Earn Extra $

When you are making two mortgages payments and feeding three growing boys, there is certainly a need to save money whenever possible.  There is also a need to pull in extra income from every nook and cranny you can find, which is what lead me to experiment with various internet-based ideas that I could do while fulfilling the rest of my duties as full-time wife, mother, and teacher.

            I have completely revamped this page, as I have learned more about online surveys, as well as offer-completion companies.  They are similar, but do have some subtle differences.  Additionally, I have learned how to maximize my spending dollar a new way by writing product reviews.
Keep in mind, that participating in these programs in no way could ever replace an actual salary, unless it was a very part-time position.  However, at times when every little bit counts, they are certainly a great way to save money using gift cards and to earn extra money for things like groceries an occasional discretionary treat.

Offer-Completion Companies

Though I was looking to complete surveys, I ended up signing up for several offer-completion companies first.  This is because many of these companies offer surveys as part of their cash earning offers.  It’s a roundabout way to start doing surveys, but it does work.
In addition to survey opportunities, these companies offer a wide variety of other ways to earn cash and prizes completing offers.  The possibilities are endless: requesting insurance quotes, taking silly quizzes, playing games, researching websites, watching videos, making purchases, etc.  I will just highlight the companies I am currently using and how I earn my dollars personally.
Now that I have figured out how to use Swag Bucks, I can easily earn about $25 in Amazon e-gift cards monthly.  The main ways in which I earn are daily check ins, using their coupons at the store, watching videos, and using their toolbar as my search engine.  For better details, click here.
CashCrate is a lot like Swag Bucks.  However, you earn actual cash.  I have received one check for  $27.55 so far.  The ways I regularly earn money are completing surveys with $.80 payouts, watching videos worth about $.03/each, and checking in daily for $.03.  I have also completed various offers.  For instance, I needed business cards, so I used their VistaPrint link to order 250 cards for free (with $5.97 shipping fee).  However, the offer was worth $4, so I really only paid $1.97 for 250 business cards!  You earn your first $1 just for joining the program.
Again, Inbox Dollars is very similar to Swag Bucks and CashCrate.  With this company, you receive a $5 sign on bonus, which is a great way to start out.  I typically use this company to open/read advertisement emails worth a few cents each.  I have also completed a few of the free offers, and I like to watch the super-short videos that are worth $.02-$.04/each.  I have a little over $21 built up in earnings, but still need to reach $30 to request cash.  However, I don’t mind the slow build up of earnings, because it is effortless and good things eventually come to those who wait.
I don’t have a lot of new information to add about Snap Dollars.  There’s a handsome $5 sign up bonus as well, and I primarily open advertisement emails a few times a day.  It is going the slowest of all the companies, simply because I don’t do much else with it.  I have found that most of the offers are similar to those on the other sites, and they often pay out at a lower rate.  So, I just complete the offers with the other companies and sit back to slowly earn a few cents here and there opening my emails.  I’m certainly not complaining.  I get junk mail all of the time, so I might as well at least get paid for it!

**Before you read about survey companies, I must share that I took advantage of my membership in the offer companies above to stretch my earning potential with survey companies.  I realized after signing up with my first handful of survey companies, that the offer companies would pay me for clicking on their links to complete sign ups.  The offer companies get referral rewards for this, and pass a small amount of that reward on to you as an incentive.  So, if you’re going to try both, I recommend starting with the above offer companies, and then using them to see if you might earn extra money just for signing up with many of the survey companies.**

Survey Companies

After reading tips from other bloggers, I decided to try my hand at completing online surveys.  I have discovered several that I enjoy and find very trustworthy.  Basically, you sign up with a company and either 1) they will send you an email message when a survey is ready or 2) you check your survey site daily to see what new offers await.  Some companies will email you about a survey, and then when you click on the link, you’ll find that the survey is no longer available or you do not qualify.  What I have found is that they probably never had a specific survey ready for you, but mislead you to get you to check and see what you might qualify for.  It’s not a big deal, but I certainly appreciate the companies that only email you with legitimate, ready-to-complete surveys.  Below are links to those that I use, somewhat in order of preference, along with tidbits about any payouts I have received.

