Five ways to fund your iOS or OS X app addiction

I enjoy apps and can’t get enough of them. I’m always installing the latest new apps or app updates just to check them out. Though fun, these impulse purchases can get expensive. Over the years, I’ve adopted several reliable methods to help fund my iOS and OS X app addiction.

Sign up for beta access

Many app developers run beta programs that allow you test out apps that are under development. You get the app for free under a non-disclosure agreement and provide feedback to developers. It's a win-win situation for app lovers -- not only do you get access to unreleased versions of apps, you also get to play a critical role in the app development process. Readdle, Omni Group and others have beta programs.

Save loose change and bring it to Coinstar

I often use cash for purchases and save all the change in a jar. Each month, I gather up that loose change and bring it to a Coinstar machine, where I can redeem the change for an iTunes gift card. Gift cards are free, so you get the full value of your change. On average, I earn a $40 gift card each month with minimal effort on my part.

Monitor app sales

One of the advantages of writing the Daily Deals and Today in the App Store posts is that I am always on top of app sales. When an interesting app is on sale, I don’t hesitate to buy it at a discount or download it if it is free. You can follow our posts on AWT, where I pick out the top sales. You also can visit sites like Apple Sliced or Two Dollar Tuesday for a variety of app deals and bundles.

Watch for iTunes gift card discounts

Retailers often discount iTunes gift cards, allowing you save up to 15% off the value of a card. If you can afford it, you can purchase a $100 card for $85, giving you $15 of free apps. These discounts are sporadic and time-limited, so you have to purchase them when they appear.

Turn to eBay for unwanted cards

If you want an iTunes gift card and can't find an active sale, you also can browse eBay for deals on gift cards that people no longer need. The savings may be small as sellers want to recapture as much of the card's value as possible, but a penny saved is a penny earned.