Friday, June 10, 2016

The Four Things I Do Earn an Extra $400 a Year that You Do for Free

  The Internet has been a  wellspring of opportunity for the creative and the tech-savvy. Many such opportunities trickle down to the general consumer, who only needs to do a little research to discover them.  In addition to coupon programs, dining rewards, and on-line surveys (which I do not recommend), there are several point-for-gift-card opportunities essentially paying you to do what you normally do anyway.  These four are the ones I currently use each day.

 1. If you drink soda, drink Coke and Coke Products.  Coca-Cola offers a rewards program; soda-drinkers who choose Coke are probably paying the same price for their competitors, but Coke essentially gives you cash back.  Now, the best way to save money as related to soda is to switch to water, especially with a water filter at home.  Not only will you save money, but you will be healthier as well.  If you are like me, however, you enjoy an occasional soda and offer soda at social gatherings.  If you do, choose Coke.  The points earned can be used to purchase Amazon or Walmart Gift Cards; which means you save on groceries and household items.  

 To earn a $10 Amazon Gift Card, based on the Rewards Program today takes 690 points.  With a 75 point limit per week, if you max out your points it will take about 10 weeks to earn a gift card.  If you rarely drink soda, that means that you will take even longer to earn points.  However, if you are walking for your health with that bottle of water filtered at home, pick up the bottle caps you see laying off the side of the road.  They are worth 3 points each, or a little more than $.04.  Ask friends and family who drink Coke and don't participate in the Rewards Program to give you their caps and packaging (12-packs and cases are worth significantly more points).  The offerings on the Rewards Program fluctuate, so if your card isn't available when you want to order, check back frequently while sitting on your points.

 While you could potentially earn an extra $50 a year with Coke Rewards, if you are like me you will earn at least $20.

 2. Slidejoy is an app for your phone that pays you for swiping to open your screen.  The app places on ad on your screen when you activate your phone; just a static image.  You can swipe it right to ignore it, or if you are interested you can swipe it left to open the ad.  Either way, you get paid, and apparently there is no difference between opening or ignoring an ad.  Slidejoy encourages you to use your phone like you normally would.  

 I am frequently on my phone, and the screen often goes dark.  Whenever I wake-up my phone, the Slidejoy ad appears, and I typically just slide it out of the way.  It takes 5000 points to earn a $5 gift card from Amazon, and I currently earn about 2500 points a month.  That comes to an extra $30 a year.

3. I switched to Bing as my search engine on my computer and my phone.  You can earn up to 25 points a day searching through Bing on both your computer and phone.  On the Gold Level, which you get to very quickly, you can purchase a $5 Amazon Gift Card for 475 points, or roughly every 15 days (otherwise it takes 500 points).  That is roughly $130 a year.

 One tip I can offer is to use the search engine to find sites you normally go to.  Need to check your bank account?  Search for your bank on Bing.  Wondering what time movies are playing at the theater?  Search for the theater on Bing.

4. When I go out into the world each day, I use the MPoints App.  MPoints lets you earn points for "checking-in" at various stores and restaurants.  The locations are based on Google Maps, so almost every business is listed and worth at least 10 points.  However, the way to maximize your points is to check-in at businesses advertising on the app, earning between 20 to sometimes 75 points for checking in.  You can check in at a location roughly every couple of hours, for a maximum total of 25 check-ins a day.  I take the bus to work, and along my route are numerous stores and restaurants.  The point value of locations changes occasionally; sometimes cell-phone stores are worth more, sometimes restaurants, and so on.  Checking-in also can lead to advertisements to earn additional points; a 30 second video here or visiting a sponsored page there, essentially doubling your point values.  Finally, checking in can result in prize boxes.  You can open one prize box on the map per hour with values from 5 to 1000 points, plus automatic entries for other prizes.  Boxes you create by checking in automatically become your if no one claims them within 24 hours, and then you have 24 hours to claim them all (they become part of a prize box count on your account, so no need to search for them).

 In addition to the MPoints app, other apps like the Weather Channel App and the Cricket Wireless App allow you to earn additional points for checking the weather or playing games.  In total, I earn over 2000 points a day, and it takes 12,500 points to earn a $5 Amazon Gift Card, or roughly 6 days.  If I only earn one card each week, that is $260 a year.

 All of these methods are essentially things that I would normally do anyway, but I am being paid about $440 a year for doing them.  That translates into a couple of months of utilities, a couple of date-nights each year, or even gas in my car for a few months.  And, this is only the tip of the iceberg of money-making opportunities online.