Show me the Money-Making apps, that is!  There are a plethora of apps these days that pay per survey or help you save on your receipts – have you tried any that you’re a fan of and have actually reaped results from?  I’ve been using Google Opinion Rewards for a few years now, and I must say, having a little bank of Google Play Money has come in quite handy!  I was skeptical in the beginning that it would be worth my time and that I’d actually keep up with it long-term, but it’s so easy to build up rewards just by answering questions, that it’s foolproof!

The biggest thing I use my rewards on these days is my kids’ apps that offer in-game upgrades or purchases.  I’m cheap.  (Like really cheap.)  So before my Rewards days, I refused to buy anything extra in games or apps.  After installing the Google Opinion Rewards app, I quickly built up over $70 in free rewards in the first year!  I became more free with my Rewards spending and “splurged” on a new Princess Pet character here and there for my daughter’s favorite app and actually bought the full version of several learning apps for my toddler!  It was great!  I also used my balance for a couple music downloads here and there because it was so quick and easy to build back after spending.  This got me wondering what else I was missing out on!  Here’s what I’ve found in my recent search for new apps to try that might be equally easy and productive.

Google Opinion Rewards

I might as well start this off with Google Opinion Rewards since that’s the one I currently use and can attest to!  If you haven’t given this a try, it’s super easy and quick to answer the surveys that pop up.  You’ll get notifications when a new survey is available.  I found that they came more often when I was out and about shopping in larger locations, so if you live in the city you might rack up the rewards a little faster.  Also, the more surveys you complete, the more it’ll send you.  If you start ignoring some of them it’ll begin to back off on sending them as frequently, so keep that in mind for optimal free money!  A survey can bring anywhere from a few cents to a couple bucks depending on how in-depth the questions are.


Another version of Google Rewards is the iPoll app which has you review products you’ve used and places you’ve visited.  You can earn cash, popular gift cards, airline credits, entries to Quarterly drawings for $10,000, and more – just by giving your opinion!  You can also complete missions to earn money, which adds a fun interactive twist than just answering questions.  This added feature turns it into more of a test study, which could be rather interesting to participate in!

Field Agent

Mystery Shoppers unite!  Get paid for living out your daily activities through Field Agent!  I’ve always wanted to be a Mystery Shopper, so this could be my chance right here.  Field Agent sends you on missions to explore stores or products to gather important marketing information for businesses.  A typical “job” pays between $2-$12 and they are usually available on a “first come first serve” basis.  Sometimes you may be asked to enter a store and submit a photo of a particular display while others you may actually be trying a product or service to review it.  (Attention business owners, you can use this app in reverse to get the skinny on how your products or services are doing!)


I came across some other interesting apps that peaked my interest, such as Sweatcoin!  The app tracks your steps and translates roughly 1,000 steps into 1 digital coin, which you can then build up to purchase things like a PayPal gift card or an iPhone X.  Now, as good as this sounds, I’m sad to see many reviews say it doesn’t count steps accurately, while others seem quite pleased with it.  Maybe if they join forces with FitBit they’ll have something really awesome going on here.  Until then, I’m on the fence about this one’s accuracy, however, what have we got to lose?  (Maybe a few extra pounds if we’re lucky!! – Ha!)


Ok, with a clever motto like “Don’t coupon. Swoup on!” who wouldn’t want to give this one a shot?  If you’re at all interested in couponing this could help you in your bargain adventures, however, its partnership is limited.  If you’re an avid shopping at Walgreens you might find it most beneficial.  The app learns your preferences based on what coupons you add and what you discard, then applies your added coupons to your linked loyalty cards.  When you’re at the store and your cards or phone number are scanned during checkout, your discounts are applied and you earn those rewards in your Swoup account.  Being someone who doesn’t have time to sit down to cut out coupons, let alone remember to use them at checkout once I have them in hand, I could get behind this one more if they decide to add to the partnership list!  While you’re don’t actually MAKE money with this one, saving money is equally important here.


Love dogs?  Put your love to good use!  While this app doesn’t directly generate income, you can use it as a tool to get a little side cash!  Rover links people look for and offering services to house sit, walk dogs, or offer boarding.  What a perfect opportunity for all dog-loving ages to make a little extra cash just playing with dogs!


