Is Paid2Save App the Business Opportunity It Claims to Be?

Recently, I received the following email in my inbox from a person praising the Paid2Save app:

You recently filled out a request to be matched with a business opportunity and I am THRILLED to be able to share this information with you!!  You have come across an INCREDIBLE opportunity at the RIGHT time!!

Paid2Save is an incredible, innovative Mobile Technology Company.  There are fascinating things happening as we speak!  This is a HUGE opportunity to make money on your own terms and this is a ground floor opportunity!

I’m always leery of companies or associates advertising massive “opportunities,” complete with lots of exclamation points. So, I decided to dig further into the Paid2Save business opportunity.

What is Paid2Save?

Paid2Save is both the name of a company and a mobile app that has existed since 2012. The company is based in California and is owned by David Hart of Hart 2 Hart Marketing. The app is a downloadable piece of software that customers use to get discounts to local merchants. As such, the app works akin to the business structures of LivingSocial and Groupon.


Unlike LivingSocial and Groupon, however, Paid2Save has a grand total of one employee, which might be David Hart himself or Linda Hart (data derived from Hoover’s).

Where does the rest of the workforce originate from?

Welcome to the world of MLM

Paid2Save operates via a referral structure of brand associates who work to recruit new merchants as well as app users. In order to become a brand associate, you purchase either the Business Starter Pack for $199.90 or the Business Builders Pack for $399.90.

Both of these plans provide you with an Ultimate Club Membership, enabling you to qualify for discounts at local merchants like dentists, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. You also obtain one or more DreamShares, which is like timeshare ownership.

You also qualify to earn income via retail sales and recruitment of new members. In fact, if you fail to recruit others into the program, you will no longer receive bonus and residual income.


This means you’ll soon be bugging local businesses and your family and friends to download the Paid2Save app or sign up for its different membership plans.

These plans cost $14.95, $29.95, or $49.95 per month for the Travel, Premier or Ultimate Club subscriptions, respectively. There is also a one-time $9.95 application fee.

As you sign up new members, you will start to build what’s known as your “downline.” This downline will kick up some of their member subscription commissions to you once they recruit their own new members. You will then rise up in the ranks of the organization and earn a new title (e.g., Brand Partner, Brand Supervisor) plus additional bonuses and commissions.

Is the Paid2Save app worth it?

While I’m not a big fan of MLM-style businesses, my bigger hesitation with Paid2Save is the product itself and how it can realistically make money for the company and its brand associates.

Paid2Save is not a real product.

Companies make revenues on actual products, not access to discounts from third-party vendors. This is one big reason why Groupon has struggled for years to make actual revenue and maintain solvency.

Sure, the app does make money via merchant transactions- 10% of each merchant transaction is paid back to Paid2Save. But a merchant will typically run a promotional discount once or twice a year, not constantly. Also, many merchants will cancel their plans after they’ve promoted their business and/or found the app to be unprofitable.

Paid2Save faces stiff competition.

LivingSocial and Groupon are free to use for customers and it’s only the merchants who must pay for the services. Many online discount and daily deal sites are free to use. It’s going to be difficult to convince frugal shoppers to pay up to $50/month for discounts that they could otherwise find for free, even if those discounts are really good.

Paid2Save has MLM competitors.

Even in the world of MLM, the Paid2Save app is not alone. Similarly styled apps like FlexCom, Lyoness and BeepXtra also operate by recruiting members and offering access to discounts as their product. ZeekRewards is yet another such MLM-based app, which is now undergoing litigation for being an illegal Ponzi and pyramid scheme.

You must pay for a membership.

As you move up the Paid2Save ranks to brand manager, you must also pay for an Ultimate Club subscription. That’s a business cost of almost $50/month just for being able to recruit new associates and collect a portion of their commissions.

The deals just aren’t that good.

After I downloaded the Paid2Save app and checked out its deals, I saw the usual merchant discounts that I would also find via Ebates, TopCashBack, etc. For example, I found online deals for 1.2% cash back from 1-800-BASKETS and 4% cash back from 1-800-FLORALS.

