Earn Money Online With Rakuten and InboxDollars

Make Spare Change in your Spare Time: My Review of Rakuten and InboxDollars

Earn money in my spare time? Like a Bigfoot sighting, having spare time (and money) could be rare event. Who has it?

Think about time spent waiting at the airport, riding the train into work or how about arriving at your doctor’s office on time for your appointment but having to wait over an hour anyways?

What are you typically doing during this time? Playing games, watching videos or even shopping?

Why not get paid to do some of these activities?

I am not promising millions of dollars but if you are like me and wouldn’t walk past a penny without picking it up (maybe pre-Coronavirus?) – this info is for you.
After doing some research, I found a two sites that I am currently using and wanted to share with you.

Rakuten – Easy Money

Rakuten, formally known as EBates (rhymes with “REBATES”), is a company that offers cash back rewards for on-line shopping.
This isn’t a new concept. My grandma would find rebate offers in the newspaper for different products she would buy from the store. She would spend time cutting the offer from the paper, buying the product from the store, cutting out the UPC from the product packaging which was required to send in with the rebates offer.

Of course, she would spend the time to address the envelope, affix a stamp to it, walk it to the mailbox and wait for the check to come in the mail. She would then take the  check, deposit into the bank (this is when I would get the lolipop from the nice Teller). When she had enough, she would save and buy savings bonds. She was a smart cookie.
I did not inherit her patience, but Rakuten allows me to practice the same frugal habits.

I prefer to shop on-line for groceries, hotel reservations, travel stuff and other things that we need. Therefore, it makes sense to receive a cash incentive for purchases we need to make especially when they are retailers we already use like Petco, Amazon and Target.

Given the current pandemic situation, some of us are using these on-lines services more than normal and now is no time to leave money on the table.

How it Works:
By clicking on the links that Rakuten provides (also known as affiliate marketing), they receive a percentage of that “sale” in which they will share a portion with me. You are probably clicking on affiliate links all the time and not realizing that people are earning money through your purchases.
Rakuten was just brilliant enough to offer an incentive for using their affiliate links.
Why didn’t I think of this??

Tip: On top of earning cash back for everyday purchases, if you use a credit card that also offers cash back or travel rewards, the savings can become significant.

How to Get Started:
1. Start by signing up using my Rakuten referral link (see what I did there?)
By doing this, I get $ after you get $ – like pimping you out except legally and less invasive.
You can use your email address, Google or Facebook account to sign up.

Side note: I don’t use my main email account for InboxDollars since I always fear a lot of spam which I have not encountered yet, but just in case.

2.Complete your profile and be sure to set up your “Account Settings”. After that, choose how you want to be paid (via PayPal, check or American Express Rewards).

3.Search for your favorite products or stores to find the best cashback deal which range from 2% up to 20%.

*Be sure to check out the links under “Hot Deals”.
As an alternative to searching, you can install a Chrome or Firefox browser extension which is what I use so that I don’t have to make an extra effort to search for the store or product to see if they are a Rakuten participant.

The browser extension alert will pop up in the top right corner of my browser to let me know a deal is available and I can either activate it or decline.

Rakuten Image
Rakuten nifty pop-up browser extension to help you save money.

I earned $5.13 in January for simply buying groceries. This may not sound like a lot but why leave free money on the table?

InboxDollars – OnLine Rewards Club – More Money

I’ve tried a few sites that offer payment for taking surveys, providing product feedback and for watching videos and InboxDollars is the easiest to use and is actually kinda fun.

They offer various ways to earn such as “Scratch & Win” tickets, answering trivia questions and even sometimes just playing a game. Who knew Mahjongg was so much fun???

You can even get paid for watching, or in my case, playing videos for background noise while I am working.

Payments range from pennies to dollars and sometimes over $20 bucks if you sign up for specific services. I recently signed up for StashInvest.Com which is an on-line savings and investment app and received $20.

How it Works:
Similar to Rakuten, InboxDollars earns their revenue by driving potential consumers to different products and services. There are also companies who need feedback either by collecting it through surveys or product samples. They pay InboxDollars who in turn, share a portion with you. Recently, I earned $1.25 by watching an ad and providing feedback.

How to Get Started:
1.Sign up! Please use my invitation link: InboxDollars.

2.Complete your full profile especially the interests and household section. This way you are matched to surveys that are within your demographic.

3.Get familiar with the site and figure out your favorite activities so you can start earning! Personally, my least favorite activities are the surveys but they can be big earners.

Super easy. If you are using other sites and recommend them, let us know by submitting a comment below!

People in My Pictures – Italy

People in My Pictures – Italy

I love people. For the most part. Sometimes I prefer them to be far away instead of “all up in my personal space” like on a seat next to me while on an airplane ride or subway. What I don’t mind are having people in my travel pictures as I feel it captures a part of the everyday “life” and is a bit different than the typical building or landscape pictures.

So, here are some of my people pictures from my first time in Italy around 2007. I suppose this is my attempt at a photo essay??

People in my Pictures

I caught this jolly group walking down the stairs from a Univeristy and it seemed this nice, slightly tipsy gentleman was having a grand time. You can see he caught me taking a picture and right after I put the camera down, he yelled out, “Ciao, bella!” because of course, this is what men do in Italy. This picture makes me smile.

