Saturday, October 5, 2019

New Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 is here with a couple of great new features. Most notably the always-on display. This allows you to avoid those awkward moments of raising your arm to check the time while talking to your boss or during meetings.  I can see why Apple kept the updates minimal here because the always-on display is a real game-changer.

Other notable additions are the ability to call emergency help around the world (for the cellular version) and a built-in compass so you can see which direction you're facing. Great additions for travelers and adventure seekers.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Shopping with Mobile Wallets

Everythings on My Phone

These days I rarely have to take my wallet out of my pocket. I no longer carry any store cards. They are all either in Apple Wallet or their store's app. Occasionally, I might have to give my phone number. For payments I can use Apple Pay at almost all locations I regularly shop. It is convenient to be able to quickly tap my phone. 

For restaurants, mobile ordering options are becoming extremely common and popular. I love being able to order on my phone so I can get exactly what I want and see all the customization options. It's also nice not having any surprises if something costs extra because you see it right in front of you. Plus sometimes they have extra coupons for mobile ordering. This is also a great way to use discount gift cards from sites like Swagbucks.

I almost don't need a wallet anymore. If my driver's license and health insurance cards were digital I wouldn't need to carry it. I still do keep a few cards with me in case there is a place that doesn't accept mobile payments. Currently, most of the gas stations around and Red Boxes still don't offer Apple Pay. Although, Exxon Mobile does accept Mobile Payments through my phone.

One of my favorite places to use mobile payments is vending machines. I am quite surprised by how common this is on vending machines. If I am at work I can simply tap to pay and grab a drink or snack. Even better when I am out for a jog I don't even need to bring my wallet and can grab a Gatorade at the local park vending machines. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Swagbucks Member Recognition

A few months ago Swagbucks introduced a Member Appreciation Program. While this program is not earth-shattering it does add another level of benefits. The program starts by rewarding loyalty with small bonuses and rebates and builds to some sustained benefits like instant gift card redemptions. At my level of Topaz, I received a 125 Swagbucks (SB) rebate (worth about $1.25-$1.40 depending on how I redeem), double SB on my next two survey completions, 300 SB back on shopping through their portal, skip the wait for cashback shopping and real-time delivery of a gift card up to $25 a month. Keep in mind the bonuses do expire so you will need to use them in a timely manner.

I like to see Swagbucks rewarding their loyal members. The only thing I wish they would do is provide additional sustained benefits rather than just bonuses. The only sustained benefit I get at L6 is real-time delivery of the $25 gift cards. Even once you reach the top tier levels you only get two sustained benefits which are extended time to redeem Swag Codes and real-time delivery of up to four $25 gift cards a month. The bonuses do get quite large as you approach the top though.

Overall, this is a great step forward in more ways to reward their loyal users. I do wish they would side with their users more and hold their survey providers to higher standards, but there are no other reward sites that have this many bonuses and offer this many ways to earn.

Interested in making your Member Recognition Levels faster. Check out this post to learn how to make your Swagbucks Daily Goals!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

How much money can you make just from walking?

I've noticed a number of apps that will pay you to take steps or let you bet on weekly goals. My aim here is to analyze how much you can really make on a weekly basis from these apps.

Here is the list of apps I'm using

  1. StepBet
  2. FitPotato
  3. Achievement
  4. Sweatcoin
  5. Million Steps

StepBet is a great app. StepBet lets you wager a bet that you will complete weekly goals over a set period of time usually 6 weeks. If you purchase a membership you can play 3 games at once. I typically average just over $8.00 a StepBet and can earn that on average every two weeks. Subtracting $1.90 for the membership fees I get $6.10 every two weeks or about $3.05 a week. Pretty good, but this does require the upfront money for membership and bets.

FitPotato is another good app. Here you wager $5 a week to meet step goals of 6000 steps on three days in a week. Pretty easy goals and you can earn about $0.80 a week.

Achievement will pay you for all sorts of healthy activities. I really like this app and its pretty passive, but it only pays about $0.12 a week for steps if you take just over 6000 steps a day.

Sweatcoin is a fun app that converts steps taken outdoors into Sweatcoins. This app pays pretty well, but the rewards are very high. To get cash you need $1000 worth. For about 5250 outdoor steps a day you will get about $0.25 week, but to be practical you will need to do much more than that.

Finally, Million Steps gives you about $0.35 a week for taking 5000 steps a day. Pretty straightforward, but I believe it requires daily check in.

In total, you can earn about $4.57 a week using these paid step apps all with moderate goals. You may want to leave out Sweatcoin unless you take lots of outdoor steps. Overall, $4.57 is not bad and these goals can help improve your health.

New T-Mobile Magenta Plans

T-Mobile released new Magenta Plans and are offering a great deal for new subscribers. Right now you can get Magenta Plus 3 lines for pretty much the same price as Magenta if you are a new customer or a single line customer. If you are a current T-Mobile multiline subscriber, unfortunately, you can't take advantage of the 3rd line free deal so Magenta Plus is about $10 month more per a line.

