So what in the fresh heck is Bing? Think Microsoft's version of Google—a search engine that does exactly the same things as Google, only with a few added benefits.

 

1. I set Bing as my default search engine, since it rewards me daily for surfing the ‘net.

I ditched Google as my default search engine and set it to Bing (sorry, Googs). Now I earn credits without even thinking about it.

Bing benefit: My tenth grader is getting an A in Chemistry, thanks in part to Bing’s interactive periodic table for her chemistry homework! I wish I’d had a resource like this back in…well, we won't say how many years ago that was.

 

2. I maxed out my 25 daily search engine credits by using my PC and my smartphone.

I earn 1 credit per 2 Bing searches, with a maximum of 15 credits per day on my computer and another 10 credits on my smartphone. This means a total of 25 credits per day, or $5 earnings in 21 days (I perform the other tasks, too, so I got to my $5 in 16 days, which is much faster). Not bad. 

Bing benefit: Truth: My third grader knows his multiplication tables better than I do, thanks to Bing’s interactive multiplication table.

 

3. I earned 8 more credits every day with Bing Rewards by taking quizzes, learning new facts, or playing short games.

I also earn credits from performing simple tasks on the Bing Rewards Dashboard. These opportunities to earn a few points change pretty often, but they typically range from learning about the health benefits of seaweed (kelp me, Rhonda) to taking a short coffee break quiz. 

Bing benefitBing Translator allows you to translate English into basically every major language in the world. My daughter uses this for her French homework all the time. Mais oui!

 

 

4. I invited two friends to earn 100 extra credits. Yay, friends!

Know people? Sure you do. I referred two friends, and once they started using Bing rewards, I was credited an extra 100 credits to my account! (You can invite up to five friends.)

 

Related: How I saved $54.43 in a single month using these 6 free trials.

 

5. By day 16, I was already cashing out 525 credits to make $5…

After a little over two weeks of using Bing, I already had 525 credits in the bank. Most stores participating in Bing rewards require a little over 500 credits to redeem for a $5 gift card to Amazon, Macy's, Sephora, Toys”R”Us, Starbucks, and more.

Bing benefit:  Bing’s Scientific Calculator makes math easy! When my kids have a question, they type the problem into Bing, and a scientific calculator pops up with the answer. I use this feature, too, when I want to calculate calories (thanks, bagels with cream cheese).

 

 

6. …Or I could pay it forward and donate my money to the Boys & Girls Club of America, Teach for America, or my children’s school.

When I earn, if I prefer, Bing Rewards will also donate my 100 Credits ($1) to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Teach For America, or—even better —my own local school. More specifically, when parents pool 30,000 credits, Microsoft ships a brand new Surface Tablet to my school. If 60 other parents do this (as our PTA is), that’s a brand new tablet every month.

Bing benefit: Go to bing.com/findyourschool to see how many credits have been donated to your school (and how many Microsoft Surface tablets have been earned).

 

Bonus: Signing up with a Microsoft account or a gmail address took me literally 2 minutes.

I have both a gmail and a Microsoft account, so getting started was simple. If you have neither, estimate about 5 minutes to get set up. It’s pretty darned quick.

Bing benefit: With Bing Definitions, when you type in  “define,” “definition,” or “what is” in front of a word in the search engine, the Oxford dictionary definition pops up automatically.

 

 

UP NEXT: If you’re not taking this app shopping, you’re spending too much.

How I Earned a $5 Gift Card in 16 Days with Bing.com