Italian Men at the University - GGA
Ciao, bella!

I call this one: “Newstand Man” not to be confused with “Candy Man” and don’t say it 3 times!  One of my favorites because of all the colors and lines of the magazines. Then we see this man pushing his glasses up…

Newstand Man
Newstand Man

Random snapshot of a group while we were exploring the ruins in Pompei. It seems every time they walked past me they were having some spirited debate.

Group in Pompei
Group in the ruins of Pompei

This lovely lady was surprised that I wanted to take a picture of her. I asked if I could “make” a photo of her in my broken Italian and she responded by pointing to herself and confirming it was her I wanted to take a picture of. I suppose no one takes random pictures of bathroom attendants, by why not? I do. And she was lovely.

Bathroom Attendant - Italy
You want to take a picture of me?? Yes. – Italy

I have no idea what this random conversation was about, but if you have ever been near Termini Station in Rome, it can get a bit crazy.  I can’t think of a caption for this….other than…get back in your car because you are in standing in the middle of traffic?

Men in Traffic
You going that way? No…I am staying right here.

No set of pictures are complete without the mom and the baby and of course, the lost tourist, the nun and other randomness.

Mom and Baby
Mom and Baby

Vatican Museum – two workers having a chat while I waited in line.  I strongly recommend doing a group tour if plan on visiting the Sistine Chapel which is part of the Vatican Museum. You can get to the front of the line much faster.

Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum

See the line? The Vatican Museum gets TONS of visitors each year and it’s definitely worth it. You don’t go to Rome, without going to the Vatican to see the museum plus the Sistine Chapel. If you take a tour, you can get to the front of the line and take pictures of everyone else standing in line.

Line at the Vatican
Line at the Vatican

And for the love of God, go to church.

Go to Church, Rome, Italy
Go to Church, Rome, Italy

…because if you don’t, you might wonder where your salvation went. In your purse, the sky or hell…you have no clue?

Purses
Purses

The End.

 

 

10 Tips Female Travelers Need to Know About Safety

10 Tips Female Travelers Need to Know About Safety

Maaaaaaaaan, do we have some sketchy stories to tell about being females traveling abroad! Like most female travelers, we have found ourselves in some very uncomfortable situations. After all, in a country where not only is the language completely different but so are the culture and customs, we are bound to accidentally find ourselves in some questionable scenarios.

But hey, isn’t the strangeness and unfamiliarity all part of the attraction to travel? So we’re not going to stop traveling because of fear, are we? NO. Although some situations can somewhat be avoided, how can you be safe while traveling?

You can’t entirely guarantee that you will be safe and this applies whether you’re in your own backyard or someone else’s on the other side of the world – and I don’t mean that literally.

We’re trying to avoid actually being IN someone’s backyard, as in 6 feet under…

Pompei, Italy - Girls Gone Abroad
Pompei, Italy – Girls Gone Abroad

See how my my mind automatically goes straight to the morbid ending? I blame my mother for this. She refuses to keep a shovel in her trunk for fear it might be used to knock her out AND to dig the hole (true story).

However, the fact that my mind does acknowledge the possibility that something bad could happen is probably what has potentially saved me from some bad situations.

Here is me sharing some of my wisdom. Some of which I stole from Oprah.

1. Never let your guard down.

Just because you are blissfully frolicking through the fields of “somewhere city, somewhere country” doesn’t mean you won’t be a target for a sniper. Maybe this is drastic, but there is no such thing as a “I’m a tourist and therefore untouchable” cloak of safety that magically shrouds you when traveling. You don’t have to walk around with your face smeared with Vaseline and earrings taken out ready for a fight just don’t let your guard down.

You are a tourist and will be a target for something. This is the mindset you need to have.

2. Pretend to be married and that your husband is right around the corner.

*YES – HUSBAND even if you are a lesbian.

This means either wear a fake wedding ring or be ready to slip one onto the appropriate finger if you run into an awkward situation.

One of my many married stories. While walking on a very busy Istanbul street, I was followed by a man who suddenly appeared by my side and a little too close. Michelle was with me so I wasn’t even alone. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter if someone is with you.

As he asked me a series of questions, I could feel his hand slide up to the back of my arm. Quickly, I jerked my arm away from him and put my hands behind my back and moved a finger from my right hand over to my left ring finger. He was too busy talking and looking at my (covered) breasts to notice…

I quickly flashed my (newly) married hand in his face and I told him we were meeting my husband who is Turkish (I was making pointing gestures) who was waiting at the corner and to please go away before he got me into trouble. Worked instantly and he actually panicked a bit.

Wedding Ring - Girls Gone Abroad
Wedding Ring – Girls Gone Abroad

Side note: He actually did walk up to a man on the corner and started talking and pointing in our direction, but Michelle and I picked up our pace and got lost in the crowd. Also know as going into “stealth mode”.

3. Don’t be afraid to be rude.  

I learned this from Oprah.

