So, now that I’ve had time to work with the companies and cash out a bunch, here’s the low down on the online surveys I think are worth the effort for a little pocket change or whatever.

Firstly, if you don’t spend a lot of time on the internet, don’t bother. If you don’t like taking surveys, hide from the census taker, hang up on telephone surveyors, don’t bother. But, if you like the prospect of making a little bit of extra cash for being opinionated, this might be worth a try. I started out on the Paid Twice blog post about her experience with surveys for this too, and then gathered some others. I

  • MySurvey – I still haven’t cashed in on this one yet, but I expect to in the very near future. This will mean that I have made about $20 in 6 months. They are definitely the slowest as far as the rewards building up, but the qualifying surveys are really short with a guarenteed small point value for bothering, and the extra winning possibilities are generous. It’s a low impact engagement. Click through the link, especially since I get extra points for referrals!
  • Opinion Outpost – I’ve cashed out from these folks, to the tune of about $45, and I qualify into a lot of their surveys. These are a little longer, but generally I find not too long. They pay out with a check and will pay you when you’ve reached $5 or more. They still do referrals through the person so, if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll shoot you one.
  • Lightspeed Panel – Their surveys are fun, and sometimes you get to participate in product trials that crack me up. They are, however, VERY bad at communicating with customers. There were several snafus for me being credited and it took me months and countless emails and phone calls before I got my money. When I did, though, it was about $40 for 3 months work. Ultimately, I decided not to continue with them because the effort for the reimbursement was such as trial it hardly added up for me. Your experience may be different, I have never heard another complaint about them.
  • TestSpin – I don’t often qualify into one of their surveys, but they tend to be very quick to let you know that you don’t qualify, which is nice. In six months I’ve made about $20 in Amazon Gift Cards from them nd they are excrutiatingly slow about crediting your account, but they have never yet made a mistake in credit. Better, I qualified into an online focus group through one of their surveys and got compensated with a $100 in Amazon Gift Card for about 2 hours of my time one evening. So, there is potential here for much more money to be made.
  • Survey Spot – Most of what you get on this site are sweepstakes entries, but sometimes they do have surveys for money, and also, I have been referred through them to some online communities that are more focused and offer rewards. In dollars, I have made $45 and qualified into a community where I get a $10 Amazon Gift Card every month, as well as the opportunity to get more depending on the offers they give. I’ll be getting an additional $20 Amazon card from the them soon. Plus the surveys on this site are all over the maps, so you never know what you’ll get. I think they are fun, and frankly, I’ve made the most money off of them. They pay out in checks for cash amounts earned about $5.

So, to date, I have made over $300 for sitting on my laptop, an activity I would be engaged in anyway. The amounts look small till you add them up, then it’s nothing to sneeze at. This money had been put aside, with any other little snowflakes I get, in a high yield HSBC account, which I was going to use to buy a new tiny computer, but will probably go to pay for my cats dentals instead. Well, 2 cats of 3 anyway.

I am a member of a couple of other site and I do participate, but I haven’t cashed out, am not cashing out soon, or am stll on the fence. I’ve also bailed out on a lot of sites because I didn’t like how they operated or dealt with me. If you want a place to get started, I would recommend these five, then you can go pick up some others if you like.

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I have been terrible about posting (note last post in March). So, If I’m not going to be posting 23 Things stuff (soon, sooooon) I’ll post some other stuff. I have been on a personal mission to decrease debt, increase savings, and save money where ever I can. So here’s some goodies I’ve discovered:

AAA & DirecTV-

If you are a AAA of Northern New England member, you get $10/month off of your DirecTV bill for 2 years. So, if you have these things and are not using them together, get on it. Also, a AAA membership costs $50/year, but will save you $240 over two years. I asked DirecTV if you needed to renew your membership in AAA to get eh 2nd years benefits and they said no, they don’t really check it, and the discount applies for when you asked for it without contingency. That’s math I can get down with.

