You know those commercials for online survey panels that supposedly compensate you in massive amounts of cash? Yeah, those are probably scams. But when you're working well above full time hours between 2 jobs and still strapped for cash, you have to start getting creative. Through a slightly risky process of trial and error, I scrounged all corners of the web for some legitimate survey sites.
Online surveys seem like a real simple way to scam you for your information and rip you off. If you're cautious and educated, I've found that this is simply not the case. In face, legitimate survey sites will never ask you for more than your zip code. Furthermore, legitimate surveys always offer the option to refuse any question at any time.
But the best part of online surveys? The sweet opportunities to try new things and be brutally honest about them. In the past year, I have tried the new flavor of a famous carbonated beverage, tested several name-brand and top-shelf acne creams and lotions, as well as screened several blockbuster movie trailers before they came out. And I got paid for all of it.
There's three basic sites that I use.
SurveySavvy.com typically screens for larger-ticket surveys, and they reimburse in checks with $20-denominations.
ValuedOpinions.com does a variety of tester, opinion, and lifestyle surveys for as little as $0.50 and as much as $35. They pay in credits for popular websites and stores. With their Amazon credits, I managed to pay less than $10 for an entire semester of books last year.
MySurvey.com is like the big sister to Valued Opinions, and works on a points system. After you accumulate a certain threshold of points, you can redeem for various items, charity donations, and restaurant gift cards.