The internet has made it easier to make money selling your stuff, but you may not know all the other ways you can earn rewards (including money) without selling a thing.
Not long ago, I wrote an article all about how to sell your items online. Now it’s time to talk about the many different ways you can earn money, gift cards, and items through different apps and websites.
There are a lot of different apps and sites that ask you to take certain actions to earn points or build up a cash total. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the most well-known, established, and tested ways you can earn rewards with just a little effort.
What can you earn?
Depending on the app or site that you use, there are many different things you can earn. Some services let you use your accumulated points to choose from certain branded items. Others might have you use your points to get discounts and promo codes. Many let you choose gift cards and, in some cases, actual money.
What do you have to do?
Different apps and sites ask for different actions. With some rewards services, you’re asked to watch or interact with sponsored content or surveys. You might need to exercise to earn your points, or you could get your rewards by getting rebates on purchases you were already going to make anyway.
What should you watch out for?
The idea of earning rewards for things you either already do or things that are relatively simple is very appealing. Because of this, there are some services that may very well be scams, as well as ones that just don’t work as well as they claim they will.
Before you start using a rewards app or site—including the ones listed in this article—look a little closer at it to make sure it’s actually as good as it appears. Consider doing some of the following things:
- Make sure to read the reviews on an app’s page so you get an idea of how satisfied other users are
- Check to see how many downloads an app has (too few might mean it hasn’t been well-tested yet)
- Do a web search with a phrase like “is [this app] legit” or “is [this app] a scam” and look for credible sites discussing the service
- Read the app’s or site’s fine print to make sure there are no catches
- Look at the service’s app or site to make sure it looks professional and well-maintained
Remember: never give your personal information (like your bank information) to a service without researching it first to make sure it’s safe and secure!
At the time of writing this article, all of these apps and sites appear to be legitimate, but some formerly popular apps (like the now-deleted Pact app) have later been found to be untrustworthy. It’s important to check for the most recent reviews and news.
10 apps & sites you can download and visit now
Now that we’ve discussed how some rewards services might work, what you can get from them, and how to look out for scams, let’s look at some apps and sites you can try! These are just ten rewards apps and sites that can earn you money, items, and other rewards.
Achievement is an app that rewards you with money for doing things that manage or improve your health. It uses monetary rewards to encourage you to keep track of your eating habits, walk more, get more sleep, and other various health-related activities. You simply connect one of the health apps you already use (like Samsung Health, Fitbit, or Garmin), then build up your points for your activity. 10,000 points can be redeemed for $10, and you can earn as much money as you want, with no maximum. Once you can redeem your points for money, they’ll be sent to you using PayPal or a direct deposit to a bank account.
This app rewards you with points for watching trailers. The trailers are for other apps, as well as other entertainment videos. You can also earn points by doing quizzes and playing trivia games. Once you have enough points built up, you can redeem them for gift cards or money sent through PayPal. They offer gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes.
This app is different from most of the other apps on the list. If you enjoy helping good causes, you can use this app to earn rewards in the form of donations to the charity of your choice. If you already donate to the cause, you can give even more using this app, or you can use it as the sole means of donating. With Charity Miles, you earn money for a charity by running, walking, or biking. After opening the app and starting to track your distance, with each mile you complete, you add more money for your charity. There are many different charities to choose from, including well-known ones like Habitat for Humanity, American Diabetes Association, ASPCA, and World Wildlife Fund.
Ebates is a well-known rebate service that pays you back for some of the purchases you make. If you’re already planning on purchasing something, this is a way to get some money back. When you buy from different stores online through Ebates, you can earn money. You can search through Ebates for certain stores, certain items, and more. There are also some rebate offers that are in-store only. Once you find something you want, you can see how much of a rebate you’ll get. After your order is verified, you can get your money through a check or by PayPal payment.
