An honest look at family finances
Here is a guest post from Learning the Ropes about what she has learned while trying to make money online. I’m glad to hear that it’s more difficult than people make it out to be. It’s frustrating to hear someone say how much money they made taking surveys when I made like $3. I wish it were easier, but it’s not. So let’s just say it out loud… Making money online is hard!
Half a year of trying to make money online - What flew and what bit dust?
After hearing a lot of fellow bloggers rave about the money they made online and the freebies they could snag, I decided to take the plunge and see for myself whether there was really a treasure trove on the web, and whether I’ll be showered with dollar bills once I register with them.
Here’s my thoughts on making money on internet based on my experience of half an year - 8 months to be precise. Since I work full time I have not been spending a lot of time on this, my guess is that I spend about 15 minutes a day on average on online money earning efforts.
1. If you want to compare it with your ( or somebody else’s) full time/part time job income, forget about it. You’re not going to go anywhere close…unless you’ve a blog that is generating a daily traffic of thousands of visitors.
2. Making money online can be fun for people who enjoy browsing internet. If you want to make even minimum wages for the time you spend trying to make money online it’s going to be really tough.
3. Filling surveys can be really boring and tedious work and the rewards can be minuscule.
All the above paint a really bleak picture of those survey and quiz sites that promise you rewards, here’s what I like about them.
4. Filling surveys, reading promotional mails and other methods of making money online can be a great way to generate snowflakes, getting gift cards for the places you usually go shopping and thereby saving money.
5.If you plan on using gmail, get savvy with its advanced features. I can’t imagine my life without keyboard shortcuts and filters and archives.
6. If you plan on doing surveys for money/rewards, get yourself some nifty tools for doing so, you don’t want to be keying in the same info over and over. Some things that come to the mind are Roboform ( for auto fill up of forms ), greasemonkey and gmail multi-login scripts for logging into all your survey accounts.
7. It’s extremely important to have a separate mail account for all the survey related correspondence ( I love gmail by the way). If possible try to use an alias for your survey related accounts, instead of your real name. However, it is not always possible because the websites that pay money will be sending checks in your name.
8. Most of the survey sites allow you to be pretty flexible with your inputs. There’s little time commitment and you don’t get penalized if you don’t fill out any survey or check their promotional emails etc. 9. You can always guess where a survey is heading towards and tweak your answers to get qualified. Although, it is not very ethical and filling fake surveys can make an already tedious and boring work practically intolerable. You have to decide for yourself if you really want to do that.
10. If you’re planning to get too involved in these, keep a close eye on how it is going to affect your taxes. (Although, I find it unlikely that I’ll get very close to being tax liable for my survey based income)
11. Steer clear of trial offers that require canceling within a limited time to avoid getting billed for their service. Some of them are very difficult to cancel and come with a lot of strings attached. One wrong move may end-up costing you much more than what you had earned over a couple of months. My rule of thumb is not to give any such website my credit card number. If they can let me try without it, very well, if not then I just pass it up. Those points are not really worth the risk, in my opinion.
12. A blog is a nice thing to have, but as other famous bloggers often point out, don’t start it with the intention of making money. Most of the times…It doesn’t. Blog about something you like, don’t try to copy anyone else and put some of your soul into your blog, and it will bloom. It may not make you lots of money (even in the long run), but you will love it nevertheless, and will thank yourself for writing it. The only thing I would like to point out is that you will have to decide, how much you want it to reflect your real life. My husband was not very comfortable with having my name and pictures published on a public forum, so I use an alias, but that doesn’t make me any less passionate about blogging. You have to make the decision of how much you want to open yourself to the rest of the world and stick to it while blogging.
Now to some websites that did make/save me money this year
13. Mypoints: I just love it. They have all sorts of options to earn points from, reading bonus-mails, filling surveys, questionnaires, writing reviews for their customer websites, subscribing to newsletters and many many more. I have found that in last 8 months I could earn enough points to get about 5 $10 cards to various stores. Their reward options are quite comprehensive too, so these cards are as good as money for me.
14. MySurvey: They are also up there on my favorite list, they have very simple system. They send you very small surveys for 10 points. When you complete the survey ( takes less than 5 mins. ), if your response are of interest to the client, they give you an option of earning more points for a lengthy survey. What I like is that you don’t feel cheated about entering info for a long time and then getting disqualified ( you earn 10 points always). Once you have 1000 points you can get 10$ check or you can use them for getting other things on offer.
15. Pinecone: This is by far the cleanest website, I have seen related to surveys. Once you join them, they send you out a survey ( usually of the duration of 30 minutes), for each survey you complete they send you a $3.00 check. No minimum payout nothing. A $3 check plain and simple. You also have the option of registering your paypal account with them, so they can directly credit that account instead of sending checks. Based on your survey responses, sometimes you also get some stuff to try and give them feedback. You will get paid another $3 for this.
The only issue with Pinecone and MySurvey is that they send you surveys and then only you can fill them. I have been getting about 2 surveys a month from Pinecone on an average.
Now some websites that I didn’t like and left after a couple of months
16. SnapDollars and SendEarnings : The payout is pretty low, and I found it very difficult to qualify for their surveys. Reading their mails accumulates very little money, this got me frustrated and I left going to them. I found that my time was better utilized with MyPoints, Pinecone or MySurvey.
And the one that I have been meaning to try
17. Cash-crate: I have heard good things about this from other bloggers, so I have been meaning to give it a try. The only thing thats been stopping me has been that, I have good momentum going on my other accounts so I never could got down to trying it.
18. I’ve also been trying SwagBucks and so far so good. It’s a search site that is kind of wrapped over Google and Ask.com. So you’re essentially searching using Google, but they periodically offer you some points, which can be redeemed for various gift cards. I earn an average of 1 point a day, but I don’t Google search that much, so you might want to try it for yourself.
I hope the above list helps you to get started and helps you make some money, if you’re thinking of getting your feet wet in the world of surveys, rewards and points. If you know about some other sites that you have used, let us hear about those in the comments.
Ashley here: I have tried Cash-crate with very minor success and have given up. I’ve spent hours and hours typing my name and address into hundreds of forms. I’ve made a whole $11.00. I feel ripped off when the pending offers never come through, so I’ve stopped. I am a member of Pinecone and another survey site, I can’t remember what it’s called. I like them both. I’ve made about $13 over the course of several months, but the “work” is very light and sporadic. It was worth the money.
I’ve also tried Vindale and had some success with them. I worked to get the minimum payout of $50 and then stopped. It’s kind of like Cash Crate but seems more legit, their customer service actually writes back. They only have trial offers that you have to have a credit card for, and then call the company and cancel the trial offer within the set time frame. So you have to be very organized. I used Google calendar to keep track of what offers I needed to cancel and when. I stopped doing it because it was kinda stressful to have all these free trials I needed to cancel.
Pic by: Chris L_AK
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