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Pennies in Your Pocket

20 Mar

This is a bit of a random post but I thought it worth bringing up. I know that many of you, like me, have addictions to feed. Most of these addictions involve TV or movies or books. But sometimes they get a little bit expensive, like traveling to conventions for our favorite shows. I found a blog once that sort of broke down ways to make extra money online by actually analyzing which things were legit and which weren’t and I found it to be incredibly helpful. So basically I’m doing the same thing. I make anywhere from $100-$200 extra a month in little projects and while it’s not much, it supports my habits. Plus I don’t feel like I have to justify spending this money in frivolous things.

Alright, so to clarify, I tried to do a couple things. I included direct links where possible to help you out and tried to break things down a lot so you understand all aspects. Some stuff is for everyone, some takes a bit more effort but all are options. And all of the things I’ve listed below are things that have actually paid me. As in I have not only seen but used the money that I made.

Swagbucks: This is probably the easiest one on the list because it takes next to no effort. You do things like take surveys, watch videos, do searches, play games and other things to earn “swagbucks”. The bucks can then be redeemed for different prizes or entered in lotteries. I occasionally enter the lottery stuff but only for big items. I do have a friend who ended up winning an ipad through one of the lottery options and got it within a few weeks so it was good to know for sure that the physical prizes are legit. The prizes I usually go for though are the gift cards. There are a lot of gift card options available and it’s all electronic. (If you didn’t know this already, most companies will allow you to transfer an e-gift card balance to a physical card if you prefer). To give you an idea of how lucrative swagbucks can be, I earned $300 worth of Amazon gift cards last year to use for Black Friday. It was supposed to be for Christmas gifts but I bought a lot of DVD sets for me. *innocent whistle*. And I don’t take as much advantage of the site as other people do. So far this year, I’ve done a lot more of the earning opportunities and managed to score two Amazon cards ($5 each) and a $50 Southwest gift card. Not too shabby for clicking a button.

As for how you earn, you can obviously search through the site to see all the opportunities but if you’re like me and a bit wary about things, these are the ways I recommend. Download the toolbar because just for getting online every day, you’ll get 1 buck. Take the daily poll for 1 buck a day & skip through the NOSO (No Obligation Special Offers) for 2 bucks a day. You don’t have to do any of the offers, just hit “skip” through about five & you’ll get the bucks. Just those in a year’s time would add up to $15 amazon dollars. Not bad for a couple clicks of a mouse.

Play the games smart by not playing to win. The key of the game is the advertisement beforehand. So just put your speakers on silent, let the game load, hit play, lose instantly & get your bucks. I tend to play twice a day and get about 20 bucks each time. Swagcodes are released through the twitter & blog and while they take a bit more effort to find, they’re worth it for a few quick bucks. Same with searching in the tool bar. I can usually get bucks through a search at least 5 times a day. Just randomly search every couple hours if you’re online. Also check the emails on your swagbucks page. Most are for signing up for services but usually every couple of days there’s one to just watch a 30 second video (which you can mute & not really watch) for 3 bucks. Otherwise there are special offers to like register for a site and get bucks. I do the ones that don’t require a credit card (obviously) and use an email I’ve created specifically for spam stuff under a different name. That way I get the rewards but not the hassle. Finally, there is the Swagbucks TV. The trick I’ve found is to find videos that are only about a minute long. You can mute the video & just keep the page up. Each video adds 10% to the progress bar & when you hit 100% you get 3 bucks. I just click a new video each time the bar changes & go back to what I was doing. You can get up to 150 bucks a day through this.

That probably sounds like a ton of effort  but once you give it a try and get the hang of it, you only need about 20 minutes a day and the willingness to click once in a while to earn a couple hundred bucks a day. That adds up to 2 $5 amazon cards every week. Or bigger gift cards if you prefer. The last thing to note is that if you refer other people, you can get up to 1000 swagbucks off searches they do. So that’s pretty sweet. I included a link below for ya.

Swagbucks Signup

Etsy: Now you’ll have to be either creative or a scavenger to post stuff on Etsy but if you are one of those people, it is totally worth it. Etsy allows you to sell homemade items, craft supplies, or vintage items. So if you’ve got a talent for scoping out super cool stuff at flea markets or garage sales, or can use random stuff to make cooler stuff, you can make some money on Etsy. They charge you a small posting fee (20 cents) and a 3% fee for anything you sell but honestly that’s pretty negligible for how easy the site makes it to sell stuff. And if you take a look around, you’ll see that pretty much anything can be done.