In the local deals area, I found a Pay $20, Get $30 Worth of Food/Beverage deal at a golf center and a free evaluation offer at a chiropractic center. These are the same kinds of deals that I see in my mailbox circular.

The Paid2Save Bottom Line

The Paid2Save app might be a worthwhile app to have at your disposal when you are shopping or out on the town. However, because customers must pay to use this app’s bigger benefits (through paid Club subscription plans), there is going to be limited product interest even if the discounts are good.

My recommendation is to keep clear of this business opportunity and look elsewhere.

Double Down and Win! My Review of Social Dieting Site DietBet

Do you have a few pounds to lose? Do you want to make money online while losing that weight?

Then welcome to DietBet, a social dieting site where you bet on your own weight loss and get paid to lose weight. If you have the necessary willpower, you make money…if you slack off, you lose your bet.

How DietBet works

Dietbet runs two types of weight loss bets on its site: a 30-day challenge where you lose 4% of your body weight, and a longer 6-month challenge where you lose 10% of your body weight. Official weigh-ins and weigh-outs occur with the participant standing on a digital scale in front of a full-length mirror and taking photos of himself/herself on the scale as well as the scale itself.

A unique word is generated for each contestant; that word needs to be written on an index card and placed next to the scale during the weigh-ins and weigh-outs. I myself had words like “carrot” “bat” and “caraway” assigned to me.

Participants must wear “airport security attire” and have nothing on their person except for the camera. The same type of clothing is expected to be worn at weigh-out. Oh, and participants can be audited and/or disqualified if there is any suspicion of cheating.

I double down on myself with DietBet

From January 13th to February 9th, I became one of 1,784 participants in the 30-day ShayLoss: MommyLoss Edition dietbet. I paid $30 to bet that I’d lose 4% of my body weight (or 5.8 lbs.). So, I had to go from being 146.2 lbs. to 140.4 lbs.

I then learned that I could participate in up to three dietbets simultaneously. So, to make things interesting (and win more money), I also placed a $25 bet on the 30-day Bikini Body Mommy Challenge that was occurring from January 14th to February 10th. This dietbet had a total of 1,329 participants.

I now had $55 in…and it was time to take my weigh-in photos. Luckily, I only had to do one weigh-in thanks to my contests being so close to one another. After I finished inputting my pictures, I received the following email:

dietbet review

DietBet took only about 5 minutes to verify my weigh-in weight, and then I was ready to rock and roll.

Initial weight loss success- and stagnation

Initially, feeling like all eyes were on me, I lost two pounds within a week and proudly logged my weight deficit; unofficial weigh-ins during the contest are encouraged and consist of you sliding back your weight numbers on the “scale” below:

dietbet weight scale

However, over the course of the next few weeks, I lagged. I had “only” 3.8 lbs. to lose, after all, so why rush? My weight loss pretty much stopped until I realized that the last week of my dual dietbets was upon me.

Swinging into high gear, I put myself on a near fruit fast and ran several miles every other night. My efforts paid off; within a few days, I had already shed another two pounds. I proudly posted my renewed weight loss on the online forums associated with each of my dietbets.

However, the contest’s conclusion was drawing nigh. Would I be able to shed the last bit of weight before the official weigh-outs started? Check out my final tally:

dietbet weigh-out

I achieved my DietBet goal!

One day later, I completed my weigh-out for the other DietBet. At this point in time, my body was in burn mode, so I ended up being another .6 lbs. lighter during my second shoot. As a result, I achieved both of my dietbets. Great!

I received the following email just a few minutes after each of my weigh-outs:

dietbet winner

I patiently awaited my bet payouts, which were not announced until after the contests closed and every winner had had a chance to input his or her winning photographs. My final DietBet winnings were then posted as follows:

DietBet payoutsDietBet review

In the end, I made a grand total of $81.86 on my two initial bets of $55, which gave me $26.86 in bet winnings or a 48.8% return on my investment. That’s not bad, especially considering that my stock investments don’t do as well!

