emergency” cell-phone would be a Tracphone for which you buy minutes as needed. We still have a land line for the simple reason that I prefer to keep my cell phone for family only. I don’t want to be trying to do church business in the grocery store. Just my two cents.

  11. I agree with the Ibotta suggestions. But the best way we save is by choosing a low data plan and using Wifi whenever possible. (We don’t use banking apps or anything with sensitive material that way.)

    I’ve had my phone for about a year and I don’t put a lot of apps on it. I try to keep my phone time to a minimum. But I love this question, because I know I’ll get some great ideas from your other readers!

  12. Ting!!!!! Pay as you use it cel phone coverage. I’m not joking our bill doesn’t compare to those with contracts!

  13. I am in Canada so I’m not sure which of these would apply to you but Checkout51, Save.ca, Coupgon, PC Plus, Skype, Varage Sale, Costco and DoTerra daily drop. As for buying a phone I’ve found its cheaper to buy the phone outright and not lock into a cell phone plan.

  14. Ibotta, target cartwheel are my favorite. It takes a long time to get awards as many of the ibotta rebates are not things I buy. Checkout 51 may be better, I think you just scan receipts.

  15. Those are the three I use! You can also use the Target Cartwheel app. That way you don’t have to print out coupons. It can be hit and miss to get coupons you use, but between the various apps you can probably make up enough for the phone bill difference.

  16. I think if you have internet at home, you would be wise to be sure of your data usage on the cell phone. We’ve had a struggle here with a satellite internet company that has insisted we are using our data to operate internet on cell phones and to stream movies. We do not even have that capability with our phones nor our tv! It’s not being ‘stolen’ due to non password protection but is apparently a common theme with this satellite provider, based upon customer complaints that are reviewed. My son has unlimited data and a hot spot on his work phone and something like that would be a huge savings. As soon as we can afford to buy out the rest of our contract it’s the way we’re going to go.

  17. Ooma for home ($4.84 per month). Republic Wireless for cell provider ( I think rates have changed but I pay $10.00 a month for unlimited talk and text).

  18. I also use Republic Wireless, and just wanted to put a plug in for it. My phone plan literally costs $11.50 monthly! Amazing! You pay for the phone up front and that’s it, no contract or anything. Just a thought.

  19. I love the JoAnn, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby apps for the digital coupons because I have trouble keeping my paper coupons with me when I am running multiple errands. With the apps I am never without a coupon and JoAnn’s will let me use coupons from all 3 stores in a single transaction!

  20. We use Straight Talk and it’s unlimited talk, text, and web. That saves so much money right there. No unexpected fees or surprises. And if you purchase 3 months at a time, you save $5. They also have a new Straight Talk Rewards program that can earn you discounts and other free options.

  21. My favorite apps to save money are Ibotta, Checkout51, and Mobisave. I also use the Kroger app a lot. Non-shopping apps I use are Audible and Stitcher for free audio content, and the Kindle app for reading free ebooks.

  22. I can give you two tips that have saved us money for 12 years now (or more) for your home phone..Magic Jack. it’s an over the internet call, just need to plug it in to a tower computer and have your phone plugged in to that. The cheapest deal is to do 5 years. Our bill is on average $20.00 a year doing this.

    Also, cellphone wise. MetroPCS. I’ve had them for 12 plus years. once you buy your phone, your plan can be $20.00 a month (even for a smartphone) there’s no going over, if you do go over, there’s no charge, your data simply slows down. That’s it. Don’t bother with Cricket, Boost, Walmart phones, etc. I’ve tried them ALL to beat the bill. For your hard earned money, Metro is the best.

    Sincerely
    A Skinflint 🙂

  23. I have a prepaid cell phone (refurbished, one step above a “dumb phone” that I got for $5). Because this cell phone is refurbished my minutes triple when I purchase them, making the average bill under $7 per month. I do have a home phone that I purchased from Walmart. It’s Basic Talk and that bill is $14 per month, unlimited calling in the United States. Not sure about Canada or International as I don’t use those features. The only draw back is if there is a power outage or internet outage my phone does not work. Here is a link: http://www.basictalk.com.

