In today's edition of money making apps we're actually not looking at an app (though there is one for your phone should you want to do online shopping on the go) but rather an extension to your browser. Rakuten isn't likely brand new to you, you likely know several people with the little R logo in the top right hand corner of their browser. But you may not be taking advantage of the cash back that they offer yet so I wanted to bring a little extra attention to it in this series just in case.
The thing I like about Rakuten is that it just sits in the top of my screen, quiet and unobtrusive, until I go to a website that it can save me money on. Then it lights up and is like hello, over here, click me to save money... more or less. :) The app works off of a simple shared commission strategy- they make money so they share it with you once a quarter in the form of a "Big Fat Check" to your mailbox of PayPal account.
I wanted to share a few items that I had received cash back on in recent months. The amount of cash back varies per store and sometimes even by department so it is good to check and see if another coupon might save you more money if they percent is low for your purchase store/department but if coupon codes are not for you (or if they are and this still makes you more, because it did in the cases below for me as well as many other times) then download the Rakuten app and get started on your first Big Fay Check.
As per usual, I am including the PayPal screen shot for one of my recent checks from them. It was a lower quarter for me as I had been avoiding online shopping but I gladly put the nearly $12 into my budget for something fun in my office.
I have a referral code for this extension if you are looking to get started with a a guaranteed Big Fat Check at the end of the quarter. Using my referral code is worth up to $30 currently. If you would like to join using my code, it is 28187.
Until next time,
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Everyone knows that exercise is good for your physical health, but what about your mental health? According to research, leading a physically active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one can significantly impact our well-being. Not only do we get to look good, but we also get to have a healthy mind in a healthy body. If you're wondering how it works, check out these 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health.
How to start being active?
To begin, you could incorporate some physical activity that doesn't require a lot of time or effort into your daily routine. For example, you can choose to walk or cycle to your workplace instead of taking the bus or going by car. Then you can gradually add some organized physical activity a couple of days a week. Going to the gym, running, or having a home exercise routine, for instance. In the end, the goal is to make exercising an essential daily habit that will help you enhance both your physical and mental health.
Now that you know how to start being more active, here are the reasons why you should keep workouts in your daily routine.
1. Improve the quality of your sleep
Lack of sleep can affect your capacity for concentration and induce anxiety. That can have a negative effect on your working capacity and social skills. Being physically active can increase not only the quality but also the quantity of your sleep. Exercising has the same effect on your body as a shower, by raising its temperature. A high body temperature means that you are active, so your mind will stay awake. When your body starts to chill, it gives the mind the signal that it is time to sleep. That is why exercising first thing in the morning is a great way to get your mind and body ready for the day. On the other hand, doctors recommend avoiding exercising right before sleeping and leaving at least 2 hours in between. As much as exercising can help you overcome your sleeping problems, it can also increase them if done improperly.
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2. Fighting depression and anxiety
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are the chemicals that make you feel happy. The more and regularly they are produced, the more comfortable and less anxious you will feel. Exercising also helps you keep your mind active and free of the negative thoughts that are fueling depression. Furthermore, doctors advise those suffering from anxiety and mild depression to try exercising before turning to medicine. It is an easier way to treat your mind and save money on medications. Also, you don't need to spend too much time exercising. 15 to 30 minutes a day will release enough endorphins to keep you happy.
3. Exercise, socialize, and have fun
Aside from being good for your body and mind, you can have fun while exercising and turn it into something enjoyable. Instead of staying alone at home, exercising with friends could help you maintain a healthy social life. That will boost your mood and especially your mental health. Doing yoga with a friend or running through the park together is a great way to socialize and have fun. Even going by yourself to fitness classes can help you make new friends that have common interests. At the same time, exercising could be done while playing. So, you could use games to have fun with your kids or family while also working out. For instance, you can play tag in the yard or have a cycling competition through a park. In a word, one of the 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health is by having fun while working out with your friends and family.
Image from Pexels.com.
