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 Springboard Panel as well. In addition to surveys, they occasionally send you free products to test as well. Sounds promising…
About a year ago, Capital One took over the online bank, ING Direct, and started offering free online checking accounts. What’s even cooler is that they’ll give you $50 just to open one.
I’ve already got a checking account that I’m pretty happy with, but I don’t mind opening a second one for some free cash.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Open a free checking account with Capital One 360.
2. There’s no minimum deposit with this account, but you’ve got to make at least 3 purchases with your Capital One 360 debit card during the first 45 days of opening the account.
3. On the 50th day, Capital One 360 will deposit a free $50 in your account. Sweet! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Capital One 360, they are a pretty popular virtual bank that gives spectacular interest rates. It’s completely free to open and maintain an account with Capital One 360.
Read more about it here: “Free Money Alert: Get $50 from Capital One 360”
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?