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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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I’ve had a lot of emails lately asking for advice on online surveys and if they really work.  So I thought we would turn to an expert.  The following is a guest post from Karen from KouponKaren.  This is the first of a series of posts as she fills us in on what works and what doesn’t!

I know everyone could use some extra cash. You’ve probably heard about how you can make money online taking surveys.  And you wonder is this really possible, right?  Well I’m going to explain to you how you can earn money taking surveys online but you need to be careful too.  The last thing you want is to fill up your inbox with SPAM.

I’ve done the research, I’ve joined the companies and I’ve earned some money.  Now I’m going to tell you about them, but first I want to give you a few pointers before you start signing up with Survey companies.

  1. Never pay to join a survey company or to get a list of survey companies.  All this information is free online.
  2. Open a separate email account just for surveys.  Not because you’ll get SPAM, but this way all the survey invites are in one place and when you have time to take some surveys you’ll be able to sort through them more easily.  You can get free email address’s from yahoo, gmail, hotmail and aol.
  3. Please do not expect to get rich by taking surveys.  This is simply a way to earn some extra cash.  The more time you have the more potential you’ll have to earn.

When you first sign up you’ll need to fill out a profile.  This is very important because they will use this information to help match you with surveys.  Some companies will ask about other members in your household as well.  Again, this will help taylor those surveys to you.  If you have babies, they’ll send you surveys about babies/baby products and the such.  If you have pets, they’ll send you surveys about pets.  You get the idea.  Of course you can choose to leave your family information out.  You also want to update your profile from time to time as things change in your life.

In the profile, you’ll need to give them information about you like where you live, your birthday, place of business and things like that.  Also if you happen to earn a lot with any one company they will require you to give them your social security number for tax purposes.  At that point there’s no way around it, but until then they don’t need it.  But be prepared to give them a lot of information about you, the more information you give the better the programs can work.  Some of it will be required and some will be optional.

Once you join and set up your profile you’ll begin to receive emails when they have a survey that possibly matches with you.  Now I say possibly because what you’ll receive is what I like to call a ‘screener’ email.  The screener will ask you more detailed questions to see if you match that particular survey.  Now don’t get discouraged if you don’t qualify for them.  Most of the time it just may be they’ve already filled their quota with survey takers that are your age, or female or that live in your state.  It’s hard to know.  Sometimes these screener’s will be quick and sometimes they’ll take a little longer.   Some companies will give you credit just for taking the screener survey either with points or an entry into a sweepstakes.  I’ll explain what companies do what as I talk about them.

What can you earn with survey companies?  You can earn cash, gift cards, prizes or entries into big drawings.  Each company does their own thing.  I personally like to get the cash or gift cards!

Personally I’ve earned a nice amount of cash taking surveys.  It does vary per month because I don’t always have time to take the surveys that are sent to me.  As I’ve become busier with my blog I’ve had to put them aside.  Most surveys average out to about 20 minutes and pay on average $2.00 a survey.  I’ve had months where I’ve made about $100 or more.  That’s taking about 3-5 surveys a day, of course I don’t qualify for all of them.  While your sitting watching TV you can breeze through a few.

Those are the basics you need to know to get started but I’d be more than happy to answer any specific questions.  You can leave a comment here, email Jenny or go to my site and contact me through there.  I will read the comments on this post for those of you that have questions.

To get you started, here are 2 of my favorite survey companies and what I think about them.

