Get your money for nothing, your checks for free.
There, that dates me. Big Dire Straits fan here. But in the case of this article, and my subject of choice, it's completely true. You'll see and hear an awful lot about online surveys. You'll find outrageous claims, too. Let me assure you, right now, that taking a survey here and there is not going to let you quit your day job — or any other job. This is not a way to make a fortune. This is not a path to riches paved with gold. Let's face it, if everyone could sit at home doing surveys all day, everyone would be doing it.
But as a way to make a little extra spending money, checking a few boxes when you're already online is not a bad way to do it. And it doesn't take a whole bunch of your time. In the past month I've earned over $100 in cash and rewards, all for a simple opinion here and there. So, let me give you my recommendations and also some advice on what to avoid.
1. Never Pay to Take a Survey
That also means never join a website that asks for a sign-up fee in order to take surveys. Legitimate survey companies pay you for your time, not the other way around. So if anyone is asking for cash upfront, either as a one-off or a monthly fee, run away.
2. Is It Worth Your Time?
Simple question but one worth figuring out. Some surveys offer some pretty nice incentives. I've had as much as $60 for just 40 minutes of my time. Not so bad. Other surveys take as little as five to 10 minutes, but only offer $1 in either cash or reward points as payment. Not so good. Then again, if you're just buzzing around the net looking for something to do, $1 here and there soon adds up over time. Surveys are generally a take-them-or-leave-them affair, so pick and choose based on your personal situation.
3. Don't Expect Cold, Hard Cash
It's a rare occasion when companies dish out the green willy-nilly. These days, a lot of survey sites offer online points to exchange for magazine subscriptions, money-off vouchers and other goods. It's not quite cash but it often works out well for your wallet. One site I enjoy offers free movie rental vouchers. It's been a long time since I've paid for a movie rental.
4. Fill Out the Extended Profiles
The more the survey sites know about you and your hobbies, the more surveys you'll get to take. Simple as that.
5. An Invitation to a Survey May Not Lead to Payment
After signing up to a survey site, you may get many offers in a week. But a set of pre-screening questions can rule you out of the paid section of the survey. You may find ways to get around this, basically by fibbing in order to move on (it's often easy to see where the survey is leading and play along in order to get the payment). I'd avoid this for several reasons. First, it's dishonest. But if that doesn't bother you, the endless boredom that ensues by filling out surveys on hi-tech computer servers or company insurance policies will soon put you off for life. Be honest, surveys should be a fun way to spend your time.
6. Your Spare Time Means Just That
It's fine to do surveys on your lunch hour or at home. But if you start taking surveys while you're at work, you're not only stealing time from your employer, but also jeopardizing your paying job. And if you lose that, no amount of surveys will make up for that lost income.
7. The Big Question — Where Do You Start?
I can heartily recommend THREE sites to start the ball rolling for you. They are:
Toluna — Great site, pays you back in cash and the surveys are a nice mixed bag.
Survey Savvy — Again, a great site that pays you in cash for your opinions.
e-Rewards — This one pays you back in reward points which can be exchanged for goods and vouchers. I love it.
So, there you go. A surveys 101 for you all. I hope it gets you on the path to money for nothing, and that's something we could all use.
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