This app from Google offers small amount of money for taking surveys. As soon as there’s an available survey, you’ll be notified. There are all kinds of different surveys you might take. You can earn as much as a dollar for a survey, though most of them seem to be closer to ten cents each. If you use the app with Google Play, your money is given to you as Google Play credit, while iOS app users have their money transferred with PayPal.
Ibotta is a rebate app that can be used to earn real money or gift cards. If you shop at any of the stores they have listed, you may be able to accumulate a high enough balance to get real rebates. You can use the app to get rebates on items you’re already buying, or you can use it as a way to find out about more products you want to try. You can find available grocery stores that you can add to your favorites, then look through the categories to find items you’re interested in. To add some products to your list, you might have to watch a short ad or answer a poll. After you’ve bought some items currently available in the Ibotta app, you use your receipt to add your rebates to your account. Once you have $20 racked up, you can have the money transferred to you in several different ways, including PayPal and Venmo. Or you can get gift cards to places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.
iPoll offers rewards for performing activities like reviewing products, visiting certain stores, and more. All of their activities are typically based around learning your opinions on certain brands and products. Some of these activities could include recording a video or taking photos. Once you’ve performed an activity, you can earn rewards like money transferred through PayPal, gift cards, and entry into a cash drawing.
Swagbucks rewards its users for doing a number of different things. Swagbucks users earn rewards for taking surveys, watching videos, searching online, playing games, and buying certain items for a rebate. Once you have enough points, you can either have the money transferred via PayPal, or you can get a gift card. Gift cards are available for many different outlets, including Walmart, Amazon, and Bath & Body Works.
This app hopes to encourage people to exercise more by offering rewards. The app acts as a step counter. The more you walk, the more “Sweatcoins” you earn. You can then use these Sweatcoins to purchase rewards. Rewards include actual products (like Apple products), as well as services (like exercise classes) and events. You can even choose to donate your Sweatcoins to a charity.
Walk for a Dog by Wooftrax is another app that gives a different kind of reward: the knowledge that you’ve helped an animal-based organization. This app doesn’t specifically give you a reward, instead letting you donate money to your favorite organization that helps animals. Whenever you walk your dog, you simply use the app to track how much you walk. This builds up activity for the organization you’ve chosen. After a certain period, all the funds raised are given to the organizations people chose. If you don’t have a dog, you can walk a shelter dog or a friend’s dog. Or since the app simply follows you as you move, you can walk without a dog (though walking with a dog is much more fun).
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.
If you’re building your collection of cool devices, or if you have some specific tech you’re looking to purchase, it’s important to get the best prices. Different sites are often running their own promotions, and sometimes major manufacturers themselves will offer limited time deals.
Keeping up with all of these sales might seem tricky, but there are actually a number of sites you can use to keep track of current tech deals. Here are just a few you can bookmark and head back to every day!
The Tom’s Guide website features many different pages with how tos and product suggestions. Their Best Tech Deals page (currently titled “Best Tech Deals of 2018”) is updated every day with a collection of great deals. They mention some of the overall best deals, then show deals based on different categories, like laptops and smart watches. Since it’s updated so regularly, you can be sure you’re not wasting your time looking over deals that have already expired.
PC Mag is a hugely popular site that features news, how tos, and perhaps most importantly, detailed product reviews. They’re well-respected when it comes to their reviews. Their Best Deals Today page is, of course, updated daily. There are several categories, including laptops and gaming. The page is arranged in a slightly overwhelming way, with quite a lot of information, but the information is all useful and relevant, making it easier to spot which deals are the right fit for you.
CNET is another very popular site that’s well-known for its product reviews. They’re also popular for their news articles. On their Deals & Promotions page, they might offer over a thousand different suggestions for current deals. You can click the check boxes on the side of the page to narrow down what you’re looking for, including things like tablets and televisions.