If you like the sound of making money with ease, but none of these apps sound like your cup of tea, go ahead and look up a few others that might fit your lifestyle and habits better!  If you already enjoy shopping, or travel a lot to larger cities, or just enjoy spending time with puppies, then some of these won’t take you long to build up spending cash at all.  Try a few and see what happens!

Summer is coming and it’s the time for travel.  Whether long distance or just quick trips, chances are, you’re toting along at least a Smartphone with a charger or a full-on smorgasbord of electronics if it’s a business or family trip adventure.  No matter the distance, are you prepared??  Sometimes just the thought of lugging around these valuables on a trip can be a daunting black cloud if you aren’t sure how to pack appropriately.  If any of this sounds familiar, then read on, and rest assured, where there’s a will there’s a way to keep everything safe, organized, and running in tip top order to make your trip stress-free!

How to Pack                                     

Probably the most important and first thing to note, is to invest in a good bag.  If you’re carrying a laptop, or larger electronic devices in it, make sure it’s well padded to absorb bumps and juggling during transit.  A bag, such as this Everki Titan Laptop Bag, that provides sufficient room and multiple compartments for all accessories will eliminate the need for a second bag and will keep everything together, properly secured, and easily accessible during the trip.  Something to consider is finding a laptop bag that doesn’t look like the typical carrying case so that thieves can’t easily identify how valuable its contents are!  Messenger bags are a good investment since they cross over the body and discourage someone from trying to steal it while you’re wearing it as well.

Take organization to the next level with this BUM Waterproof Handbag, which serves as a cord organizer & accessory carry case!  Speaking of cords, if you run into a situation where you need an extra outlet to keep everyone’s devices charged don’t forget about the USB outlet on the back of the TV in your hotel room!  Plug in your phone or tablet while everyone is getting around in the morning to top off your charge if all other outlets are occupied.

Good Practices

Preparing for travel doesn’t have to be limited to tangible items to make the best of your trip, however, some other things to consider involve some extra steps you might want to take before you even leave for your trip.  For instance, a good habit to get into is to email yourself all the critical information you might need on your trip.  Travel info, phone numbers to places you know you’ll be visiting or staying at, check-in times or reservation information can all be outlined in this email in case you can’t find a physical copy of something in a pinch.

Another good practice is to take the time to back up all important data on your devices.  Make a second copy of documents or photos and save them on a flash drive that you’ll leave at home in case (knock on wood) something happens to your device during your travels.  It’s an extra step, but you’ll thank yourself later if things go awry!

Don’t forget you can also access Google Maps offline too.  If you know you’re going to be traveling to a location where you may lose service, plan your maps out ahead of time.  While you’re connected to Wi-Fi, pull up the map area that you’ll be needing and type “OK Maps” in the search bar.  You can drag and zoom to the area you’ll be needing access to and save it for offline use later.  Just go to “Offline maps” in your profile to pull it back up.

Space Savers

If you’ve been reading along here and you’re finding yourself thinking you need to invest in some new gadgets for that upcoming trip, there ARE some great finds out there that can enhance your travels without being just another distraction!

One thing to consider is how versatile the device is.  A laptop is great for its portability and convenience, but consider one that also breaks down into a tablet for the kids to quickly grab on the go without it being too large or clunky.  This Lenovo Convertible Ultrabook does just this! It serves as a regular laptop with a full functioning keyboard, and then flips around to act as a tablet!  This would eliminate the need for both a laptop and a tablet if you need to get some work done, but then still have a lite version for easier handling and entertainment.  Then you can decide if that extra tablet in the bag is really worth the worry!

Another way to save space is simply to use the cloud.  Before you leave, plan ahead what you’ll be needing or accessing during your trip and save anything you can to the cloud.  Use Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud for Mac to upload documents or photos.  While USBs and most hard drives aren’t overly large, this would be one less thing you have to worry about!

Portable chargers are a great addition to the gadget bag.  You never know when a wrong turn might take you off course, or a wait time at a restaurant might take longer than expected.  You won’t have to worry about running out of battery if you keep a portable charger on back up!

Now, if you’re really in the market for a fun new device, consider the Apple Watch Series 3!  This version has cellular connectivity so you can make and accept calls, right from your watch!  If you’re going to be out and about and don’t want to risk losing your cell phone, this would be a great safety net so you can stay connected without the risk of losing anything!