  24. Thanks Rozy. It’s really, really rare for my husband and I to be gone without the children, and if we do that (say we’re out on a date) then we will leave one phone home for the children. I appreciate the mention of the Tracphone option; I had thought about getting one before instead of a home phone. I don’t make a lot of phone calls, but my children are using the phone more and more (I have 2 teenagers now 🙂 )

    I know what you mean about personal business in public. I’ll have to figure all that out.

  25. I forgot to mention that I also have Checkout51 that I do on my computer. I can take pictures of receipts using my Kindle, email the pictures to myself, then upload them to the website. My husband has a smart phone (he needs it for work) and I use his phone to do Ibotta.

  26. The mileage one reminded me — GasBuddy! It’s a free app that shows me who has the cheapest gas near me. This is especially handy for when I’m in another town where I’m less familiar with the gas stations.

  27. Hi Brandy! I have had a busy week and just now catching up. Congrats on your weight loss….you are very inspirational and look amazing. I do not use a lot of apps on my phone because it is already cluttered with email from work and a million text messages all the time, but I am so excited that you will be on Insta because you have an artist’s eye and your photos will be lovely. Please add me when you get settled on there! 🙂

  28. I’m a Canadian too! I don’t have experience with a lot of the ones Christina mentioned, but I do use Checkout51. Takes a really long time to build up enough to cash out. I think most people who use it have to be careful not to double-discount when calculating whether or not it’s useful. For example, say there is a brand of cream cheese that you normally, don’t use, but you can claim 50 cents via the app. If that 50 cents savings reduces the name brand cream cheese to the price of the cream cheese that you normally buy, then it’s not a savings, as you’re paying 50 extra cents now to get 50 extra cents back later. It’s only a savings if it reduces the price to below what you’d normally pay. Seems obvious, but I’ve caught myself doing it. The only way that makes sense is if you have almost enough to cash out but need that extra 50 cents to be able to cash out. Then you’re essentially lending 50 cents to them to be able to get your 19.50 more quickly. (I say 19.50 because in Canada you have to have $20 to cash out)

    But the app really isn’t complicated, and between checkout51 and other similar ones, I think I’ve gotten about $60 back in two years, without changing what I buy (i.e. very few brand names or convenience products). I just make a point of reviewing what is available each week as I review flyers for sales and make my shopping list, and sometimes look for manufacturer’s coupons to stack with deals if it’s a brand name product.

    Oh, and I do use Swagbucks on my phone. I have unlimited data, so that really makes sense for me. Whenever I’m stuck someplace and have to wait, I’ll check if there’s a survey I can do. It’s helped significantly in increasing the number of SB I earn. That said, of course it’s a balance between earning SB and not being stuck to my phone all the time and missing out on life.

    Best of luck finding the best apps for you!

  29. I have consumer cellular. I used to have straight talk, but consumer cellular came out cheaper the last time I compared (and I compared a LOT of plans) so I switched. I buy my phone outright (refurbished as I don’t need the latest and greatest version). My last phone lasted 4 years so I saved hundreds of dollars over going with a contract route.

    I don’t do many apps because I don’t like the majority of their terms. i.e. most want access to your contacts at a minimum

  30. My service with Republic is 15.00. It is one of my greatest frugal finds. My mother is eating up Trac fone cards. For 100.00 she can get a phone and we won’t have to worry about her being stranded with no service. We use all the above listed apps.

  31. Have researched “Magic Jack”? It uses the internet for your phone service no long distance but you do have caller id and voice mail etc. Your payment is $35.00 a year. I have used it now for about 3 years and have no issues unless the internet goes down which is not a problem. Also on Amazon you can get a nice smart phone “blu” for $59 +tax if you are an amazon prime member it is unlocked (with ads but they are no problem) you can then have any of phone service you wish or works for you. You will need to get a sim card but get it with the company you decide to go with. AT&T was mine and no charge for the sim card. Since I already had an older phone I was not charged for the upgrade.

  32. Groupon, hands down! Such a neat app and we’ve been able to e enjoy and try new things we normally wouldn’t have known about. The best thing about Groupon, when you travel, enter the zip code where you are and get instant deals for that area!

  33. I also can vouch for Republic Wireless. My husband and I both have really nice android phones and our total monthly bill with unlimited calling, texting, and 2GB of data a month is less than $40. You can also opt for cheaper options with them. No contract is required! We have used this company for over two years and love it!