DirecTV and my House –

Because we cashed in on a super good deal, we switched to DirecTV and are now paying half what we were with DishNetwork. Plus they give you $20 rebate just for signing up for paperless billing and auto debits. Plus we now have promo cards that get us and whoever uses them $50 buck plus all their free install stuff. Plus, it would appear that their basic package is better and cheaper than DishNetwork’s. So, for all you TV junkies who feel rediculous spending what you spend on it, let me know, I’ve got promo codes at least. And if you wait till they do another $23/mo. off for one year promo, you too could be paying under $30/mo. for Project Runway and Golden Girls Reruns! Finally, and this has not been confirmed by anyone yet, but our installer said that they are so competitive, they will buy out your contract with another service if you call them up using the promo card and say roughly, “I would love to switch, but I’m locked in a contract with so and so, is there anything you all can do to get me out of it so I can enjoy your service.” Please, if you try this, let me know if it actually flies. It can’t hurt to ask.

LiveSearch by MSN –

Evidently Microsoft is getting so competitive in search, they will pay you to do comparison shopping on their LiveSearch site. Also, in my humble opinion, it’s a better set up for comparison shopping than the Google and Yahoo equivalents. Mind you, I haven’t taken advantage of this because I keep forgetting, but I’ve read in other people’s blogs that it works.

RetailMeNot –

This is the most awesome thing ever. RetailMeNot is a social networking site for money saving coupon codes. Seriously. But you don’t have to join the network to use it. You just search for a store and members will load up any coupon codes they get on their catalogs, in mailings, via email, and you can try to use them. In my experience, the coupon codes work about 75% of the time, which is pretty good. Also, if you are a Firefox devotee, you can install their RetailMeNot Add-On and whenever you are on a site that RetailMeNot has coupon codes for, it will tell you right in the browser so you don’t have to remember to go to the site. I got that little piece of information on LifeHacker Top 10: Top 10 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money and there are other widgets you can get, check out #3.

High Yield Online Savings Accounts-

I compared a bunch of these by Googleing the above phrase. It came down to ING Direct and HSBC Direct. ING Direct gives you a steady 3.00% interest rate and if you go through the right avenues, $25.00 to seed the account. The reference code I have for that benefit came from a mailing and is D284U…let me know if it works for you! If not, you can also click through from my favorite financial blog, I’ve Paid for this Twice Already… Her links say with a min. dep. of $250, my mailing didn’t. You let me know. I ultimately didn’t go with this because HSBC is offering a limited 3.50% APY that they keep extending (Now till 9/15) with no minimum to open. Either way, compare those rates to your banks savings accounts. It’s a no brainer.

Online Surveys for Cash –

Firstly, if you don’t spend a lot of time on the internet, don’t bother. If you don’t like taking surveys, hide from the census taker, hang up on telephone surveyors, don’t bother. But, if you like the prospect of making a little bit of extra cash for very little actual work, this might be worth a try. I started out on the Paid Twice blog post about her experience with surveys for this too, and then gathered some others. I have the money from these deposit into my HSBC account and just earn me a little more. So far I’ve made $50 that I didn’t have before! Here’s my breakdown of the one’s I like:

  • MySurvey – I haven’t cashed in on this yet, but the surveys are short and the extra winning possibilities are generous. It’s a low impact engagement. If your interested, let me know and I’ll happily send you a referral, especially since I get extra points for referrals! I may get a button I can put on this website that you can click through, but for now I’ll have to email the referral to you.
  • Opinion Outpost – I’ve cashed out from these folks, and I qualify into a lot of their surveys. These are a little longer, but generally I find not too long. Again, if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll shoot you a referral.
  • Lightspeed Panel – Their surveys are fun, and sometimes you get to participate in product trials that crack me up. There is no referral program that I benefit from, so if you’re interested, go right through the link.
  • Vindale Research – This is a get paid to try out stuff, some free, some not. I like to try out new products and services, so this is a winner for me. Click through the link if you’re interested and I’ll get referral credit.

That’s probably plenty for now. I am a member of a bunch of others, and if you really want to know about all of them, just say the word. These are my favorites.

Cheapest Gas –

My fellas mom pointed this one out to us. MSN Autos Local Gas Price Finder will give you the cheapest to most expensive gas in your area so you can always get the best deal on gas. If finds it by zip code and is extremely accurate.

Okay, I’ve run out of steam. The point is that I like to save money, I actively hunt for this kind of stuff. Don’t say I never gave you anything!