Tech-FREE Travel with Kids

I COULD end this here…but what about those vacations where you just want to get AWAY from technology?  It’s hard enough to stay entertained as adults and it’s even harder as a kid these days.  Technology is ingrained in our children at such a young age to the point that they’re now required to know how to type their name on a keyboard before entering Kindergarten in some schools!  If your entire family is in need of some serious screen-free time but you’re nervous about the hours of travel or long lines at a restaurant, here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing that do NOT involve electronic devices!

Now, this first one takes some advanced planning, but if you have children at least 5 years old and up set up a store in the car.  Gather items from the dollar store or fun, quick snacks and set up a pricing structure.  For every half hour or hour that the kids are good, including regular good behavior as well as not asking “are we there yet” every 10 minutes, then they get play money as a reward.  They can either use their money right then to “buy” something for new entertainment or keep their money to combine it with the next half hour’s reward for an even better item to buy.  You’ll make the trip go faster by giving them something to look forward to in smaller increments during the drive, teach or reinforce adding and subtracting skills, as well as teach them the value of money and saving!

As I said, that’s a little more involved and requires a lot of prep, so if you want something a little less intensive head to the library or look on Amazon for books about the location you’re going to.  Let the kids do some research of their own before they even get there.  They might find something new that they want to explore or during their adventures!

For the smaller humans, it can be more challenging to keep their interests up.  Activity books with pen and paper may be too advanced or not keep their attention long, but interactive books like the Small Kids Big Day Book are great tools that are also educational and promote fine motor skills while keeping them busy!

Of course, there’s always the good ‘ole tried and true games that have been around since we were children too.  Hand them a pad and paper and have them make a list of all the different states they see on the license plates that drive by on the highway.  Hangman is a good way to pass some time too, and here’s a fun Magnetic Hangman version to boot!  I Spy can be a good filler, but sometimes it’s a quick run if you’re only spying things in the vehicle since outside items will be flying by too quickly.  Whether you’re all-in on the electronics or going screen-free, the overall goal is stress-free, care-free, and enjoy the ride!

Listen up egg hunters!  I’m not talking plastic eggs filled with candy delights here but hidden egg-stra surprises for us big kids as we browse the internet.  If you’re not aware of internet Easter eggs, they’re hidden games or graphics that are planted around the web or buried in sites that you can hunt up for a little extra enjoyment.  For instance, Google has a dinosaur game they deemed T-Rex Runner that you can play if your internet connection fails and a page won’t load.  Many people don’t realize it’s a fully functioning game!  Other surprises are just little hidden features that are nice to know, and some need special codes or tricks in order to find them.  If you need a break during your day, try some of these hidden eggs out for yourself!

Google probably has the best sense of humor when it comes to this game of hide and seek.  I already mentioned T-Rex Runner.  If you haven’t already realized all this time that you can make the little guy run and jump, go ahead and turn your Wi-Fi off, open a new Google Search page and you’ll get the “There is no internet connection” message with the dinosaur waiting to entertain!  Press the space bar to activate the game, then jump the cacti or die!

Some other games are Zerg Rush where the little Google O’s will fall across the page eating away at your search results if you don’t click them away in time.  To keep the adrenaline going, hop over to a quick challenge of Atari Breakout, which turns the graphics on the screen into playable tiles.  If you’re feeling indecisive, you can play the Birthday Surprise Spinner where you spin the wheel and Google will pick one of its past doodle games for you to play.  Rinse and repeat by spinning the wheel for endless fun!

Aside from games, there are a few things you can look up for additional entertainment.  Watch your kids’ faces when you pull up a new Google search page with Google Gravity.  All of the elements on the page will plummet to the bottom of the screen as if gravity has been sucked out of the net!  Let the kids have a little fun tossing the pieces around for a while.  If you’re a fun facts kind of person, you can add some new trivia to your life with Google’s hidden fun facts feature.  Just type “I’m feeling curious” in the search bar and refresh as much as your heart desires for new facts!

With Easter being on April Fool’s day this year, I’m sure we will be seeing many more new eggs planted around the net on April 1st!  In addition to the internet, you can also look up android Easter eggs to see what fun surprises your phone has hiding in the depths of its settings!  The next time you need a mind break, look up some of these Easter egg-stra surprises and see what else you can find hiding out there!