Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's all about the money

Before we started homeschooling, I worked part time.  We had decided that the amount of money I would make at a full time job wouldn't offset the amount we would spend for child care, plus part time allowed me to do all the volunteer stuff and handle all the appointments  and school stuff that I did.  I was a lunch lady, working 2 hours a day, only when the kids were in school.  I didn't make a ton of money, but it was enough for all of the extra stuff that came up. Because it was lunch, it was directly in the middle of the day and there was no way I could be gone for 2 hours and get anything done at home, so I had to quit, but giving up that bit of extra has been hard.

There are several things that I've been doing from home to help earn a little earn.  It should be noted that this isn't "quit your job and move to the south of France" money.  This is, legit, a LITTLE extra.  It also requires only a little time and no kind of set schedule, which works well for me, right now.

The first thing I've been doing is SwagBucks.

This is a points program.  You earn 1 cent per point and can cash your points out for gift cards to all kinds of places likeAmazon, Walmart, a prepaid Visa gift card, or even a Paypal credit. If you sign up through the above link, you get 150 free points to start! You can use it as as search tool and occasionally, you will get rewarded with points for searching for the things you search for anyway.  You aren't awarded points for every search and the results aren't that great, compared to Google. I did just earn 31 SB by searching this afternoon, so it can be done, it just requires several searches to get anything.  I wouldn't count on searching to earn the bulk of your points, but there are a lot of other ways to earn points and those are all pretty easy.

The EASIEST way to earn points is download the SBTV app to your phone or tablet.  I have an old iPhone that I have the app running on and it just runs off to the side while I'm doing other things. It mostly shows movie trailers, which can actually be kind of interesting.  I have found that some of the ads that play between videos can require interaction and hang up the process if you aren't paying attention.  I've found that the ads tend (although not exclusively) to hang up more on the weekends, which is a little weird.  You can earn up to 36 points a day through that app, although a lot of times I qualify for a bonus, which means I just keep letting it play.  There are other apps, including EntertainNow, MovieClips, Sportly, and LifeStyles that are all associated with SwagBucks.  I only use them when all other methods fail me, because you have to watch a LOT more videos to earn SB than the SBTV app and you max out at 10 SB.  I've also found that a lot more ads require interaction and shut it down.

You can also earn points for your regular online shopping.  It is places that you shop anyway, like Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, plus tons of other sites.  I don't do a lot of online shopping (I'm all about the instant gratification), but you can 3 or 4 SB per dollar spent if you shop online.  You just have to remember to go through the SB portal to get to your site to make sure you get your points.

The way I earn the bulk of my points is by taking surveys through the Swagbucks website.  There are different surveys throughout the day, every day.  They have various levels of points and time required.  Unless I'm really hurting for points, I try to stick to the short ones that have mid level points.  There was one the other day that wanted 72 minutes for 45 points.  I passed.  I may not be making SuperPAC money, but my time is worth more than 45 cents an hour.

Some days, my dashboard looks like this, with lots of choices.

Other days, it is empty or close enough, and I have to check back several times.  The majority (all? Although I wouldn't swear to that) of the surveys have an unpaid screener associated with them.  For the most part, it is a handful of demographic questions and only take a matter of minutes to complete. I've had a few that went on forever, but mostly they are short enough to not be a problem.  I get rejected from as many surveys as I get accepted for, but I still get accepted for enough to get my daily goal every day.  

You also get messages, that have stuff like download an app for 45 points or watch ads online, that can help you make your goal each day.  

The site has a daily goal, that if you meet it each day, they give you bonus points and if you make your goals for several days in a row, they give you more bonus points.  The more days you hit your goal, the higher the goal becomes.  It started out with 40 or 50 points a day.  Since I hit 14 days in a row, I've been having goals between 70 and 100 most days.  I've been doing this regularly since late August and I've made about $100.  Like I said, you aren't getting rich, but I've set a personal goal of earning 100 points a day or hitting the daily goal, whichever is higher.  

You don't want to go into this with no plan though.  You'll want to set a daily goal and figure out something that you are saving for.  It isn't enough money to keep you motivated on it's own, so you need to know what you want the money for.  I'm saving for Christmas presents but you could totally do it for your Starbucks fix or extra grocery money each month.  Since I started late in the year, I'm not going to have a ton for Christmas this year, but if I can earn an average of 100 points a day, I can save over $300 for Christmas, with a time commitment of less than an hour a day.

The second thing I do each day is MTurk from Amazon  They have you do small tasks for small pay.  I have my dashboard sorted by the tasks (called HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks) that I'm qualified for and that pay the most first.  

These can and do change day to day.  I'm terrible at transcription, so I generally pass on those, although they are much higher pay per piece than what I normally do.  There are data entry type tasks, which are a few cents per item, like 1-5 cents per piece. I actually kind of enjoy those, although they are pretty mindless.  I do try to find ones that pay a minimum of 10 cents because a penny each isn't really enough.  There were ones a few weeks ago that were entering information off scanned hospital records, that the computer couldn't read.  I did a bunch of those and really enjoyed them.  

Mostly, I end up doing academic surveys, which can be pretty interesting.  I shoot for earning a minimum of $2.00 a day.  Some days, I'll get a couple of decent pay ones and be done in no time.  Somedays, I'm scratching together a bunch of 40 cents to add up to $2.00.  Once you do a survey for a group, you will occasionally get invited back to do additional surveys and those are generally much higher pay per survey.  

Finally, I do Perk  This is the same deal as Swagbucks.  You download the app and watch videos for points.  You can also download apps for trivia, games, etc to earn additional points.  They offer the same search as well.  The points on this one aren't nearly as good as Swagbucks, so if you have to chose between the two, do SB first and leave this one out.  PerkTV earns 1000 points per dollar instead of 100 points per dollar.  I started it at the same time as Swagbucks and I've earned almost $10, instead of closer to $100.  The thing Perk TV has going for it is that some of the channels are actually kind of interesting.  I have one running right now about DIY and crafts and I'm kind of enjoying it.

If you are  looking for something that pays real money check out Real ways to earn money online.  She has lists of "side hustles", stuff like I've been doing but she also has lists of real work from home jobs.  Stuff like call centers, virtual assistant gigs, free lance writing, etc that let you work from home.  Most of them require more hours a week than I'm willing to devote to it or need set hours that don't work with our schedule, so I haven't looked into most of them.  She does reviews of many of the companies and most of them seem legit.  

The links I included for SwagBucks and Perk should be my referral links, which should get you points to start off.  If it doesn't work, and you want to sign up, leave me a comment on here and I'll send you a direct invite.  Might as well get all the easy points you can! :)

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