  34. We each have a Tracphone–no smart phones, no apps. Costs about $8 each per month including minutes. Always have minutes left over, which roll over to the next month. Rarely give the number out to anyone except family—it’s just so we can keep in touch if we’ve been delayed or something has come up-for family and close friends. Still have landline with an answering machine on it and that’s good enough for us.

  35. [b]Flipp[/b] is good for finding the current advertisements. [b]Cartwheel[/b] as mentioned before is nice. The [b]Walmart app[/b] and their [b]Savings Catcher[/b] is nice. I do price match, but can’t always know everything. I “caught” over $65 last year! I haven’t spent it, but I did catch it! The only down side is that you can only spend those funds at Walmart and like someone else said, they do not match produce or meat I think. It also allows you to check the stock in your store or others nearby. [b] Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and JoAnn’s[/b] all have apps and they include their coupons on the app…although JoAnn’s has better coupons through the mail. The [b]Amazon[/b] app allows you to check prices and Walmart will match them. I understand that there is a [b]Chat Books[/b] app that will enable you to print your cellphone and Instagram pictures scrapbook style. I haven’t checked it out though so I can’t recommend it yet. We also have an app called “Heads Up”. It’s a game. We use it when we are waiting in line as a family for stuff, riding the train or even for family get togethers. It’s a fun game. It has some paid components but I haven’t used them. There are a ton of budgeting apps. I have [b]Every Dolla[/b]r…I think a Dave Ramsey budget app. It’s free. i refuse to pay for apps 😉 There are discount calculators for the English majors among us. [b]Duolingo[/b] has a free app, so you can learn/practice on the go. There are a ton of LDS apps as well. In addition to [b]LDS Tools[/b] and [b]Gospel Library[/b], there is [b]Just Serve[/b] and [b]Family Search Memories[/b] and Family Tree. I don’t do Facebook anymore (happiest year of my life so far!) but stay in touch via Instagram (kerrynotkelly). [b]Instagram[/b] is nice for me as it is much more private. We have a set price [b]T mobile[/b] plan. My husband’s former employer paid $100 a month towards his cell phone. I miss those days! Our adult children are still on our plan as it is far less expensive for them to be on it than to have their own plan. Everyone just chips in. No one is complaining so far 😉 T mobile has a weekly “thank you” that they offer (you have to sign up for it) called [b]T Mobile Tuesdays[/b]. I have had things like a free Subway sandwich, a movie ticket, etc. Definitely worth it but you have to take advantage on that particular Tuesday. We haven’t had a land line in about 6 years. What I like best is that i can “talk” to someone while I am doing something else. My children and I text each other every day and I love being able to share photos with them and stay connected to them even though everyone is busy. Group texts get the word out quickly for family information and events. My special needs adult son has his own phone and calls me (many times!) throughout my work day. Even though he has Autism, he has mastered the phone and will actually answer it when it rings now. He also calls his father and older siblings throughout the day. Times have changed since they were a “luxury” and being affordable now makes them within reach of most everyone who wishes to have one.

  36. How much data does the plan have? Does it run off of either Verizon or AT&T towers? How much do phones cost? I ask because I got a low grade smart phone prepaid Verizon for $38 but the prepaid data and unlimited talk and text is $60 a month.

  37. I use Cartwheel, Checkout 51, Ibotta, WalMart (savings catcher), JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, Swagbucks Tv, Swagbucks Answer, Weather Channel (to earn Amazon gift cards) and Shopkick (earn WalMart gift cards). RetailMeNot is handy if you are out shopping.

  38. My tip is not really a money saving app, but a time saving one. Its the Sams Club Scan and Go , download it for free from the app store, link it to your debit or credit card, then scan items as you put them in the cart, finish and pay on your phone! You skip the registers and go straight to the door where the greeter scans the bar code on your phone ,approves the transaction and your out the door . So easy and no long waits at checkout!

  39. I have the coupons.com app and you can add your loyalty from some stores onto the app and shop without paper coupons or in addition to paper if you have enough items for each coupon.

  40. I agree with all the above. Well except I don’t use Facebook much anymore, too much drama and time suck. Download your local grocery store apps so you can add e coupons to your loyalty cards. Another favorite app is favado where you can compare your local store prices.

  41. I was going to say the same. Especially joanns as they will let you use a coupon for each item. So if you have a paper coupon for one item you can use an e-cpn for another item.

