Playing it up

Taking away your IAP keys

Google Play wants you to use a credit card for all of your purchases. And while that makes perfect sense, it's not always practical, especially on accounts used or controlled by your kids. And to that end, Google Play has a simple system you can use to rein in their — or your own — spending, and we know it works. How do we know?

We have kids of our own.

Google Play credit for the win

Google Play gift cards are a nice gift, but even more so, they're a way to keep your bank account far, far away from your Clash of Clans-playing children. The idea behind using gift cards and store credit instead of credit cards isn't new by any means, and it's a great tool for anyone to use.

By using Google Play credit to pay for purchases, it's impossible to go overboard until the credit run out. It might well not feel like "real" money. But having to go buy another gift card — or having to go pester a parent for more — should help give you a little more time to think about whether or not you need another blaster upgrade.

Buy me, buy me, buy me, buy me

Google Play gift cards are only available in brick-and-mortar stores, and once you redeem them, they turn into Google Play credit. Google Play credit comes from more sources than just gift cards, though, but we'll visit that again in a moment. If you want to avoid a trip to the store, it's easy to reload your own account by simply buying Google Play credit in the website version of the store. It's mentioned on the purchase page, but it's worth mentioning again: Google Play credit cannot be redeemed to buy devices, so don't get any ideas about hoarding gift cards and buying a Nexus Player.

Redeem yourself

Redeeming the codes on those plastic cards is easy, just hit up the Play Store app or the Google Play site. On the physical card, simply scratch to reveal your winning code and type away.

Free credit, right here

Another method to help keep a smaller amount of scratch in your Google Play account is to answer surveys in Google Opinion Rewards. Now, Opinion Rewards surveys aren't available in a lot of countries right now — America, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and a few others — but if it's available where you live, it's a great way to pay for a few apps or songs when the surveys come. Keep in mind, though that this isn't exactly a steady stream of credit, as Google Opinion Rewards has been known to go quiet on its users for weeks at a time.