This is a fairly long list of online sites, mobile apps, and community options for making and saving money. There are just a few affiliate links. I didn’t intend for this post to be this long, but I kept finding new products and information that I wanted to add to it. What started off as just three things has become a somewhat comprehensive list of products and reviews, and I’ve tried to format it in a way that makes it easy to read. I hope you find some useful information here, and happy holidays!
The holidays can be expensive, especially if you have a larger family. Us, well, we’re a small family. I’m an only child, and my mom is just one of two kids. However, that doesn’t mean holidays can’t get expensive, especially since if I want to see hubby, there’s either plane tickets to purchase or a 3,400 mile round trip to drive (one year we drove from Georgia to New Mexico, New Mexico to Anaheim, Anaheim to Seattle, then flew back to NM!) Plus the older my daughter gets, the more expensive the items on her wish list seem to get!
Here’s some ways I’ve found to have a little extra cash this time of year, but hey, don’t stop there! Use these programs year-round to continue earning and saving money. You’ve probably heard of most of these, but some are actually new to me, so maybe you’ll find something new too!
The first way I’ve found to make extra money is through paid surveys. Yep, these actually do exist! I was super skeptical to think they did, but I have made real money (not points) and I haven’t even taken surveys every day. This is through Vindale Research, and you can sign up for it here (broken link fixed).
It doesn’t take much time at all. I’ve been doing it about two weeks and have made
over $15 already (Update: $20.90 is my balance as of 11/17/14), and like I said, I don’t even take surveys every day. I also have actually enjoyed the surveys (I just took one last night related to travel, and it was really cool and informative). I’ve earned money for surveys that took as little as one minute. I took part in one last week that was really exciting, but I can’t say what it was (you can’t talk about a lot of the surveys you take due to confidentially reasons, as many are products not yet on the market and they’re sharing proprietary information with you).
You don’t have to enter personal information aside from the usual – name, address, etc. (Be wary of anything online that asks for your social security number or other more personal information!)
You can take some really neat surveys and actually learn new things in the process. I haven’t been bored yet.
You can take surveys on your cell phone.
Surveys are worth anywhere from $0.31 to $10 each.
You can choose to receive payment through PayPal or a check.
You have to do a lot of clicking, and repeatedly enter information like your date of birth, marital status, race, gross yearly income, zip code, etc. to be matched to surveys (companies who contract sites like Vindale to do research for them are often looking to hear from very specific demographics), then reenter it for statistical purposes. But that’s still far less work than “real” job!
You won’t qualify for a lot of the studies simply because of the demographics they need for particular studies, and that can be a let down.
I’m using Swagbucks and Ebates, and I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far.
I’ve been using Swagbucks for about two weeks now, and I have about 1,005 Swagbucks (SBs). At 2,500 I can get a $25 Amazon gift card, or gift cards to other merchants that I actually shop at.
How I use Swagbucks: I do the daily tasks that earn me guaranteed SBs, such as daily poles, watching two short videos, and going through the “NOSO” (no obligation special offers, you can skip all of them and still earn your SBs). I installed the Swagbucks taskbar, which is totally unobtrusive, and receive SBs for that. I use the search function on the Swagbucks homepage to search, and I get awarded Swagbucks for that (usually about 8 SBs, but it is randomly rewarded – you don’t get SBs for every search). I also downloaded the apps to my mobile phone so I can earn SBs even if I’m not at my computer.
I thought it was really cool that I purchased my husband’s plane tickets through Expedia via Swagbucks and earned over 600 Swagbucks for it. I plan to use it to do other online shopping when I can as well, and when Ebates isn’t an option.
It’s almost no effort. Seriously. I can earn Swagbucks just by watching videos (like movie trailers), playing fun games like 3D Mahjong (kinda addicted to that one), and doing all the usual searches I’d normally use Google for.
You’ll end up with a lot of emails, so don’t use your primary one. I recommend making an email you’ll use just for programs related to Swagbucks.
If you’d like to check out Swagbucks, here is the link.
Ebates: I’ll be honest that I kind of forget about Ebates, as I don’t do that much online shopping. But with Christmas coming up, I will hopefully remember to use it more as that’s when I do most of my online shopping.
I’ve received checks from Ebates. It’s easy to use. There’s some good deals to be had if you pay attention. If you do a lot of online shopping, you will probably benefit from Ebates.
You are sent a check each time you earn a rebate, so there’s no payout limit you need to reach first. I’d personally rather them wait until I’ve reached $25 or so, but I understand why they do it the way they do, and it may not be an issue for you.
I had one instance where I didn’t get back 15% of a purchase I was suppose to. It would have been around $9, so I wasn’t too happy with that.
Here is the link to check out Ebates.
