Smartphone apps

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The Trap: Binging on Phone Apps
That app that your friend has that does the cool thing with the pictures of cats is essential. So is 1Password, because without it, how would you ever remember the gazillion different variations on the name of your elementary school that you use every day? There's just one hiccup: "The average person has—at last count—over 50 apps," says Darren Murph, managing editor of Engadget, but most people actually use 10 or less on a regular basis. Given that some apps cost $10 or more, you may find you're spending hundreds of dollars a year on things you don't end up using more than once or twice.

The Solution: If you're an Android user, Murph suggests taking advantage of the trial period provided by the app store, which lets you download an app for a certain amount of time before you either pay for it or let it lapse. If you use the new app every day, great! If not, poof! It disappears at the end of the trial.

Windows or iPhone users can take an inventory of most-used apps. Then, pick one app category on which you're willing to spend money, and as for the rest, promise yourself that you'll look for free alternatives. For example, if you really like having Mint on your phone so that you can get text messages about spending, or if you're deeply attached to Evernote because it syncs notes that you make on your phone and your computer, then you'll want to spend on utility apps. So reserve your splurges for the next great one that comes out—and stick to the free version of Angry Birds.

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Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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