4. Boost your brain
Stressed people commonly struggle with creativity, which can affect their productivity and create a vicious circle. If you are less productive, it will affect your work, and if you are unhappy with your work, you will become frustrated. People who are frustrated are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and so on. Exercising can help you exit this endless loop and give your brain a boost. Studies have shown that doing cardio, for example, helps your brain produce new cells that will improve its overall performance. Not only does this help boost your creativity, but it also keeps your mind sharp and concentrated. Within 5 to 10 minutes of beginning your workout, you will feel the benefits of exercising for yourself. In the long run, exercising will help you fight addictions, improve your memory and learning capacity.
5. Grow your self-esteem
How we view ourselves is important to our mental health and our ability to cope with social pressures. Even though self-criticism can be constructive, it can do more harm than good if it becomes obsessive. You have to realize that no matter your age or size, you are not the only one struggling with weight problems, health issues, or low self-esteem. There are plenty of people out there that wish they looked different or that they were more healthy. The good news is that exercising can help you grow your self-esteem if you practice it correctly.
For instance, adding a goal before starting to exercise that you can reach. Having too high expectations from the beginning will only make you lose focus and interest. Instead, take it one step at a time, and grow constantly. You will have better results, and it will improve the way that you perceive yourself. Besides ending up having a great-looking body, you will also improve your mental health.
Image from Pexels.com
People who choose to exercise regularly can feel the impact it has on their mental health each day. They have more energy, sleep better, are more creative and productive, and have higher self-esteem. Who would have guessed that something as easy as exercising for at least 30 minutes a day could help so much? These 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health demonstrate how being active can help you have a healthy mind inside a healthy body.
Meta Description: If you are looking for an easy way to improve your mental wellbeing, these 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health can be your answer.
In today's edition of money making apps we're looking at Pogo. Pogo is an app that is a little bit different than others that we have previously looked at as it links to your debit and credit card rather than requiring you to upload receipts. When you make a purchase it automatically recognizes the purchase and you simply go into the app and claim it. Sometimes it will ask you about the purchase but not always. For instance, it doesn't seem to ask me about my electric bill but it always asks me about my McDonald's purchase- did I go inside or go through drive through, what did I buy, etc. Its an easy to use app which I appreciate but my morning drink stop has gotten a little redundant to answer the same question about each day haha.
Their website shows the processs as below:
Pogo is the newest app that has made it onto my keep list so I have only received one payout to date but it was a simple payment process to have it sent over to my PayPal once I hit the $3 threshold. I love that it uses actual cash rather than gift cards. Screengrab of the payment to my PayPal account so that you can see what they look like:
I do have a referral code for this app if you are looking to get started with a little extra right from the start. Using my referral code is worth 1,000 points currently. If you would like to join using my code, it is 8DX6E.
Until next time,
In today's edition of money making apps we're looking at NCP Mobile, another receipt submission app but this one is a little different as you don't actually upload the receipts but rather the UPCs of the items you purchase. I have found that it take a little bit longer to use than the other apps I have talked about so far but once I got into a habit of and had the process down I was significantly faster than the first time I used the app.
The National Consumer Panel (NCP) describes their app as:
NCPMobile is the grocery shopping app of National Consumer Panel that lets you earn gift cards and other shopping rewards for telling about the items you purchase.
You’ll scan the UPC barcodes of the items you buy (or tell about non-barcoded items), and in turn you’ll earn reward points to redeem for gift cards and other rewards. Don’t limit yourself to groceries: tell about all your purchases, from gas to prescriptions, and earn your shopping rewards!
One thing they don't mention is that there is also a survey component to that app to earn extra points should you be interested in completing additional surveys. Sometimes they are super easy- tell us how many canned soups you have and scan the UPCs into the app (a recent one I completed) and sometimes they are a little more boring- tell us about your grocery store brand habits. They are always pretty short though and offer a choice between a set number of points or half that number and entries into a drawing for a larger prize. I'm typically more definite rewards focused so haven't entered any of the drawings yet but I may give one a try in the future just to see how it goes.
