Track Your Day with Apps

Track Your Day with Apps

For some people, there’s so much to do in a day that it’s hard to keep up with everything. By the end of the day, you might not be sure what you even did over the past 12 hours. Or you might not be incredibly busy, but you just don’t remember to stop and think about specific aspects of your life.

If this is the case for you, you might benefit from an app like the ones in this article. There’s an app for nearly everything, and of course there are apps that can track most areas of your daily life.

Why track your day?

You might have realized you want to keep up with what you’re eating, or maybe it dawned on you that you’re not sure when you last spent time with your friends without looking at your phone. Maybe you’ve been forgetting to budget for travel expenses or grocery costs. Whatever it may be, there’s a way to track it.

Tracking certain parts of your day can make it much easier to evaluate what you’ve been doing. It can make it possible to understand certain issues in your life, and it can show you things you’ve been doing well (and things you didn’t know you needed to improve on). If you don’t know what to fix, then you won’t know how to fix it. By tracking how much you exercise, how much time you spend on your tablet, or how big your environmental footprint is, then you’ll have a starting point for change.

What can you track?

Here are just some ways you can track your personal life. There are apps listed for each area. Of course, these are just some of the apps you might want to try. The app store on your phone will likely have even more to choose from. So if one of these doesn’t appeal to you, take a look around to see if there are other options that fit you better.

Track your food

There are many different apps you can use to track your food throughout the day. Most of them will let you set goals (like how many calories you can have, how much sugar you can consume, etc.) You can often set a weight goal, as well, and get food intake suggestions. Here are a few apps to try:

  • Your device’s built-in app: Depending on which phone you have, you might already have a food tracker on your device. For instance, there’s Samsung Health, which offers quite a few health tracking features.
  • MyFitnessPal (Android & iOS): MyFitnessPal is an app from Under Armour. It lets you track your food intake, find out nutritional facts, add your own recipes, find food from restaurants, scan barcodes to look up products, and more.
  • Lose It! (Android & iOS): Lose It! is specifically designed for weight loss, but you can of course just use it to track what you eat. You can use it to set and meet goals. It lets you input and track your eating every day, take part in challenges, plan meals, and more.

Track your exercise

If you’re not sure you’re exercising enough, you can always try keeping track of your fitness regimen. You can log how long you’re exercising, what kinds of exercises you’re doing, and more. Most apps will give you an idea of how many calories you may have burned during the day, as well. Here are a couple apps to check out:

  • Your device’s built-in app: Like above, some phones have a built-in health app that offers useful features. Using Samsung Health as an example again, you can choose from different exercises (like push ups and jumping jacks), then log how long you did them.
  • JEFIT (Android & iOS): With JEFIT, you can track your training and your progress, as well as set and meet goals. Along with all the instructional features and its social aspect, you can log your workouts in the app.
  • HeavySet (iOS): With this app, you can track your weightlifting and other equally intense workouts. It’s specifically designed for logging exercise. It also tells you when you set personal bests and lets you look back on past time periods to see trends.

Track your gas costs

If you commute to work, like to go on road trips, or are just worried about the current cost of gas, then you can try tracking your transportation costs. Gas prices have been soaring, and it could be a good time to figure out just how much you’re spending. You may make decent money at your job, but if you commute to work, your gas costs might make a huge dent. Or you might have gone on a trip but then forgotten to calculate how much you spent fueling up. Here are a couple apps that can help you keep a log of how much you’re spending at the gas pumps.

  • Fuelio (Android): With this app, you can track basically everything related to your auto costs. You can track how much you’ve spent filling up your tank, how many miles you’ve put on your car, how much you’ve spent servicing your car, and more.
  • Fuel (iOS): Fuel, like Fuelio, lets you log how much you spend at the gas pumps. It also lets you input other car expenses, include more than one car, and look at clear charts showing your spending.

Track daily costs

If you find yourself running low on money before each paycheck, it might be useful to start figuring out where most of your money is going. Using an app, you can track how much you’re spending on your shopping trips, then look for any trends, places you can cut back, or things you can actually spend more on. These are just a couple of your options:

  • Wally Lite (iOS): With this app, you can scan receipts, manually input spending, set a budget, and track where you’ve been spending your money.
  • Mint: Mint is a popular multi-purpose finance service. It can help you track your bills, set a budget, and get a visual of your spending, along with many other features.