  1. My Survey – I love My Survey.  They are well organized, the screener surveys are usually quick and I feel they reward you appropriately.  You earn points when taking surveys and the points can then be cashed in for cash (in the form of a check) or prizes.  I’ve always requested a check and usually get it within a few weeks.  100 points equals $1.00 and you can cash in when you have 1000 points or $10.00.  When you don’t qualify for a survey you’ll get 5 points.  It’s not much but it can add up quick.   I like their website, it’s very easy to navigate which is always a plus.  I’ve never had any problems so I haven’t contacted customer service so I don’t know how good that is.  I’ve been a member with My Survey for about 4 years now and love it.  Once you join you can also refer your friends and earn 150 points when they join.  They will send you an email when there is a survey available or you can check your account.
  2. Survey Spot – This was the first survey company I joined way back when.  Survey Spot will send you a lot of emails for surveys, which is nice. But they don’t pay cash for all surveys.  A lot of them will be for entries into drawings.  But I did find that once I started taking a lot of them, then I received more surveys that were for cash.  They probably want to see who is going to actually take them before they send the cash ones. I have read on message boards about people that do win the sweepstakes so they really do pick winners.   The thing with Survey Spot is, if you stop taking the screener surveys, they will stop sending them to you.  That happens to me every now and then when I just get to busy to take surveys but once you log into your account, they start to come again.  If not you can contact customer service and they will help you out.

I’ve probably overwhelmed you with all this information and I’m sorry if I did.  I’ll be back to tell you more about my favorite companies but for now check out these two.  If you are really ambitious you can read my Paid Survey Sites section on my blog.

Disclosure: This is my honest opinion of these companies. My words are my own and I have not been compensated by these companies to say anything about them. However when you join some of them, it does helps support my blog.

About KouponKaren:  Karen is a stay at home mom of 2 girls and a wife to a wonderful Engineer that totally supports her blogging habit.  She blogs at KouponKaren.com about saving money on everyday products and shares her coupon & freebie finds everyday.

    • Anonymous

      check out surveypolice.com for great info and reviews. Surveys are a great way to make extra cash.

    • April

      I have been doing surveys for Pinecone Research for a few months now and love it! You get $3 for each PAID survey. Some surveys they send out are basically just quizzing you to see if you “qualify” for upcoming surveys. I have also recieved products to test and send my opinions back to them. It's exciting for me to get a product in the mail that isn't available to they public! The only downfall with this company is that it is a referral based entry process. Someone you know has to be a member. The member will, at some point, get the opportunity to send a referral email to a friend or family member to join the survey panel. This panel is part of the A.C. Neilson group. Thanks so much for listening to me rammer on!

      • April

        P.S. I get about 2 paid surveys per month. That equals out to be about $72 a year. Not to shabby.

      • April that’s pretty good extra money. Imagine if you did get more surveys each month! Yes Pinecone doesn’t open membership very often but occasionally it’s open to the public and I usually post it on my blog too! ~ Karen @ KouponKaren.com

      • Krystal

        I love Pinecone as well. I get one to two paid surveys a week, and have received products a couple of times from them as well.

        It really seems that a lot of it is based on demographic and SES.

      • Brandi

        FYI if you do a google search for “pinecone banner” you will find a link to register without knowing someone who is a member. This is how I registered, and I get about a survey a week. I have 4 checks waiting to be cashed. It is a quick easy way to earn 3.00 a pop!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thumbs up for mysurvey from me. Have been a member for 4+ years and very easy to use.

      Also, http://www.harrispollonline.com is the other one I’m a member of. Both have pretty good rewards programs – either cash, charitable donation or merchandise.

    • jnurse24

      I use Valued Opinions. I have earned several $20 visa gift cards without much effort. It does take time to add up, but again, the more surveys you do, the more they send.

      • Hi jnurse24 – that is true with some of them, the more you take the more you get. I like Valued Opinions too! I will review that one at some point as well.

    • My health insurance provider gives out $25 gift cards for being one of the first few people in the year to fill out a health assessment. Karen, have you found any other deals like this from service providers?

      • Jessica that's the first time I've heard of a Health Care Company doing that. Not a bad deal since you might of filled it out even without the incentive. I'm going to have to keep my eye out for something like that.

    • BEimers

      I have used Knowledge Networks. I get paid $1 a survey and I would say have made about $200 over the last couple of years.

    • Melanie

      I get gift cards for surveys and have been doing it for like 3 or more years from Lightspeed panel.com. I have gotten $25.00 gift cards to Old Navy, Payless and most recent Cracker Barrel. They offer a lot of different things.

