Monday, January 30, 2012

The Quick and The Daily: Penny Edition

The idea of "making a little extra money online" is seductive. What could be easier than sneaking in a few minutes at your computer and working on your own schedule and at your own pace? In practice, things aren't so easy or straightforward. Indeed, although it may seem counter-intuitive, I think "making a little extra money online" for some people may be harder than making a living online would be! That's simply because the little extra money people invariably have other commitments that take up their time and prevent them from focusing more on their online work: some may be stay at home parents raising young children, others have one or more "real world" jobs, and some have medical conditions which require constant attention or treatment. The circumstances vary from individual to individual, but the fundamental problem faced is the same: there's just not enough time in the day to get everything done! It's very easy to get caught in a cycle where you're only doing very low paying work online because you don't feel you have the time to take on anything more complex or demanding.

Sound bleak? It can be. Many people are surprised to find how difficult it can be to earn a relatively small amount online -- say, for instance, enough cash to buy Christmas presents for the kids at the end of the year -- when they can only devote an hour or so of time a day towards that goal. With people in this situation particularly in mind, I've been searching for earning sites that take very little time to use each day but pay at least marginally better than click or captcha sites. These are still penny jobs, for sure, but all it takes is 30 cents a day to end up with $109.50 at the end of the year. That may not be enough for a new video system, but it's enough to purchase a few budget-minded gifts at Christmastime. Unfortunately, most of the sites I'm about to discuss are strongly geared towards US members; I may try to do an international version of the list later on, but they're harder to find.

The first site I want to mention is Sidetick. This is a social network geared towards online earners -- you're allowed to blog about your favorite sites, meet like-minded individuals interested in joint ventures, and also do normal online earning tasks such as offers. The "quick money" part of Sidetick involves commenting on Jenny Stein's daily blog entry. Each day, Jenny posts a new blog topic for people to discuss...usually something very simple. Write a short or long comment on the topic and you'll receive $0.13 for your troubles -- this can easily be done in 5 minutes or less. There are a number of other ways to earn with Sidetick that you can explore if you have more time. One downside: Sidetick's minimum payout is $25 so it'll take a while to cash out if you all you do is comment on Jenny's blog.

Next up is Beezag. This is one of the funnest earning sites I use -- you simply watch TV commercials and get paid for it. The site is a cashback shopping site so you can take advantage of offers related to the products you see advertised. However, you can also just earn from watching purchase is necessary to earn. You'll earn at least 2 cents for each video watched; in general, I find that I earn between 2 and 10 cents a day depending on how many videos are available. However, I've earned as much as 20 cents in one day before here!

The next site on my list, Instant Cash Sweepstakes, is a little bit different in that it lets you earn a few pennies every three hours instead of just once a day. It's a very easy site to use -- you simply respond to multiple choice surveys (usually 3 questions per survey). In return for your time, you'll win either a random cash prize (ranging from $0.01 to $0.10) or entries into prize draws. You can only answer a limited number of questions each session (the precise number depends on your trust score level, which increases as you answer profile questions), but I find that I usually win one cash prize every session on average. The prize drawing entries aren't worthless either -- I've won three $2 cash drawings in my time on ICS.

Since I mentioned ICS, I should also mention its sister site, Paid Viewpoint. It specializes in short surveys that are easy to complete and pay well for the time they take. One particularly interesting aspect of the site is that it shows you making money with each QUESTION you answer until you've completed the survey. It also often (always?) allows you to skip questions you don't want to answer. Perhaps best of all, you're always qualified for every survey you're sent -- if you've used other survey sites in the past, you know how annoying and time consuming the survey qualification process can be. I find that I can usually make 8 cents a day on Paid Viewpoint, but considerably more than that when there are actual surveys to take rather than just profile surveys.

Next I want to bring up Swagbucks, one of the most popular GPT sites on the Web. There are numerous ways to earn with this site: you can do everything from trading in old cell phones to taking surveys. Since we're focused on simple, quick methods of earning, though, I want to focus on Swagbucks' search engine and daily poll section. If you search with Swagbucks, you'll win points periodically after submitting your query or moving to a different page of search results. It's usually quite easy to win for the first time each day -- it's possible to win multiple times per day, but it'll take much more time. The daily poll section allows you to win one swagbuck for answering a simple poll question. This brings us to one complicated question: just how much is a swagbuck worth? The answer is, "It depends!" You can redeem your swagbucks for all kinds of prizes, including gift cards and PayPal cash, which are valued wildly differently. If all you do is search and do the daily poll, you should earn at least the equivalent of 5 cents per day regardless of what prize you opt to redeem.

Down to our last site...FINALLY! This one is one I've used pretty much for as long as I've been earning online: it's a little site known by the name of Cash Crate. This is a classic "get paid to" site: think offers and daily surveys. Both completing offers and daily surveys can get time consuming in a hurry, however...they're not the reason Cash Crate made my list. Instead, I'm promoting CC here because of its Daily Check In feature. It's as simple as it sounds: press a button to check in and get three cents added to your account balance. Granted, it'll take quite a while to reach the $20 minimum needed to cash out if all you do is check in so it's probably a good idea to do an offer or take a survey every now and then at least.

To finish up, I just want to break down a possible daily earnings scenario if you use each of these sites. This is based purely on my own personal experiences so far; your experiences may not match mine.

Sidetick: $0.13
Beezag: $0.04
ICS: $0.04
Paid Viewpoint: $0.08
Swagbucks: $0.05
CashCrate: $0.03
Total: $0.37

That's still small potatoes, but it's better than nothing!

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