Picking blueberries

Yesterday a Facebook friend was lamenting the gap in her budget.  That underwater feel of not having enough and definitely not having enough for fun stuff.  I offered to give her a few things that have worked for me to earn a little side money without investment or too much extra effort.  Enough other friends asked for the same info that I feel it is worth just writing up here properly not just texting a list of sites.

  1. subscribe to Penny Hoarder.  All my info came from them and there have been dozens that I don’t do because they didn’t fit my life.  The grain of salt for them is that they push out a lot of suggestions and I recommend googling the specific thing you are interested in trying to get more info on it before you do it.
  2. Paribus – absolutely passive service that is great if you order from Amazon or Walmart or a few other online sites.  It keeps track of shipping guarantees and sends a note on your behalf when things deliver late.  I’ve gotten about $40 over the past few months because I tend to get either 5 or 10 dollars in ‘compensation’ each time.  They also do price watch on certain sites and a couple years ago I got $100 when the oven I purchased from Costco.com went on sale a week after I bought it.  If you shop online this is absolutely worth the sign-up.
  3. Usertesting.com  –  This is the best of the bunch for the online ‘survey’ stuff.  They pay 10 a completed job and each job is about 20 min on the computer.  You more or less beta test a website and they record your voice and screen and you think/talk your way through it.  The catch is you need to qualify for each job and they take limited numbers so if you have time to watch it and jump on the ones with broad qualifications, or, are in a few niche categories (usually specific business software testing) you might not find much you can do.  During the phase I was checking daily I usually got 1 or 2 a day.  The best part is they auto-pay to PayPal a week after the completed test.  No requesting, no minimum, just bam – money in PayPal.  I think I’ve earned over $100 in the few months I kept track of it.
  4. JobSpotter – this is a phone app and they want you to take pictures of help wanted signs in real life.  This is a good app if you are out and about because it is just 30 seconds to enter a sign.  The downside is the pay is very low, between .10 and .75 per but it does add up.  I view it as a game to see what my high score picture might be.  So far my top is an adult store that had ‘help wanted’ written in paint on their window.  They prefer unique location jobs that are probably not already on a big website but they still pay .10 for a McDonalds sign.  You also are earning toward a gift card not cash but they have Amazon and plenty of things I would like.  I don’t super go out of my way for .25 but I view it as picking up change from the ground.
  5. Shopkick – another phone app and another one that works with my life because they pay (pennies) when you go to a store they are affiliated with.  If you just open the app in the store you get the points/pennies.  If you have time white shopping there are always ‘scans’ you can do – find the product they want and take a picture of it. Occasionally there is a question about where the item was but that is pretty rare.  You can also get a big point bonus if you actually buy the thing you scan.  Every so often I was planning on getting that thing anyway so I buy the brand they want and get a dollar by submitting my receipt.  The app is easy to use and you can be very passive or do all the things.  You are also working toward gift cards and I’ve made this one my starbucks card, I’ve collected 4 or 5 fancy coffees over time,
  6. Walmart savings catcher.  I use the website version but there is also an app.  You just enter the receipt number and date within a week of shopping and they give the money back if the same item is advertised lower by a competitor.  Honestly I forgot about this one for years and just started back on it so my yield is about .36 right now but I do shop there and I know sometimes I’m passing up a sale at a different store because I just don’t have time to store hop so this makes me feel like I’m getting some of that back.
  7. Rewards points with Chase – my credit card makes it easy to earn points on purchases but this is a risky thing if you don’t pay off your card monthly.  I hate paying interest so I use my credit card as a debit card and don’t spend more than I have but if that isn’t your way don’t depend on this!  If you can pay off monthly, I suggest digging into the system because often they have bonus points if you use their shopping portal.  It is an extra step to log into chase, then go to the rewards page and click the site I was planning on shopping with.  I find it easier to shop the site and fill the cart and just before checkout go log in through chase. The biggest bang for the buck is using the Chase portal for a Groupon.

I’ve tried others and but these are my consistent winners because they work for me in the life I lead already.  I’m out and about, I do the shopping for the family, I shop online, and I have a decent phone, internet, and computer to make it all work.  I’ve had poor luck with the reselling stuff sites but maybe you have more or better stuff?  I listed more or less in the order I think they are worth doing with chase at the bottom because even though I get a good amount from them, you HAVE to pay your credit card in full every month to have it be worth it.  I hope some or at least one helps out!


ps. If you are wondering about the title it is from my favorite economics teacher who had a famous story about the year he picked blueberries for cash and it just stuck with me with the lesson that sometimes you just pick the little berry because it adds up.

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One response to “Picking blueberries”

  1. Brenda says :

    Thank you for this one.


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