Track environmental impact

There are many things we do every day that can be wasteful or otherwise bad for the environment. With an app, we can remind ourselves to make environmentally-conscious decisions. We can also see a visual representation of the environmentally sound things we did that day, as well as learn about other little things we could be doing better. Here are a couple apps that can help:

  • JouleBug (Android & iOS): With JouleBug, you’re inspired to take note of what you do every day to try to be a little more green. The app offers suggestions on how to be more environmentally friendly, then gives you points and achievements when you actually do Earth-friendly things. Your points are a great indication of how environmentally sound you’re being each week.
  • Oroeco (Android & iOS): Oroeco is an app that encourages you to be environmentally friendly and then rewards you when you make an effort to do so. You can earn rewards when you do green things, and you’re given suggestions for ways to be kinder to the environment.

Track your mood

Keeping up with how you feel throughout a day can be difficult. You might not even know when you’re in a bad mood or if you’re experiencing mood swings. Keeping an eye on your mood can give you an indication of what the underlying causes might be (whether it’s something as basic as stress or something more serious). The following apps can help you track your mood throughout each day:

  • Realife Change (iOS): This app is a motivational app that offers a “virtual coach.” You can track your moods and various different emotions and thoughts throughout your day, then receive advice based on what you logged. You can also track your moods using hashtags.
  • iMoodJournal (Android & iOS): iMoodJournal lets you log your moods throughout the day (including hashtags), then look back at charts showing your trends. You can even include extras (like photos), and you can track other things, like energy level and stress.

Track screen time

If you’re like most people with access to tech, you probably spend a lot of your day looking at a screen. Phones, computers, tablets, TVs—there are screens everywhere. Some screen time is unavoidable, and realistically, it would be difficult to cut it out completely. But it is possible to learn how much time you’re really spending on it and then set goals to cut back. These are just two of the apps that you can try:

  • Moment (iOS): Moment is an app for iOS users who want to know how much time they’re spending on their iOS devices. It tracks screen time automatically. You can then see how much you’ve used all your devices (and you can include your family’s devices, too) and set daily limits.
  • AntiSocial (Android): This app runs in the background of your device and then provides reports on how much screen time you’ve used. You can use it to set limits and block access to certain apps, as well.

You Can Bundle Spotify & Hulu (Plus HBO on Hulu Price Dropped)

You Can Bundle Spotify & Hulu (Plus HBO on Hulu Price Dropped)

Music and TV lovers, good news! You can now bundle Hulu and Spotify and save some money.

Currently only available to Spotify Premium subscribers, you can currently try Hulu for only 99 cents a month, says TechCrunch, and after this three month trial, you will be able to get both Hulu and Spotify for a combined total of only $12.99. This saves about 5 dollars a month on the popular streaming services.

The bundled Hulu subscription will be the version of Hulu with ads, but this is still a great deal and good news for people who already use one or both of the services anyway. And if you don’t currently use either one, this summer you’ll get a chance to start trying them both for quite a bit less than before.

A Spotify and Hulu bundle is certainly not a new concept. As I wrote last year, the Spotify Student Hulu Bundle became available for students. This bundle gives students both Spotify and Hulu (with ads) for only $4.99 a month and is available right now. Students simply have to follow the verification process to prove they’re currently enrolled in an institution.

Of course, $12.99 is a bit more than what students pay. But it still saves a decent amount of money. According to TechCrunch, the deal will be available to everyone in the summer. For now, if you have Spotify Premium, you can head to their page and add Hulu for an additional 99 cents during your three-month trial.

And for those of you using Hulu, there’s even more good news: for a limited time, you can add HBO to your subscription for only $5 a month. CNET reports that the add-on, which is usually $15 a month, is currently available at a huge discount. If you sign up for HBO during this promotion, you’ll get the $5 a month price for six months before it goes back to the normal $15 a month.

Sears, Delta, Others Involved in Data Breach

Sears, Delta, Others Involved in Data Breach

Several companies are dealing with a data breach. According to Reuters, Sears and Delta announced last week that [24]7.ai, which the companies use, was the victim of a cyber attack back in September of last year. And according to CNET, Kmart and Best Buy were also affected.

Payment information for less than a hundred thousand clients of [24]7.ai was compromised, Reuters reports. They also note that although the credit card information was “exposed,” Delta has said that doesn’t necessarily mean it was actually used. And Sears has said that their stores themselves weren’t affected and that Sears cards weren’t part of the breach.

CNET also mentions again that no companies have actually said that this payment information was stolen. At this point, what’s clear is that there was a chance for the information of thousands of people to be taken. The period of the cyber security attack was just a couple of weeks—from the 26th of September to the 12th of October (at which point the breach was taken care of).

Despite not knowing whether the information was stolen, Best Buy, at least, is taking action to try to reassure customers. CNET reports that Best Buy plans to provide credit monitoring free to anyone who’s concerned. They’ve also tried to lessen fears by making it clear that purchases made using stolen information won’t hit the person whose information has been stolen.

