Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Finding extra money

In the past week, I got $10 in Amazon gift cards for using the internet, I’ve gotten paid to have a free oil change in both of our cars,  could have gotten paid to order and eat a large pizza for free (but I’m not eating pizza right now, so I passed) and could have gotten paid to buy a bottle of wine (for free) and to test out mattresses.  So what’s my secret?

I’ve signed up to be a mystery shopper.  I always wondered about doing it, but was extremely hesitant.  I mean there are so many scams out there, how do I know what’s legit and what’s not.  So here’s what I’ve determined – there’s no need to pay a fee to sign up.  Many companies will try to get you to sign up as a “gold member” or something for a fee to have access to their job boards.  Perhaps this is legit and you will actually get better “shops” if you do, but I’ve gotten enough shops without paying any fees.  So I don’t recommend or endorse any of those.  A main one that I use is National Shopping Service. They end up contacting me when they have something in the area.

Last week, I did 2 oil change “shops”.  I used both of our cars.  We needed an oil change anyway, so it was perfect.  I was reimbursed the $37.97 for each oil change, plus was paid $8 each for my time.  The payment went directly to my PayPal account.  Some companies will mail you a check instead.  I had to call and make the appointment, go in, observe the cleanliness of the facility and bathroom, time how long it took for my car to be brought in and then how long it took for the oil change.  I had to notice the employees names and if they were wearing a uniform.  After the oil change, I went home and filled out a survey online that took me less than 10 minutes to do.  So easy – love it!!!  So mystery shopper has become one way that I find some extra money for us.

Another way, and I know I’ve talked about it here before, so if you’re tired of hearing about it, no need to continue reading… is Swagbucks.  Today I cashed in 900 Swagbucks for (2) $5 Amazon Gift cards.  Love it!  I use Amazon to buy books for my Kindle, to order coffee for my Keurig, to download music, and to buy lots of other random things.  It takes me about a week to earn one gift card and it’s so easy!  All I do is use the Swagbucks toolbar that I’ve installed on my browser.  That gets me 1 buck a day.  I answer a quick poll question that gets me another buck a day.  I click through a few offers (skipping them, not signing up for anything) and that gets me 2 bucks per pay.  Then I use the Swagbucks search engine when I’m searching the internet or even when I’m just going to Facebook or Yahoo or my blog, I usually get 7-15 bucks twice a day for that.  If that was all I did, it would take me 18 days of about 3 minutes per day to earn the $5 gift card.

But I’ll occasionally play games, watch videos, do surveys, print coupons, find codes and these give me even more bucks.  But then of course, one of the reasons I promote Swagbucks isn’t just because I like you, which I do, it’s because I earn Swagbucks when people sign up from my links and when they earn bucks.  With these, it usually takes me a week to earn the $5 gift card.  Don’t like Amazon?  They have all sorts of gift cards from Home Depot, Fandango, Restaurants, iTunes and more.  They also have merchandise that you can “buy” with your bucks or sweepstakes you can enter for things like an iPad.  I love it, because I’m really not doing anything other than what I’d be doing without Swagbucks.  Difference is I’m getting some of the money from the advertisers instead of google getting it all.  If you click on the “Swidget” at the bottom of the page, it will link you to the site for more info.

So those are just a couple of ways that I try to add some extra to what we have.  If you have some things you do to get extra money, I’d love to hear!




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