Amanda Page had serious student debt—$48,000, to be exact. She was working as an adjunct professor at a couple of different colleges, trying to piece together a full time teaching career, and she wasn’t making enough to tackle what she owed. So she started supplementing her income with side hustles like freelance writing, working as a temporary receptionist, and grading math exams online. As she dove into debt and frugality blogs, she came across a new gig: taking paid surveys online.
Rewards are paid out in cash and PayPal, but the catch of having short surveys is reflected in the pay, which can be miniscule per survey. As you need to earn $50 before you can withdraw anything, that’s a lot of low-paying surveys before you’ve made your money! Some people have complained online that once you get close to the withdrawal amount, the surveys dry up. One way around this is to refer a friend as you’ll receive a bonus when they sign up and you’ll hit your target to withdraw your funds. It’s a bit of a downside, but there are hundreds of very happy consumers who love the site, so it’s worth a shot, especially if you get fed up with the boring or repetitive nature of some of the quizzes elsewhere.
How It Works: Swagbucks is a favorite of mine, as well as a favorite of many readers here. Not only do they offer a wide range of surveys that pay cash, but you can also earn points for the everyday things you do online like searching, shopping, and watching videos. In total, Swagbucks has paid out over $187 million in rewards. Even if you’re not interested in doing surveys, it’s still easy on the platform to earn decent money with what you’re already doing online today.
Return on Time – Is it an hour of your life for $2.00 or truly a fifteen minute survey? We find out if the Return on Time (similar to Return on Investment) pans out. Surely, some will be better than others for not wasting yours. Basically, we've evaluated not only how much you actually get paid to take surveys but also how long it takes to earn that cash
Mainly conducting polls for governments, public bodies and the business world, Opinion Outpost is a popular survey site as unlike some sites, which require you to accrue a significant amount before you can claim your money, it has one of the lowest payout thresholds. You only need to fill out five surveys, earning a couple of dollars, before being able to claim pay, so you can redeem your money more quickly.
Don’t overshare. If you’re asked to give your Social Security number, bank account number or driver’s license number, leave the survey. Velasquez recommends being “intentional” with sharing other private information with survey sites. Answering questions about a TV commercial probably is fine, but giving medical information may not be worth the risk.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy. In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion. After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along. More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously. When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.
Taking online surveys is a compelling offer. You can earn money—either in cash or frequently gift cards or rewards points—and all you have to do is have an opinion. You can earn that money from the comfort of your own home in sweatpants with a glass of wine, or knock out a few surveys during slow moments at the office, racking up money when you’d usually just be trolling Facebook. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity?
Design and pre-test questionnaires: Designing the questionnaire carefully and then pre-testing it before fielding it to your entire sample is crucial to getting data that are valid and reliable. For example, careful questionnaire design and pre-testing can help reduce the chance that respondents may interpret the meaning of questions differently. Future posts in this series will tackle these important steps in much greater detail.