Ah, the internet. In addition to introducing us to mainstays of modern life such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, the internet has brought with it a plethora of new and often easy ways to make money online. I can count at least seven ways that I currently make money via the internet, including selling used books on Amazon, selling clothing and small items on eBay, selling random (usually larger) household items on Craigslist, running a blog, and three more which I will mention here.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
Of all the ways that I make money on the internet, by far the three easiest are by 1) taking surveys, 2) using Swagbucks, and 3) using Ebates.
Taking Surveys Online
I’ve been taking surveys online for years. I LOVE taking surveys for points/money because I can literally be sitting in an airport waiting for a flight or sitting on my couch in my pajamas taking surveys. It’s so easy.
Although I’ve used a variety of different companies, my current favorite is Harris Poll Online. For myself I’ve found that it helps to pick one or two survey companies and stick with them rather than have accounts with a bunch of different survey companies and be taking surveys at all of them. Back in the day when I had accounts at multiple survey companies I inevitably lost track of how many points I had with each place, which led to me not using all those points.
Anyway, my current fav is Harris Poll Online because they offer the ability to redeem rewards for gift cards at places that I actually would like to have gift cards for, like Wal-Mart, Groupon, Home Depot, Amazon, Zappos, and iTunes. You get 50 points just for signing up and another 15 for completing profile information. Opportunities for rewards start when you get to 200 points. Also, with every survey you complete you are entered to win their $10,000 sweepstakes! I haven’t won it yet, but I’m thinking 10 Gs would be pretty cool.
If you are interested in earning sweet rewards by taking surveys through Harris Poll Online, you can sign up at this link.
I’ve written about this before, but I really love Swagbucks. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Swagbucks is essentially a search engine- but with a twist. You can earn points, or Swagbucks, for doing internet searches. I don’t know about you, but the internet has become my default place to find pretty much everything, so I literally find myself doing internet searches at least five or ten times a day. By using Swagbucks as my default search engine, I earn points nearly every day for doing those searches! It’s not always a huge amount, but it adds up.
Swagbucks also has its own shopping portal where you can find links to different online retailers (like Amazon, Target, Starbucks, iTunes, and Wal-Mart) and shop their websites. You can earn varying amounts of Swagbucks per dollar spent at each retailer through the portal. For example, currently you can earn 5 points per dollar spent in various categories at Amazon.
My favorite way to redeem Swagbucks is to use them to get Amazon gift cards, which is part of my strategy for saving money shopping on Amazon. But if gift cards aren’t your thing, you can trade in your Swagbucks for PayPal cash instead!
Two other pretty cool ways to earn Swagbucks are by taking surveys at the site and by printing and using coupons for groceries. There is also a Swagbucks app that I have installed on my mobile device so I can earn points by doing searches and taking surveys on the go.
I only recently started using Ebates, but I’m loving it so far! It is also a shopping portal, only instead of earning points for gift cards you earn cash back- it’s pretty sweet! You can set up your account to either have a check mailed to you or have funds deposited into your Paypal account.
These days whenever I want to buy something online I first check Ebates to see if they have cash back. Then I buy at my desired retailer though the link on the Ebates website. So far my opinion is that Ebates seems to offer a much wider variety of retailers than the Swagbucks shopping portal.
New: Earning Station
Another site that I recently heard about is Earning Station. This is also a site that offers paid surveys, but rather than receiving an email when a new survey is available, you just log in to your account and take surveys whenever you want. The folks at Earning Station actually own several survey sites, which often translates into higher payouts for those looking to pick up some spare cash taking surveys! Also, the word on the street is that the folks at Earning Station are rapidly building features on this site and plan to have search engine capability (like Swagbucks) and other features soon.
If you are interested in earning rewards by taking surveys and completing other activities through Earning Station, you can sign up at this link.
My favorite trick to use is to do most of my holiday shopping online through portals- that way I often get great deals AND earn sweet rewards. Win-win!!
Have you used any of these easy ways to make money online? Do you take online surveys? If you are a Swagbucks or Ebates user, what’s been your experience in earning rewards?
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Jon @ Money Smart Guides says
I always tell people that I wish I were in college now. The internet offers so many ways to make extra money it’s crazy. When I was in college, the internet was just starting to catch on. I was able to sell things on ebay for some income, but nowadays, the opportunities are almost endless!
Dee S says
Same here. I think I sold stuff on Amazon and Ebay in college, but the rest of this really wasn’t there. I was such a hustler in college anyway (I had four jobs simultaneously at one point!), I think this stuff would have been right up my alley had it been around. Plus I had a lot more time for taking surveys and stuff back then!