Back in my teen days, my mom would always be watching Oprah around the time I got home from school. I would watch the show with her as this was our way of “bonding” and her way of “parenting”. See…back in those days, Oprah covered some informative and controversial topics and many times, those topics would trigger the start of many conversations.

On one particular show, Oprah was interviewing a woman who had been brutally beaten and raped. The victim talked about how something felt “off” about this person who showed up at her door asking to use her phone, but she didn’t want to be rude so he let him in against her “gut” feeling. Does this surprise you?

Think about how many times you just smiled and were polite as possible in an uncomfortable situation because you didn’t want to be viewed as rude or bitchy.

Side note: Back in my younger years, before cell phones, it was common for someone to knock at your door asking to use the phone.

Oprah talked about how women are conditioned to be nice and how we need to learn that being rude is okay.

Do NOT be afraid of being rude of even appearing to be rude- it could save your life.

4. Trust your intuition. 

Women have it. It’s a gift. If you feel like something is off, then it is. Don’t try to find an explanation for how you feel, just trust it. And see # 3 – don’t worry about being rude or feeling like you are crazy – just go with your intuition.

Check out this YouTube video by Gavin de Becker – The Gift of Fear.

5. Walk and stand like you have confidence. 

Walking straight, head up and with shoulders slightly back which not only helps to make your boobs look bigger, but also makes you appear like you have confidence.

Hey, I know you have confidence, but make sure it shows in your body language. Walk and stand like you own that place and that you will f&%# someone up if you need to.

Walk like a boss - Girls Gone Abroad
Walk like a boss – Girls Gone Abroad

*This also means you don’t walk while fidgeting with your smart phone. Especially because your eyes diverted down makes you a target and someone will stab you for that phone (not kidding).

Side note: If you are lost, find a safe location to check your phone or ask for directions preferably from a store owner or other employee. Not the dude on the street who could be a Ted Bundy copy cat killer. He’s either going to want money for helping you or he’s throwing you in his nearby vehicle.

And this should probably be a 5.5 or a new #6, but don’t ever allow yourself to be distracted by simple questions like someone asking for directions or asking for the time. Or any type of question that needs you to look down at your watch, phone, shoe? etc.

Something learned in Krav Maga – hold your phone up, look them in the eyes – take a pic of the person and happily give them the time from your phone and/or directions.

Here’s some cool stuff about Victim Selection posted on Protective Strategies, but before you click on that, read on.

6. Do not accept drinks from anyone, including women

One night, while at a popular club in London, I was approached by a few women who were super friendly. They poured on the compliments and asked where I was from and all those other standard questions. One girl tried to tell me she was from Kansas – yet she had a British accent. Go figure. They proceeded to escort me to the bar to “buy me a shot”.

Something definitely didn’t feel right and before I could even say “no,” my friend came up and very bluntly told them to “fuck off.” Suddenly, these women changed their demeanor and scurried off.

Bizarre. But my friend, a London local, explained that these “friendly” women are part of a sex trafficking ring who are paid to deliver drunk, preferably lesbian women to men. I’ll cover more of this in a future blog.

So please, do not accept drinks from anyone and be mindful of the quantity of booze you are drinking.

Drinking - London - Girls Gone Abroad
Mind the Drink – London – Girls Gone Abroad

7. Learn Krav Maga

My girlfriend introduced me to Krav Maga and out of all the self defense techniques I have studied, this is the best – by far. Krav Maga is the official hand to hand combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces. You are not taught just a series of moves that will help you win a tournament, you are taught usable moves and techniques for real life situations. It seriously is life (and body) changing.

Warning – this class is not for the dainty types. Only those serious about protecting themselves should join.

8. Know the culture and customs of the country you are visiting.

Come on ladies…do I even need to elaborate on this one? No brainer. Don’t get me wrong however. Not following a custom or culture is not an open invite for assault. Ever.

Blue Mosque - Istanbul - Girls Gone Abroad
Know the Culture – Istanbul – Girls Gone Abroad

9. Act.

One time, in Morocco, Michelle and I found ourselves in the back of a van. A tour van. See where your mind went?? Good, you’re learning.

So while in this van things got awkward. Intuition vibes were going and being rude was not going to work so plan C went into action. Which was me “answering” a phone call from a friend who was waiting for us. A future blog will go more into this – but the gist is, if you need to: act. Act like you have people waiting for you, like you’re a nut, act confident, act like you will slice a throat, if necessary. Throws them off, every time.

10. Share your plans and check in often. 

Just because you have wanderlust doesn’t mean you just up, leave and fully disconnect. Even if you are going on a solo – “find your mind” trip, share your plans and check in every so often even if it’s just on social media. Your family and friends should know where you are at all times.

Side note: Since the original writing of this post, I found a great app for planning your trip. It’s easy to share your itinerary and it’s free! Planapple.

Last but not least, don’t let your loved one read this because then they freak out and worry about you when you are traveling. Then you will be lectured about how you should not go to <insert country>.

But hey, you can’t blame them. They watched a LOT of Oprah.

Meanwhile, God forbid something happens to you, but if it does – it is NOT your fault. Nothing you did, wore or said gives consent or is an open invite for assault on any level. Report it and get help immediately.

Be safe and enjoy the world.