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I’m known in my family as an extremely frugal person. I’m always on the hunt for another stream of income or a way to save a couple bucks when I can. That said, it was only a matter of time until I discovered the wild world of online marketing surveys. I have only been at this for about a month, but I find that I do have some sort of grasp on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this way to earn some extra cash on the side.
When one first finds out about online surveys, one may be drawn in by the taglines. They seem to be enticing enough. The article that finally got me turned on to trying out survey sites boasted that you would earn 400 dollars without having to even leave your couch (Medium). Of course, for someone like me, I would have to click on it to see what I would have to do. Sell books on Amazon? Do freelance graphic design? A new quick way to sell plasma on the black market? The article actually suggested doing online surveys through 5 different sites. Each one was presented with its own strengths and weaknesses, but overall, the site did boast that one would earn $400 or more a month through these outlets. I’m going to get this out of the way now: if that sounds too good to be true to you, then it definitely is. Survey sites are not without merit, as I will get into, but this is not truly an income stream. The headline was definitely right in that this is definitely a side gig.
I ended up signing up for 5 survey sites, the ones the article recommended (I-say, Inbox Dollars, Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and OpinionCity). The article recommends that you work them all at once, but realistically, you’ll probably get to know one or two of these sites and work with your favorite in your spare time. My favorite site of the ones mentioned above would be Survey Junkie. One of the realities you will confront quickly will be the fact that you may not qualify for about half of the surveys you click on. Survey Junkie will often award you the equivalent of 2 or 3 cents even if you don't qualify, which I definitely appreciate. Sites like Inbox Dollars and I-say will often just award you with a token that has no intrinsic value such as chances to win a sweepstakes or some other chance-based thing.
The surveys themselves are awesomely addictive. Even though you may be asked over and over about your birthday, zip code, ethnicity, and the like, you feel a sort of power when you fill in these surveys. Depending on the surveys you qualify for, there’s a sense of exclusivity when you get to rate prototypical commercials or products that haven’t made the general market yet. It’s like you’re being let into a secret club, especially when you have to agree not to leak any of the material out into the public eye. Other surveys try to assess how you feel about certain products or companies. Completed surveys will land you between 10 cents and 90 cents on average. Sometimes, you may stumble across a survey that gives you more than a dollar. Those are lucky boons if you qualify for them. Surveys will run you between 1 minute and 30 minutes of your time, as you’ll be mostly spending time not qualifying for them (but that could just be me—I bet there are certain demographics that market analysts are clamoring for).
Surveys have come into my life as a pleasant way to kill some time while making a bit of cash on the side. I personally like to listen to new music while I click through questions. So far, in the past month, I have earned the equivalent of about $30 across the websites in unredeemed points. Other than Inbox Dollars (and soon Survey Junkie), most of these websites will have you earn points to redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon or PayPal cards. While I’m surely not going to quit my job to pursue survey-filling, I have absolutely enjoyed my time filling out surveys, giving my opinion, and earning some cash on the side.