Amazon’s Deals page is not quite the same as the others. Instead of linking to various different outlets (like Walmart, Newegg, etc.), you’ll obviously only see deals for products you can purchase on Amazon. This means it’s not really an aggregator like the other sites and you might miss some good deals that aren’t available on Amazon. However, if you prefer to purchase using Amazon Prime, or if you want to find more than you might spot on the other sites, Amazon’s Deals in Electronics can offer some good buys. You can see currently available deals, and you can even see which deals are coming soon. And they show deals on Amazon devices (like the Echo Dot), so it’s a good place to check if you’re in the market for a new smart speaker or tablet.
Interested in more ways to save money on Amazon and maybe even get free stuff? Check out The Babble Out and see if their program might be a good fit for you!
Over the years, current technology has made many different areas of our lives more convenient. We can use an app to keep up with our schedules, chat with customer service online, call a ride with the push of a button, and more. For some people, these conveniences brought on by technological advances and new ideas are part of our everyday lives.
Thankfully, meal planning has also become easier as apps and online services have grown in number. For some years now, food subscription boxes have been one of the most popular ways for people to plan their meals. Just signing up and paying online makes it possible to nearly forget about what you’ll be eating. Shipments of planned meals can be sent to your home on a regular basis, eliminating stress from a daily task. And there are many different meal kit subscriptions a click away, so there are plenty of options
But it’s important to note that signing up for a meal planning kit online isn’t the only option. Though these boxes have become more and more popular, there are still other ways current technology can make figuring out what to eat for dinner less difficult.
Some of the other tech-related options you might consider for meal planning include the following:
- Meal planning apps
- Online meal planning services
- Grocery delivery through online orders
Meal planning boxes may be popular, and ultimately, one may be right for you. However, it’s important to consider your options. There could be a site or app out there that doesn’t necessarily send all the ingredients to you but that still offers a convenient (and likely inexpensive) service.
What you might think about
There are a number of things to consider when choosing how to plan your meals. Take a look at these questions and think about what you personally need.
How much does it cost?
Price is a major consideration when meal planning through an app, site, or subscription. Some apps and other services might be free (or have free versions), but many meal planning options can be costly. And when it comes to subscription meal kits specifically, the different subscriptions can range greatly in price. Also, you’ll want to consider how much money it’s worth to make things a little more convenient. Some meal kits do cost more than you would need to spend if you just went to the store yourself, but it might be worth it since you’ll get to skip a trip to the market.
Is time saving important?
Continuing what I mentioned above, time is a huge factor in your choice. If you’re typically short on time and you can afford it, a meal kit subscription could be incredibly useful. But if you can spare more time (for a trip to the store or to look over recipes), you might make up for it by saving money.
Does your choice fit your nutritional needs?
Some meal kits are wildly popular and seem like the right choice, but if you have specific needs, like a special diet, you’ll want to either skip the subscription meal kit or make sure you find one that can consistently meet your dietary and nutritional needs. Some focus on a more general diet, while some cater to a specific crowd. Don’t just go with a subscription because it’s well reviewed—consider using a different type of service (an app or site) if meal kits don’t offer the food you need.
Is the service enjoyable?
It’s important to make sure you actually enjoy your meal planning service. When it comes to an app or site, if it’s designed in a way that’s frustrating or stressful, then it’s not right for you. With subscription kits, you’ll also need to make sure you actually like the food. If the portions are too small or don’t taste good, or if you just find yourself not enjoying your food, you’ll want to try something else.
Apps, programs, and websites
There are plenty of apps and other services that you can use to make meal planning easier. Here are just some of your options!