*Pinecone Research- Pinecone opens a window for new applicants from time to time. The best way to find out when you can join is by simply following blogs like mine.  What I love is that I get paid after every survey I complete ($3), and I don’t waste time trying to “qualify” for surveys; they only send me opportunities that I have pre-qualified for based on my profile.  I know that they also offer product-testing opportunities on occasion, but I have not experienced one personally yet.  I have received 3 checks so far ($9); though that’s not much, it was quick and easy money.
*MySurvey- MySurvey is much like Pinecone, in that they send me emails when they have an opportunity that fits my profile.  It is rare that I login to take a survey and either don’t qualify or the survey has met its participant limit (another common problem with some survey companies).  Surveys result in earning points.  You typically get at least 5, even if you don’t qualify, and as many as 150 in my experience.  There are various options for rewards, starting when you’ve earned about 1100 points.  In about two months I’ve earned one $10 Amazon e-gift card, and I am less than 200 points away from my next. 
*Springboard America- I have not received a payout from this company yet, so I cannot guarantee it’s credibility.  However, the surveys are always very short and sweet, and for that, I love them!  In fact, I have only earned $6.75 at this point, but those were the easiest six dollars I have ever earned.  They too email me when a new survey is ready, and I do my best to take it right away, as these do close quickly.  They are so easy that everyone hurries to complete the survey and earn a buck or two!
*Synovate Global Opinion Panels- This is another great company that sends email invitations to complete their surveys, and they pay in “points” that can eventually be traded out for cash.  I am 350 points away from my first $5.
*Valued Opinions- Valued Opinions sends out email invitations, but I frequently find out that I don’t qualify or that the survey has closed.  On the up side, they have decent award dollars.  I have not accumulated a large enough amount of dollars to cash out yet at this point.
*i-Say by Ipsos- I haven’t subscribed to this company for very long, just a couple of weeks.  What I enjoy are the length of the surveys, frequent email invitations, and the fun guessing game at the end of each survey (the game enters you into special sweepstakes).  Again, points are earned towards rewards, such as Amazon e-gift cards or cash.  I’m about ½ way to my first $10 e-gift card.
*Mommytalk Surveys- These surveys are supposed to be geared towards mothers, but I have found that many of them are quite general in nature.  I do spend more time trying to “qualify” for surveys, but the payouts are usually at least a dollar or more, which I consider fair.  I am currently at $12.50 in earnings, and you need $25 to cash out.  I have only been using it about a month, and I don’t check my “dashboard” to complete surveys more than once or twice a week.
*MindField Online Internet Panels- I can’t really say, as I have signed up but really haven’t used this company as of yet.  I do know the cash out is $5 to receive your first payment, and that seems easily attainable.
*Opinion Outpost- Again, I haven’t really given this one a fair shake as of yet.  I only recently joined.  They do email me frequently with opportunities, but just as frequently I have failed to “qualify” for the survey.  You do have the option to keep trying to qualify for other surveys, but I just haven’t had the time recently to keep trying.  Each point earned is equal to $.10.  I have 18 points, with a $1.80 value.  You are eligible to request an Amazon e-gift card at $5 and cash at $20.
*E-Poll- With this company you earn points towards gift cards, including Amazon and others.  In just a short time, I am already at 1100 points; 2500 away from a $5 gift card or Paypal deposit.  Considering I truly haven’t given this one any effort yet, I would say I’m making rapid progress.
*Global Test Market- I have only completed the initial profile survey thus far, but I have 60 MarketPoints.  You need 1000 MarketPoints to request $50 in cash.  I have received numerous invitations but fail to qualify for the surveys.  $50 sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it.  With that said, it had good reviews, so I’m not giving up just yet.
*My View- I have only qualified for 3 surveys and earned 3,000 MVPs, but I’ve attempted closer to 2 dozen surveys.  To put that in even better perspective, I still need more than 30,000 MVPs to qualify for a $25 Applebee’s Gift Card.  Again, I’m not throwing in the towel, but I’m not jumping up and down with enthusiasm either over this company.
*NPD Online Research- I don’t think I’ll do much with this one.  You basically earn sweepstakes chances for completing surveys and referring friends.  That’s just not quite as concrete as I need to feel good about the time I spend completing these surveys. 

Please note that many of the Rewards offered by these companies include more than just cash and gift cards.  Several also offer you the opportunity to donate your prize winnings to various charitable organizations.  That doesn’t exactly fit with “earning extra money” for yourself, but it is certainly a wonderful way to donate your time and potential earnings to those in need!

Product Reviews

One final income-enhancing tool I have discovered is the online product review company called Viewpoints.  For the past three months, I have participated in product reviewing in exchange for Amazon e-gift card rewards.  In January I wrote 11 for $11, February was 10/$10, and March was 5/$5.  These reviews are very simple.  You write a review of 700-900 characters (only about one paragraph) about something you already use or have tried and publish it for others to read through Viewpoints.  There are usually a few other requirements, but it is truly a very simple way to earn some extra spending dollars.  I will try to post any upcoming or current offers as they pop up, but you can sign up with Viewpoints for free at any time to see what it's all about.