My overall DietBet experience

I found the DietBet site to be really on top of verifying weigh-ins and weigh-outs; it literally took only minutes for an email to be sent to me stating that I was “good to go” following photo submission. Also, the site is well put together and you can usually find the answer to your question on its growing FAQs or via user comments.

You can also set up your own betting group on DietBet and specify whatever bet amount you want- and if you get at least eight participants, your own betting fee is refunded. This is nice because one of the things I wished for with DietBet is that its bets were a bit higher. After all, if I’m going to make the same effort to lose weight, I’d rather have $100 or even $500 on the line versus just $25. However, I also noticed that the larger the initial bet required to join a bet, the fewer the number of participants.

I was a bit surprised to find out that DietBet’s fees run as high as 25% for the lower-range bets under $100; that seems a bit steep to me. However, site fees go as low as 10% if participants are plunking down $500 or more. I never saw any bet run that high, however- the highest bet that I noted was set at $150 and had just over 10 participants.

Dietbet also offers 6-month-long 10% weight loss bets. Initially, my plan was to join one of these bets after finishing my 30-day dietbet; however, as I read more about these 6 month bets, I found out that they actually consist of six 30-day long bets where you re-bet a prescribed $25 or $30 or whatever fee amount each month. Plus, you have to lose about 2% of your body weight each month or forfeit that month’s bet. The last month’s bet, incidentally, consists of simply maintaining your weight loss.

To me, the 6-month plan seemed a bit too rigorous; I know that, when it comes to weight loss, most people lose much more weight at the start of their diets than later on. Thus, you could really encounter an issue with your 6-month dietbet if you lose 10 lbs. one month and then only 5 lbs. the next month, then 2.5 lbs the next, etc.

The only real advantage I could see in doing a 6-month dietbet is that there are random prize drawings each month for the winners. However, you can’t really win free stuff unless you buy tokens (which are $20/each). In a large pool of participants, you’re not very likely to win anyway.

Triple down and win?

As I was tabulating my results for this post, I happened to see that another dietbet was about to start and that the fee was $50. So, I decided to participate. Immediately afterwards, I found a simultaneous dietbet about to begin with a $25 buy-in. So, I bought in. And then yesterday, I found a third dietbet about to start with a $100 fee to participate. I thought about it- and also enrolled in that dietbet. So, as of today, I will be on three simultaneous dietbets. We’ll see if I make even more money this time around.

Update as of March 20, 2014:

Having successfully finished my three dietbets, I just wanted to show off my winnings:


The monetary amounts of these bets, moving from top to bottom, were $100, $25 and $50. As you can see, my payout ratios were actually better for the smaller bets versus the larger ones; for example, I made a nearly 43% return on my $25 bet versus just over 18% on my $100 one.  I guess people are less inclined to let $100 go! Anyway, I’m off to blow my winnings on fish fry.

Review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

Dave Ramsey claims to teach people how to manage finances, get out of debt, save money, and make good investments. He is the author of a number of books on personal finances and has a syndicated prime-time radio show in which callers describe their financial situations and get free advice. The first website linked above is the home page of what is surely becoming an empire. I’ve tried just one little fiefdom in the Dave Ramsey financial advice empire: Financial Peace University (FPU).

It’s a 13-week course, complete with textbooks, homework, and class sessions. The class meets one night a week for two hours and teaches the basics of money management. FPU’s main claim is regarding the past success of its 300,000+ students:

On average these families have paid off over $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 during this 91-day program!

I was skeptical. But my money management skills are those of a 12-yr-old (ooh, something shiny! Me buy now!) and I have the debt and saving rate to prove it. In short, I had little to lose. So if I could just meet the advertised averages of savings and debt reduction, that would help a lot. And I just might learn something. So I paid my $90 and enrolled in what is certainly the cheesiest-sounding university I have ever attended. The first class was last night (check back later for pictures of the materials and my first impressions). I’ll keep you posted.

