The Penny Hoarder’s Ultimate Guide to Making Extra Money With InboxDollars
Sites that pay you to take surveys, play games, watch videos or search the web are appealing, no?
You’re mindlessly making money — or at least more mindlessly than your 9-to-5 gig.
But finding legitimate reward sites might seem near impossible. You’re either plagued with pop-up ads, bombarded with emails or, even worse, scammed.
That’s why we test all the sites we write about. So I signed up for InboxDollars, an online rewards club.
The site claims you’ll earn cash — not points — for taking surveys, playing games, watching videos or searching the web.
But do you really? Here’s what my experience was like.
How to Sign Up for InboxDollars
Signing up was easy, which is always promising.
I clicked over to the page that claimed I’d get a free $5 sign-up bonus. Sweet.
I entered my email, created a password and confirmed my account via email. Then I started answering questions (because nothing in life is free). I answered quite a few questions — about my race, income, degree, marital status, kids (or not), even my medical history.
The types of questions seemed on par with every other survey site I’ve visited. And although there was a generous number of questions, the survey itself breezed by quickly. Then I watched some introductory tutorials — none of which lasted more than a minute or two.
That was it; I earned my first $5.
I got distracted a few times, but I suspect the process didn’t take more than about 15 minutes.
How to Start Earning Cash With InboxDollars
Once you bank your initial $5, you can start earning cash.
Keep in mind you need to earn at least $30 to cash out. Users have reported that InboxDollars will waive a $3 transaction fee if you wait to cash out at $40.
Here are some ways to stack up that $40.
Make Money Taking Surveys
Navigate over to the “Surveys” tab at the top of the webpage.
There, you’ll find your notification dashboard, which aggregates surveys you might qualify for (based on those answers you gave when you signed up).
Each survey lists the estimated completion time, as well as how much you can earn and the topic at hand.
Many of the offers I’ve seen offer something like 50 cents for a 26-minute survey. Or 25 cents for a 9-minute survey. I saw a couple that offered up to $4.50.
You’ll also earn “spins,” which you can use on the “Billy’s Spin & Win” game. You’ll find your number of spins at the top of the “Surveys” page.
I had somehow accumulated 18, so I spun and won some “sweeps” (more on that later), cents and survey tokens, which banked me an extra 25 cents after I finished my subsequent survey.
Also, if for some reason you’re caught BSing the answers and clicking through these surveys mindlessly, it’ll affect which surveys you qualify for in the future. That’s what InboxDollars says, at least. I’m not sure how it knows.
Make Money Watching TV and Videos
Watching TV and watching videos are two separate categories on InboxDollars, but they offer essentially the same thing: cents for views.
The TV shows and videos are just segments from random channels you probably haven’t heard of. I watched something about football on “The Fumble.” My co-worker also caught me watching a video about how to make maple-glazed butternut squash. Yum.
For each video, you’ll earn a cent or two. More often than not, a scratch-off card will pop up at the end. This is a fun tool the InboxDollars team is testing out.
You’ll click and hold down your mouse to scratch off the card. If three of the six results match, that’s what you get. I’ve earned anywhere from nada to 5 cents. There’s also a $10 result — but I haven’t scored that yet. I typically win a cent
Each show I’ve watched thus far has been less than 2 minutes, and I found that earning money this way was more mindless (and more fun) than taking the surveys.
Make Money Surfing the Web
This is another super easy way to add some cents to your cash count.
For any four random searches you make through the InboxDollars search engine, you’ll earn 1 cent and three sweeps.
What’s a sweep, you’ve been wondering? It’s short for sweepstakes.
Each sweep represents an entry, like a raffle. (You’ll see how many sweeps you have next to the ticket-stub icon on your dashboard.) You can enter your sweeps into contests to win more sweeps or cash.
I entered all of mine in to win $25 in cash. (For that one, it was 20 sweeps for one entry.)
Other Ways to Make Money With InboxDollars
You can also earn points by playing games, shopping, reading emails and signing up for products or services.
For example, if you sign up for the Fabletics VIP membership, you can bank a $20 reward. You can also join VIP Voice to earn $1.75, or opt in for free samples of socks for 25 cents. Been meaning to sign up for that Target REDcard? Get $3 if you do it through InboxDollars.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on InboxDollars’ social media channels.
There, it posts WinIt codes. Copy and paste the code into the WinIt box. (Click the “My Stuff” tab, then WinIt.) You can win a number of items. I scored eight sweeps, which I then put toward more rewards.
My Final Review: The Pros and Cons of InboxDollars
Overall, InboxDollars is super easy to navigate. I’ve tried other paid survey sites and just end up overwhelmed.
It also does a nice job of breaking down the offers by categories. And you’ll always see the amount of money you’ve earned at the top your window, which is exhilarating… in its own Penny-Hoarding way.
Which leads to another point: I love that the site rewards you in dollars — not points. On similar sites, it always looks like you’ve racked up so many points. But when you cash out, you get, say, a $10 Amazon card. Here, you know exactly what you’re getting.
You’ve probably figured out by now, though, this isn’t going to bring you big bucks.
I’ve played with the site for about 24 hours now, and I’ve earned $7.63, which includes the $5 sign-up bonus. InboxDollars does say it’s dealt out more than $50 million to its users, as of last year.
You also have to earn at least $30 to cash out, so at the rate I’m moving, it’s going to take a while. However, I could sign up for offers — like VIP Fabletics or those free socks — to hit that threshold more quickly.
I mentioned at the beginning that InboxDollars doesn’t plague your inbox either. And it really doesn’t — if you know what you’re doing.
When you sign up, you’ll opt in for three “PaidMail” opportunities a day, which pop in your inbox. These can bank you a few cents just for opening. But you can also get these sent to your InboxDollars inbox, so I opted out and just view them from there.
On the surveys side, I grew a bit frustrated.
I mentioned a 9-minute survey for 25 cents earlier. Well, I took that survey, and I know it took me way longer than nine minutes.
Also, just because a survey is suggested in your dashboard doesn’t mean you’ll qualify. I’d answer up to 10 questions before being told that I can’t take it.
However, I do think it says something that the site entertained me. I even found myself growing a bit addicted, feeling like I was checking in on my Neopet or something. I kept checking for new surveys, spinning Bob’s wheel and watching videos about how to prep sweet potato quiche — all of which actually earned me some money.
In conclusion, InboxDollars probably won’t supplement your income, but it’s a fun way to poke around the internet and waste some time. If you’re already doing that, you might as well earn some extra money… right?
If you want to give the site a try, sign up for that $5 bonus here.
Let me know what you think of InboxDollars. I’d love to chat with a pro to hear about all the moola you’ve made!
Disclosure: Clink! Clink! Clink! That’s the sound of pennies hitting our piggy bank, thanks to the affiliate links in this post. It’s a better savings plan than stopping traffic to pick up loose change — and safer, too!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After work, she plans to go home and learn how to make cupcakes… while earning a few cents. Thanks, InboxDollars!