Friday, November 4, 2011

{Money Smarts} Generating Random Income, Part I

Up until about a month ago, I had a work-at-home job working for the company I started with right out of college. I was in-office until I had Grace, and then they kept me on to work from home, but it started getting more demanding than my mommy schedule would allow. Steve and I also decided that if I was going to really do the whole writing-a-novel thing, I needed to free up some time. So after 5 years, I gave notice, and here we are.

Now that I don't have my little paycheck every month, I'm looking for new, easy ways to generate a little income where I can. It's not steady, but every little bit helps, right?

3 Ways I Generate Random Income

At the beginning of the month I sent an email survey to a few people who had offered to share their money knowledge (and okay, a few who didn't offer, but I wanted to know anyway). At the end of the survey was an open question where I just asked people to share their favorite money-related tips, whatever they may be, and one of the things my clever friend Nicole wrote was:
Play contests! It sounds silly, but I win stuff all of the time. I won a year's supply of Tide and Bounce during medical school! It was an online game on the site. I did it every day for a month- took 3 seconds a day. Totally worth it. People say they aren't lucky, but they usually never enter anything. In the last week, I won lotion, hairspray, and a nail polish (from
Couldn't hurt, right? So I decided to add that to my list.

1. Play Contests. I started simple: just chose three contests of things I actually wanted (no need for a year supply of meatballs over here), added their links to a bookmark folder titled "Sweepstakes", and then just clicked through and entered every day. It really did take only a few minutes. After only three days of this, I clicked submit on one of my chosen contests and VOILA!

That's an actual screenshot, so you know I'm legit. Free full-size mascara! Pretty sweet, right?

2. Cash Back for Online Shopping. A couple months ago I started using Ebates and ShopAtHome, websites that give you a % rebate when you buy online after clicking through their sites. I thought they were kind of sketchy at first, but I just got my first cashback check from Ebates for a little over $7. Not much, but its money I already spent, and enough for a FroYo date. :) You just go to their site and click through to whichever store you want--I have bought from Barnes & Noble, Crocs, and plane tickets through Only downside is they don't give cashback at Amazon. (Um disclaimer, if you sign up through my links I may get a referral credit IF you buy something, so if you don't want that to happen, just google the site.)

  • Shop At Home is doing a $5 referral sign-up incentive right now, where you & your referrer get $5 when you sign up, so if you use my link you get $5.
  • Ebates doesn't have an incentive running right now, but sometimes they do sign-up giftcards, so you could wait for that unless you're planning some big online shopping sprees for Cyber Monday.

3. Consumer Surveys @ Pinecone Research. I did a dumb survey site called MyPoints for a while. Don't do it, it is more work than its worth. I did some research and finally found a legitimate company called Pinecone Research. They only send you 1-2 product surveys a month, and you get $3 per survey loaded onto a little debit card. Usually it is about new product on the market. They ask what you think of an advertisement, and sometimes even send you some of the product (things like soap, diapers, TP, etc.) to try. If that happens, you get another $3 after you review the item, and you get to keep the rest of the stuff. They don't accept new people very often, but they are accepting new people right now.

If you want to sign up, I would be happy to send you the registration link. I do NOT get anything if you sign up for this, but I really like doing it. I just used my earnings since summertime to buy baby boy some winter clothes. :)

What do YOU do to get "random" income?

1 comment:

Brittany Lentz said...

Hey Jamie I'd be interested in the Pinecone Research thing. Could you send me a link? Thanks! Great post by the way!