I should really do Swagbucks or something. I’ve been really lazy about it! I search online all day though so I might as well earn something for it!
Dee S says
You definitely should! I always think it’s really fun when I get to cash in my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards- it’s such an easy way to save money there!
Love all of these ideas. I used to be deep into Swagbucks but don’t really use it anymore. Thankfully the referral swagbucks keep flowing in though!
Dee S says
Nice! When I was first switching to Swagbucks as my default search engine I kept forgetting about it. Then I put it on a favorites button on my toolbar so I would see it more readily. Now it’s one click and I’m there. Super easy!
Little House says
I should try swagbucks. I’ve known about them for a few years now and have an account, but never seem to remember to use them! I also started using Top Cash Back this year, but haven’t accrued a whole lot in cash back yet. I need to get better at remembering! Great ideas here that I need to try out.
Dee S says
I’m not very familiar with Top Cash Back- I’ll have to check that one out! Thanks for the tip!
In addition to Swagbucks and Ebates, sometimes the credit card you use already has some pretty incredible rebates built right into them (above and beyond the cash back you normally receive). My Chase Freedom card is offering 5% for buying things online through their shopping center. That’s some pretty easy money for stuff I was going to buy anyways.
Dee S says
Awesome! MMD, I am SO glad that you mentioned this! I actually have a Chase Freedom card but I hadn’t been aware of that promotion. I might have to re-work my Cyber Monday holiday shopping strategy here…
Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says
I have heard so much about Ebates and I have not tried it. I don’t know why because I do live overseas and forced at times to order items for my daughter online. Maybe it’s time to give up the strike and investigate Ebates….Thanks
Dee S says
I think it’s worth checking out! Right now you can get 8% cash back on certain categories of Amazon purchases through Ebates. One of the categories is children’s clothing. And since we have a new baby and she doesn’t care what we get her for Christmas, we were thinking of just getting her clothes 🙂 So that’s where I’m going to be buying stuff for her at least!
Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja says
I started using swagbucks and I can’t believe I wasn’t using it before. It’s just so easy to earn a few bucks.
Dee S says
I know, it’s so easy! All for stuff I would have been doing anyway… Can’t beat it!
Erin @ Journey to Saving says
Thanks for sharing the survey site! My mom has really enjoyed doing surveys in her spare time, especially when she gets free samples out of them. I’ll have to pass it along to her. I keep forgetting about Ebates! I think it’s a great way to take advantage of major savings (on top of sales!).
Dee S says
Ebates is definitely worth checking out! They’ve got some great promotions going on heading into the holidays, so now’s the time! Glad to hear your mom’s a survey junkie too 🙂
Even Steven says
I don’t shop very much online, but Swagbucks sounds like it could work.
Dee S says
I have put Swagbucks on my toolbar in my browser, so it makes it easy to use it as my default search engine. It’s an easy way to rack up Amazon giftcards every month or so!
Ebates is fine, but Mr. Rebates and Extrabux tend to have higher rates. Before I make a purchase, I just check all 3 sites. Takes about 4 minutes total, if that. Also, you get bonuses for the life of the referral at Mr. Rebates: 20% of any rebate your referrals earn. (If you’re not signed up, please consider using me as a referral. I know I at least have Mr. Rebates as a button. I can get my Extrabux referral link if you want it.)
Dee S says
Hey, that’s pretty awesome! I will definitely look into both!
I used to use Swagbucks, but find that its actually a fair bit of effort to get enough points to actually earn any real money.
The problem I had with these types of ideas is that the $/hr earnings can actually be very low. Yes, they are easy to do and have no barrier to entry, but I’m always looking to ensure that my time is well rewarded.
I prefer online endeavours that use your skills and expertise and which you can charge a little more. Take tutoring for example where you can guarantee $20/hr+ for your time.
Dee S says
I hear you. Right now I earn just a few points every time I search using Swagbucks. But ever since I put a Swagbucks button on the toolbar in my browser it has become my default search engine. Since I’m searching anyway I figure it’s better to earn some rewards than no rewards!
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
I really need to start maximizing shopping portals. That’s one way I’m really leaving money on the table.
Myles Money says
Like MoneyStepper, I have a problem with the $/hr earnings level for most online activities which pay: if I wouldn’t be doing that particular activity anyway, it’s taking me away from something else I could be doing… something which (I would hope!) is more lucrative.