Do you have a budget? Do you know what you are spending on various good or services every month? If you don’t you should. The best way to cut something is to know how much it cost in the first place. One of my personal goals is to reduce my spending by 2000- 3000 dollars a year. It’s lofty, but achievable. Not all of it has to come from cutting either, earning extra cash is always good. That is why I have gathered this list of things you can do to cut your spending and earn a little extra as well:
- Groceries- One of the biggest bills any household has is food. I found a 6% cash back credit card that can really add up. If you spend 500 dollars a month, that card would save you around 300 dollars a year in cash back savings. Coupons are another place where savings are plentiful. If you managed to save 8 dollars a week by clipped or printing coupons that woulds be an annual savings of 400 dollars.
- Dining Out- This is often the first place we cut. If you brown bagged your lunch twice a week for the entire year you would save 300-500 dollars. You also might want to consider cutting out soft drinks. Most work places have a cooler. If you drank water with your lunch instead of soda you would not only save calories, you would also save around 200 bucks annually.
- Groupon – A nice three day vacation or dinner reservation can be found on Groupon for 30-80% discounts. The site offers so many different categories that you can really take advantage of the savings offered.
- Ebay – We all have a lot off stuff, too much stuff. If you don’t really use it or want it that stuff isn’t really doing you any good. Recently I sold some old video games on E-bay for 56 dollars. I have a few auctions going right now and if all goes well I could net 200 from all of these sales. I’m sure many of you could do the same.
- Gift Cards - Buying second hand gift cards is a quick and easy way to save 10-20% at your favorite stores and restaurants.
- Gas – A 5% cash back card is a great place to start and taking advantage of your local super market gas promotion is a favorite of mine. You can also pay attention to your driving habits. This Summer I noticed that when I drive with the air conditioning on I get 30 miles per gallon and when I drive with the windows down and the AC off I get 35. Those extra miles can really add up over time.
- Online Surveys – Even the busiest of us have a few extra minutes a day for things like online surveys. I am currently trying out 5 different sites and as best I can tell it is quite possible to ear 200-500 dollars a year this way.
- Car Insurance – Last month I set out to reduce my car insurance bill and was surprised at how much money I saved. A few minutes of my time saved me over 600 dollars. Part of this was due to a defensive driving discount, a course that can be done online in the privacy of your own home.
- Deep Discounters – It’s hard to find reputable sites that offer big discounts on quality items, but I found them for you. Place likes beyondtherack.com and the Sierra Trading Post are great places to shop for huge discounts.
- Negotiation – People use to do it all the time, but not so much any more. Negotiating a better price is a crucial tool in saving money. With really no downside it is worth a shot.
With a small amount of effort many of these steps will yield great results. Put them to the test and let me know what you find.
With just about one month completed in my six month online survey experiment and things are progressing fairly well. I have visited each of the five sites several times a week and participated in a large number of surveys. The points and “bucks” are really starting to add up. Here are my totals thus far:
- Swag Bucks- I have earned 841 swag bucks. I have complained in the past that I am kind of a slouch on this site and it still holds true. With more time and a little more effort I am pretty sure I could have between 4000-5000 swag buck by now.
- Global Test Market- I have 230 market points. When I first started I thought this was going to be my go to site. I am offered new surveys 4-6 times a day. Unfortunately I get screened out of most of these surveys. It can be a little frustrating.
- Opinion Place- I have earned 7 dollars at this site. I sign on once a week, they give me a pre-screened survey, and in 15-20 minutes I am done. Nice and Easy.
- Synovate- I have 5700 points here, the cash equivalent of 5 dollars. I like this site, they e-mail my surveys about twice a day. I usually qualify and if I don’t I am still given partial points for trying.
- MySurvey- I have 1410 points here. This site is easy to use and the rewards are very appealing
The last few weeks have been very busy for me. This has prevented me from maximized my return, but I have done fairly well in spite of this. As you can see the “earnings” are starting to pile up. I am still deciding if I will begin renewing my rewards or let them build up and use them all at the end. If I had to guess I would say I have made the cash equivalent of around 30 dollars, not bad.
Well one week out and things are going well. I have done at least one survey on each of the sites and have been awarded whatever points or bucks or credits they have to offer. Here is where I stand with each site:
- Swag Bucks- I have 248 SwagBucks. I really should be doing better here. The site offers you so many opportunities to earn.
- Global Test Market- I have 195 market points. As far as number of surveys offered these guys are far and away the best. I get at least 3 offers a day.
- Opinion Place- Only allows one survey a week. I did it. I made 2 bucks and I guess I will do another this week.
- Synovate- I have 3000 points.I enjoy this site, the layout is good and the surveys are not repetitive. The cash equivalent of 3000 points is 3 dollars.
- Mysurvey- I’ve earned 550 points. This site sends my about 2 surveys a day and is very easy to use.
I’ve had a busy week, so I did not do as much as I would have normally been able to. Still totaled up I think I made about 10 dollars. At this rate I would make 500 dollars a year. I’ll take it.
Like you I’ve seen the ads, I’ve heard the hype about making money from online surveys. When I think about enrolling I am often reminded of the wise old phrase “If it’s too good to be true it often is.” On the other hand what do I really have to lose aside from my time. So to satisfy a curiosity and provide my readers with a first hand account of the experience I have decided to enroll in five online survey sites: Swagbucks, Global Test Market, Opinion Place, Synovate, and MySurvey. I chose this lot based on their reputation, size, and positive reviews. I will enroll in each site and participate at each daily to see which offer the best value and experience. At the end of six months I will provide a full report of my experience and rank each of the five. Continue reading