Update 1 | Update 2

Join the LightSpeed Panel and EliteOpinion.

It’s been nearly two years since I first reviewed the LightSpeed Panel and my opinion hasn’t changed: it’s the best survey site online. It’s completely free to join and one of the few survey sites to last throughout the years.

The LightSpeed Panel

If you’re looking to actually make money taking surveys, you need to join the LightSpeed Panel. It’s free to sign up and you’ll be notified via email whenever new surveys are available for you to take. At the LightSpeed Panel, your opinion actually matters and unlike other websites, you’ll be paid for the time you spend taking surveys.

Since joining a few years ago, I’ve accumulated over $300 in earnings at the site. I’ve also completed two home studies at $50 each to track the food and drink I consumed throughout the day for two weeks. The LightSpeed Panel sends about two survey invitations to me each week on average. Even when there aren’t any surveys to fill out, there are questionnaires to help improve your profile so you will qualify for more surveys. With every survey and questionnaire you complete, you will also receive an entry into the current month’s $5,000 drawing.

At the end of each survey, your account will be credited a number of points. These points range from 75 to 1000+ per survey. A point roughly translates to one cent, meaning you’ll be paid in the range of $.75 to $10 for completing a survey. Once you have accumulated enough points, you can cash them in at the rewards zone for tangible objects, gift cards, or paypal credit.

Click here to join the LightSpeed Panel now.


EliteOpinion is the latest survey site created by the Lightspeed Research group and like the LightSpeed Panel, it is entirely free to join and you can do so by clicking here to sign up. EliteOpinion focuses more on your experiences in a corporate setting rather than product reviews.

Now, I have no experience with EliteOpinion, but I’ve been a member of the LightSpeed Panel for years. The LightSpeed Panel has offered me more surveys over the years than every other survey site I’ve joined combined. Given that EliteOpinion is run by the same company as LightSpeed, I feel safe in giving a recommendation without trying it, but I would love to hear of your experiences with the program. Be sure to leave a comment after you join.

Click here to join EliteOpinion now.

Be sure to register an account at both the LightSpeed Panel and EliteOpinion now. It will only take a few minutes and it’s free. Best of all, you’ll actually get paid for your time.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Update 2)

Financial Peace University’s promotional website claims that its participants have on average saved $2700 and paid off $5300 in debt by the end of the 3-month course. Having nothing to lose (except money, and I lose that all the time), I paid my $90 to enroll in Financial Peace University and will tell you all about it here at I’ve Tried That. To read prior posts and updates in the Financial Peace University review, click here.

The second class last night covered cash flow planning. It’s budgeting, but Ramsey calls it “cash flow planning” to give the process a business flavor so that people will take it more seriously. For people like me, that slight change in mindset makes a big difference. Dave Ramsey puts it bluntly:

If you were in charge of managing the finances for the Corporation of You, and you managed money for the Corporation of You like you do for you, would you fire you?

I have to say that I would fire me. It’s the same idea Sabrinasmoneymatters was getting at when she said, “You are the CFO of your Household Corporation.” So, yeah, little shifts.

Last night’s lesson included something that is as close as I ever expect to get to a magic elixir for those with chronic diarrhea of the wallet: a practical system for tracking and controlling money. A way to actually make the budget work, and maybe even to get me to stick to it (the jury’s still out on that one). It’s not a new plan, and it may be a no-brainer for folks who already discipline their money (rather than it disciplining them). The super secret anti-diarrhea system? Envelopes.

It’s simple, really. At the beginning of every month, you plan out when money comes in and give every dollar a name by deciding beforehand where it will go. Straightforward budgeting stuff so far, right? But here’s the magic part: when the money comes in, you take the cash out of the bank and put it in envelopes labeled with your budget categories. The FPU kit included a booklet with envelopes, and my household budget has enough categories that we needed to use some regular ones from our closet. The effect is, for me, magical because it takes the budget out of the realm of the abstract and theoretical and puts it in the realm of the real and practical: I have envelopes and cash in my hands. I can smell it and touch it and watch it as it flows out of the envelopes in the directions we have designated. We no longer wonder where the money went; we now tell it where to go. And that’s a powerful difference. I’m optimistic about the prospects. If we can get this system to work for us, that alone will have been worth the $90. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Update 1 | Update 2 | Final update

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Update 1)

Click here to read my first post in the Financial Peace University review.

