Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Online Surveys - My experience

Recently, I posted about some things that I had been spending my time on. One of those items is online surveys. I started exploring the possibility of doing online surveys to make a little cash to help our budget shortfalls. My experience has been mixed, but has for the most part been pretty positive. I have found that some survey sites seem to make better sense for me to spend my time on than others and that I won't make a fortune, but can make a little bit here and there. There are many types of survey sites, some reward you with an entry into their latest sweeps, others reward with points that can be cashed in for prizes or money after a certain number have been accumulated and others that just pay cash. There are also sites called GPT sites that have surveys and other offers that you sign up for to earn cash. My experience with the GPT sites have not been very positive and therefore I won't spend time talking about them.

When you sign up for a survey site, they usually have you complete profiles on different subjects so that they can better match you to surveys that you will qualify for. When you are invited to complete a survey, many times there are a few qualifying questions to see if you meet the profile that they are looking for. Sometimes you qualify and sometimes you don't. My favorite site is www.mysurvey.com . They don't send me a ton of surveys, but I seem to qualify for most that they do send. They reward with points that can be redeemed for cash after you accumulate 1000. I started doing online surveys in June and have cashed out with them twice. Their surveys are usually fairly short and so I feel that the time spent is worth it. I also like www.surveyspot.com . A lot of their surveys are rewarded with a chance in their sweeps, but they also have some paying surveys and I have gotten most of my paying surveys from them, including a $20 online focus group participation. When you answer their qualifying questions you get a chance at an instant win, while most groups give you nothing for the qualifying questions. Most survey sites have a minimum cashout balance, meaning that you have to accumulate a certain amount of points or dollars in your account before you can get paid. When I first started looking into doing surveys, I signed up for as many panels as I could find. After doing so, I started looking at what the rewards were and found that a couple had nothing that I wanted and they didn't redeem for cash. I also found that many survey panels used the same survey companies and then you wouldn't qualify because you had already done that or a similar survey. My advice to others is first look over how they payout and if it is in prizes, make sure there are items you would like. There is nothing worse than spending lots of time doing surveys and finding out that the rewards are not worth it. As a rule, I prefer those sites that pay cash and don't really spend time on those that are only for sweeps entries or prizes. My exception to that rule is for surveyspot and NPDOR. I already mentioned survey spot. NPDOR is a site that awards points for surveys and then you can bid on their prize board. I have only done a few surveys with them, but they were interesting and it was kind of fun bidding, even though I haven't won anything yet.

Here is a list of panels that I am somewhat familiar with:

www.mysurvey.com - reward with points that can be cashed in for money or donated to charity.
www.greenfield.com - Athough they pay for some surveys they mostly reward with sweeps. I haven't qualified for many surveys and I have found that a lot of other sites use their surveys and then pay for them. I am probably going to drop this one.
www.globalopinionpanels.com - they reward with points for cash, 5000 minimum cash out. They also give some points for qualifier questions even if you don't qualify for the survey.
www.surveyspot.com - some for instant win chances, some for sweeps entries, some paid. I like this one a lot.
www.zoompanel.com - points for prizes. I dropped this one because they didn't have anything I really wanted.
www.opinionoutpost.com - points for cash. 50 point minimum cashout - 10 points = $1. I have cashed out once since April and I like this one, I don't always qualify, but they pay decent points for those surveys you do qualify for.
www.globaltestmarket.com - points for cash. Points = $.05 ea and you need 1000 to cash in. I haven't cashed in on this one yet.
www.uslightspeedpanel.com - points for cash or prizes. They pay via paypal and I just cashed in my first time. You need at least 575 points. I get quite a few invites from them.
www.pineconeresearch.com - paid surveys. They pay for each survey automatically. I have completed one survey and promptly received a $3 check in the mail. I don't get many invites.
www.npdor.com - points to bid on their prize board.
www.your2cents.com - paid surveys. Registered in June, no invites yet.
www.valuedopinions.com - paid surveys. $20 minimum to cash in. I have $8 total and haven't had any invites since June 22.
www.opinioncentral.com - points for prizes. The prizes, in my opinion, were not worth the effort to receive them. I dropped this one.
www.americanconsumeropinion.com - paid surveys. I haven't qualified for one yet.
www.harrispollonline.com - points for cash, 800 minimum for $5. I haven't had many invites yet.
www.testspin.com - Amazon gift cards. Minimum $10 to cash out. I haven't qualified for much - but will keep trying on this one.
www.clearvoicesurveys.com - cash, mimimum $10 to cash out. I haven't qualified for one yet. They did credit $.25 to my account for screener questions.
www.surveysavvy.com - cash - I have only done one survey so far.

Surveys are an interesting way to earn some extra cash without having to leave home.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Get Smart - Lighthearted end to Tough Week

Yesterday afternoon, 1st Mustang and I had some alone time and so we went to see the new Get Smart movie. Steve Carell, of Office fame, stars as Maxwell Smart and was perfect for the part. Anne Hathaway plays Agent 99 and does a wonderful job as well. It was SO FUNNY! I don't think I have laughed so much at a movie. Get Smart will appeal to most people who like a good comedy. The movie is fairly clean, although there are some sexual innuendo and one bare bottom scene, so it does warrant its PG-13 rating. Seeing this movie was a welcomed, lighthearted end to a tough week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty , and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . .

. . .The Declaration of Independence

I am thankful for the freedoms we have here in the United States of America, but I can't help but wonder how biblical the revolution was. I have not studied the Declaration in depth, but the copied portion, on first glance, appears to be contradictory to the scriptures. I think this calls for a little more study. What do you think?

My Favorite

This little pot was given to me by 1st Mustang's aunt. It came from his grandmother's farm and I love it. This year I potted it up with an ornamental grass, English Daisies, Marigolds and some cute trailing flowers. I am pleased with the result.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Back Yard Birds

Today 1st Mustang and I saw a Spotted Towhee in our backyard and we observed that the Goldfinches have discovered the birdfeeders. I have never seen the Spotted Towhee in our yard before and so it was an exciting discovery! Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it.

The To Do List

I have been trying to work on my productivity this week and so I made a To Do List and tried to keep to it. Here is what was on my list:

Change out the hummingbird feeder food
Add America's Godly Heritage to our Government Lesson Plan
Go Grocery Shopping
Go to Costco
Clean the Downstairs (with the boys help)
Weed Front Flowerbed
Do the invitations for Boy #3s birthday party
Clean the Cobwebs
Mail a Package
View writing lessons and email observations to IEW elist.

Not yet Finished
Go through Boy #2 and Boy #3s grammar books and see where they are on their summer reading.
Make Jello Salad
Make Macaroni Salad
Make Strawberry Pie

I have accomplished alot this week and it feels good! These items were on top of the regular housework, cooking and laundry that gets done during the week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Flowerbeds and Yard Work

One of the things that has captured some of my time and attention lately is our yard. We are slowly trying to fill the flowerbeds and make the yard more appealing to us and the birds and butterflies.

The flowerbed in the above photo was my main project for this year. I have had trouble keeping things alive in this bed as there is an overhang and it doesn't get much water even when it is raining. I am trying to be more diligent with my watering this year. The bed has a Yellow Oriental Lilly of some sort, two daylilly plants, two Penstimon plants, Shasta Daisies and Delphiniums. The blue flower is a delphinium, and the pinkish one is a penstimon. Penstimon are supposed to attract hummingbirds, although I haven't seen any yet. I also have a few marigolds in the front of the bed. There is still room and so I would like to add a couple of taller plants to the back row. All in all, I am happy with how it looks for now.