My own shop is in need of new supplies but I do the scrabble tile pendants with pictures of childhood book or movie characters (think Disney, Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street) or bottle cap pendants, clocks & coasters out of old game boards and then my mother and I will start selling wall decor soon. (I can do scrabble pendants with pictures of celebrities, like TVD, OTH, OUAT, GOT, etc but only by special order).

Fiverr: Fiverr is sort of like a play on craigslist. Basically, people post an ad offering to do something for $5. Maybe it is use photoshop to blend two pictures together, proofread a resume, promote your website or about a zillion other things and everything is done for $5. You choose what you can do and believe me anything goes. My brother has found it great to get quality graphics done cheaply by paying people who do wallpaper/siggy designs to work on facebook graphics for him. Heck, some of ya’ll who are extra talented with making fan videos or graphics could offer to make one for someone for $5. I know there’s a video I want that I don’t know how to do myself that I’d pay someone $5 to make just so I could enjoy it. I offer proofreading services personally since that’s my niche but seriously anything goes. Take a look & throw up a few things you’ll do for a 5 spot. The worst that happens is no one takes your offer. While I only make occasional money on it, I do know that those with website building, video creation or photoshop talent can turn this into a part time job. Just make sure you’re not offering to do 4 hours worth of work for $5.

Coffee and Power: Similar to Fiverr, this one is offered by former Amazon & SecondLife founders. People post jobs or tasks they want done and put how much they are willing to pay (so you can make more than $5). Physical jobs are also offered like putting up flyers so if you don’t have an online talent, this can be a better option. They have offices in San Francisco, Portland, and Santa Monica so you’ll find more physical opportunities in those areas. But you can also offer to do a job for a certain amount of money. I haven’t taken full advantage of the site but I did post a few flyers at local universities for $5 each and made $35 in total. Not bad for a job that took me about 10 minutes and was done while meeting a friend for coffee. I do know that C&P is adding workclubs (offices) in more cities soon so definitely keep an eye out on this one.

Cafepress: Another great one for TV/Movie fans. Cafepress brings in about $50 a month for me (except during the holidays when it goes up to several hundred). If you’re graphically talented, you can do really well on cafepress (I know one twilight store that makes psychotic amounts of money but the shirts are really well done). But even if not, if you can make up a few cute Team designs or play with favorite one liners from shows, you can make a little side cash. My own store (here) tends to focus on a few bands and on TV show related shirts & trinkets (as in you can stock up on fan gear if you’re headed to a TVD con soon) but the options are endless. You don’t have to do entertainment related stuff either. If you’re clever with political sayings, try knocking out a few designs for what is an intense election year. Support a cause with shirts or just come up with random designs of your own artwork to make a little extra money. Sign up at http://www.cafepress.com.

ChaCha & Similar: Chacha (and other sites like it) allow you to answer questions online for money. You only make a few pennies per question so it is totally not a major money maker. But if you can search quickly, it can be good for making a little side cash in college, especially if you don’t have time for a side job. Just do it while doing homework or while watching a movie at 2am. Like I said, this won’t make you much money but when I was actually focused on it during TV marathons in college, I could pull out about $75-$200 a month, enough for coffee and slightly nicer beer.

Amazon Associates: You’ll want/need to have a  blog or website do use this one (and especially to make any money off it). Basically, if you use your associates account to link a product and someone goes to amazon through your link and makes a purchase during that same visit, you get at minimum 4%. The nice thing is that if someone clicks on say a book you recommend and link to, but they end up buying 4 other things during that amazon visit, you get the commission on the entire purpose. The difficult part is actually getting people to click on your links. That’s where having a website or popular blog comes in. If you’re talking about a book you really enjoyed and then offer a link to amazon for people to buy the book, that’s great but you don’t make money. By offering a link through your amazon associates account, if someone buys it, you make a commission. Just know that this one, while it can be lucrative, will take more effort. (Itunes also offers an associates program but you have to have substantial traffic numbers to your website to be eligible).

Zazzle: Like cafepress but with higher earnings potential, more product, and a lot more headache. When I’m willing to put the effort in on zazzle, I can pull in about a $100 a month. The problem is putting in the effort. Cafepress gets a lot of licensing agreements and Zazzle doesn’t. Plus zazzle is a lot harder to create designs for. But the earnings potential is higher & I love being able to create a really cool Keds shoe design. If you have a low key weekend ahead of you and are planning on using it to catch up on TV or movies, you could make a decent start on a zazzle store. Just be prepared to be more frustrated initially. But it’s worth it to get the email saying someone bought a pair of shoes and you made a $13 commission. And then to get 9 more emails just like that.

I hope this is helpful to y’all and best of luck!

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