Beer money! Or: ways to earn money on the internet and on your phone

We all love extra spending money, and have our various ways of making it. Nate and I both love our jobs, but we keep a tight budget. One of my contributions to our family is my passion for finding small ways to earn extra money for spending or saving. Okay, maybe it’s not beer money for everyone. For me it’s Starbucks and woven wrap (My first Didymos Indio, here I come!) money, because let’s be real: beer money is built into my budget.

So here are some of the apps and websites I use. Please note that asterisked items use my referral link 😉

Swagbucks*
Swagbucks is a website that gives you points (called… you guessed it: Swagbucks) that you can redeem for things such Amazon, Starbucks, and Paypal gift cards.

What I like:

  • Tons of ways to earn points
  • Huge selection of rewards
  • Well known and established

What I don’t like:

  • Some points opportunities come with spam if you aren’t careful

I downloaded two free apps that help me earn points (SBTV and Entertainow), and there are a few more apps available for download if you have an android device (which I don’t). Basically I turn these video apps on while I’m using my wireless at home and let the points rack up. Swagbucks sets daily goals for how many points you can try to earn, and when you reach the goal you’re rewarded with more points (on the 5th of the following month). There is a great guide on Reddit written by /u/Garwald that can help you maximize how many swagbucks you earn. In the 6 weeks I’ve been using Swagbucks consistently I have earned $50 in Paypal, and within the next week I will have another $25.

The Ride
The Ride is a super-easy passive way to get some freebies. As you travel via car, foot, bike, plane you earn points that you can redeem for rewards such as gift cards.

What I like:

  • It’s passive; I don’t have to do anything

What I don’t like:

  • It can take awhile to earn points
  • not much to choose from in terms of rewards
  • Only available for apple devices

While I don’t know exactly how many points in getting per mile I also don’t really care. I literally installed this app and then forgot about it. A few months later I redeemed for a Starbucks gift card. I haven’t seen Starbucks as a redemption offer lately, but Dunkin Donuts is one choice, as are Amazon cards among a few other options. I drive about 30 miles each day to and from work so I do earn points fairly easily, but obviously this might not be as useful to a stay-at-home parent. I will be flying to Monterey in two months and I can’t wait to see my points increase after that.

Recyclebank website and app
Recyclebank lets you do activities like watching brief animations, taking shirt quizzes, and reading articles in exchange for points. You can redeem the points for coupons, discounts, gift cards, and magazine subscriptions.

What I like:

  • It’s teaching you something while you earn points
  • It’s easy to earn points

What I don’t like:

  • You can send email referrals or invite people via Facebook, but there’s no set referral link

The activities on recyclebank are quick and easy to do, and it kinda makes me feel good to do them. I’ve actually learned a lot from watching the short (like 30 second) videos and by doing the quizzes. If you have children it’s fun and worthwhile to get them involved, too. You can also put in ziplock codes for points, which is cool. We’ve become more energy-conscious and have a large receptacle for aluminum recycling. I’ve enjoyed some Starbucks as a reward 🙂

Ibotta*
Ibotta gives you cash back when you purchase things at stores that appear in the app.

What I like:

  • You just get direct, good old money (via Paypal)
  • It’s easy to do
  • You can use it as much or as little as you want

What I don’t like:

  • It takes some planning, like couponing
  • There are a few steps involved each time you get a rebate

Ibotta is a mobile app that lets you select items you plan to buy, do a small activity (like read a fact, watch a short video, etc) and then scan the item once you purchase it and submit a photo of the receipt. The app lets you choose groceries and merchandise from stores like CVS and Kroger, dishes from restaurants like Chili’s, and you can even get rebates for movies you go to. I’ve made a total of $42 since I’ve begun using the app. The problem I have is that I don’t think to use it, but I have plenty of friends who use it frequently and get money back every time they shop.

Viggle*
Viggle is a mobile app that let’s you checkin to TV shows or songs for points. You can redeem the points for things like Redbox rentals, music downloads, k-cups, electronics, etc.

What I like:

  • Easy to use
  • Large rewards catalog
  • You can use it as much or as little as you want

What I don’t like:

  • Easy to forget about
  • some of the rewards are for like, 3,000,000 points and it’s like… yeah right

To use Viggle you just hit the “check-in” button while watching TV or listening to music. Your device’s microphone will ‘listen’ for about 30 seconds, then you’ll verify that it picked up the right show or song. You get 1 point per minute of TV (not counting bonuses for things like NFL games or season premieres), or 25 points per song, with a limit of 20 songs per day. As you use the app your “Fandom” level will increase giving you access to discounted rewards.

Mango Health
Mango Health is a mobile app that let’s you keep track of your prescription medications while earning points for taking them correctly.

What I like:

  • Different from other rewards apps
  • Extremely helpful and useful
  • Easy to use
  • Mostly passive
  • Nice prizes

What I don’t like:

  • Points level you up but otherwise aren’t redeemable

Mango Health is super useful and helpful. You enter in the medications you’re on and it reminds you when it’s time to take them and when you’re due for a refill. It also give you information about the medicine including possible reactions between the medications you take. The points you earn level you up but aren’t redeemable. However, as you level up you are eligible to be randomly drawn for higher level prizes. I’ve been using the app for just over 3 months and I’ve won twice: once I won a $1 ASPCA donation, and once I won a $25 Starbucks card. I’m currently at level 6 which makes me eligible to win $50 prizes. I never forget to take my medicine anymore, and the refill reminders are super nice.

Shopkick*
Shopkick is a mobile app that lets you checkin to stores and scan barcodes to earn points (called “kicks”) that are redeemable for all kinda of gift cards and electronics… or even a cruise (uh-huh).

What I like:

  • No purchases necessary
  • Nice prizes

What I don’t like:

  • The app was revamped awhile back and became harder to use
  • If you don’t use the app or redeem your kicks for like 6 months you’ll lose them

Shopkick is mostly easy to use (though not as easy as it used to be). Basically you open the app when you walk I to stores that are associated with Shopkick, and it credits you with points. Also, you can scan items in the store (like groceries or toothpaste) for more kicks. The kicks are redeemable for Starbucks cards, movie tickets, etc. I used it frequently for awhile and my husband and I had a nice movie date. I don’t use it much anymore, honestly, because I just plain forgot about it.

So, what apps or websites do you use to earn extra money? Everyone loves findings out ways to earn money on the internet or using apps, so please share your ideas here, I know I’d love to hear it.

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