You’ve heard the popular saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, right? Well since I stopped working this past spring, I wanted to find some easy ways to make and save some extra money online. I was pretty picky as I searched for do-able online side-gigs because I wanted to find something that was easy, enjoyable, and something that I could do on my own time and schedule.
I considered freelance writing, website testing, selling stock photos, working as a search engine evaluator, taking calls for customer service from home, and a couple other things too, but those just didn’t make me excited at all. After a few months of searching and researching different things I could do, I finally found 4 online side gigs that worked great for me and that I really enjoyed doing! I’ve been doing all four of these side-gigs for about 6-7 months now and simply love them all!
If you’re looking for some easy ways to make a few extra bucks or save some money online, then keep reading! But let me tell you right now; these side-gigs are easy and will make you some extra money, but they won’t make you rich. Just getting that out there right now. There are a ton of other ways that will pay a LOT better than these. But these 4 side-gigs are perfect if you have a job already or if you’re at home looking to make a little extra on the side.
Ok, enough chatter! Here they are:
1. Taking surveys with Pinecone Research.
PineCone Research is by far one of the most trusted paid survey programs around. Basically, companies who are making new products or improving old ones want to know if the product will be a success or not before they launch the product. So they contact Pinecone Research who puts a survey together and sends it to their panelists (a.k.a. normal, everyday people like you and me) who take the survey and share their opinions about the new product. By taking these surveys, you get to influence which products hit the market and you get rewarded with cash or prizes too!
Here’s a little bit about how it works:
Pinecone Research accepts different people at different times, so it may take more than one try to get accepted as a panelist. (Thankfully I was able to get in the first try.) Applying can be quite tricky. To learn more about this and apply click here. If you don’t get accepted, it just means they have enough people of your age group and ethnicity. Don’t be discouraged; try again later and they may have a spot open for you.
Once you’re accepted, they will email you with all updates and surveys. I love this! There is no need to go to their website daily, wondering if there is a survey you are supposed to take (although you can do that if you’d like). Its so simple to just check your email instead!
First they will send Household questions for you to answer, in order to link you up with surveys that would be relevant to you. You may get a small reward for answering these first few ‘pre-survey questions’ but most Household Questions are not followed with a reward. These mini surveys only take 1-3 minutes to complete.
Then they’ll email you when there is a regular survey available for you to take. Usually these surveys are only available about 24-48 hours after you’ve been contacted. Some are available for even less than 12 hours, so it’s pretty important to check your email once or twice a day. If you can’t take a survey or missed one, no big deal-you’ll get emailed when the next one is available. If you keep missing surveys though, your membership may be removed.
You will get rewarded by points and you can redeem these points for cash or prizes. Most regular surveys are rewarded with 300 points, which equal $3.00 for each survey. You can redeem your points for a check in the mail or through PayPal, or through gift cards or prizes on their website. I usually redeem my points for an electronic gift card to Amazon, since we always have things to order from them.
The surveys are easy to take. Usually its just selecting an answer and writing a few sentences with your thoughts. Occasionally you’ll be sent the product to test/try for yourself and then answer a few more additional questions after using the product. Each survey takes somewhere between 15-20 minutes to complete. I usually get emailed 2-4 surveys a month, give or take.
Overall I really enjoy taking these surveys! I know it seems like $3 per survey isn’t much, but if you’re consistent with taking them the cash adds up. So far I’ve made about $50 from just completing these surveys. Plus its pretty cool to learn about products before they hit the market and help influence which ones make it to the stores.
For more information, here is a link to Pinecone Research’s FAQ page.
2. Selling used clothes on Poshmark.
We’ve all done it. You saw that top in the store and fell in love with it, but now at home you just can’t seem to pair it with ANYTHING, so now it sits in the very back of your closet. Well Poshmark can help find your impulse buy a new home, plus earning some of the money back. Simply put, Poshmark is an app you can use on your iPhone or Android device to buy or sell gently used or new clothes. I have been Poshing for about 8 months now and, as my hubby with tell you, I’m a bit addicted! It took a little time to get the hang of it and make the first couple sales, but now the sales have been adding up. So far I’ve made over $200 just from selling clothes I no longer wear or that don’t fit me anymore.
I must admit, though, its way too easy to shop instead of sell on Poshmark! There are so many deeply discounted name brand and designer items, as well as cheaper clothes as low as $5. Poshmark has helped me clean my closet out and restock it with things that I actually love and fit me perfectly! (That’s how I explain myself when Seth sees all the Poshmark boxes the mailman delivers!)
If you just want to sell on Poshmark, you could easily use your earnings to fund your next vacation, new puppy, college tuition, or whatever! I’m beginning to view my Poshmark closet almost as my own business or boutique. (Once you sell a certain number of items, Poshmark will open up some Wholesale Closets to you so, if you’d like, you really can become an online Poshmark Boutique.) The more professional you are with your potential ‘customers’, the more you are going to see your Poshing pay off.
Here’s a little bit of how it all works:
- Download the App. The app is free to download (download the Poshmark app from the App Store or their website). In fact, if you use my code (JWZVA) you’ll get $5 when you sign up with my invite code! Yay!
- List your item. Taking a pretty, styled cover photo of your item will really help to catch the attention of possible buyers.
- Describe and price it. Add a detailed description about the item, including measurements, the condition its in, and any special design features it has. When pricing the item, do a search on Poshmark to see what others are selling their similar items for. Keep in mind that Poshmark keeps 20% of your earnings, so price a little higher if you’d like to account for that.
- When the item sells, ship it out. Poshmark will email you with a prepaid shipping label. Print that out, package the item, tape the shipping label on the package and either pop it in the mailbox or take it to the post office.
