There are lots of apps in my books and on this website. Here are a few ways to save money on buying apps.
First, you may want to download AppZapp by ConIT AG (free). AppZapp helps you discover new apps, and the price and update history of existing apps. It has other equally powerful features. Most useful though, is the ability to set up alerts to be notified by email or push alert when an app drops in price.
Many apps drop in price around holidays (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Easter, and so on), the app’s birthday anniversary, to celebrate an event (like ‘Black Friday’ or the release of a new app by the developer), or another date of choosing by the developer. Some apps decline and rise in price regularly. Others never do. Using AppZapp, you can see the price history of the apps you’re interested in. This way you can have some idea of the probability of your app’s price changing.
With AppZapp, you can also see how active the developer is in updating the app. You might want to give apps that rarely (or never) update a pass.
Using AppZapp, it is possible to peruse lists of apps by category, those that have just become free, the most popular paid and free apps, bestselling apps, and the most liked apps, and other lists of popular apps.
Finally, AppZapp has a very enthusiastic community of users. You’ll often find comments about apps or lists (‘collections’) of useful apps that users have made that are sometimes far more insightful than those comments found in the app store.
If you own an Android device, AppSales by ts-apps (free, in-app purchases) is a price monitoring app worth installing.
Using AppSales, you can view a list of Android apps that have recently gone on sale or are currently on sale, view an app’s price history as well as add them to a watch list and get price alerts. There’s even filters so that you can specify how much a price needs to change before you want to be notified.
Next, for the Apple users, there’s AppShopper. AppShopper is a lot like AppZapp, although its is web-based. It is designed to track price changes across iPhone, iPad, Universal and Mac Apps. Similar to AppZapp, you can set up watch lists and be alerted to price changes for your favourite apps. As you can see from the screenshot above, AppShopper has several powerful filters. You can separately view paid and free apps and just those whose price has gone down or increased, amongst other options.
One problem with AppShopper is that there can be a lot of ‘noise’ in the search results. That’s because there are millions of apps in the App Store and therefore hundreds of thousands of apps that will not really be of interest to most people.
There’s also an AppShopper Social iPhone app available in the App Store that hasn’t been updated in 3 years, although it is still functional. My understanding is that this app is unlikely to be updated in the future because it would no longer comply with the current App Store Terms of Service. Therefore any changes would be unlikely to be approved. If you can live with an outdated interface that is not optimised for the current generation of iPhones, then you may want to install this app.
AppShopper Social (free) – Download here.
Discount Gift Cards
Online websites that offer or advertise discount gift cards – including app store gift cards – are another good way to save money on apps.
In Australia, there’s Gift Cards on Sale. In the US, there’s Raise. There are similar websites in other countries. (You’ll have to search the web for the country you live in.) Some retail stores discount gift cards for iTunes, Google Play, Skype, and other popular services.
If you purchase gift cards when they’re discounted to add credit to your account balance, you’re effectively buying your apps at a discounted price. Gift cards can go on sale at any time, and discounts can be very generous. Occasionally, discounts of up to 50% are possible.
I recommend exercising a lot of caution when buying gift cards on eBay though. Sometimes these gift cards are actually stolen, bought with stolen credit cards, or are computer generated redemption codes. A good indication that something is fishy might be where the person selling you the card will only deliver it electronically, and advises activating it immediately upon receipt. In these cases is possible that your gift card credit may later be cancelled. Other companies, if they believe you were aware that the credit was knowingly obtained using illegitimate means, will also terminate your account with them.