  42. I use three apps regularly I have not seen mentioned yet. GasBuddy: provides the price of gasoline by location in real time. CouponSherpa: this is a great tool to find a wide variety of coupons, especially free shipping coupons for online shopping. Kroger.com: they provide a couple hundred coupons every month.

  43. I have Straight talk, have for so long I no longer remember when I got it. Hubby has Net10.
    Apps..
    AVG ,YES you need antivirus and it is free. I don’t know how many times the kids were checking some app or their email on their phones and got viruses..glad they had to pay for it to be dealt with instead of me.
    Gasbuddy
    Local weather app.
    CVS and Walgreens
    MobiSave, CheckOut51,Ibotta
    MyFitnessPal
    Krogers …regretfully we don’t have a Target any where around here or I would have it.
    I used to have Kohls.

    Going to check out the Sams Club Scan and Go.

    We had Vonage for years but a lot of my kids friends (mid 30s use FaceBook calling…not sure what that is)

  44. I love the Joanne’s app. You just open it at checkout and don’t need the coupons. Michael’s also. We ditched our landline years ago.

  45. +1 for republic. When you are on a wifi signal it didn’t use any of your allotted days. Theoretically the bill could be $0 if you only use the phone at home where you have wifi.

  46. I don’t have many apps on my cell phone, so I really don’t have much to add for those. However, I do have some things on my cellphone that make life easier. First, all cell phones have a calculator. This makes life so much easier when you are trying to figure out what is the cheaper item while shopping.

    Second, is the camera. If you are stuck waiting somewhere with an impatient or fussy young child, let them use the camera on your phone to take pictures. We learned this trick from a perfect stranger while trying to keep our very young daughter entertained in a waiting room one day. She was so happy taking pictures of her stuffed animal in different spots, in different positions, as selfies etc. Passed the time, no meltdowns and we just erased the pictures later! Seriously, my husband and I looked at each other and said “why didn’t we think of that!”.

  47. I have a very basic Tracfone for myself and I got a second one for my kids, as they are old enough to be out with friends without me. We pay about $80 per phone per year (for very limited minutes), plus the initial cost of the phone ($15 to $30 for the most basic). We feel that we cannot to get rid of our landline as we have very little cell phone reception and almost none in our house.

  48. Did the phone company explain why the bill had increased?

    I don’t have a smartphone, just an emergency Tracfone for calls and text. However, I do have an ipad mini with wi-fi, so I theoretically could use a variety of apps. The only one I’ve actually tried is the CVS app, largely because it avoids those crazy long printed receipts. So many stores have free wi-fi now that navigate to their websites or my email and use coupons that way, rather than printing or using a bunch of apps.

    The apps I use most are the calendar app (no need to print or buy a planner), basic calculator, maps (so I don’t have to print directions–my car is too old to have GPS) and the notes app/text editor so I can make lists without wasting paper.

    If I had a blog and/or a big following and an Instagram account, I’d look into ways to monetize Instagram. I know some bloggers make a good income from it, but I don’t know how it works.

  49. I just wanted to tell you about ooma. We have cell phones but didn’t want to get rid of our regular home line because the phone was always in the same place and if there was an emergency while we were out of the house the kids would know right where to go and have a working phone available. (Our kids don’t have cell phones and I have the habit of letting my phone die or misplace it). Anyway we just pay$3 per month for local 911 service. The unit was $100 initially and it works through your internet connection. There are a lot of informative reviews on Amazon.

  50. Andrea,

    I know there are bloggers making a living on what they do. I am not one of them. I am grateful for the little bit of money that my site makes that allows me to pay for the site and purchase a few small things.

    I don’t write to share a lot of things I buy, because I write for an audience that doesn’t always have room in the budget for extras besides the basics. Because of that, I don’t share a lot of things that people might want to buy; I myself am not buying a lot of things. That’s the way most bloggers are making money, but making money is not my primary purpose for writing.

    So if I manage to figure out how to use a smart phone (and I won’t lie–it’s pretty intimidating to me at the moment) and if I can take decent photos with it, I may share a few on Instagram. Of course, it may also be one more thing that can take me from my family, and so I may decide it’s not the best use of my time.

