|Wii Console with Mario Kart Wii Bundle - Black|
And then, last March, I stumbled on a search and earn site called Swagbucks.
After researching it to make sure it wasn't a scam, I signed up. And quickly earned enough points to exchange for a $5 amazon gift card. Hmmmm....turns out one can buy almost anything on Amazon and the gift cards never expire. I did some more research and found a few more sites to sign up for. Before I knew it, I was a member of 7 earning websites. Several of them, I'd signed up for earlier, but hadn't really realized their potential.
So what to save up for with all those Amazon gift cards? A Wii, of course! I couldn't justify spending all that money on something that would hardly be used, but if it was free or nearly free...
By December 2011, I was just $20 short of buying the Wii. Since Hubby's birthday is in early January, I decided to go ahead and buy it so that it would arrive in time for his birthday. Essentially, I paid $20 out of pocket for a brand-new Wii. Not bad. And, if I hadn't used some of my amazon gift cards to buy a $22 book on Amazon earlier in the year, the Wii would've been completely free.
Here's a rundown of how I earned the money for the Wii:
Swagbucks: A search and earn site which also rewards its users for other activities such as watching Swagbucks TV (earn points for watching short videos. Turn it on while you're doing something else on the computer and just hit next every few minutes) , completing special offers (I NEVER do the ones that require a membership or charge money to do, thus keeping the site free), filling out the daily poll, and clicking through the NOSO offers (both found on the left hand bar on the swagbucks site). Install the Swagbucks toolbar and you automatically receive a swagbuck every day you log onto the internet. The toolbar also makes it easier to do a quick search which can earn you more swagbucks. Here's a link to a website that can give you more information on earning swagbucks. Since March, 2011, I've earned $115 in Amazon gift cards. Follow this link to join.
MyPoints: One of the most profitable earning sites I've used. Use their search engine at least 31 times a month to earn an easy 75 points (bonus points for installing their toolbar!). Sign up for their email list and they will send you emails that you click through to earn points (the best way to earn points here). You can also shop at many different websites through MyPoints and earn tons more points. There are videos you can watch and surveys to fill out. You get 10 points if you don't qualify for the survey, 50 if you do. You can also fill out one- question questionaires and special offers on the "Easy Points" tab on the website. Technically, in 2011, I didn't earn any money on MyPoints. However, I was just a few points shy of a $25 gift card to Amazon when 2011 ended and that was since signing up in October. Invites are by email only so send me an email at email@example.com and I'll send you an invite.
Listia: Ok, so this isn't actually an earning website. It's an auction site that uses credits instead of money. You earn credits by auctioning off stuff you don't want anymore on the site and by watching for "Share On Facebook" banners. I then use my credits to buy Amazon gift cards. I didn't start buying Amazon gift cards on Listia until late in 2011, using my credits to buy clothes for my kids instead, but I did manage to buy $19 worth of Amazon gift cards once I decided to put my credits toward buying the Wii. You can sign up with this link.
Instant Cash Sweepstakes: This one isn't exactly a cash cow, but I did earn $9.62 since late 2011. You fill out 3-question surveys several times a day to earn a few cents, tickets, and coins. The actual money you earn will be deposited directly into your Paypal account when you are ready to cash out. The tickets are automatically entered into a daily sweepstakes for $50 (still waiting to win this!). The coins can be saved until you're ready to enter then into the $2 drawing that takes place every 4 hours. I did win this one once. You can sign up with this link.
Paid Viewpoint: This is an offshoot website of Instant Cash Sweepstakes, but it pays more. You are sent an email every time there's a short survey ready for you to fill out and you earn money every time you complete a survey (the good news is that you're prequalified for the survey when you receive the email). I didn't sign up for this site until November, but earned $12.71 which can be directly deposited into my Paypal account as soon as I reach $15.00 in earnings. You can sign up with this link.
Ebates: This is a paid to shop site. You log onto Ebates, find the website you are planning to shop on and click through from the Ebates site. You then earn anywhere from 1-12.5% cash back on your purchases. Ebates periodically sends you a check or deposits your earnings in your Paypal account. In 2011, I earned $51.73 just from shopping through their website for online purchases I was going to make anyways. Definitely an easy way to earn money. You can sign up with this link.
Edited on 6-1-12!
Bing Rewards: This is the Bing search engine which I already use a lot, but with rewards! Every two searches gets you a point and they can add up pretty quickly. There are also tasks almost every day that show up in the little click down menu on the right side of the screen under your name. Just click on the tasks and get credited the points. I signed up for this one in May, 2012 and have earned over $10 in Amazon gift cards already. You can sign up with this link.
Edited on 12-31-12!
Recyclebank: This site has lots of "green" living tips. Make a pledge everyday to do something to go more green and earn 5 points. You can also earn points by completing special actions, reading online articles, and more. The site is completely free as long as you don't do any of the special actions that require you to buy something (which I don't!). You can earn gift cards to various stores, magazine subscriptions, and a lot of other fun things on this site. I became a member in October and have already earned 3 free magazine subscriptions, a $5 Amazon gift card, and am halfway to earning a $10 Walmart gift card. You can sign up with this link.