- Get your money. After the package is delivered, the buyer makes sure its what they ordered and in the described condition, and then they ‘accept’ the item, which releases the money to you. It works kind of like PayPal, except its all run through Poshmark. Once you have redeemable money, you can either get it transferred directly to your bank account or keep it in Poshmark as credit for any future purchases you’d like to make.
Pretty easy, uh?! I must admit that this is my favorite way to earn extra money online! If you have any questions, the Poshmark FAQ page may be a help to you.
3. Receiving free items from Amazon sellers in exchange for honest reviews.
Amazon is a retail giant! And it seems like Seth and I are always shopping on Amazon for anything and everything. When I consider buying something, I usually always read the reviews first. One time I began to notice a bunch of reviews that had this little sentence at the bottom: “I received this item for free or at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.” And I was like, “Whoa, I would love to get that for free or discounted! How can I do that?!” So I did some research and found out how to receive FREE and discounted stuff from Amazon!
Many Amazon sellers who are new, trying to boost their sales, or introducing a new product to Amazon need to have good reviews and ratings in order to gain a good reputation on the site. And they are willing to send you their product for free or at a discount in exchange for your honest opinion!
Over the past 6-7 months, I’ve been able to review over $125 worth of free and discounted products – all things that I am able to use in everyday life. Some of the things I’ve reviewed are shampoo and conditioner, makeup and beauty products, phone cases and screen protectors, decorative pillow cases, all kinds of different cords for phones and laptops, essential oils, selfie sticks, ebooks, and etc. Its quite fun and saves a ton of money on things I would otherwise purchase full price.
Here’s how to do it:
- Review a few of your previous purchases. Sellers want to know if you can give a quality review before they send you their product, so make your reviews good ones! Before I began doing reviews I almost never wrote reviews for my purchases, so I had a lot of ones to choose from. What makes a review look good? Add photos of the product and have a list of pros and cons. (I’ll explain this more further on.)
- Complete your Public Profile on Amazon. Believe it or not, this step goes a long way. Sellers DO look at your profile before sending you a discount pitch. Add a professional profile picture, write something about yourself (not too personal though), and (I know this sounds crazy) add your email address. Some sellers will see your reviews and really like the way you write and will personally email you asking you to review their product. I put my email on my Amazon account and I receive about 3 emails a week from sellers offering discounts for my reviews.
After you have reviewed a few previous purchases and completed your Amazon profile, instead of waiting for sellers to contact you, sign up with a reviewing website.
- Amazon Review Trader: This is my all time favorite review site! They have a huge selection of discounted and free items. Its super simple to use. Just sign up for a free account, scroll through and select items you’d like to review (you can request 20 items at a time). Then wait for the sellers to approve your request. Once approved, use the given promo code when you’re checking out on Amazon to get your discount.
- Elite Deal Club: This is also a fantastic site. There is no waiting to get approved though; once you find something you’d like to review, just copy the promo code and check out on Amazon. Deals on this site go quickly, so you really have to be on your toes and keep an eye on your email to know when they add new items.
- Snagshout: At this review site, you can only review one item at a time. Once you finish your first review, you then can find a second item to review.
Here are some other review websites that I have heard of, but haven’t used yet:
Once you receive your discounted item in the mail, its time to test the product and review it. Here are some basic reviewing guidelines:
- Never share promo codes with anyone else.
- Write an honest review. Test it out for at least 3-5 days before you write a review so you are familiar with the item. In your review discuss the pros and cons, what you like and dislike about the item. Adding photos is very helpful and a big plus as well.
- Most reviews are due 10 days after you receive the item in the mail, depending on the review site you’re using. If you don’t review the product, you could have the review website remove your account with them. Keep a notebook handy with the items, the date you received the item, and when you reviewed it to help you keep track.
- When writing your review, double check it for grammatical errors, misspelled words, etc., so sellers know you’re serious about being a quality reviewer.
- Reviews should be at least 75 words long. I always try to write 150-200 words when I review a product. The more thorough and detailed the better.
- When you review the item, stay on topic and discuss the item only. Not the shipping, packaging, availability, or the seller. There is a different place on Amazon to review those things.
- ALWAYS include a disclosure at the end of your review saying something like this, “I received this product for free or at a discount in exchange for sharing my honest and unbiased review”. If you don’t do this, Amazon may terminate your account.
- Never accept money in exchange for a review. This could also put your Amazon account at risk.
To read more of Amazon’s review guidelines, click here.
4. Testing makeup with L’Oreal.
Makeup and beauty companies are always coming out with new products, and just like any other company, they want to make sure their new products will be a success. They will send out makeup/beauty products to those on their test panel to see if their product in question fits the needs and works for the people who would be potential buyers. This is pretty exciting news for us ladies who love makeup! How fun is it to know about beauty products before they hit the market, but also to have tried them out already!
And L’Oreal Consumer Testing Panel does just that! Once you sign up, they send you surveys to see if you are a good match for any of their testing panels. If you qualify for a panel, they will send you the beauty product to try out (makeup, hair care or color, moisturizers, etc.). After testing for the specified time, you then take a follow up survey and they send you a gift (usually makeup) as compensation. Just so you know, you won’t get picked for every panel. I’ve only qualified for one test panel so far and I got some amazing matte lip gloss and mascara as compensation. I keep checking my account and taking the surveys when they have a new panel open, hoping I’ll get in the next one!
Well, there you have it! The 4 easy ways I make and save money online! What ways do you make or save money online? I would absolutely love to hear your experiences and ideas! If you have any questions, comment below and I’ll try my best to answer them!