  51. Brandy, I thought of another app that I use constantly. I know I’ve given other ideas but my phone is my only means of internet. I know you have internet in your home so will not access bill paying apps etc. BUT, I also use Pandora on my phone. I have a wireless speaker I can sync my phone to and use it inside or outside. I only use the free app. I have church music channels and all genres that I enjoy. It’s quite amazing the sound quality of my phone with or without a speaker. I also use a notebook app, and my phone is my only camera. Like all technology it can be used to waste time and it drives me crazy to go places and see everyone with their heads down staring at their phones. But, it can be very useful if yore priorities are already set correctly. 2 years ago I found your blog, on my phone, I have since learned so much from you and your readers. The most important thing I believe I learned from you was to disconnect, stay home and get the things done I’ve been wanting to get done but never had the time because I was too connected to other people’s lives through Facebook, etc. I thank you for this invaluable lesson that has changed my life and helped me to accomplish much more than I thought I ever could. So, regardless if you choose a smartphone I’m sure you’ll use it in a frugal manner.

  52. I use Key Ring on my Android. You enter all of your store savings cards that they scan and then you just pull them up on the phone. Convenient for me as I don’t like all those little tags dangling.

    I use a monthly Verizon plan which I think is 3G with unlimited talk and text for a total of $58 a month. There are cheaper phones, but where I live and where I travel (the UP), this gives me the best coverage. I use Page Plus which pings the Verizon towers for my parents cell phones. I load $10/100 minutes every three months for them for emergencies. The Page Plus website is clunky to use though.

    Since you have high speed internet, have you considered an Ooma? I still keep my landline number active and ported into that company for about $4 a month. I wouldn’t keep it except the folks are older and tend to dial what they remember the quickest. My folks did drop their Ooma and went with a cable package recently just to simplify things. (I think their old unit is still there!)

  53. I don’t know what service plan you’re on for cell, but we use Project Fi and it’s been a HUGE decreaser of phone bills. It’s Android based, and we pay so much less per month than we ever did before.

  54. I bought an LG android with 12 months of service to include text and internet (via Trac Phone) for $100 from QVC in late November. The text and internet are limited to 300 minutes each, but so far I use very little. It is good to have when traveling long distances, which I do frequently.

  55. This is not money saving but for your readers who want the motivation to walk more, my husband uses AchieveMint, which pays you as you walk. It’s not a huge amount but it’s a nice little boost for motivation.

  56. If it hasn’t been mentioned, I use my area grocery store apps to download coupons and check on the weekly ads and specials. Smith’s (Kroger affiliate) has a free item coupon every Friday and is linked to your customer rewards card so when you pay it gives you the preferred customer savings and automatically applies all your loaded coupons. Albertson’s seems to offer a few coupons each week on the app that you don’t get in store. There are various free budgeting apps that allow you to digitally keep track of “envelope” budget items and enter transactions. I have used one called GoodBudget. I find this especially helpful if I am working out of my checking account paying for items that fit in various budget categories, but not in a situation that I can use cash. Most of the coupon deal sites seem to have apps as well. I use Hip2Save’s and often just do a quick check in the morning or at lunch and often come across a great deal on something that has been on our list. I don’t know if this is just in the app, but with my Google Play Movies app, I seem to get regular offers for coupons like a movie rental for 99 cents or half off a movie purchase. We have used these often for family movie nights on brand new releases.

  57. We switched last fall to a Wireless Home Phone through Verizon. We were able to keep our landline number. We were paying over $41 dollars per month (counting taxes) with no long distance, caller ID, etc. We now can call anywhere in the country, have Caller ID and our bill with tax is just a few cents over $25. Since we have friends and family around the country and a Tracfone is enough for our cell needs (about $10 per month) this works very well for us. Our Wireless Home Phone has capacity for two phones and we are very happy with it. Just thought you might be interested….it is through Verizon….and I benefit none whatsoever for mentioning it.

  58. Sorry about your phone bill! I worked for a phone company for many years and they were pretty greedy.

    My husband currently works for a cell phone company and there are a few ways to save. Of course, your Checkout51 and Ibotta. Ibotta tends to yield more for me faster and has more “moneymaker” deals if you like that sort of things. With my use being not very consistent I managed to bring in about $50 in four months or so using Ibotta.