T-Mobile Magenta is not all that different from T-Mobile One. Both include unlimited high-speed data on your phone but the main benefit I see is you now get 3 GB LTE mobile hotspot. They also dropped the included Netflix subscription to SD with 1 Screen. If you upgrade to Magenta Plus you will get 20 GB of Mobile Hotspot plus HD Netflix with 2 Screens as well as a few other great benefits such as Name ID and Unlimited gogo Inflight Wifi.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How you can beat the Chase Freedom 5% on Streaming Services

The next quarterly category for the Chase Freedom Card includes 5% cash back on streaming services. The Chase Freedom points can be very valuable because they can be transferred to the Sapphire cards where The Points Guy values them at 2 cents a point. I personally value them at about 1.5 cents a point. But what I like to do for streaming services is to buy discount gift cards on Currently, Hulu gift cards are 6.7% off, Netflix 3.2% off and iTunes 5.9% off. Plus you can get another 1% back from sites like Swagbucks and 1.5% back by paying with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Raise also often offers promo codes like the one today that gives 4% off everything although I don't believe it can be combined with Swagbucks shop and earn. Either way, you can do better than 5% back and even better than 10% off if you wait for a promo code.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Credit Shifu Wallet

I was looking for a new wallet because the travel wallet I've been carrying for a few years now is just too thick to be comfortable. Also, I don't keep much cash on me and have transferred most of my store cards to my phone. I found The Credit Shifu RFID blocking minimalist wallet. This wallet is very compact even fully loaded its about half the thickness of my old wallet. It has a nice feel and holds cards securely, something I was worried about with this style wallet. If you're interested in a new compact wallet check out The Credit Shifu Store. The Credit Shifu is not a sponsor, but offers lots of great info on credit cards and I am a big fan of his Youtube channel. Check out his YouTube channel to learn about getting free travel and perks through credit cards.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Finding Myself in the Alternative Income World

I haven't posted in a while because I've changed a lot over the past few months. I talk a lot about making money on this blog and how I earn money. Lately, I've taken a break from most of my online income activities, including taking surveys and watching paid videos at least for the most part. Honestly, burnout is a large part of it as well the dissatisfaction with sites not crediting for surveys and offers. Many reward sites have a terrible practice of allowing their users to be abused by the surveys and offers while blaming the partners for not paying. An honest reward site should hold their partners accountable to prevent abuse to their loyal users. Many of these surveys string users along for a while before disqualifying them or even let users successfully complete them and still give payment.

3 Ways I Still Make Extra Money

First I found a new app I love StepBet. Here you place a bet committing to meet your step goals and if you don't you lose your bet. If you do complete your goals you get to split the pot with the other winners. It's great motivation to get your steps in and be more active. Most StepBets are about $40 and last 6 weeks. I normally make about $8 from a StepBet like that. Pretty good earnings just for doing what you should.

Next, I still do paid search through Bing and Swagbucks. This makes a little bit of money and is worth it because I search the internet anyway. Bing tends to be my go to search engine especially when I am on mobile.

I still think about maximizing cash back when shopping. I like to use Ebates or Swagbucks as well as to save money on gift cards. I have also added into the mix credit cards cash back and sign up bonuses. My current two favorite cards are the Discover It and the Chase Freedom. Both of these have rotating categories that give 5% cash back. I recently got the Chase Freedom which gave me a bonus worth $150. Not bad for a free card with good cash back categories. The Discover It will give a $50 sign up bonus if you use this link, plus you get cash back match at the end of the first year.

I've changed a lot and am not sure if I will ever go back to surveys. I do plan to continue looking for ways to earn money for things I do anyway like exercise and searching the web. I have also become interested in learning about credit cards and how to get the most benefit out of them.

None of these companies are sponsors, but some of the links are referral links and I will get paid if you sign up through them.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

5 Ways to Get Money for Travel

A lot of people ask how to get money for travel, and I thought I would talk a little bit about it. Now your earnings may vary a lot, and all these techniques may not be for everyone, but I think most people could take at least a few tips from this post. None of these companies are sponsors although there are referral links present in this article which anyone can do.

1. Credit Card Rewards

The number one way to earn a lot of money for travel is to get a travel credit card. A couple of great lower cost options are the Capital One Venture Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both of these currently give a good sign bonus for spending $3,000 or $4,000 respectively. The bonus for the Venture card is worth about $500, and the bonus for the Sapphire Preferred is worth about $650. Both cards include TSA Precheck or Global Entry reimbursement. These cards have a $95 annual fee that's waved for the first year. The Points Guy has a good comparison of these cards.

Check out this post if you would like to learn how to make your spending requirement.

2. Earn Shopping Rebates

Many websites and apps these days offer rebates for shopping. An easy option would be to get either the Ebates browser add on or the Swagbucks add on. This would allow you to easily receive cash back everywhere you shop online and this is on top of your credit card cash back. You can also earn rebates on groceries and other shopping using Ibotta.

3. Complete Surveys and Tasks Online

There are many online survey and offer sites out there these days. A longtime favorite of mine is Swagbucks. They have a ton of options to earn money and give lots of bonuses and have plenty of extra earning opportunities through games and promotions. Other good options here are InstaGC and Inbox Dollars.