Cook Smarts: This service helps you plan your meals, try new recipes, make grocery lists, and more. With their meal planning service, you get meal plans based on your specific needs. This can include things like special diets and certain portion sizes. Their meal planning includes suggesting how to prep certain things over the weekend so you don’t have to do it during the week. They also let you create shopping lists, reduce waste, and more. You can try Cook Smarts for free, after which it costs $6 to $8/mo. depending on the plan you choose.
eMeals: With eMeals, you can get meal plans and grocery lists based on a number of different needs. You can choose from many different categories, including clean eating, low-carb, paleo, vegan, budget friendly, gluten free, diabetic, and more. Once you choose your recipes and build your meal plan, you can get a grocery list and even transfer the list to services that deliver (including AmazonFresh and Walmart Grocery). You can try eMeals free for two weeks, and then you can subscribe for $5 to $10/mo. depending on the plan you choose.
FoodPrint (for Android or iOS): This app is a particularly useful meal planning app for people who are dieting. You can input your specific information, like whether you’re trying to lose weight (and how much), allergies, special diets (including vegan and vegetarian), and more. Then FoodPrint will suggest many different things for you, not just meal plans. With the meal plans, the app will offer personalized ideas for each meal and even for snacks. It will also suggest meals you can get at restaurants near you. The app is free, but a full subscription with all the features is $3.33 to $7.99/mo. depending on which plan you choose.
Mealime (for Android or iOS): Mealime is a popular meal planning app that creates personalized meal plans based on your information. It also creates shopping lists based on your planned meals. Its recipes are intended to show you how to cook your meals in a short period of time, even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen. You can get meals suggested based on things like a special diet, numerous different allergies, and ingredients you want to avoid. The app also works to reduce wasting food by trying to use up all of your ingredients that would otherwise go bad. The app is free, but for extra features, you can upgrade for $5.99/mo. or $49.99/yr.
Paprika (for most devices, including Android & iOS): Paprika is not just a mobile app, it’s also available to download for other devices. It’s a recipe finder, grocery list creator, and meal planner all in one. Using Paprika, you can find recipes you’ll like, add them to your meal plan, and use the grocery list to easily find what you need. You can also add your own recipes, as well as input what ingredients you already have so you won’t accidentally buy unnecessary things at the store. You can try Paprika for free for 30 days on some devices, at which point you can buy it for varying prices ($4.99 to $29.99, depending on the device).
Pepperplate (for most devices, including Android & iOS): This service offers features that make meal planning easier. You can add recipes, create shopping lists, make menus, and schedule your meals. When planning your meals, you can change the scale of the recipe to make the amount of food right for you. You can also share recipes with other people and customize how your shopping list is arranged, along with other features. This service is free.
Yummly (for Android & iOS): This app focuses heavily on offering access to recipes. With Yummly, you can find over a million recipes. You can save recipes and create grocery lists based on them. Yummly will also learn your needs, like dietary restrictions and taste, and then suggest recipes for you. This app can make it easier to figure out what you should cook for any meal. This app is free.
Meal subscription services
Meal kits can be particularly convenient. If you do decide a meal kit subscription is right for you, here are some popular (and varied) options you might consider:
- Blue Apron—Focuses on ingredients from sources that use sustainable practices and that avoid GMOs as well as hormones and antibiotics. Cost depends on how many meals you want and for how many people (it can range from $47.95/wk. to $143.84/wk.)
- Freshly—Focuses on natural, gluten-free ingredients and healthy, fully-prepared meals that take 3 minutes for subscribers to get ready. Cost depends on how many meals you want (it can range from $49.99/wk. to $107.99/wk.)
- Green Chef—Focuses on organic, GMO-free, sustainable ingredients that are fully prepped for your meals. Cost varies between the different plans and depending on how many people the meals are for (plans include vegetarian, gluten free, omnivore, keto, and more)
- Hello Fresh—Focuses on a variety of different meal plans and recipes based on your dietary needs (including low-calorie, vegetarian, and more). Cost depends on how many meals you want and for how many people (it can range from $8.74 to $9.99/serving)
- Plated—Focuses on meal plans for different dietary preferences and with season-appropriate ingredients that come from responsible, sustainable sources. Cost depends on how many meals you want and for how many people (it can range from $47.80/wk. to $159.20/wk.)