    Besides that if you plan on doing *all* your internet usage at home, you can use a “wireless” option to save on having to use 3G or whatever internet towers and thus reduce your usage. I would forego ANY kind of “protection” plan and bankroll your own (ex: toddler drops your phone in a puddle). I paid for a protection plan from a major wireless provider ($15 a month for seven years…adds up!) and when I finally did need a phone replacement I got a shoddy refurbished one that performed so badly it needed to be replaced!

  59. Most smart phones have a really decent camera. In fact, the only camera I use to film videos for my youtube channel is with my smart phone.

    DO NOT be intimidated…it is really easy to figure out. Instagram shouldn’t take a lot of time, for a family/frugal type blogger there shouldn’t be lots of editing going into the photos.

    Also, have you considered creating a youtube channel? It may be something to consider since you’re getting a smartphone filming can be really easy.

  60. Julia,

    Can you imagine trying to film video with 8 children in the background? Um . . .yeah. The interruptions would make the recent viral BBC interview look tame.

    I’ve been looking at my husband’s phone and I tried taking some photos with it. I am used to shooting in manual, and the inability to do so was driving me crazy. The light was too dark (both inside and outside in the shade) and I couldn’t change any settings. I am used to being able to change ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed. I also edit all of my photos and I do quite a bit of editing (not just cropping and watermarking).

    What phone are you using? Are there ways to change the camera settings?

  61. From my limited research, smartphones with cameras that meet Instagram specs (and anything close to your caliber of photos) are expensive…and the really basic ones are limited on the apps they run, too.

    It’s completely possible to transfer photos from your computer to your phone and upload those to Instagram from the phone. You can do it directly if your camera is wifi capable, or use imgur or Flickr. You can probably sync via a USB cable, too. That way, you could share images from your blog/website without having to use the basic phone camera.

  62. Brandi,

    Yes! I can imagine that video, real life is awesome!

    The phone I use for filming and just taking pictures is actually an old LG (I don’t really use my Republic Wireless phone for this, I just don’t like the camera very much). On this phone you can change the settings, there are not a ton of setting BUT you can take it off of auto, adjust brightness…you can set it to take multiple pictures one right after the other.

    On this phone when you open the camera there are the 3 dots in the corner, I click that and it will give me several options to chose from as far as settings go, there is also a ? and that basically gives a tutorial. I don’t know what your husband has, but I am sure it probably has some of those types of features. And you can still upload the pictures to edit.

  63. I was going to add Republic as well! I pay $15.00 per month but i have more data. my husband pays $10.00 with a base plan. we also have a refund plan with them.

  64. I’m not sure if it has been mentioned, but Ooma is a good option for home phone. There is an initial cost for the unit of around $85, I think, but then it’s about $38/year for local and free long distance. International rates are pennies, but we’ve never used them. It is a VOIP, so if the internet goes down, the phone does too, but this is what we use for our home phone and we are quite happy with it.

  65. I love the conversations, that happen in this blog. Everyone is always positive and uplifting as well as helpful. Cellular phones are more convenient and less expensive than land lines, when you consider the many things that can be done with a cell phone. In a pinch it can even replace a computer. Apps that are useful in general and are free, are Scan Life that reads scan codes in products, quickly giving me information on anything like, calories, price, nutrition information and even expiration dates. Cam Scan is also very good, it uses a picture of a document to scan it to a fax line or as a document file to the computer. Cam Scan documents are accepted by government offices and other institutions that receive fax documents. I use this App often, to fax Dr. notes to school or send signed documents back to institutions when on the go … or because I no longer have a phone at home for such things. 😀

  66. I look at the ads and price match a the store. They will price match that stuff, but you are right about savings catcher. Then I scan my receipt and frequently Savings Catcher catches something zimdidnt know about.

  67. I think my biggest savings with my phone is using it to search for a coupon when I am about to buy something. I cannot tell you how many times I have saved this way. I don’t go shopping for something because I have a coupon, but know in a lot of stores coupons are often available, so just google once I have already decided on a purchase.

  68. I use Gas buddy for tracking gas prices, the price match report, pic2 shop ( it helps to check a price to see if it is a good price, flipp gives you the ads in your area,Jo Ann fabrics and Micheal’s, you can get a coupon on your phone.I need to check out some of the other ideas.