[24]7.ai was quick to make their statement and make clear they were taking the issue seriously. In their statement, they said their service was safe and secure and said they were working with law enforcement and their clients to take care of the issue and any fallout.

Until more information is released, it’s hard to know whether any information was actually taken and used. As a precaution, be sure to keep a close watch on your card statements if you made purchases at these stores.

Easy Ways to Make Money Online

Easy Ways to Make Money Online

The internet has opened everyone with access up to a world with tons of opportunities. We can socialize, entertain ourselves, build businesses, and learn by using the web. One cool thing that’s come about on the internet is the ability to make some extra cash online. Plenty of people already sell their artistic creations or unwanted items to make some money, but there are also ways to make some change doing things that are pretty easy or that you might already be doing. Below you’ll find some of the ways you can bring in a little extra money without too much extra effort:

Downloading rebate apps

Downloading rebate apps on your smartphone can bring in some extra money if you shop at any of the offered stores. Ibotta is one of the most popular grocery rebate apps. You can choose from different stores, like Walmart, Target, CVS, and many more. Then you can pick from whichever rebates are available at the time. There are typically quite a few different rebates to choose from. You can add rebates to your list sometimes just by clicking to add them, but usually you’ll be asked to watch a short ad or take a survey. After you do your shopping, you can use your purchased items and receipt to match anything you bought with the rebates you’ve selected. After you have $20 of rebates in your account, you can have this sent to you in the way you choose, including a PayPal transaction or a gift card. With Checkout 51, you can find new rebates every week that are available at select stores. Like Ibotta, you can receive your rebates by selecting them and providing your receipts, and you can “cash out” once you’ve reached $20.

Taking on small jobs

You can also use the internet to complete small jobs for a little bit of money. For instance, you might want to test websites through Userfeel. You could perform minor tasks for small amounts of money through Fiverr, Mechanical Turk, and InboxDollars. You can also use TaskRabbit to find small tasks near you if you don’t mind leaving your house, or you can (very carefully) search out quick, easy tasks on your local Craigslist (though it’s pretty full of spam listings).

Joining online focus groups

You can find some online focus groups that pay money. Though these are more difficult to find and qualify for, it is a possibility. There are websites like 20/20 Panel and MintVine that sometimes offer opportunities to join focus groups if you qualify. Online focus groups that are legitimate, not scams, are difficult to find, so if you go this route, be sure to thoroughly research the company before investing any other time into it.

Sharing your data

You might also want to make some money by sharing some of your data or habits. One way you can do this is by sharing your search habits. InboxDollars is one of the websites that pays you to search. Or you could join Microsoft Rewards and build points when you search through the Bing search engine. You can use those points for a wide variety of rewards, including gift cards. In addition to sharing your search info, you might want to share your mobile phone usage. If you register a phone with Nielsen, you could make up to $50 a year for letting them track your phone data.

Teaching something

Sure, it’s similar to selling online, but instead of selling physical goods, you’re selling your knowledge. You can teach skills online through websites like Skillshare and Udemy. You could create a class on either website to teach anything you’re good at, like crafts or music. With both, you get paid when someone takes your course.

(Featured image: all-free-download.com)

Internet 101: What is a Digital Wallet?

Internet 101: What is a Digital Wallet?

When it comes to paying at the store, customers have a lot more options these days. Debit and credit cards made it possible to stop carrying cash, and now digital wallets may make it possible to stop carrying your credit cards, too. A digital wallet is an electronic service that lets its customers make payments; in many cases, these digital wallets are apps on our phones. These apps let you save your credit card information and simply use your phone to pay for purchases online and at certain stores. Though this article will focus on in-store use, remember that the digital wallets mentioned below can also be used online.

How It Works

The apps in this article work in stores by using NFC, MST, or QR codes. The type of technology a digital wallet app uses determines which stores your app will work at. Here’s a quick rundown of what your digital wallet might use and how it works:

  • NFC, or Near Field Communication, sends information between two devices that are very close to one another; stores need to have a certain kind of terminal to be able to work with NFC.
  • MST, or Magnetic Secure Transmission, makes a card reader think a card has been swiped; because of this, MST works at more stores.
  • QR codes, or Quick Response Codes, are a kind of barcode that can be scanned to retrieve information.

It’s important to research your options before choosing a digital wallet and adding your financial information to the app. There may be some apps that are unverified or potentially dangerous, so be sure to look up an app before downloading it. Also, most apps include security protocols, so always take advantage of the security system built into an app; for example, some apps ask you to use a PIN or fingerprint before you can make a purchase.