- Purple Carrot—Focuses on plant-based meals for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants to go plant-free a few times a week. Cost depends on the plan (from $72 to $78/wk.)
- Sun Basket—Focuses on clean eating by using organic and responsibly sourced ingredients in their various different meal plans which include paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and pescaterian options. Cost depends on how many meals you want and for how many people (it can range from $10.99 to $11.99/serving)
Whichever option you choose, make sure you evaluate how well it’s meeting your dietary needs and how much you enjoy the service! Some services may not be right for everyone.
Ebay is making things a little easier for those on a budget by launching their ‘Under $10’ section.
You may recall the recent introduction of Amazon’s ‘$10 and Under’ section which I wrote about back in January. Amazon collects inexpensive items and groups them in different categories like Men’s, Electronics, and Household.
Now Ebay is doing something similar, giving shoppers a chance to find inexpensive deals in a number of different categories. Ebay’s ‘Under $10’ section collects a large number of items from different sellers, all of which ship free (just like Amazon’s budget section).
Ebay’s section has a much more detailed selection of categories to narrow down your browsing. On Amazon, there are 8 categories to choose from, and then you browse through a bunch of items within that category. On Ebay, however, there are 6 main categories to choose from, but within those 6 categories, there are over two dozen sub-categories, and in those sub-categories, there are sub-sub-categories.
For instance, if you look in the ‘Fashion Under $10’ category, you can narrow down to ‘Men’s Clothing & Shoes’ (or another sub-category), then narrow further with sub-sub-categories like ‘Jeans’ and ‘Sandals.’ This means you don’t have to scroll through a ton of items you have no interest in. It’s easier to focus in on what you really want to browse for. The six main categories on Ebay’s new section are ‘Fashion,’ ‘Electronics,’ ‘Home & Garden,’ ‘Sports,’ ‘Lifestyle & Entertainment,’ and ‘Motors.’
The ‘Fashion’ category includes things like off-the-shoulder blouses, workout pants, and reflective sunglasses. In ‘Electronics,’ you can find waterproof bluetooth speakers and PS4 games. ‘Home & Garden’ includes artificial succulents and vegetable slicers. In ‘Sports,’ there are yoga mats and canteens. ‘Lifestyle & Entertainment’ features things like vinyl records (from many different artists, including Buddy Holly and Incubus) and cat hammocks. And in ‘Motors,’ you can expect to see items like windshield cleaning tools and auto repair parts.
If you’re on a budget but still enjoy shopping, it’s a good time for you. With Ebay joining Amazon in offering a whole section devoted to items $10 or less, online shopping might be a little more convenient. Ebay’s section is great in that it has so many different categories to make finding what you need (or didn’t know you needed) a little easier.
Check out Ebay’s ‘Under $10’ section and see what you can find!
Amazon now offers a ‘$10 & Under with Free Shipping’ section for those looking for affordable products. The new section became available this past week and could be a great draw for people who like to shop but are on a tight budget.
The ‘$10 & Under’ section currently has 9 categories to choose from. You can choose All if you want to see everything added to the section. Or you can get more specific with the following categories: Women’s, Men’s, Electronics, Gifts, Home Décor, Household, Watches, and Hello 2018!
The section also mentions free shipping. Prime users already expect free shipping, but this section has a draw for everyone—you don’t have to have Prime to get the free shipping. This means you can shop in the ‘$10 & Under’ section without worrying about shipping costs even if you’re not paying for a Prime membership.
Right now the section is a little tricky to navigate, because you can only filter items by the categories mentioned above and you can’t search the section. However, if you have some time to scroll through, you’ll likely spot something that catches your interest.
There are a variety of items in the Women’s and Men’s sections. The Women’s category includes a lot of clothing and accessories. There’s jewelry, like earrings and bracelets, plus there are hair accessories and full clothing items like blouses and skirts alongside miscellaneous small items. In the Men’s category, you can find items like t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, and tie clips. There are also items like water bottles and headphones.