    • esturm1

      I have tried both Survey Spot and My Survey. LOVE My Survey, but HATE Survey Spot. Too often they would tell me I didn't qualify for a survey after I had already spent significant time (10 minutes or so) answering their questions. And like Karen said, a lot of their surveys don't even come with a cash reward, just a sweepstakes.

      • esturm1 – yes that is something that does happen to me time to time too with Survey Spot. But I like that they send so many emails each week because the potential of qualifying is high.

    • stephljones

      Great article….thank you for the honest opinion and information! It helps to have someone with experience to help wade through all the spam and crazy offers out there!

      I haven't worked in 2 years, and hubby lost his job last year… so, this may help us out a lot!

      • Thanks stephjones, glad you liked it. Make sure when you fill out your profiles you also list your husband and they will send you surveys he can take too!

        I hope it helps.

      • Brandi

        I know this is about surveys, but if you are looking to make extra spending money, mystery shopping has worked for me.

        It is a little at a time, but you get paid to do things you do anyway.

        check out http://www.voltion.com/mystery this site has a list of reputable companies to work for.

        email me at heartcoach33@gmail.com and I will send you a list of companies I have done jobs for, if you are interested.

    • Amanda

      My favorite is American Consumer Opinion. I have gotten paid as much as $20 for trying products/surveys. It is nice to get paid for trying products at no cost, except for giving your opinion. I also qualified for a $140 online focus group and am hoping to get picked. This is the most I have seen, but I happy to get paid for trying free products. I have never had problems getting paid by them.

      • Yup Amanda ACOP is on my list of favs!! They are a great company and always pay!!

      • sm

        My favorite too. They are always honest about the survey lengths. The screeners are not long and they always pay.

    • Matt

      I use several Survey Sites. With the survey sites, you won’t qualify for a lot of surveys. Don’t get discouraged. And like it was mentioned before, it’s just some extra spending money. You won’t make enough to live on…even with joining multiple sites.
      Valued Opinions is good. It pays out in gift cards.
      SurveyHead.com is another that pays out with Amazon or Paypal.
      Opinion Outpost pays cash or Amazon. This has been my favorite and the most reliable.

    • Thanks for this post! I have done a couple surveys through SwagBucks, but since many of those surveys are really selling your info to marketing companies I didn't waste much time. I don't mind doing a survey, but not if I have to agree for my info to be shared with companies I don't get to choose.

      I recently joined Nielsen Homescan (they just changed the name) and am still waiting for my scanner and to see how the rewards program works.

      I've heard good things about Pinecone paying reliably but also heard that they have limited opportunities to join, so I plan on jumping on that one.

    • Jessica

      Thanks so much for the advice! My Survey is so user-friendly; I've signed up with other websites and had so much trouble just trying to find my way around that I just gave up….you gave me the confidence to jump back into trying this!

    • amy jones

      I've been a member of the survey sites above & others. I've received several checks since I first started several years ago. For me it's worth it!

    • Ashley Danaila

      Thank you very much for posting this. I was actually one of the ones that emailed you about this.

    • Ashley Danaila

      Thank you very much for posting this. I was actually one of the ones that emailed on the surveys.


    • Sariah

      I'm sort of shocked whenever someone says they like Survey Spot. I got little to no return doing surveys for their company – dozens of daily emails/surveys, few that I actually qualified for and even fewer that I got paid for. In the same amount of time that I made $100 or more with other survey sites, I made $3 (yes, three whole dollars) with Survey Spot. I wouldn't recommend them.

      • Sariah I have heard of others that never really make money with Survey Spot but it's so different for some. I'm glad you have good luck with others.

    • nancy

      I am looking forward on more post of this nature. Jenny you truly watch out for us all. thank you.

    • Angie

      Opinion Outpost has been a good one for me.

    • Kerri

      I tried to sign up at Survey Spot and it tells me my street address is invalid and won't let me complete my registration.

    • I use mysurvey too! I also use opinion out post and treasure trooper. I just got paid by treasure trooper last month.

    • I use mysurvey too! I also use opinion out post and treasure trooper. I just got paid by treasure trooper last month.