This app is one that I am still trying to get into the groove of using consistently for things outside of groceries. Once I do, I expect my gift card redemptions to go up. I have only been utilizing my grocery purchases to date though so need to get on it and get those extra rewards for my gas receipts as well (my pharmacy expenses are $0 at this point in the year since I met my cap in February).
There isn't a referral link for this app but if you are interested I would check out the app store for your phone, it was quick to find and the logo is above if you want to make sure you are using the right app.
Until next time,
Photo via Pexels
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves furloughed or unemployed. Perhaps you have been trying to find stable employment for months, but despite your best efforts, you’re still struggling financially. Reading up on personal finance advice on Real Life With Heather can help you start taking small steps towards economic stability. In the meantime, here are a few other strategies you can use to get back on your feet over the next couple of months.
Move to a Cheaper Rental
If your housing costs are eating up a large chunk of your budget, it may be time to think about moving into a cheaper rental. You can save time and make your search easier by filtering out apartments in the Fort Worth, TX area that don’t meet your requirements with a real estate platform like Rent.com. You’ll be able to enter your price range so that you only see options within your budget - in Fort Worth, you should be able to find plenty of apartments for anywhere from $400 to $900 per month.
In addition, you can select other filters, like pet-friendliness or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. You could also specifically filter for apartments with certain amenities, such as covered parking lots, pools, or gyms in the apartment complex.
Make a Strict Budget
If you’ve never made a structured budget before, now is the time to start. You will need to include all of your income, your fixed expenses, and your debts. Next, determine how much you can spend on your variable expenses, such as groceries. Finally, see if you have wiggle room in your budget for occasional treats now and then. Make it a point to stay strictly within your budget until you have secured gainful employment again.
Where to Cut Spending
What if you’re looking at the estimated budget you have written out, and you’re struggling to figure out where you could actually cut down on spending? Sofi suggests that you can turn down your thermostat to save on your energy bills, reduce your grocery bills by looking for deals and avoiding pricey snacks, and refinance any loans that you may have. You can also look for fun, affordable activities in your area!
Look for Work
If you worked in an industry that was affected negatively by the pandemic, you may not have been able to find a new job in your field yet. For now, you might need to be open to the idea of working in another industry or doing some freelance work on a part-time basis while you continue hunting for the right full-time position. To let people in your life know that you’re looking for work, The Muse recommends sharing your situation on social media, reaching out to one person at a time to see if they could refer you to an employer and even attending networking events, which will likely remain virtual during the pandemic.
You might not be able to cover all of your expenses on your own right now. If you have found yourself in this position, you’re not alone, and it’s okay to look for help and apply for financial assistance. You may want to begin researching local programs that have been set up to help people who have suffered from financial hardships because of the pandemic.
Dealing with economic uncertainty can be anxiety-inducing. But you have the tools to rebuild your finances and overcome these obstacles. By taking simple actions to save in your daily life while seeking your next job opportunity, you can make it through this challenging time.
Ready to make a budget and stick to it? Get actionable tips and advice from Real Life With Heather. Browse the blog today to start getting your personal finances under control.
Other than cash back from receipts there are additional bonuses for shopping online through them or earning various 'badges'. These badges can be earned by joining partner apps and websites. I rarely get additional badges as I am typically not interested in the services offered but when there is one that is for a website I have been looking at you better believe I go through CoinOut to get that extra bonus.
The website states:
With CoinOut, you'll get a random reward for every receipt you upload! You can also earn by shopping through CoinOut for email receipts and signing up to CoinOut partners.
The average cash back for me is about $5 per month but could go up now that they are rolling out a program to link some of my online shopping to the app. Again, if I earned badges I could easily make $30-40 each month on this app but I am not currently interested in doing so. That may be something I look at in the future though. In order to cash out with PayPal I have to get to the $20 threshold (they also have Amazon gift cards and bank transfers). Here is one of my previous PayPal notifications showing that I received payment. It showed up in my account the same day in my case.
I do have a referral code for this app if you are looking to get started with a little extra right from the start. Using my referral code is worth $1.75 currently. If you would like to join using my code it is RCZ9JND.
Until next time,