Like all the best language hackers, I’m a long-time convert to the Anki flashcards system. It’s one of the power tools of language learning, combining science-smart learning methodology with a simple, no-nonsense interface and complete customisability. I use it to build my own personal word lists as I browse and read in my target languages; I come across a new word, look it up, and pop it in.
I generally administer my vocab lists on the free desktop client (available for Windows, OS and Linux), and test myself in my spare moment during the day on the mobile app. However, after switching back to iOS from Android recently, I was, admittedly, discouraged to learn that the iOS version of the app is a not insignificant £18.99 / US $24.99. After using the free Android version, having to pay rankled a bit (being a thrifty Midlander at heart!).
However, with a bit of rational processing, it’s easy to see why the price is more than fair for such a brilliant app. The author does a good job of justifying the cost at this link, and as a fellow independent app developer, I more than get it. The Android version, it turns out, is developed and maintained by a separate group of people. From the official channel, you’re still getting the very powerful desktop software for nothing at all, and £18.99 for adding mobile capabilities doesn’t seem like much compared to other language learning tools, or subscription-based services.
So far, so good – I’d justified why the app was worth £18.99. But the thrifty Midlander in me still seethed silently at the thought of spending that much on an app.
Enter Swagbucks. On the face of it, Swagbucks is a run-of-the-mill survey / pay-per-click site, where bored Internetsters with some spare time go to earn rewards. The site has been fêted a lot on thrift-seeking sites, particularly MoneySavingExpert.com, in recent years. But wait – Swagbucks can pay out in iTunes gift cards!
I signed up, and set myself a goal – no more than 30 minutes of Swagbucking a day, until I’d earnt enough to cover the app. I won’t lie – surveys and pay-per-clicks aren’t particularly riveting to plough through, so setting yourself a max goal is a good idea. In fact, Swagbucks helps you with this by setting you a daily goal to hit for a bonus. In less than a month, I’d got my two £10 gift cards – that app was mine! *cue maniacal laughter*
So, summing up, this is an age-old tale of a slightly stingy language learner at Christmas time. But if you’re also keen to get the power of Anki on your iOS device, and feel the sting is a bit too sharp, then sites like Swagbucks are definitely worth considering. Happy Swagbucking / Anki-ing! #hohoho