Earning Points to get FREE Stuff Online

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a LONG time.  When I got introduced to the world of coupons and CVS, I also started learning about websites where you could earn money/gift cards by completing surveys or clicking on emails.  I’ve been doing this since January and feel like I have enough experience now to share some sites that are worthwhile, and also share what I’ve learned (the good and the bad!).  First, a list of sites I recommend if you’re interested in trying this out for yourself:

  • MyPoints:  This is by far my favorite point-earning site.  There are a variety of ways to earn points on MyPoints.  First is email click-thrus; you receive an email, click on the link to the partner site, earn 5 points.  Second, you can earn points when you sign up for offers w/ MyPoints partners.  Third, you can earn points (per dollar) when you shop online w/ any of the merchants partnered w/ MyPoints (there are many!!).  Fourth, you can earn points when you are invited to complete a survey (10 points if you click but don’t qualify, 50 points or more if you complete the survey).  Fifth, you can earn points for printing and redeeming coupons from MyPoints (partnered w/ coupons.com).  Finally, there are LOTS of other point earning opportunities on the website, that I won’t even get into.  I’ve been using MyPoints since January and am near cashing out my third $10 gift card.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but the only methods of point-earning I have used so far are the email click-thru’s, surveys, and coupons.  It doesn’t take a lot of my time and the points add up fairly quickly.  If you like to shop online, MyPoints is definitely worth checking out.  They are partnered w/ so many online retailers, if you’re going to shop online you may as well earn points and get some money back.  The thing I like most is that there are so many different ways to earn points, especially without having to spend money or sign up for anything.
  • Lightspeed Panel:   This is a survey site, and probably my favorite of the few I participate in.  They send surveys fairly often and the point system seems very well-matched to the amount of time each survey requires.  I do the surveys when I find the time.  Unfortunately, this means I do miss out on some of them, as they do expire after a certain amount of time or # of participants.  But, I have earned a $20 Chili’s gift card that my hubby and I used for a cheap date night!
  • Ipsos I-Say:   This is another survey site I like.  They don’t send surveys very often, but the point system is pretty fair here as well.  I believe this site is geared towards women only, but I’m not 100% sure.  I have earned enough points to cash out $10 and it looks like they recently changed to paying out by check rather than gift cards, so I will soon be redeeming my points for a check!

Of course, these are not the only sites I have tried.  There are many others, most of them survey sites, that I’ve decided are not worth my time.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned and things to avoid.

  • If you sign up for any points/survey sites you will get a LOT of email.  If you do want to try these out, set up a separate email account just for this purpose.  TRUST me, you do NOT want all of this email in your regular personal inbox.  You will be overwhelmed with clutter.  I have a separate hotmail account that I use for all points/survey sites as well as coupon sites, cooking newsletters, and other various online junk.  I have absolutely NO personal emails going to this account.  I have told no one the address.  That way, if I’m too busy to deal w/ these emails, I can just let them pile up and get back to them whenever I have the time and it doesn’t feel like clutter.
  • Beware of survey sites that give you opportunities to win monthly prizes rather than earning points.  These are a total waste of time.  These sites tend to send LOTS of survey invites and you can spend hours completing them and never get anything to show for it.  Thankfully I figured out pretty early which sites these were and I just click right past their invitations when they show up in my inbox.  Really, I should remove myself from their panels and be done with it.  A project for another day…
  • Always check out the details of how/when sites allow you to redeem your points.  Some are very reasonable, but others make you wait until you reach a fairly high dollar amount before you can cash out.  One example is InboxDollars.  I belong to this site and I do their email click-thrus.  It’s similar to MyPoints, but instead of points you earn money.  You get a whopping 2 cents for clicking on emails.  There are also 50 cent and $1 surveys that come along (not often).  You can also earn dollars by signing up for various partner offers.  Some of them may be of interest, but most are not.  They will not send you a check until you reach $30.  I’ve been clicking on emails since January and have earned a couple dollars on surveys and am only at $19.78.  If I’m lucky, I’ll have that $30 by the end of the year.  I’m sticking with it until I get that $30 and after that, I’m probably going to drop it.
  • Beware of sites that want you to spend money to earn points/money.  I came across several points/survey sites that want you to buy things.  This is obviously counter-productive.  Don’t do it!  One survey site which claimed very high payouts for completing surveys, always had a product you had to purchase to review in the survey.  There was always a significant up-front investment, though you were supposed to get your money back on most of them.  These just screamed DANGER to me, so I avoided them at all costs.
  • Stay away from survey “headhunters”.  There are sites out there, even some that advertise on TV, claiming you can make TONS of money doing online surveys if you sign up with them.  What they do is sign you up with several other survey sites, which have many different methods of paying out or earning points and to keep up with all of them would take all of your time.  It’s not worth it.  You won’t make thousands of dollars doing this.
  • You won’t qualify for everything.  I have one survey site that sends me an invitation, maybe once a week, and I NEVER qualify for their surveys.  They are actually one of the higher paying sites, that pays by check, but their surveys are always so specific that either I don’t meet the qualifications, or my demographic is already filled by the time I click the link.  Another one I’m going to drop out of.  Not worth my time to constantly be told no.
  • Click-thru emails expire, so don’t ignore them too long!  Sometimes I let mine pile up for a week before I get to them and some expire fairly quickly.  MyPoints is really good about putting the “expiration date” in bold at the bottom of each email.  Usually you have at least a week to click and earn your 5 points, but it is possible to miss out if you let it sit too long.

If you think you might be interested in trying this stuff out, just remember to be smart about the sites you choose, set up a separate dedicated email for these sites, and don’t spend tons of time on it.  It can be a time suck if you let it.  I do it when I have a few minutes to spare and it gets me gift cards for stores that I regularly shop at, so I look at it as a small way to get a few extra dollars to spend.  It’s just for fun, not for income.  The fun part was using my $10 CVS card to pay for several deal-making trips and using my $10 Target card to get my daughter’s backpack, lunch bag and several school supplies.  Also that cheap date night w/ hubby, that was fun too!  If you do want to sign up for MyPoints, let me know.  I can send you a referral email (and earn points if you sign up!).  Tee hee!  Gotta take the opportunities when they come, right?  Anyway, I hope this info was useful in case anyone was wondering about these types of websites.

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2 Comments

Filed under Life, Random Thoughts, Saving Money

2 responses to “Earning Points to get FREE Stuff Online

  1. Great write up! You should link it on GBSavers. I love MyPoints! I’ve gotten a lot of gift cards through them. And except for a couple times I haven’t really done much except click the emails.

    Another one I like that you didn’t mention is Pinecone Research. The surveys aren’t too frequent but you get a $3 check a few days after taking each survey. You can’t just join any time though you have to wait until they are accepting new members.

    Every little bit adds up!

  2. ericah78

    Thanks Shelly!
    I’ve had NO luck getting accepted to Pinecone Research. I’ve applied from the link you sent and also when MoneySavingMom put the link up, but never got an email back from them. I guess they don’t like me. 😉

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