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I have only ever paid for one iPhone app in my entire life. And it was an app that I bought just because my friend built it…but I never used it, and its not even on my phone anymore. I was a charity buy. Other than that, I’ve downloaded only free apps – no paid apps. I know what you are thinking – that I’ve somehow illegally downloaded some, or “stolen” some apps. Well thats not the case at all. What I’m saying is that I use nothing but free apps on my phone. Hundreds of apps downloaded over the course of the past several years, all at the cost of $0.00.

Most of them are free by design, but some of them are free due to some special promotion through the App Store. Like the recent promotion where I downloaded Day One for free when its normally $4.99.

I’m not really sure why I don’t pay for apps. Maybe I’m just trying to save a buck. But mostly its just because I honestly haven’t found an app that seemed “worth it” for me to pay for – and on the flip side, I’ve found many apps that are fantastic and are free. I’ve been quite happy with free.

But the interesting thing is that there are several apps that I have downloaded for free that I would have paid for had I known how awesome they would be. Genius Scan is one of those. I have used that app so much during the process of preparing to move to Italy – scanning documents and passports. Another is Day One – I have only used it one day and already I can tell that I would be willing to pay for it. You know why? Because my alternative method of using the “Notes” app to write my journal just wasn’t cutting it.

And that is another issue: one of the big reasons I don’t pay for apps is due to a drive to piece together free tools to do the same job that a paid app could do. Like writing my daily journal in the “Notes” app and using my to-do list app to remind me to write in it each night. But what I’m finding is that sometimes the experience of an all-in-one tool is so much better than several apps scotch taped together that it is worth paying a buck or two for.

But would I pay $4.99 for the Day One app? Oh no. $4.99 is much to expensive – thats on the high end of apps, I’m sure I could get similar features for $0.99 or free. I’m in this mindset of comparing apps to apps when what I don’t think about is that its only $4.99 to have an app that works for the rest of my life. Only $4.99! Sometimes I need to zoom out and realize things like this.

I’m sometimes one who will drive 10 miles to save a dollar only to realize that I spent two dollars to get there.

So I need to work on that. But I will also say that there are lots of awesome free things out there. Apps especially. In fact, I just looked at the 20 top paid apps in the app store right now, and I have no desire to buy any of them. Not because they are paid, but because I wouldn’t even download them if they were free. Hmmm, but that iTranslate Voice app might come in handy in Italy…I wonder if there is a free version?