  69. I have an iPhone 4. It cost 1cent three years ago. We had been thinking about getting a digital camera at the time and a number of folks suggested the iPhone instead and the cellular company was having a special. The 6+ or something was out and these were on special. My children all started with Mac computers due to the specials through school and then they’d hand them down. My husband and I each have a hand me down Mac laptop.

    My phone has all the same icons in it as the day I bought it. The only one I’ve added is Audubon Birds. There are icons I’ve never clicked on like stocks, passbook, videos, game center, voice memos, newsstand. However I do use the calculator often. That I find useful, also the Google. I like the weather icon too. I have a variety of the cities around the country clicked on so I can see what it is like there. I have Las Vegas in….says it’s windy and 69. We had snow today.

    I have no advice for you…iboughta, area51, gasbuds??? My brain was actually starting to hurt trying to follow all the different machinations of coupon downloading and receipt up loading and scanning and price matching and flipping and and …. I think I will stick with just shopping as little as possible because that is what works for me. Technology is like an endless chasm I just can’t get across.

  70. If you haven’t bought already, check out the Straight Talk smart phones at walmart. Got a nice LG Treasure for around $60 and can get 10 GB of. High speed internet data with unlimited everything for $55/month. Best deal I could find.

  71. I don’t like wind at all!

    I do use the notes icon on my phone a lot. Keeps me from having numerous notes here and there. I can add in notes about what books I need to watch for so that if I am at the used book store of thrift store I can remember which books they are. I also like to read my email on it, though I do not respond as the keyboard is a bit small for me for other than brief texts. I get a lot of texts between all the children and work. Work finds it easier to call me or text me as I am not always in the library, I may be in a classroom or some other part of the building.

  72. Hi Brandy, my answer is to a question that you didn’t ask yet 🙂

    Our home phone system has the ability for bluetooth connections (we bought it at costco to work when we had landlines, and when the phone rings, it rings all four handsets). Since it has bluetooth, when we disconnected land line telephone a few years ago, my husband paired his cell phone to it. We use his cell phone as our home phone now, so when someone calls, the house phones ring. I can also pair my cell phone to the same thing, but I don’t since I don’t get many calls. Food for thought if you want a way to have phones in your house and not have to worry about where the cell phone is.

  73. I suggest you phone your phone company and ask if there is a loyalty discount. Tell them you may need to switch to a cell phone or other carrier. If you have been a long-time customer, they might give you a loyalty discount.

  74. I don’t know how available Sprint is in your area but here in the Midwest they added a new program for any health care worker 5 lines, unlimited data,text, talk and I think 10 gb wireless per phone per month (which my son says is a lot, I know nothing about this) so same price, one phone or 5 phones so as a nurse I switched ( surprised they let me as I was currently on Sprint) but if you have family in health care etc. maybe check or for any others out there. I have family who dropped their phones and went with me. (I already had two kids under me but two adult kids switched back) this will save them over a hundred a month.

  75. So sorry but the Sprint special is 5 lines for $90.00 which seems amazing. I guess the cost was important to mention :).

  76. I sucummed to having a smart phone. My adult children insisted. Mom you will be left behind”they said” I use it more than I thought. I have Walmart Family mobile. $30.00 unlimited talk, text, data. I use the note pad icon, flashlight, calculator, weather app and camera almost daily. I have Amazon Prime, but have found the WalMart app. Much cheaper on a lot of thing. Now I check both before I buy. I use the WalMart savings catcher. I have $68.00 on there adds up really fast. I also use the I heart radio app. I do a lot of banking on the Wells Fargo app. I almost never get on my laptop anymore. I have a Kindle, but prefer a old fashioned book. My kids have bible apps too, but I prefer the real thing.

  77. retail me not will check stores for available online coupons.

    I have a cricket wireless phone. Its$40 a month. i never even come close to my data limit.

  78. Also check if you are in an area that can still dial 911 from a disconnected landline. We have that here. You can keep a corded phone plugged up to a phone jack for this reason.

  79. I use Evernote to create and track different “notebooks.” I keep my gift list ideas, gym routine, date ideas, everyone’s clothing/shoe sizes, recipe ideas, list of clothing needs for the kids, restaurants I want to try, etc. It makes it so easy when I’m out and about.

    I also love Dropbox to transfer photos, files, etc between my phone and my laptop. My laptop stopped recognizing my USB cord when I tried to transfer pics so Dropbox really saved me!

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