19 Apps to Keep You Busy Until the Vaccine is Ready

Woman smiling at phone sitting in Christmas decorated living room
Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

With positive news about the vaccine clinical trials at a 95% efficacy rate, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, wearing masks will continue to slow the spread for now, but essential workers, particularly front-line healthcare workers will get vaccinated first.

For the general public vaccinations, the Washington Post reports that “it is likely to be April” next year after some essential workers possibly get the first batch in the middle of next month.

And much like the entirety of this year, the months will both go by fast and slow so until then, we have some apps that’ll keep you busy. Even better when you can make some side money as well. Some of which, you can get paid by doing stuff you already do!

1. Fetch All Your Receipts (Even Virtual) & Get Free Money Back

Alice Ly / The Smart Wallet

Check your pockets; check your purse. And keep email receipts.

Grab all the recent receipts you have and scan them into Fetch Rewards to earn points towards free money. Even better? Connect your email inbox and it’ll count your email receipts too from Amazon, Instacart, Shipt, and more!

Basically, shop at any store (grocery, drugstore, warehouse, everywhere and online), snap a pic with the app, and boom, you’ve got points for money. Upload your restaurant and drive-thru receipts too.

There’s no minimum spend, no need to manually select items, just scan in any receipt from any store and it’ll automatically reward you.

Be sure to grab 2,000 welcome points on us when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt!

2. Get Paid for Playing Free Lotto Tickets

When you’re stuck at home, you have to keep yourself occupied. Make killing time fun and productive when you play free digital scratchers on Lucktastic to win money from the comfort of your home. It’s just like getting the ones from the gas station, but…free.

There are a ton of different scratchers to play where you can earn both cash prizes and tokens. Tokens turn into gift cards or contest entries so collect as much as you can!

PRO-TIP to get the most gift cards for free: The more you play, the more big bonuses you can unlock! Play all your scratch cards, look out for Today’s Bonus, and head to the Reward Wall to discover more fun games and cool products. That’ll build up your tokens much faster to redeem for more rewards!

Redeem tokens for:

  • Amazon gift cards
  • Walmart gift cards
  • Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards
  • Check mailed to you
  • Payouts start at just $5!
  • Contest entries into big cash winnings

Lucktastic keeps things free by showing a few ads here and there plus it’s easy to play and multi-task at the same time.

Also until April 2021, their Crack the $1 Million Safe event will reward a lucky winner with up to $1 million dollars! Not bad for playing free scratchers, right? So download now to start earning free gift cards!

3. Scan the Stuff You Buy & Get Free Rewards

The exclusive National Consumer Panel (NCP) program is opening up again for more participants! This is your opportunity to make your consumer voice heard! (And get paid for it)

When you become a panelist, just use the app to scan the barcodes of items you purchase, provide a few additional transaction details, and you’ll earn points for:

  • Gift Cards
  • Tablets
  • Electronic Equipment
  • Flat Screen TVs
  • and much more from their gift catalog!

Plus, all panelists are automatically entered into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual drawings to win extra points and gift cards – even a quarterly sweepstakes to win $5,000!

The more you share your shopping habits (scan barcodes), the more rewards you can get. You can also answer surveys and share information about your overall shopping trip.

“Scanning my purchases is fun! I also enjoy taking the surveys. Earning points is fast and easy and they have a great selection of rewards.” – Jennifer B.

It’s a fun way to earn more rewards on items you’ve already purchased and at no extra cost to you.

Register now to see if you’re eligible to be a National Consumer Panelist. Eligibility will be based on your location. If you don’t get accepted this time, don’t worry! They’re always expanding locations, so check back again.

4. Satisfyingly Pop Bubbles to Make Cash

Who loved popping bubble wrap growing up? I still do.

So when the classic bubble game is shortened to 3-minute games to pop as many as you can, it’s exhilarating. Bonus points for clearing the whole board!

Check out Bubble Cash where you can go on a popping frenzy against real players online to win actual cash. Drop a bunch of bubbles at once and get those high-scoring combos.

Play for free, and then switch over to cash games whenever you want. Seriously though, cash game winners can win thousands of dollars…by popping bubbles. Take part in thrilling raffles to win BONUS cash on top of your regular winnings. Plus, enjoy extra rewards every day.

Just note that cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, IA, LA, MD & SC but everywhere else is fair game to win actual money!

5. New Year, New Financially Responsible You Can Save Up to $720

How much did you spend over the holidays? On average, Americans spend about $1,000!

You can get up to 70% of that back in the new year by using Truebill, a free money management app that’s like your own financial control center and personal finance assistant in one. The app groups all your banking accounts together so you can see your earnings and spending in one spot. Plus, it helps you budget even if you don’t know how to.