The following list describes some of the most popular and well-known digital wallet apps, as well as some of the stores where you can use each app:

Android Pay

How it works: Android Pay works on Android phones that have NFC capabilities. After downloading the Android Pay app, you can add credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and loyalty programs, and you can even link your PayPal account. To add a credit card, you can either enter the card’s information manually or simply take a picture within the app. Once you’ve loaded your cards and programs, you can use the app in-store by turning on your phone’s NFC and holding your phone next to the checkout terminal.
Where it works: Android Pay works in stores that have terminals displaying the Android Pay or NFC logos (which you can see on Google’s page by clicking here). You can also open the app, click on the menu, and find out which specific stores accept it at that time. As I write this article, Android Pay is accepted at places like Best Buy, Bloomingdales, GameStop, Macy’s, McDonald’s, PetCo, Walt Disney World, Whole Foods, and many more. For more information, click here to visit the Android Pay website.

Apple Pay

How it works: Apple Pay works on iPhones and Apple Watches. You can add credit cards, store cards, and rewards cards to the app. To add a card on your Apple device, you simply tap to add a new card and then follow the steps to fill out your card information. When you’re paying in NFC-capable stores, you just need to hold your device close to the store’s terminal.
Where it works: Apple Pay works in stores that have terminals displaying the Apple Pay or NFC logos (which you can see on Apple’s page by clicking here). You can also take a look at Apple’s website to see which specific stores accept it at the time. Right now, Apple’s website shows that Apple Pay works at places like the Apple Store, Big Lots, Bloomingdale’s, Chick-fil-A, the Disney Store, GameStop, McDonald’s, QuikTrip, Starbucks, Walt Disney World, and more. For more information, click here to visit the Apple Pay website.

Chase Pay

How it works: Chase Pay is available in the App Store and on Google Play. You can sign into the app with your Chase account and use the app to pay in certain stores, as well as place orders in advance at some restaurants. Chase Pay uses QR codes instead of NFC, meaning stores scan a code on your phone.
Where it works: Chase Pay launched fairly recently, near the end of 2016, so there are few options for paying in-store at the moment. However, Chase Pay can still be used online, and Chase should be adding more in-store options. Right now, you can use Chase Pay at Starbucks and Best Buy. For more information, click here to visit the Chase Pay website.

PayPal App

How it works: The PayPal App is available in the App Store, on Google Play, and in the Windows Phone Store. You can use your PayPal account to sign in on the app and make payments. The PayPal App uses QR codes, so retailers scan the code on your phone in order to make a purchase. You can also place orders in advance at some restaurants, meaning you can just go pick up your food that has already been paid for.
Where it works: To find out where you’ll be able to use the app in-store, you can open the PayPal App, press the “In Store” button, and, using your phone’s GPS, scroll through a list of nearby retailers. For instance, when I tested the app, it told me I could use it at Dollar General and Macy’s. Before deciding on whether to use this app, try opening it in the areas you normally frequent and see which retailers pop up. For more information, click here to visit the PayPal App website.

Samsung Pay

How it works: Samsung Pay is available on specific Samsung devices, including many Samsung Galaxy devices. With Samsung Pay, you can add your credit cards, gift cards, and many loyalty and rewards cards to your digital wallet. Samsung Pay also shows nearby deals, and it has a rewards program. The rewards program allows you to accrue points as you make purchases with the app and spend those points on rewards like gift cards and Samsung products. To pay in-store, you verify your identity in the app and place your phone on the terminal.
Where it works: Samsung Pay uses both NFC and MST, so it’s accepted in a great deal of stores. Like other apps, you can look for the NFC logo on the terminal. Or, since the app also uses MST, you can pay at many stores by placing your phone on the terminal’s card reader, essentially simulating a card swipe. If you’re at a store with a card reader, Samsung Pay will likely work. For more information, click here to visit the Samsung Pay website.

Walmart Pay

How it works: Walmart Pay works through the Walmart App and is available in the App Store and on Google Play. After creating a Walmart.com account and signing in through the Walmart App, you can add the card of your choice to be used for payment, whether it be a major credit card or a Walmart gift card. Using Walmart Pay in stores is slightly different from the other digital wallets mentioned in this article. Walmart Pay uses QR codes, but instead of showing a QR code to the cashier, you use the app to scan the QR code that appears on the card terminal’s screen. The app then uses the card you have on file to make the payment and save a digital receipt. Walmart Pay does work in all the checkout lanes, including self-checkout.
Where it works: Only at Walmart. Walmart introduced Walmart Pay specifically to work in their stores and made most other digital wallets unable to be used there. If you do a lot of your shopping at Walmart, this app could save you some time and hassle. For more information, click here to visit the Walmart Pay website.