Welcome to 2014!! Like every year, the holidays did quite the number on both my bank account and waistline. Bah.
I definitely can’t help you with the waistline (and it’s -4 today in Maine, so there’s no chance I’m going to start working on mine today).
But, I can help you make a little extra cash this month.
So for all of us that need a little help paying off that Christmas debt or getting a jump on the 2014 budget, I’ve put together a list of some of favorite tips from the last few months. Without further ado…
The 5 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2014
1. Get Paid to Scan Your Groceries
Once you sign up to become a Homescan family, the company will send you a free scanner (like the one pictured to the left). Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen. Pretty easy, huh?
If you want to give it a try, you can fill out the application here: Nielsen Homescan Application
As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items, and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points towards prizes.
You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles. This is a great way to make your consumer voice count and be rewarded handsomely for recording your purchases. You’re already going to the grocery store anyway, right?
2. Earn Extra Money by Listening to the Radio, Reading Emails, etc.
One of my favorite ways to make some extra money is with InboxDollars.com. There are a number of websites that will pay you to read advertiser’s emails, sign up for offers, and take surveys. I’ve tried about a million of them, but there are only a few of them that I would recommend. Inbox Dollars is one of those companies.
It’s free to join Inbox Dollars and best of all, they give you $5 just for signing up. They’ll even pay you up to $120/year just to listen to their radio station.
Inbox Dollars just requires that you accumulate $30 in earnings before you can “cash-out” and they pay you by sending a check.
Some sample offers include one that asks you to sign up for a email newsletter from AMF Bowling. That pays 50 cents and takes about 15 seconds. Another offer asks you to sign up for a free account at Turbotax.com to earn $3.50. These are simple and there are nearly a hundred of them to choose from. If you are interested in giving Inbox dollars a try, visit the sign-up page here to get started (open to every country).
Most of you know that I hate survey companies.
There are so many scammy sites out there and often times taking a survey is little pay for a lot of work. However, one of the exceptions I make is with MySurvey.
They’re one of the oldest online survey companies and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The reason I like MySurvey so much is that they pay you for even the surveys you don’t qualify for. You see, most survey companies make you take a “qualifying survey” before you are given access to the paid survey. And if you don’t meet the qualifications for that particular survey, you earn nothing (despite the fact that you spent 5 annoying minutes answering questions).
MySurvey is different – even if you aren’t given access to the full survey, they will stay pay you for answering the questions in the qualifying survey. Pretty cool, huh? Now, you’re not going to get rich answering surveys, but it can be a fun way to make an extra couple hundred dollars a year. Heck, I do them as I’m watching TV.
Signup for MySurvey.com here. (USA only)
Update 3/23: Several readers have written me to suggest Swagbacks as well. In addition to surveys, they occasionally send you free products to test as well. Sounds promising…
4. Try Banking at Nationwide
The fine folks over at Nationwide bank are giving every reader of The Penny Hoarder a free $200 in cash if you open a checking account with them today!
I love taking advantage of checking account bonuses, because not only are they an easy way to make a little extra cash, but they give me a separate place to save for things like Christmas presents, vacations, and new cars.
And the Nationwide checking account is pretty awesome. They’re interest rate is 3x higher than what most banks will give you, plus you can use any ATM in the world for free (6x a month). Here’s the link:
You’ll need to deposit $50 to get started and use the offer code 03110470 (you can withdraw your fifty bucks later)
To get the $200 bonus, you’ll need to set up an automatic monthly direct deposit of at least $200 into your E-Checking account. Your monthly direct deposit of $200 must be received within 60 days of opening the account. The account must remain open for at least 90 days to receive the $200 bonus. The $200 bonus will be deposited into your new account within 2 weeks following the 90 day minimum requirement! You must open your account by December 31, 2014 in order to get the $200 bonus.
5. Make Money by Hunting for Used Books
Most people know that you can sell your used college textbooks on buyback sites like Amazon. But did you know that there are a growing number of people who are hunt for novels at garage sales, estates sales, and library sales and then resell them to the online retailers for a higher price?