Truebill will also alert you when services quietly raise fees, and will even cancel your hidden and unwanted subscriptions for you. Most importantly, Truebill can help lower your monthly bills by 20%! Yup, they negotiate for you so you don’t have to deal with talking to reps.

It’s also time to look forward to new life events since 2020 ruined most of our plans. But that usually comes with a cost. So prepare ahead of time by using Truebill which can save you over $720/year!

6. Play 3 Minute Games & Win Cash Over $1,000 Every Day

When you’re looking for more games to play that could actually be productive to your wallet, check out Pocket7Games on iOS which despite the name, actually has 9 different classic games to choose from.

Bingo Clash is the most popular, followed by Solitaire!, Bubble Shot, 21 Gold, Block Blitz, 2048 Blitz, Dunk Shot, Bubble Gold, and Cube Blast. Easily switch between games to play for fun or for cash against real players 1v1 or in a group.

Every day over $1,000 free cash is awarded to players who join the free entry events. You can also win Amazon gift cards, and tech prizes like Xbox, AirPods, iPads, and more. Never be bored with plenty of surprise events and activities that give free cash plus earn up to $40 per friend you invite to play Pocket7Games!

More than $70M in prizes have already been rewarded so get in on your share of the fun. Note that cash games are not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, TN, VT.

7. School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In

When you’re looking for something to do at home, check out Solitaire Cube, which is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash.

The game matches you with players of the same skill level, so all is fair. You could win some serious cash, like Katie N. who took home $380,984 as one of the Top 10 Solitaire Cube players! Even casual players like Amanda, a stay-at-home mom from IL, won a 55″ TV, $6,000, and more prizes.

You can deposit as little as $2 to start playing for real money, and there are always bonus cash opportunities to get even more value. Currently, there is a $350,000 prize pool tournament you can get in on!

So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire Cube to win legit cash, definitely download this game for free. 

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

8. This Paid Survey Panel Gives Out 7,000 Gift Cards Daily

There are a lot of survey programs out there, but none as popular as Swagbucks, a free rewards program where you can earn cash for your time and opinion. Members can earn an average of $50 a month!

You get rewarded for doing surveys, searching the web, reading articles, watching videos, and playing fun games but the one activity that earns you the most points is completing surveys. (Don’t skip out on those!)

Points can then be redeemed for free gift cards, cash, and sweepstakes entries. All just by completing fun activities and giving your opinions.

New members can get a free $5 just for signing up, so join the other 10 million members already part of Swagbucks and start earning free rewards!

9. The Secret to Getting Free Cash Back

Alice Ly / The Bill Wizard

$860 million dollars. That’s how much free money members have gotten back so far just by using Ibotta, a free app that pays you real money on your everyday purchases.

That includes your groceries (online/in-store), essentials, food delivery, online shopping, basically anything. All they need is a receipt.

It’s super simple, just check Ibotta first before:

  • Shopping at your fav stores and services like Target, Ralph’s, Trade Joe’s, Uber Eats, and more
  • Ordering groceries and delivery services like Walmart Grocery, Instacart, Shipt, and more. Link the accounts together and maximize on free cash back!
  • Online shopping from retailers like Amazon, Sephora, Under Armour, Gap, and more

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up! It’s like you’re getting paid to shop.

10. Pop Some Colorful Bubbles to Make Some Bank

The classic bubble game comes back with a modern twist where you have 3 minutes each game to pop or clear as many bubbles from the board as you can.

It’s called Bubble Shooter! Tournaments, and no matter your skill level, you can have fun against real players around the world.

Our favorite strategy? Hang multiple bubbles from a “parent” bubble, and then POP the parents so all the bubbles drop at once! It’s extremely satisfying to get those combos.

Play for free, and when you’re ready, switch over to cash games to earn faster! Cash game winners can win up to $10,000 (no joke).

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.

11. Get $5* to Invest in Google, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, and More

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Danny Guinta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

You might think that investing is complicated. Or that you’ll never get a share of these well-known brands like Google, Amazon, Tesla, etc., but you can. And you don’t have to be rich either.

That’s because Stash, an investment app, lets you start investing1 with just $1. You can choose where to put your money in and they provide guidance and tools to help you along the way. You can invest in major companies that you use or buy from regularly to make the investing process custom to you. Plus, it’s affordable.

As a bonus, Stash is giving new members $5 for any first investment so create an account to get started.*

12. Play B-I-N-G-O for Up to $25,000 C-A-S-H!

When you think of bingo, you probably envision a room full of seniors stamping number cards. In other words, not terribly exciting.

But Bingo Clash on iOS, is the free modern version where you can play on your iPhone, and win big with cash and real-life prizes. There are daily cash prizes as well as weeklong tournaments with prize pools that can go up to $25,000! You can also win items like iPads, kitchen appliances, LEGO sets, other electronics, even cars!

