I’ve been seeing a lot of “I’m ready to save for Disney! Where do I start?” type posts over on the SavEars. Now, I could wow you with charts and graphs and other assorted number crunching or I could just give you the straight, cold facts: Start with the Saving to Disney course, with making adjustments to your daily life, and with finding apps and sites that earn you money with little to no work!
Below are my favorite eight apps. Eight is a weird number, you might think. Why not ten? Why not five? And my response would be, “this is what works for me.” Find what works for you. Maybe it’s five apps. Maybe it’s ten. Maybe you’ll go all wild and find that seven is your lucky savings number.
Before you dive into the appy goodness, check out my top tips for high earning.
Not All Apps are for All People
Here’s the key thing for me with apps and survey sites: know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. I did not use every single app under the sun. I focus on the apps that work well for me, the ones I enjoy, the ones that are intuitive. There are things I am not going to do with apps, like link my credit card or have the notifications on so I burn through my data. And that’s okay! No matter what your parameters are, there is an app for that. One of the biggest mistakes newbies on the Saving to Disney journey can make is thinking that all apps are created equal. They are not! The second biggest mistake newbies on the Saving to Disney journey can make is thinking that all app users have the same strengths, preferences, and data plans. We do not! Test out as many apps as you have time for. Keep the ones that you enjoy, that are easy to use, that you feel are worth your time. Saving to Disney is something you do on the side. It shouldn’t be stressful or painful or data demolishing.
Give Yourself a Test Period for New Apps
Try as many apps as you feel are interesting, but if, after a few months, you’re not seeing the results you’d like, ditch ‘em.
Two points there to be careful of: notice I said a few months and not a few weeks. I know almost no earning method that pays big instantly and if it claims to, I’d be wary of it. Two weeks isn’t really enough time to see progress. Give it a few months before you reach a verdict.
Secondly, don’t measure success only in big payouts. That might seem counterintuitive to a post that’s all about making money, but remember, time is also money. If you’ve got an app that takes no time or energy and gives you free money, even if it’s pennies, GREAT. Ibotta is not a huge earner for me because we don’t buy a lot of name brand or shelf stable food. But it takes me five seconds to upload my receipt and it still makes me $25 in seven months. You might be tempted to be like, “$25 in seven months? That’s nothing!” If it takes me 10 seconds a month to upload those receipts, that’s $3.50 a month for doing nothing but scanning a receipt. $25 a minute, in the long run. A minute of my time is definitely worth 25 free dollars. Those little bits add up!
Take it to the Limit
And by that I mean, time limit. We just talked about how time is money and money is power and absolutely power corrupts absolutely and that’s not how the force works. The time you put into apps will vary, but survey sites tend to be more of a commitment. So it makes sense that the payoff is exponentially more. But don’t let the promise of big payoff lead you down the rabbit hole of half a day spent on surveys. Do yourself a favor and set a time limit.
I do not spend four hours a day doing surveys. I set myself a time limit of 45 minutes, accomplish what I can in that time limit and move on. Sometimes it was a seven disqualifications and 7 sbs. Sometimes it’s qualifying for a study that pays out $100. Remember, side hustle, not stress creator.
E-poll: I’m obsessed with this survey site. They do mostly entertainment surveys, which is my jam. I’ll spend 20 minutes answering questions about tv shows, no problem. They also send you surveys that you are pre-qualified for, so no wasting ten minutes only to find out our demographic is full.
Fetch Rewards: What’s not to love? You snap your receipt, you get points. You get enough points, you get a gift card. My favorite thing about Fetch is how you can get sneaky deals. They rotate featured items and brands that you can get bonuses for. I will be real, I am trash at keeping track of their bonuses. So I just snap my receipts each week and am pleasantly surprised when I get 4000 points for the Gerber Baby Food I bought. Easy easy easy.
Pinecone Research: What Pinecone really has going for it is consistency. They send you pre-qualified surveys, their surveys are all in a similar format, and each survey is worth $3. I like knowing what I am getting. Pinecone is also great because they have trials for various products with follow up surveys. I’ve tried candy, almond milk, diapers, and makeup thanks to Pinecone Research. Free money for getting things and sharing my opinion? Sold! To me!
Shopkick: This is one of my newest obsessions. I love that you can get points (kicks!) just for entering a store. Peak Lazy KB still likes earning for the Disney Fund. If you’re feeling a little more engaged, you can scan items in store for additional kicks. And if you buy any of these items, you get more kicks for submitting your receipt. I love an app with flexible earning strategies.
Swagbucks: What else is there to say about Swagbucks? Surveys, shopping, trials, a live nightly gameshow…Swagbucks is the OG when it comes to Saving to Disney. It has funded large parts of my last three vacations and will fund a large portion of my upcoming trip. There are so many earning possibilities that it can be a little tricky to navigate. To avoid getting overwhelmed and instead get savings inspired, check out Kristin’s FREE Swagbucks tutorial.
Dabbl: Dabbl keeps finding new ways to hook me. First it was the easy 30 second ads. Then they added surveys which awarded points based on how you far you got before you disqualified. It was shock to the system to not get 1 point for a dq’d 500 point survey, but 200. Now you can also scan grocery receipts! The ket to my heart: an easy grocery receipt snap.
CoinOut: Speaking of easy snaps. CoinOut lets you submit any receipt in the whole wide world and will give you money for it. The earnings vary each time you snap a receipt. I’ve gotten as much as 14 cents and as little as one cent. This is a slow earner, but hey, free money is free money.
Ibotta: The grocery lover’s best friend! Earn cash back on select items, with new offers added weekly. Products range from national names to Any Brand items. We all have to buy food, so we many as well get paid for it, eh?
Which one of these is your go-to earner? Do you have an app you love that I neglected? Tell me all your savings secrets in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!