Other ways I’ve occasionally made and saved money online
Ebay. I’m pretty sure that’s still a thing 😉
Buying and selling items via Facebook buy and sell groups. I have a bunch of pet care supplies I’m going to be selling this weekend, and I expect to make around $400 from that, solely selling on Facebook. I scored Mr. Hogles’ big cage on Facebook for just $40.
Subscribe and Save from Amazon. I’ve used this in the past but have now found the same prices at Wal-Mart on what I was subscribed to from Amazon. In comparing prices between Amazon and Wal-Mart today of two items that I can see needing to buy frequently – diapers and razor blades – I saw a difference in price of just pennies. I don’t know what you buy though, so you might find savings there.
Programs that I’ve seen other bloggers using successfully
Guidecental is a site where you post your DIY’s, with photos and instructions, and get paid to do so. There’s residual income that you get when your guide is “liked” (about $0.05 but it varies). Live Randomly Simple recently did a post about it, and since she actually uses it, I’m sure you’ll find her information helpful.
Smart Phone Apps
Ibotta is one I used before but quit because they mostly offered junk food and prepackaged food, which we eat very little of, and even with the cash back on household and personal care items, it was still cheaper to buy the store brand in most cases.
However, I recently downloaded it again and found that they offer a better selection of items than they did previously. For example, for offers at Wal-Mart today I see $0.25 back on a loaf of bread, a dozen-count eggs, 1.5 qt or larger ice cream, 59 oz or larger juice (but it doesn’t apply to blends such as pineapple orange), and gallon-sized milk. If you buy these on most shopping trips, like I do, that’s $1.25 back.
There are of course exclusions, but it could still be worth using again. There also seems to be more offerings for beauty, household, and personal care items than there was before. It’s a free app, so it’s worth checking out.
Favado is one I just downloaded, but I’m liking it so far. It shows me the deals going on at my local Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Walgreens, and Kmart. Unfortunately, I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at my local Albertsons, and the app says it can’t find any information on that store’s sales (our store was recently bought by United so it’s technically not a “real” Albertsons anymore, and I assume that’s why). Nor is it able to pull information for my local Wal-Mart either.
I can see that Kmart has Angel Soft Bathroom Tissue, 9 rolls, for $4.49, but Walgreens has the same thing for $2.99. I can also see that Walgreens has Skippy Peanut Butter, 16.3 oz, for $2.50 each, and if I buy 2 participating Skippy products, I get 1,000 points which is equal to $1 in store credit.
So in terms of finding who has what on sale, Favado is looking pretty good so far, so long as I’m not using it to find the best deals on groceries. Those of you with other brands of grocery stores, such as Safeway, Costco, CVS, Smith’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, might benefit even more from Favado.
Cartwheel from Target. I do a LOT of shopping at Target, especially now that I have the Red Card debit card and get the 5% off at every visit. Combine that 5% with my Cartwheel deals, and that can be some serious savings!
Options in your community
Sell items you no longer need or want at a consignment store or at community yard sales. My city does a city-wide yard sale twice a year and it only costs $25 to reserve space at the park where it’s held. That includes the permit.
I mentioned Facebook already, but if you are a cook, baker, or artist, advertise your products on the aforementioned Facebook buy and sell groups. We have people who sell homemade tamales, enchilada plates, and cakes on Facebook here. There’s other things people pay for too: Help with decorating and housework, gift wrapping, dog walking/grooming, pet sitting, and running errands (people actually pay good money here for someone knowledgeable and artistic to put up their outside decorations). Of course, check the groups rules first!
So what about this “Tsu” thing?
Tsu is a new social media site that is similar to Facebook, only they claim to pay you for using it. I’ve been on there for 2 weeks and I’ve made $0.07. No, I haven’t used it all day, every day, and no, I don’t have thousands of friends. I read a post recently from a blogger that says she’s made $10 so far, but she has over 400 friends on there. It looks like Tsu needs to be used the same way as Twitter if you want to make any money from it, and that doesn’t make it a Facebook replacement unless you use it just for your business/blogging stuff.
Additionally, it’s still fairly glitchy. You can’t add your own comment to something you share, and there’s no confirmation that something you’ve shared has been posted. It is neat that you can post something up on Tsu and choose to share it to Facebook and Twitter, just like Instagram, but it’s no replacement for Facebook and I don’t think it ever will be unless some fatal design flaws are fixed.
The main thing that I feel will be the downfall of Tsu is that there’s very limited privacy controls (your options are “only friends” or “public”) and no option to delete or edit content. I haven’t seen anyone sharing photos of their kids or the kind of personal information I see daily on Facebook, and for good reason: once you put it out there, on Tsu, it’s there forever. Including your profile. In my opinion, this makes Tsu a pretty bad idea for any sort of personal information to be shared, and one I’ll be using only for non-personal stuff such as blog content promotion. If you’d like to check it out – and it’s invite only – here’s the link to join my “tree” as they call it. I don’t use it much but we can still be friends, and this’ll allow you to check it out for yourself.
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