4. Get Paid to Search the Web

You can also get paid to search the web. One of the best options is not only do they pay you to search the web, something you probably do anyway, you can also make a little extra money from looking through their news pages.

5. Earn Money Working Out

This section is one of my favorites. You can earn money through apps like Achievement which rewards you for a variety of healthy actions including taking steps and logging your weight and food. You simply link up your other health apps and its pretty automatic from there. Another great option is StepBet. Here you wager your own money and if you make the step goals you get to split the pot minus what StepBet takes with the other winners at the end of the competition. I just started with StepBet and will write a review after I finish the first competition.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Attaining Credit Card Reward Bonuses

I see a lot of people wondering how they can achieve the spend requirements on credit cards to receive the sign-up bonuses. Many cards these days offer bonuses of 50,000 points or more. In my example, I am going to use the Venture card by Capital One. This card gives 50,000 points worth $500 as a statement credit toward travel when you spend $3000. If you would like to see a good review of the card check out this full review by The Points Guy 

Let's get down to how we are going to spend the $3000. In order to makes this work for most people, you will have to have some extra money to pay some bills ahead of time. It's time to get out your budget. If you don't already have a budget its a good time to make one. What I like to do is check off whether an item can be paid with a credit card or not. Currently, I can pay my Car Insurance, EZ Pass, Electricity, Phone, Groceries and Entertainment Costs by credit card. For me, this amounts to about $600 a month. I can also pay my Auto Registration by credit card, but this requires careful timing. As you will see $600 a month over 3 months is only $1800 so we will need to be a little clever. How are we going to get the remaining $1200?

First I can pay car insurance in blocks of 6 months for about $645 if I time opening the card correctly. This brings us up to $2122.5 since the $1800 included 3 months of auto insurance.

The second thing I can do is time my payments so that I have 4 electric bills during this period. My bills are due on the 4th of the months and I receive them on the 10th. This adds about $200 dollars. We are now up to $2322.5.

Now its time to get a bit creative. If you are already planning a trip you may be able to spend the remaining $678 on that. If not let's start by talking about things you can prepay. First I can prepay for tolls on EZ Pass lets say $100. Next, you can prepay for anything that offers gift cards. This means gas and groceries, but also even things like Netflix and Apple Music. I prefer to buy my gift cards at a discount on Raise. In the following example, you could spend $300 on grocery cards, $200 on gas and $80 on normal entertainment expenses. You can get very creative here and often save a lot of money on discount cards. Plus you can even get an addition 1% cash back through Swagbucks.

So here is how it all adds up.
$1800 in normal monthly expenses.
$322.5 in prepaid car insurance
$200 by timing your electric bills
$100 in prepaid EZ Pass
$300 in Grocery Gift Cars
$200 in Gas Gift Cards
$80 in entertainment cards
Total $3002.50

The great thing about this plan is that it is all things I would buy anyway and the fees for this are very low. The only charges for using credit are from the electric company which charges $1.5 a transaction for a total of $6. See how you can get creative with this. Make sure you only spend money you have and you pay the credit in full each month. Otherwise, the interest will quickly eat up your savings.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Has Technology Gotten Boring

Every year I am excited to read the news article coming from the Consumer Electronics Show. I always love to see what products may come out over the next few years if ever, but lately, it seems like its getting boring. While they keep coming out with interesting products nothing seems that new. 5G has been talked about for years now. TVs get better every year and while they are cool it's not like its anything worth upgrading too yet. Even computers have progressed so slowly that the flagship models don't seem different from what was offered a few years ago outside of a few gimmicky features.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Why I Love to Fly

I have always loved flying. There is nothing quite like sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane. The excitement of knowing you will step off into a new place. The enjoyment of being able to take your mind away from the world for a while. When you are flying it's like you are in a bubble away from everything. Even with the cramped seats and little leg room, it's all worth it.

The technology on planes improved greatly over the years, but I also appreciate the freedom from the usual technology. Poor WiFi is a blessing because it encourages me to disconnect and either watch a movie or read a book. Something that's difficult to do these days without distraction.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Finding Cheap Airfare

A lot of people these days don't realize how easy it is to find the cheapest airfare. The biggest advantage when searching for cheap flights is to have flexible vacation dates and planning somewhat early.

In searching for airfare the first place I like to visit is Google Flights. Here you can select the airports you want to fly between and see all the possible prices. This is incredibly useful if your trip isn't set yet because you can select how long your trip will be and see what is the cheapest duration. There are also a ton of customizable options such as whether you're flying with checked bags and if you're willing to take layovers. You can even select to monitor specific flights if you aren't sure you want to book yet.

Another feature I like is that you can select airlines if you are loyal to a specific airline or want to earn another premier level you can see the cheapest flights just from them. This is great for people trying to earn miles and looking for the best rates or who might get an upgrade from a certain airline.

One thing that I haven't observed personally, but have heard is that it is best to search in incognito mode because if they see you repeatedly search for flights they will raise the price.

The Exciting Rumors Surrounding the 2024 iPad Pros

  As the tech world eagerly anticipates the next evolution of Apple's iconic iPad lineup, rumors and leaks surrounding the 2024 iPad Pro...

Popular Posts