In Electronics and Gifts, there are quite a few items to choose from. The Electronics category has items like iPhone armbands and other iPhone accessories, smartphone cases, chargers and charger cords, and headphones. The Gifts category has a pretty scattered collection of items. There are things like sunglasses, balloons, throw pillows, greeting cards, baseballs, soap, and succulent plant pots.
Home Décor and Household both feature an array of items for the home. The Home Décor section is filled with plenty of throw pillows in all sorts of designs and colors. There are also items like coaster sets, decorative signs and knick knacks, tablecloths, string lights, and curtains. In the Household section, you can find plenty of cleaning supplies, as well as storage containers, lightbulbs, kitchen utensils, and shower caddies.
The Watches and Hello 2018! sections are interesting categories. The Watches section is centered on, of course, watches. There are analog and digital watches with various designs and styles. There are also watch accessories. In the Hello 2018! section, there’s a variety of colorful, glittering items. There are things like earrings, yoga mats, sparkly phone cases, confetti, workout clothing pieces, and to-do lists.
As previously mentioned, going through the available items involves quite a bit of scrolling and just looking for whatever catches your eye. Head over to the ‘$10 & Under’ section of Amazon to see if you spot something you like.
If recent patents are any indication, Amazon will be producing even more virtual reality (VR) tech in the future. Amazon’s newest potential plans are for a full-length VR mirror.
Amazon filed a patent this week for a full-length mirror that will mix reality with virtual places and items. Their patent, called “Blended Reality Systems and Methods,” was published within the past week. The mirror would use “mirrors, lights, projectors, displays and cameras” to display clothing and settings, says CNN Money.
This mirror looks like another step further into the world of fashion for Amazon. Amazon already has the Echo Look, which isn’t a mirror but is a smart device focused on fashion. With Echo Look, people can have the device take photos and videos of them, then let the content be uploaded, saved, or shared. People can use this content to get advice from a service called Style Check, which uses algorithms as well as actual suggestions from real people in the world of fashion.
Amazon is also already finding ways to let shoppers visualize what they’re buying before making a purchase. As I talked about in a previous article, Amazon’s app on some iPhones uses augmented reality (AR) to let people place certain products in whatever room the phone’s camera is pointing at. It lets shoppers see whether something fits the style or might be the right size.
Amazon’s possible VR mirror would likely have some concepts similar to the Echo Look and their AR shopping feature. Their mirror would let people visualize their fashion choices when shopping. Using the mirror, users would see themselves, live and in motion (not in a photo), appearing to wear virtual clothing they are considering purchasing. This, of course, would make it much easier to decide whether certain clothing items would look good together or be a good choice for that specific person. Even better, there would be an option to incorporate a virtual background. People could choose from locations, meaning it would make it possible to really see how an outfit would fit in certain specific settings.
Again, this is just a patent, which means it’s possible it won’t actually be released. Also, even if it is, it’s hard to tell how far into the future its release would be. But it is a good indication of what Amazon is interested in creating for its shoppers. It’s also a fun and interesting potential development in the world of VR tech. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what direction Amazon goes with this tech.
The holidays are fast approaching, and though the season isn’t all about material items, you might be thinking about how to find the best gifts you can. As I write this article, it’s less than four weeks until Christmas, and Hanukkah begins in less than two weeks. (Sorry for the reminder!) On top of the winter holidays, there are always graduation ceremonies, birthdays, weddings, and who knows what else.
But don’t worry—you can use the internet to find gifts for the people you’re struggling to shop for! Maybe you’re taking part in a company gift exchange or have a fairly new friend you want to pick out a gift for. Here are just a few websites you can use to get suggestions for presents!