You play against other people of similar skill in 1v1, tournaments, or multiplayer. It’s fair play as everyone gets the same card and the same numbers called out, but it’s how fast and accurate you are that will declare the winner!

Pro-tip: Don’t hit the Bingo button until almost the end of the game to rack up bonus points!

Play cash games for the bigger prizes but note that they aren’t available in these states AZ, AK, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, TN, and VT. However, Bingo Clash iOS is free to play, is fun, and you could win cash/prizes, so check it out!

13. Not Your Grandma’s Bingo - Play Anywhere for Cash

Classic bingo is a game based on both luck and skill since it takes strategy to beat the odds of the house and the players around you.

However, you can ditch the paper sheets and giant stamps in favor of Blackout Bingo on iOS, a fast-paced and competitive bingo game that you can play anywhere on your phone. And even against your friends virtually.

2 minutes. That’s all you need per game where you play against another person around the world. Everyone sees the same card and balls so by daubing (tapping the number) fast and correctly, you’ll get bonus boosts for more points! Tap the incorrect number and points will get docked so don’t get sloppy!

This easy-to-learn game is awesome for killing time and earning cash all at once, anywhere which is perfect for home.

You can play for free on iPhone against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…cash! Cash game winners can win up to $1,000 or more in mini-tournaments.

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.

14. Play Solitaire to Win Cash. No Longer a Single Player Game.

Less than a few minutes. That’s all you need to win real cash when you play  Solitaire Cash, a fun Solitaire game with a modern twist.

It’s like regular Solitaire but you compete against other players at the same skill-level as yours to see who can solve the deck the fastest, and for cash! Play in groups of 5 or more and the top 3 for each game wins.

Players have already won thousands of dollars! Solitaire Cash is free to download and play but cash tournaments are specifically not available in AZ, AR, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, SC, MT & SD.

If you like playing quick games for chances to win cash, check it out.

15. Fun Times in 3 Minute Increments – A Classic Game for $

3 minutes.

Make as many 21s as you can within that time or until you run out of moves.

That’s the basic gist of 21 Blitz for iOS, a modern take on a classic game where you’re no longer just playing against the dealer but with actual people around the world.

It’s fast-paced and it basically does all of the math for you. This game is great for killing time and earning cash all at once which is perfect for home!

You can play for free on iPhone against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…well, cash! Cash game winners can win up to $7,000 or more in the mini-tournament.

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

16. Affordable Car Insurance Exists - Here’s How You Could Save $610

You’re sharing the same roads with a lot of different people. Distracted people, oblivious people, road-rage people, etc. It’s best to cover yourself with insurance when everyone is operating a giant motor vehicle.

That’s why car insurance exists and is mandatory. You might be overpaying on your current insurance premium since it can be a hassle finding another provider.

However, you can search for quotes easily on EverQuote. They help match you among dozens of regional agencies and insurance carriers to filter the best matches to save on your car insurance.

It takes less than 4 minutes to fill out the form and you’ll see a list of matches that show online quotes, email, and potential phone quotes.

EverQuote can save drivers $610 a year on average* compared to their current insurance premiums. Once you see your list of potential matches, choose the online ones you want or wait for more information via email or phone.

It’s a pretty simple process, so try it out to see how much you could be saving on the road!

17. Never Pay Overdraft Fees Again - Banking That Has Your Back

On average, people pay $250/year just on overdraft fees!

Instead of charging you for silly fees, Chime, has your back. It’s an award-winning (and free to use) mobile banking app that lets you overdraft up to $100 with no fees1 via their SpotMe benefit. This means that $8 you were short on at the grocery store gets spotted and your account won’t overdraft, saving you money. Plus, you get a sleek-looking debit card!

Combined with no hidden fees, the ability to get paid up to 2 days earlier,2 and auto-savings starting at 0.50% APY3 makes Chime a stellar online banking option that doesn’t focus on profiting off of you like traditional banks.

Since Chime is free to use, give it a shot and see how you like it.

18. Start on New Year, New You - Get Paid to Lose Weight

Who’s fed up with 2020? *raises hand

So why not get a jumpstart on a brighter 2021? Particularly when it comes to your fitness and weight goals. Time to get rid of that quarantine 15…or more!

And you might be extra motivated because there’s a health and wellness company that will pay you to lose weight. Seriously!

It’s called HealthyWage.

They have a ton of testimonial/pictures on their site along with legit places reviewing them from CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.

So if you need some money motivation to lose weight, here’s how it works:
1. Start with the HealthyWage calculator (Read More)
2. Decide on a weight goal & amount of time to achieve it
3. Bet on yourself ranging from $20-$150 a month
4. Achieve your goal and you could win up to $10,000 depending on your HealthyWager!
5. If you don’t achieve your goal, the money goes to support HealthyWage, including prizes for others who achieve their goals


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