The first class was last week and I’ve had time to let my impressions gel.
As you can see from the materials shown here, the fee (mine was $90, but prices
vary) is not for materials alone. The paper inside the fancy box is worth maybe
$25. There’s an overpriced, cheaply bound book, a mind-numbing fill-in-the-blank
“workbook,” an envelope binder for keeping the recommended envelope
system organized, some CDs to supplement the weekly class, and some materials
with which you can order lots more from Ramsey’s website.FPU1

The rest of the value comes from the class, by which I mean the video presentation. I met in a room with about 40 other people and watched a DVD of Dave Ramsey teaching the first week’s lesson. It’s a little bit slick for my taste. Too glossy, too much of a performance and a production. Ramsey is quite the performer—the presentation is interesting and entertaining to watch—but it’s spoon-fed education. There’s no exploration of ideas, no exchange. And maybe there doesn’t have to be. It’s not philosophy, after all. People who take the course paid the money because they want to know what Dave has to say, not because they want to engage in discussion. Still, it goes against every educational bone in my body. All four of them.

All that said, I am actually enjoying Financial Peace University, to my surprise. It occurs to me that I didn’t pay to get my money’s worth out of the box, or even in classroom experience. I was willing to pay $90 for the chance that Ramsey would motivate me to do what I already know needs to be done: budget, save, pay off debt, invest. As Sabrina at SabrinasMoneyMatters might say, I’m paying to create some accountability. Good information and an easy-to-use system are just icing on the cake.

I’ve Tried That | Update 2 | Final Update

Overdue final update: Financial Peace University Review

Hi, my name is Joe and I’m a slacker. I promised regular updates to my review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU), in which I am enrolled, but have failed to deliver.

I am ashamed.

To make it up to you, I’m offering a bonus: until the end of July, all new RSS subscriptions are free. That’s right, free, as in zilch. Sign up quick and take advantage of my remorse. Subscriptions after the bonus period will be at least triple the bonus price!

If you found us through a search engine and are looking for the full Monty on Ramsey’s FPU, you’ll want to start here. The 13-week course is almost half over and I can say with a straight face that I’m happy with the content and the price we paid. I’d do it again, and recommend it to others. In fact, I will do it again because my membership fee entitles me to attend refresher courses anywhere, anytime, at no additional charge. It will be good to go back again later and brush up on the things I’m less interested in right now, such as college and estate planning.

My interest wanes
The first few weeks of FPU courses were very good for me: the importance of saving, how men and women think about money differently, how to plan cash flow (or how to make a budget that works), the evil of debt and how to get out of it (not necessarily in that order). But now that we’re moving on to more advanced topics, such as insurance, investments, and estate planning, I am less engaged in the content. Don’t get me wrong—the information is just as good and just as well presented, but my personal investment in it (my motivation) is smaller. There are reasons for this, and I understand the reasons, and it’s not a fault in the course itself.

The members areaFPU members area
I should have mentioned in an earlier post about the Members Area that those enrolled in FPU get access to (image used with permission). It’s full of good resources to supplement your reading and course content, such as budget spreadsheets, debt reduction calculators, discussion forums, and so on. There is a downside: you only have access to it for as long as your course lasts and then you have to convert to a paid membership if you want to keep getting in. It would suck to do all of your budgeting and debt-reduction planning online, only to lose that work when your free access is cut.

I recommend it
My results have not been as dramatic as those in FPU’s marketing, but they are positive results. We are saving money now (weren’t before) and have a workable plan to get out of debt. No magic unicorns that poop $100 bills, but good information that will serve us well for a lifetime. In my opinion, you can head over to Financial Peace University and sign up with confidence that you’ll get your money’s worth.