This gift finder is particularly helpful for two reasons: it offers a lot of different results, and it’s conveniently run by Amazon (where you were probably going to buy your gift anyway). Amazon’s gift finding tool has different categories by age range, gender, and category. There’s even an option for pets! You can filter by whether the gifts offer Prime shipping and by price. Unless you narrow by category, there’s a wide (and kind of odd) variety of gift suggestions. You might just find what you’re looking for with only a couple of clicks.
This website generates gift ideas for adults 18 and older. If you’d rather use an app, it’s available on Google Play. To use the website, you simply answer a series of questions. You start by asking if the gift is for someone age 18+ or 40+. Then you answer questions about how close you are, what kind of gift you want, and what the person is like. I will note that the results are limited—you only get one suggestion each time you go through the questions. But the questions are interesting and the results even moreso. At the very least, it can get the cogs turning and give you some inspiration.
This website has a great collection of gift ideas. It offers many different results after you’ve selected different categories or descriptors. You can find gifts by who the person is (including gender and age range), who they are to you (including romantic partners, family members, friends, and co-workers), what type of event it is (including winter holidays and birthdays), plus a lot more. Those three categories are just a few you have to choose from—you can narrow things down in other ways, as well. And, helpfully, the gift ideas are pulled from a variety of different websites. GiftAdvisor.com is an exceptionally useful tool.
Gifts.com is a gift idea website and shop all in one. Take note that the results you get are for products offered by Gifts.com and that they want you to buy from them. But even still, you can get some great suggestions and use these ideas to shop around elsewhere! You can get gift suggestions based on gender, age range, holiday, and more. Best of all, you can take a personality quiz based on the giftee and get personalized suggestions. This is a great website to get inspiration (and maybe even buy your gift right then and there!)
It’s time for another Tech Spotlight, where I talk about three cool tech items available on Amazon! This week, all three items have to do in some way with health or outdoor activities—not just for us humans, but for our pets, too. I know, we’ve just had Black Friday, and we’ve all looked at a lot of things to buy. But this tech will be perfect for you or for someone you’re buying for this Christmas. Log in to your Amazon account and check out this week’s tech!
Bellabeat Leaf Urban Health Tracker | Rose Gold
I’m sure we’ve all seen the different health trackers that are available, and many of us have used them at some point. Bellabeat Leaf is different from most because it helps people understand and track aspects of their health while also incorporating fashion elements. Bellabeat Leaf is a pretty and sleek-looking piece of jewelry that can be worn many ways, like as a necklace, bracelet, or (as pictured on the product page) as a clip. Instead of being an obvious bit of tech, it looks like a statement piece that can be worn every day.
Bellabeat Leaf tracks many different activities, like steps and burned calories, and it also tracks things to do with sleep, meditation, periods, and stress. It can track quality of sleep, fertility, and sensitivity to stress, and it can set up meditation sessions, plus even more features.
Your information is sent to the device’s app so you can keep track of different aspects of your health. You can also sync your information to apps like Google Fit and Apple Health, so if you already use those apps or simply prefer them, you can stick with them.
There are different designs for the smart jewelry, as well, so you have options when it comes to appearance. There are even different colors (aside from rose gold, there is also silver).
If you want to keep up with and track your health, Bellabeat Leaf is a fun and different choice. You can track health and look good while doing so. Check out Bellabeat Leaf if you’re interested in a pretty, fun, and different way to stay fit!
Lifepack Solar Powered and Anti-Theft Backpack with laptop storage
This backpack by Lifepack includes some really useful tech. If you’d like to be able to charge devices and listen to music while you’re out with your backpack on, this is for you. The Lifepack includes what they call their “Solarbank” with three different features. Its design is also meant to be extremely helpful.
The “Solarbank” in this Lifepack is comprised of a power bank so you can charge devices, a solar charger to refill your power, and Bluetooth speakers in the backpack. This could be useful for most people who want to use a backpack, but of course, it could be especially helpful if you’re going outdoors and maybe going for a hike or camping. If you’re a student, you could feel more confident about keeping your phone and tablet charged while on campus.
