Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not About Food. . .

I know this is a cooking blog, but there is more to life than food, right?!
Over the past couple years, i've had a few friends ask me about what kinds of little things I do to earn a little extra money or to receive free things.
Well, here I am to tell you!
I think most stay-at-home mommas have felt some kind of guilt about buying things for themselves (even if it's something we truly need!) because we are not the ones going into the workplace and earning an income.
I do these things to help alleviate some of that guilt. :)

Online Surveys
There are MANY survey sites out there that promise you all kinds of cash and rewards for filling out surveys, but how can you know that they are legit? Well, to get you started, here are a few sites that I have been using for 2-3 years now, never once had a problem with, and have received many rewards from including:
Gift Cards
Magazine Subscriptions
Some of the sites have a lot of different rewards as well, but these are typically the ones I choose.

I would say that since I first joined 2 1/2 years ago, i've earned almost $100 from this site. When I first joined, you needed less points to redeem for a $10 check to be mailed to you, but it's still not too much. I've actually switched to getting $10 Amazon.com gift cards because I am obsessed with Amazon, but they have a huge variety of other rewards to choose from.
I get sent about 3-4 surveys a week to my email and each one has varying point values. If you don't end up "qualifying" for a survey, you will still receive 5 points no matter what. Sometimes they will send out "diary" type surveys where you keep track of every beverage you consume for a week, just for example, and then log them in the survey diary. I've done that one twice now and got 400 points for each.
Oh, and I just remembered that about a year ago, I won a $50 Amazon.com gift card from them!

This one is awesome because it tells you an actual dollar amount for how much each survey is worth. I actually got one in my email today that is a survey worth $3 if I qualify and complete it. You will want to do these surveys as soon as you receive them though, because their quota's fill up and you may not qualify for the survey.
I've probably earned about $60-$70 from this site, but I don't do survey's as often as I could. They also have a great referral program where you earn money from every survey completed by one of your referrals. The rewards are only money, mailed out in a check, but there's nothing wrong with that! I actually just checked my account and saw that I had $17.50 in there and requested a payment. :)

If you are a couponer, you may have heard about this site. TheKrazyCouponLady posts about it quite often, actually. I do like this site, although I like the above two Survey sites more. There are a LOT of people that use this one and it is definitely legit. I think i've earned around $50 on this site over the years. You need higher points to redeem for rewards (for example, about 1100 points will get you $10 on MySurvey, but 5000 points will only get you $5 on Synovate.) If you are diligent in taking surveys, it shouldn't take too long to rack up points, though. In general, these surveys are more enjoyable/visually appealing than other sites. I've also received product samples in the mail from here to test out and then fill out a survey for (a new variety of Pringles, 2 full size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, for example). They don't have a referral program, unfortunately, and sometimes they aren't open for new panelists, but it's worth it to try!

I saved this one for last because it is the site that I use the least. They have LOTS of surveys for you to take, but most of the time I don't seem to qualify or the surveys just become so repetitive that my mind starts to explode. Haha! It's m own fault I don't tend to qualify though, because I wait too long to take the surveys. The thing that I love about this site though is that 1000 points equals $50!!! Yes, you read that right! Come to think of it, I should really be using this site a lot more. Lol.

Online Communities
These are websites that you usually need an invitation to join. Luckily, through survey sites (most often through SurveySavvy actually) i've been invited to quite a few communities. These sites usually offer money incentives for active participators on their site. Some of the communities haven't really kept my interest enough for me to stick around (like one site was for Trident gum and another for Pepsi) but I was recently invited to a community called Our Voices (a mommy site) which paid me $5 to my PayPal account just for registering, and then if I participate in at least one discussion or poll question per week, I receive $15 a month to my PayPal account. Yeah!
An awesome Online Community that anyone can join, however, is VocalPoint. They have all sorts of things on the site, from recipes to articles to message boards, but they also give out free samples of things quite often. A lot of times, if you are active on the site, they will send you products for no reason and simply ask you to give them some feedback. Most recently I received one of the new full-size Swiffer 360 Dusters to try out and filled out a 2 minute questionnaire about what I thought.

Daily Deal Sites
Although these don't necessarily help me "earn" any money, they have saved me money on some awesome things such as photographers, home decor, weekend getaways with my hubby, gifts, great deals on new restaurants to try, and more. Many of these sites also have rewards programs where you earn some money back from each deal that you buy, or referal programs and incentives when you sign up. Here are just  couple of my favorites:

This is probably my favorite daily deal site. You earn Save Rewards on almost every thing that you buy. The Save Rewards will vary, but sometimes they amount to as high as $10! They will even send out special emails with Save Rewards in them occasionally. I have purchased 4 deals with them over the last few months and have not been disappointed. I have earned $27 in Save Rewards and can use them almost any deal that I want. Most recently I purchased a deal that was $39 for a photographer that would travel to any location you like from Ogden-Provo here in Utah and give you a CD with every image. Now, this was a GREAT deal on it's own, but I used $12 in Save Rewards and only paid $27! Amazing!

Plum District
Honestly, I'm still fairly new to this site, but have loved it so far! The deals are usually pretty good and mostly geared toward moms. One deal that I did participate in that brought me to this site was amazing. They did a promotion where if you referred 3 friends (the friends didn't even have to buy anything) than you got a free $20 Target gift card. I found my 3 friends, and got my gift card in the mail a week later. If you sign up through my link above, you will also start out with $5 to spend towards any deal!

I've also used LivingSocial (which, if you buy a deal and share it with your friends, and 3 of your friends also purchase the deal, you get it for free!), Groupon (this is where I got an AWESOME deal on Yo Gabba Gabba tickets using a $10 credit that I had saved!), and SLC DailyDeal.

If you haven't heard of Swagbucks, where have you been?!?! Basically, this is a website where you earn "swag bucks" for doing various things on the internet. The easiest way is to simply use Swagbucks as your search engine. It is powered by Google, so it is set up similar to Google and has similar search results. You can install their toolbar or install an add-on in your browser so that your default search engine is Swagbucks. How many of us search for random things during the day, right? Randomly, one of your searches will reward you with swag bucks! The amount can range from 5 sb all the way up to 50 sb! (Sorry, sb stands for swag bucks.) You can also earn through surveys, referrals, entering swag codes that they hide on their website (I use SBCodez to tell me when there is a new swag code), answering poll questions, playing games, and even printing out and using coupons! The same coupons you would find on coupons.com!!!! They have tons of different rewards, but I always, without fail, will spend 450 sb on a $5 Amazon.com gift card. Since I started using SwabBucks in June of 2010, I have earned $120 in Amazon gift cards. Oh yeah! Plus, every sb that one of your referrals earn, you get the exact same amount.

I hope this has helped some of you! The great thing about many of these sites is that you can do them on your downtime. I generally take surveys and things during naps or after putting Katie to bed. I love getting free things in the mail to try, or a $10 gift card that I can use for gifts or just to treat myself every once in a while.

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