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 nifty pop-up browser extension

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!

Coming Full Circle


Traveling with your family can be super stressful, yet also make for the BEST stories. Recently, my parents, brother and I finished a 3 city tour in France: Paris, Jouy-lès-Reims & Lyon. There were two main reasons for this trip: to visit my family’s ancestral hometown of Jouy-lès-Reims and to return, for the first time in 20 years, to Lyon where I studied abroad my Junior year in college. First off, let me introduce you to my “special” family. My mother, Pat, a retired English Literature teacher of 35 years, a Sharon Osbourne look-a-like and a woman who still corrects my spoken grammar to this day (I’m 40 year’s old..sigh), is an expert on world religions. This comes in rather handy when visiting centuries old churches and especially helpful when visiting Greece last year and its many religious sites, but I digress.

My father, Larry, a retired insurance agent, unintentionally creates his own language of what we lovingly call “Larryisms”. My brother, Braden, 5 years my senior, well, let’s just say he spends more time on his hair than I do.

Being the Matriarch of the family, my mother, Pat, expects to be catered to when traveling. Having survived Cancer, comments like, “Alicia, please carry my bag. I had Cancer” are not uncommon or out of bounds for her. She has also become more forgetful with her things over the years, perhaps due to her vast knowledge of intellectual subjects leaving little room for common sense.  On the FIRST DAY of our trip, she lost her Paris Pass which provides entry into all of the museums. 5 hours later, I discover it hidden in my bag where she stuffed it, UNBEKNOWNST to me, but it was my fault according to her…SHOOT ME NOW. Subsequently, having left her cell phone in the Louvre bathroom, her bag with her passport on a TGV train car in Paris and having locked herself into a bathroom in Reims leaving her screaming for help (forever engrained in my memory is the French bathroom attendant yelling back “Attention, attention!” while trying to break her out with a screwdriver), I threatened to latch a child leash on her so as to keep an eye on her throughout our trip.

Then there’s my poor Dad, Larry, who still struggles with the English language and, I might add, his FIRST and ONLY language. Comments like, “Pat, we don’t live in a second world country,” or saying “jigsaw” when meaning “hacksaw” or “kilimonators” vs. “kilometers,” sent my mother, brother and I into gut wrenching fits of tearful laughter.

My brother, Braden, seemed to think if he put a French accent on English words that it magically made them French. “Zaynk you for ze Coke. I like eet very much.” “Ze man on ze street smellz like armpito.” “I need zome poudre de ball sack.” Every time we approached a door with a sticker that read “Poussez”, my brother and I couldn’t help but snicker.   





While staying in adjoining rooms in Paris (men in one room, ladies in the other), I plugged my Mom’s hairdryer in the bathroom, turned it on & it quickly sparked fire causing the lights & ALL POWER to go out in BOTH rooms. It was fried.  The hotel hairdryer in our bathroom never recovered so I was forced to use the one in the men’s adjoining room bathroom. My brother and I, having sibling rivalry wars since childhood, quarreled over the hair left on the bathroom toilet after my blow drying session. Did I mention the hotel bathrooms were so small that I could brush my teeth while I pee?  Let’s not even get into the fact that it’s nearly impossible to find a public restroom in France that doesn’t require you to pay a fee. Again, I digress.

If a French person didn’t understand them, my parents seemed to believe that if they spoke English more SLOWLY, enunciated EVERY WORD and spoke more LOUDLY, that this would suddenly make others English speaking….smh. Being a Southern gentleman, my father would frequently attempt to start conversations with strangers while waiting to cross the street at intersections. “How you doing today?” “So, how long have you lived here and what do you do for a living?” Needless to say, he got a lot of blank stares. It took him a while to learn that the French, especially in large cities, do not make eye contact nor rarely speak with strangers on the street.



Our 2nd city tour brought us to the small commune of Jouy-lès-Reims (0.72 sq mi & population 185), the hometown of my Great, Great, Great, Grandfather many generations back, Jean Baptiste Barras dit le Blon, who emigrated to Louisiana in 1719 at the young age of 19, and settled in the small Louisiana town of Newroads (previously Pointe Coupee) where settlers were promised free land. Having no known, living relatives in Jouy-lès-Reims, my parents had previously reached out to the Mayor’s office and arranged to meet up with some of the locals during our trip. Odile Crooke, a sweet and jovial local who teaches professionals how to speak English and married to an English man, served as our own personal tour guide; taking us on the most incredible tour of our ancestral hometown. Nestled in the Champage region of France, Odile arranged a private tour of the Cooperative Jouy Pargny where many of the Vineyard owners produce their own champagne.  The Co-Op President, Christophe, gave us a personal tour of the entire facility where we learned every step of the process from picking grapes in the vineyards, to adding sugar and yeast, to the (2) fermentation processes to degorgement (removing sediments) to corking. We also learned that Champagne bottles are thicker than wine bottles so as to withstand the increased pressure and that, with wine, the deeper the indentation at the bottom of the wine bottle, the longer you can keep the wine after opening before it goes bad. The Champagne tasting at the end was icing on the cake!


Following the Champagne tour, we met up for a delicious, French lunch at nearby La Garenne restaurant with the Mayor, Sylvie, her assistant, Christine, the Assistant Mayor Jean-Bernard, and Odile’s husband, Phil. We had a lovely conversation talking about our families and family dynamics, about Jouy-lès-Reims, about our professions, about politics and about life. After gifting them with Atlanta Braves’ hats, Georgia T-shirts and Cajun Zydeco CDs, we said our heartfelt goodbyes and knew we would meet again. This was definitely the day we made new, lifelong friends and when our family came full circle.


(L to R: Phil, Jean-Bernard, Christine, Larry, Sylvie, Pat, Odile, Alicia & Braden)



Being the typical, excessive Americans with 8 bags for 4 people, the rental car company gave us a large Renault Trafic van that seats 8 people for our drive from Reims to Lyon. It took me 5 minutes to figure out that you had to lift the manual stick up and then push left to reverse (completely backwards from American vehicles). After a 4.5 hour drive and a few rest stops later with holes in the ground for bathrooms, we arrived in Lyon.

I was like a child on Christmas morning overtaken with excited anticipation. It had been 20 years since I had last step foot in this city that was so life-changing for me in my early 20s. As a student at L’Université Jean Moulin Lyon III during my Junior year in college, it was the toughest, yet best year of my life. It was the first year I had lived away from my family, my first time in Europe, the year I quit my sorority and the year I came out to my family. This was the year I fell passionately in love with traveling and took off on frequent adventures with my Eurorail pass in hand. Stepping out of the car upon arrival in Lyon, it brought me back to my 20 year old self along with a wave of emotions. Over the next few days and being the Gastronomic capital of the world, I would eat the most amazing French food, would visit my old apartment building, my old University and my old restaurant and bar haunts. There were so many new buildings, modernized structures and even a new Tram line. The city was more beautiful than I had remembered and allowed me to rediscover it with my family alongside me.

In more ways than one, I had come full circle on this trip, rediscovering humanity, myself and my family…

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