It’s also designed to be secure and survive inclement weather. It has a lock built into it, so you won’t have to buy your own to keep your things safe. It also comes with a rain cover so you can protect your stuff and the backpack’s tech if there’s rain in the forecast.
If you use a backpack regularly, owning one with this kind of tech integrated could make life much easier. Check out the Lifepack for a fun and useful backpack option!
CleverPet Hub – Exercise Your Pet’s Mind + Body
You’re not the only one who needs to exercise and keep your mind in top shape—your pets do, as well. The CleverPet Hub is a cool way to keep your pet moving and active. Many pets can get restless around the house, or they can have so much pent-up energy it’s hard to know what to do. This item can help with that.
The product description notes that neuroscientists designed the CleverPet Hub. It’s meant to stimulate your pet’s mind and keep him or her engaged throughout the day. The Hub offers challenges to your pets and can motivate them with food as they solve puzzles. You can set up a schedule for your pet to use the Hub and then track your pet’s activity through the accompanying app.
It’s also important to note that the Hub is meant to be extremely durable and stay put while being used. The device is designed not to move across the floor as it’s played with. It’s also made of material that’s very hard to damage—the product description says the Hub’s dome hasn’t been broken into yet, despite being used by thousands of dogs. So even if you have a particularly wild pet, the CleverPet Hub is a viable option.
This product is great for people who have pets that need more stimulation and activity than they can offer. It’s also just a great idea to keep pets playing and moving around. Check out the CleverPet Hub if you have a pet that could benefit from an engaging new pet device.
It’s time for more fun and useful tech! Each week, I’m showcasing three cool tech products you can find on Amazon. This week, the three tech items all work in some way through apps. There’s tech you can play with, cook with, and light up the room with. Get your Amazon cart ready!
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot
The Evo App-Connected Coding Robot is a small robot that can be customized and played with. You can use an app to connect to Evo via Bluetooth and then do a number of fun things. You can play games, have Evo do tricks, and even communicate with the bot using a special set of markers. It’s meant to be customized using code—you use the app to write and load new code and teach Evo new things.
Its sensors allow it to do a lot of things, including read what you write with the accompanying markers, and it also has LED lights. Evo is so small that you won’t have to worry about taking it with you anywhere you go. Check out Evo if you’re interested in robotics and want to try your hand at some fun and simple coding!
Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
This smart kitchen product aims to help people become better cooks and make things easier in the kitchen. The Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System has a frying pan and induction burner, and it includes an accompanying app that provides recipes. These three elements of the Smart Cooking System work together using Bluetooth, meaning they can communicate with each other and stay connected.
The Smart Fry Pan has temperature sensors in it so that cooks can be sure what temperature the pan is at any given time. The Smart Induction Burner works with the pan and app to respond quickly to what needs to be done and use the correct level of heat (between 110 and 475 Fahrenheit). The app has videos of recipes as taught by professionals. The whole system is meant to let cooks have control over how they cook while learning new recipes. Take a look at the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System if you want to try out a countertop cooking experience that gives you control and works toward making you better in the kitchen!
Philips Hue LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light
There are quite a few smart light options out there, but this offering from Philips is especially fun because it’s not a single bulb—it’s a customizable and flexible strip. Its product description on Amazon prominently notes in the product name that it’s “compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant,” meaning whichever smart device you might have, it’s likely this light strip will connect with it.
The light strip can be useful in many ways, including turning on and off at predetermined times. It can immediately switch on and off or it can slowly brighten or dim. It can also display a wide range of colors and sync to music and other electronics. It’s flexible and sticks to surfaces with adhesive tape that comes included, and what’s especially cool is that the length can be modified. It’s 80 inches long, but it can be cut or extended. The product page pictures the light strip being used along shelves and lining walkways. If you’re interested in smart lighting but want to try something a little different, check out the Philips Hue LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light!