How much do you spend on apps?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 19, 2014


When we get a smartphone, one of the first things we do is head straight into the app store and find all of the necessities and then some to make sure we’re good to go. But after all is said and done initially, there’s probably going to be a time or two when you decide to go surfing for new apps again, and at that point you have a decision to make: Are you looking for free apps, or do you prefer to go with paid versions?


When I got my first smartphone, I was positively stoked about the fact that there were apps that were free. As an Android user, it seemed like free apps dominated the market. However, as most of you probably know at this point, even “free” apps come at a cost - advertisements. And when you’re using a phone with a smaller screen, it’s not a hard task to accidentally click on one of those advertisements. Hey, a developer’s gotta get paid somehow, right? So while it’s understandable that those annoying advertisements are there so the developer can earn some cash for their hard work, you have to decide whether it’s worth dealing with the advertisements or whether you should just pay the one-time fee to get rid of it.


It’s probably an easier decision if you plan on sticking with one platform for the long term, and if you really like an application and always use it it might be worth it just to pay the premium fee to get access to the app anyway. You’d be supporting a developer whose work you appreciate, and you wouldn’t have to deal with advertisements anymore from that point on, no matter how many phones you go through given that you’d be using the same app store every time. But for people like me, who constantly switch between platforms, the decision is not so easy.


For me, I usually do half and half. I am not a huge fan of free applications because of the advertisements, and also because if I use an app enough to where the advertisements annoy me it would make sense to just pay for the full version anyway. What does suck is when I pay for three apps on three different platforms for one service, which many times end up being the same application. However, if I were to pay for all of the apps that I use on each platform, that would start adding up. I only justify paying for the apps that I use most often, and while it sucks to pay three times, if the app is that good then I don’t mind making sure the developer gets paid so they keep working on it.


Then you have people like my parents, who will not ever purchase an application. Never ever. There’s nothing wrong with it, and they’re quite pleased with the selection of free apps they have to choose from. It’s interesting to me because my mom will ask me for app recommendations for certain things every once in a while, and if one of my recommendations come up with a one-time payment she asks me if I really paid for this app. When I tell her yes, and she always says something along the lines of, “Why buy something when there’s probably an alternative for free?” I don’t bother arguing with her, because if she’s happy and a developer somewhere made an alternative for free, then who am I to tell her that she can’t be happy? Well, that and she’s my mom, and you just don’t argue with your mom. Well, I don’t.


I don’t spend much on apps anymore these days, I think I’ve pretty much bought everything I would ever need to buy at this point on any platform, and of course I’ve spent money on apps that I don’t even use anymore. Have you ever gone back in your history and looked at some of the applications you’ve purchased? I have a lot of those, back when I was trigger happy about paid applications. These days I’m a lot more selective about it, which is probably a good thing.


What about you, readers? When it comes to applications, do you prefer to pay for them, or would you rather get them for free? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!