One way to make a little extra cash while you watch TV or listen to music or podcasts is to do online surveys. Surveys ask you questions about various experiences or habits in your life and give you points for gift cards or cash for your time.
While almost no one makes a full-time income doing online surveys, it is one way to earn some free gift cards or spending money in your extra time. You can even do surveys while you are watching TV (or watching your kids during their TV time) and make some productive use of your free or leisure time.
If you faithfully check for surveys to take on a daily basis, it may be possible to make $100-200 a month in free gift cards or cash. Weekly or occasional use may get you $25 or $50 a month.
Ways to Spend Your Survey Earnings
There are probably as many ways to spend your survey earnings as there are survey websites and apps (I’m getting to that, don’t worry). Here are a few suggestions that can have a big impact on your budget throughout the year.
Stockpile gift cards or cash for Christmas.
$25, $50 or more in gift cards each month can make a serious dent in your Christmas shopping list when the holidays roll around. Imagine having Christmas paid for and not having to try to find hundreds of dollars in extra money each year.
Get some free stuff on while on vacation.
Vacations and traveling can be extremely expensive. I usually experience retroactive sticker shock when I come home and look at my receipts and checkbook and see how much money was spent. Wouldn’t a bunch of gift cards or cash put a dent in your vacation-related expenses and relieve some of that post-vacation pain?
Join a fun subscription program.
Maybe you’ve wanted to try Fabletics (yoga pants) or JustFab (shoes) and get new stuff every month without taking it out of your budget. Your payments from surveys could cover the cost of one of these subscriptions so you can indulge guilt-free. Another great subscription service to try: StitchFix quizzes you about your style and sends you monthly fashion picks that are tailored uniquely to you.
Start a date night tradition.
A monthly restaurant or movie theater gift card can help you afford a date night with your honey even when the budget may not seem to allow any extra expenses. Believe me, it will do wonders for your relationship to have special time together even if you have been married for many years.
Accelerate debt repayment.
This option may not seem like as much fun as some of the others, but if you are highly motivated to pay off your debt as fast as you possibly can, that extra money each month can help you get to your goal faster so you can be debt free all that much sooner. To up the fun quotient, I recommend drawing a chart that shows your debt repayment and coloring in the dollar increments as you go.
Invest for retirement.
Again, this option may seem boring. But if you save $100 a month over 35 years and earn 12 percent interest, you will have more than half a million dollars by the time you retire–and that could let you have an awful lot of fun! Your results may vary, not all investments earn 12 percent, but some earn even more than that, so you never know.
So why did I tell you how you could spend the money before I even told you where to find surveys? To motivate you to want to do them, of course! Here are some of the best sites for doing online surveys and some particulars about how they each work.
Survey Junkie is a true blue and very much revered surveying site. They have more than 4,000,000 surveyors, which is clearly an exceptionally respectable size. They aim to open the window of correspondence amongst buyers and brands. There are a few approaches to reclaim rewards: money by means of PayPal, MileagePlus miles, Alawar diversions, Amazon focuses or iTunes. You can likewise exchange rewards for donations to the American Red Cross.
This site’s rewards for surveys are fairly typical: Amazon, iTunes or Paypal. What makes it stand out from the rest is the $10,000 quarterly prize drawing for a total of $40,000 given away each year. Some product testing is also offered.
This site is my favorite, but only because I am familiar with it and have used it the longest. It may or may not be the best site for surveys. But the site is easy to use and your points show up right away, and they have a lot of choices for gift cards, as well as cash via Paypal. They also have “sales” where you can get certain gift cards for a slightly discounted points value at times. The other great thing about Swagbucks is that you can earn points in several different ways, including through online purchases, watching videos, and trying new products–the various methods to earn points can give you the chance to earn more even if the surveys aren’t always working out.
A few surveys on this site can earn you as much as $95 (for several hours of answering, typically), but most of them earn $1-2 and take 10-15 minutes. Offers cash through Paypal or gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, Walmart or Starbucks. The selection of gift cards is a lot smaller, but this site does offer various contests to win travel packages and other prizes along with your points.
This site does not work with points, instead offering cash only. Like Swagbucks, there are multiple ways to earn including reading emails, searching the web, redeeming coupons, and playing online games. Surveys are also offered each day and can add up to several hundred dollars a year if you take them all. At the time of publication, this site was offering a $5 bonus for signing up.
This major poll company offers $3-4 per survey, which should take about 20 minutes to complete. Rewards are paid as gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, or iTunes (others may also be available). There is also a chance that you could be chosen to participate in local panels for up to $75, which require you to go to the location of the panel for 2-4 hours.
This company offers points that can be redeemed on a virtual or prepaid visa card or gift cards. Additionally, the site offers sweepstakes with prizes as well as the opportunity to try new products and provide feedback.
Offers surveys and new product testing with a slightly bigger variety of gift cards for redemption, including Applebees, Macy’s, Chilis and CVS (great for keeping the drugstore rewards going and getting even more free stuff). Can also get cash through Paypal.
One thing that makes this site different is that they only pay in cash via Paypal or check–no points to earn or keep track of. The site also says you can do the surveys on mobile devices as well as your computer and that hundreds of surveys are added each day.
One Final Way To Earn From Surveys
Most store receipts now have survey links at the bottom that offer feedback about your customer experience. Many of these offer a chance to win a gift card or cash prize, but some offer free items or solid discounts on future purchases and may be worth spending a few minutes on.
Some Things to Keep in Mind About Surveys
Many surveys are looking for certain demographics, so you may start taking a survey but be told you don’t qualify or just be kicked out of the survey before you can finish it. This takes up time and may cut down your return on investment, and it’s just a reality of taking online surveys. The bigger the survey, the more specific the requirements will usually be, which can limit your ability to earn the larger rewards if you don’t fit that demographic group.
The lower point-value surveys are usually more general in their demographic requirements, so those may end up being better money-makers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are probably only making a couple dollars an hour, so devoting hours a day to taking surveys is probably not the most effective way to earn money. It’s always important to evaluate how you are spending your time and whether it’s the best way to do so.
You don’t want to ignore your kids or lose your job in order to complete surveys–it’s just not worth it. If you happen to be in a demographic that qualifies for a large number of surveys, you may be able to make more than most people, and in that case, it may be worthwhile to spend more time on them. Similarly, if you are homebound and have nothing else to do with your time, it may be worthwhile for you