Bounts is an app which allows you to receive rewards when you carry out various daily exercise tasks. So you can track your daily exercise, and then be paid in real tangible things like shopping vouchers. This sounds like a really good idea and very motivational, so I decided to put it to the test.
Before I begin, let me be clear that Bounts has not contacted me in any way to write this review. I was told about it by a friend, and so the benefits and drawbacks of it are things I have found out for myself, and you will get my honest opinion warts and all. But I am using affiliate links in this post – if you join Bounts, I will receive some free points and so will you. When you register just fill in my code oconnor47513 in the referral box and you will be off to a flying start.
A bit about me – setting the scene
I am somebody who doesn’t enjoy exercise. I am a tad overweight and unfit and I know it is good for me but I find it hard to get myself going. I own two dogs, so I reluctantly walk them every day and try to motivate myself to do a bit more activity, but it can be a struggle for me. I am tech savvy and have tried various tracking devices to help me motivate myself, but the idea of actually getting real cash rewards for my efforts was very appealing.
First impressions of Bounts
So I signed up on my friend’s recommendation, and connected my Fitbit. The tech side is easy and really straightforward.
I got 30 points for joining and 30 points for completing my first activity, and discovered I would get 5 points for each day I completed 7,000 steps, plus 10 points each day for posting that fact on Twitter and Facebook.
7,000 daily steps was the target I had set myself anyway. I had been hitting it maybe 4 days out of 7, but since I joined I have hit it almost every day. So it is working as a motivational tool – I am stretching myself to do a little bit more.
So far so good – 15 points per day here we go ….
So what exactly are points worth?
This was where it all nearly went very wrong for me. I had my free account and was amassing 15 points per day and so I went and looked up how many points I needed to get my first reward.
Although there is a very impressive selection of retailers to choose from, the exchange rate is the same. Your first reward has to be a minimum £10 from the retailer you choose and they send you a gift card. After that you can top up your card in £1 or £5 increments if you want to but the first reward is £10.
And to get your £10 reward you have to get – wait for it – 2778 Bounts points!
I very nearly quit on the spot when I saw this. 185 days in order to earn a £10 Costa coffee voucher, so each day’s efforts were worth around 5p. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling quite so motivated.
More ways to earn points
Thankfully I didn’t chuck the whole thing out of the window straight away though – I looked deeper and found out a bit more.
- First of all you can do more than just track your steps using a Fitbit – you can also get points for connecting an exercise tracker – I chose Map my Fitness. Now with my free account I could get 5 more points each day for doing a 20 minute tracked exercise session. So my daily dog walk not only counts towards my 7,000 steps but also adds an extra 5 points on its own. With this addition I can get 20 points a day and get my £10 coffee in 140 days…
- Secondly you can also get points for checking into a fitness venue and staying for 30 minutes. I have found this a bit hit and miss, but as a free member I was able to “check into” my local park with the dogs every few days and earn another 5 points each time I did. So if I did that every day I could get 25 points a day and get my £10 coffee in 111 days…
- Thirdly for each activity you do you get a Reward wheel credit as well as your 5 points. This allows you to play a spinny wheel thing which gets you extra points when you win. I don’t know what the actual ratio is but I reckon I get 5 extra points every 7-10 spins, and a couple of times I have had 10 extra points too. This feature used to annoy me a bit but now I look forward to my little ‘gamble’ at the end of each day.
This is where it really starts to get clever. The free programme allows you to get 5 points each from Fitbit(or other step tracker), Map my Fitness (or similar) and Venue check in each day. But there are two levels of Premium membership you can pay for which allows you to earn much faster.
Once I looked into it, I went straight for the Premium plus plan and paid up front for a 3-year subscription which cost me just over £30. Funnily enough, I have found the effect of parting with the money is extraordinarily motivational – now I feel that I absolutely must “beat the system” and earn my money back. That seems to be how my brain works.
And earning the money back is so much easier on Premium plus because
- Each activity you do gets you 20 points instead of 5
- You can do three activities in each category per day, so a total of 9 activities
- Each activity gets you 3 Reward Wheel spins (instead of 1), so you have even more chances for extra points
Nowadays I am still doing 7,000 steps per day and getting 20 points (occasionally I do 14,000). Each day I make sure I do 3, 20-minute walks and get 60 points for those, and most days I check into a venue as well, getting another 20 points. I’m still posting to Twitter and Facebook every day for 10 more points,so I generally make 110 points per day. And I get up to 15 Reward wheel spins a day with a few extra points as prizes on that.
On this schedule, I will make my £10 coffee every 25 days, and suddenly the whole thing seems a bit more worthwhile. But I am also very definitely getting out more. Where I used to be satisfied with one dog walk, now I have to find an excuse for two more 20 minute walks every day. And on the days when my steps exceed 10,000 I will definitely “go the extra mile” and make it up to the 14,000.
So in conclusion, I think Bounts is a genius idea. I have been a member for three weeks now and my fitness is improving. I’m getting more fresh air and my dogs are really happy. I’m nearly at my first coffee stop too!
If you have read this and you want to join please go to Bounts and tell them I sent you by adding oconnor47513 in the referral box. And then I will see you in Costa and we can spend our free coffee vouchers together!