How To Stretch Your iTunes Dollars Further

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Considering how penetrating each and every one of Apple's devices has been in the personal tech market, it's no wonder iTunes continues to make loads of money. It wouldn't happen without the individual contribution of each of iTunes' millions of users. But just how much app, song and movie money does each person contribute to Apple's world domination each year?

Over at Asymco, Apple-loving industry analyst, Horace Dediu, analyzed the revenue and sales of Apple's omnipresent iTunes store. Taking into account their quarterly sales—around $5 billion—and their number of users—500 million—Dediu calculated the average annual spend of an iTunes user at around $40 per year.

A haul from a year-long $40 shopping spree could look like this:

  • 5 songs at $1.29, 2 songs at 69¢, 
  • 3 apps at 99¢
  • 1 book, at $9.99
  • 1 movie rental, at $3.99
  • 1 high-definition movie purchase, at $14.99

Depending on how you use iTunes, $40 could go a lot further or a lot faster. $40 in songs can buy you around 40 tracks, but $40 in movie rentals is just 10 nights of staying in with homemade popcorn on the couch.

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And of course, the $40 is an average. It spreads the total iTunes gross sales evenly across iTunes' hundreds of millions of users. I'm sure there are plenty of registered iTunes users that haven't spent a dime on anything but free applications for their iPhones, and that means there's others who spend way more than two Jacksons on music, books and movies annually.

So where do you fit in with this global average?

Whether you're way over or under the average, you can still stand to spend less. There are plenty of ways to stretch your iTunes dollars further:

  • Find the free stuff. Not everything on iTunes costs money. Check out the Top Free chart in the App Store next time you're shopping for a game. Or follow a blog like freeitunessongs.blogspot.com, which tracks which songs are currently available for literally nothing on iTunes. 
  • Score deals. If you can't get it for free, you can get it for cheap. Tech Bargains tracks deals and coupon codes for apps, and iTMS Movie Deals tracks which movies have recently seen a price drop on iTunes. You can also get lucky with a quick search for "iTunes" or "App Store" on a retail coupon site like Retail Me Not.
  • Stretch your buck. If you know you're going to spend a lot on iTunes, seek out resources where you can buy iTunes gift cards for less than face value. Sites like Gift Card Granny, Card Cash and Card Pool buy gift cards from people who don't want them and re-sell them to store-loyal buyers for a discount. Or follow @itunescarddeals on Twitter, where you can get a Tweet tip about discounts on iTunes gift cards at your favorite retailers.
  • Ditch iTunes entirely. If you can't save on them, lose them. Seek out other options to get your entertainment fix. Stream your songs for free on Spotify, or rent your movies at Redbox for only a buck instead of shelling out a Lincoln in iTunes. 

(Images: Shutterstock, Apple)

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