If you are like me, you are making ends meet by living frugally, couponing, and saving a little for a rainy day. But what do you do to pay off debts or make a little extra cash for a special trip or upcoming expense?
I like to make a little extra money on the side by mystery shopping, completing surveys online, paid emails, and earning points for shopping or tasks. There are tons of companies that allow you to make a little extra money though these means. You will not get rich off of these websites or by mystery shopping, but you can earn gift cards and make a few extra bucks a month. I made about $100 last month mystery shopping and almost have enough points on MyPoints to get a gift card for Shell gas!
There are some great companies out there that are reputable and pay you when they say they will. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of companies that take forever to accumulate points or do not credit you when you complete a task for them. This blog has a review section that will give you my experience and opinion of many of legitimate survey, points, and mystery shopping companies to help you choose the best companies for you and get the best payouts.
You may ask how gift cards can help you pay off debt, so I shall tell you. Get gift cards for things you will pay for anyway that are already in your budget, like gas or grocery stores. Or you can get prepaid Visa cards or have paypal deposits. Then, when you get a gift card for gas, transfer the amount of the gift card out of that budget line item/envelope and use it for debt. Voila, cash for debt!!! Now run along, sign up, and pay off that debt!!
Some of my favorites are listed below:
MyPoints– This company offers points for online shopping, surveys, completing signup offers, and paid email. The points accumulate fairly quickly (over a few months with average use) and can be redeemed for giftcards at hundreds of popular retailers. I will be cashing out my points for a $25 Shell gasoline gift card soon!
Memolink– This company is very similar to MyPoints and offers points for online shopping, surveys, completing signup offers, and paid email. The points accumulate fairly quickly (over a few months with average use) and can be redeemed for giftcards at hundreds of popular retailers. I have already received two $10 Target gift cards from Memolink!
Mystery Shopping Requires a bit more work than points companies but they pay much more! You need to be organized, a coherent writer, and pay attention to detail. It is easy to get the hang of and is really fun though! Remember: Never fall for scams that require you to pay anything to join a mystery shop company.
You may have to front some money to pay for your purchase or meal but most companies will reimburse you according to the requirements of the shop. Read the fine print, follow the directions, and you will have no problems completing the shop correctly to get paid.
Bestmark– Bestmark is a well known and respected mystery shopping company and has been an industry leader for 24 years. I have done a few mystery shops for Bestmark and have really enjoyed the experience. They pay monthly by check automatically so you can be surprised by a check in your mailbox in just a few weeks! I have gotten paid twice from them and look forward to doing more shops soon. Use referral ID MD5921 when you sign up!
MarketForce– Marketforce is the leading Mystery Shopping company and is widely known and respected. They have a wide variety of industries which they provide shops for including grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and banks. I have done many shops with them and have had no problems with receiving payment. They pay by direct deposit the month after you complete the shops so at first there is a bit of a delay but if you continue to complete shops you will have steady monthly direct deposits.
Making Do With What You’ve Got: Part I: Making A Budget
Making Do With What You’ve Got: Part II: Balance Your Checkbook!
Making Do With What You’ve Got: Part III: Lower Your Bills
Making Do With What You’ve Got: Part IV: Ten Principles of Couponing
Making Do With What You’ve Got: Part V: Save For A Rainy Day (or Week)