Everyone loves to “save money,” right? In today’s article (in reality, a common sense PSA), we will try our best to help everyone reading to save more money (and time) then they did in 2018. Especially if you used any technology. Read on to find out why shopping apps are troubling for society.

Why shopping apps are troubling {the more you know}

A lot of people get caught up in various “apps” and other programs that claim they save you money. On paper, they certainly do present ways to save a buck here or there. But how many people look at the big picture, as well as look inward to see how these programs are affecting their lives? For real?

  • For one – pretty much every “app” is based on the gamification model. That means there are psychological triggers built-in. Most people do not comprehend this. People are literally tricked into performing certain actions. This, on top of various levels, rewards tiers, accumulating “points,” and so on. People like to “win” things, even if it costs them more overall.
  • Next is time – and obsessive “checking.” Most app programs will undoubtedly CONSUME most users. They will spend countless hours using them. Practically invades their life – whereas it didn’t exist before. 10-20 hours or more per week. What could you have done with that time otherwise? Plus – the repetitive nature of these programs then makes most consumers prone to coercion, for “fear of missing out.” They lose their logical thinking. (i.e., “do I really need that?” vs. “Wow! $0.75 off that thing!”)
  • Lastly – people are given what they perceive as privileged access to a gold mine of savings. Do you think that is free? Someone else is surely benefiting from your participation. From the brands who spy on your shopping habits to the tech startups that get millions in venture capital, and so on. Your data and behavior is worth a lot of money to these people. And all participants give it away for free – in exchange for a few pennies of savings, and the thrill of playing a very low-return “game.” Even if you “save” $100 a month with these programs – HOW MUCH TIME did you lose? Conversely – if you take an honest look back, you might be shocked to realize how much more you spent buying unnecessary things because you “scored” a deal. Not cool.

Best way to save – BUY LESS

Sure, there are “couponing” clubs out there that dedicate a SICKENING amount of time for saving money at stores. Almost a full-time job, actually. OBSESSIVE. And most of the time you’re limited to shoddy brands and poor food choices. You wouldn’t serve up a bag of dog poop to your family because you got it for free – why do the same with low-quality food? A total sin.

The best way is to buy only what you truly need. Do not worry about sales or incentives unless they cover what you’d normally buy even without sale prices.

Another way is to buy in bulk – and only what is shelf-stable and is most certainly used (paper products come to mind). But you need to be careful there as well.

And just picking the right stores can work wonders. Shopping at ALDI or LIDL can save a lot more money (and especially time without all the hassle).

Freeing yourself from the “app game” is the biggest win of all

The perceived “gain” from over-doing the savings game is minimal beyond belief – especially considering the work – and influence you become under. It’s not a good thing. Sort of like getting into drugs. You stop thinking clearly. It’s a sad, but real addiction in the modern world.

Sure – there are some “superstar” success stories out there, but they are far and few between (the rare exception – just like making it to the NFL), and often don’t last too long – as these companies are constantly trying to squeeze every last penny out of everyone. Most people that play those “games” are not even mediocre winners. The majority are net-losers, both in lost time, and lost privacy.

98% of shopping app customers buy things they would have NEVER bought otherwise. Let that sink in.

Having yet another “app” or program to monitor constantly is just not healthy. The time you have if you don’t waste it on shopping apps can be used for much more productive things, even if it’s just unplugging from the world and reading a good book. As more and more of these little “digital helpers” people invite into their lives, many will wake up one day unable to navigate the real world without them. Dependency is a scary thought. Do you ever see how frantic some get when they either misplace or lose their phone? Or have no internet access?

Some programs are not so bad

If you can find a program that doesn’t require constant monitoring (or worse – administrative work like “scanning receipts”), then we say go for it.

A couple good ones that come to mind are the ShopRite Price Plus card – as well as the Ocean State Job Lot Insider Program. These don’t require any “mining” of data to save a few pennies. Just enroll and scan your card at checkout. Note that they also track your purchases (internally), which is unfortunate. But you are not obligated to tie it to your phone, including sharing your “location” at all times, which is creepy.

The “shopping apps” of today are not simply shoppers clubs of yesterday (evolved) – they are invasive beyond belief, and overtly attempt to influence people in ways never previously possible. Hypnotic digital peddlers playing three-card-monte with your brain. Most folks walk away thinking they won, but their pockets are inside-out. Don’t be a victim.

Second best way to save – SIMPLIFY and ELIMINATE

We’ll conclude here now – but another awesome way to save a LOT more cash than these shopping apps will ever save you – is to simplify your purchases and eliminate the unnecessary.

For instance, just cutting out all flavored drinks alone will save almost everyone more than the shopping apps can dream of saving! Ever hear of drinking water? But this is unheard of for most people who are blissfully asleep at the wheel.

There are brilliant other ways that we’ll cover in the future – specifically the Carnivore Diet – you’d be astonished by how inexpensive it is to eat when you shift away from addictive, fattening foods (eating for entertainment), to healthy, satisfying foods (eating as FUEL). A story for another day – and requires critical thinking and letting go of the dogmas of days past.

That’s it for today – we hope you found this “thinking outside of the box” article helpful or thought-provoking. Please feel free to contact us for more!

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.