Amazon is still running their Amazon Cash promo. As the name suggests, it's a way for you to turn cash into Amazon credit at over 30,000 participating retail locations. While that might seem counter intuitive to some, I know there are people out there like yours truly who tend to spend cash in my pocket far faster than if I put it in the bank or have it as store credit.
Since people love free money, they're offering $5 in free Amazon credit to new users when you add $20 to your account thru 3/31/21! Simply generate a barcode by clicking the “Get Your Barcode” near the top left. Then either print it out or send it to your phone via text and visit a participating merchant like CVS, Gamestop, 7-Eleven or a dozen more stores. You'll then pay $20 in cash and have the store scan your barcode, which will give you $25 Amazon credit!
If you register for a new Hilton Honors reward account, you'll get a free $5 Amazon gift card! After enrolling, your freebie will be delivered via e-mail from [email protected] in 6 weeks. If you don't get a confirmation message promising a gift card after submitting your address, then this offer has probably died.
Pinecone Research is the online survey branch of Nielsen Holdings Company, which not only owns the National Consumer Panel that many Hiffers have joined, but who also have an A+ BBB rating. With Pinecone, consumers earn $3 via points for every survey they complete! In some cases, members can earn even more by completing product tests. However, the surveys are their main method of earning.
Pinecone Research can actually be hard to join, as they open and close registration based on their needs. Once in though, it's a great platform to earn a little free money throughout the year. Most surveys pay in the $3-$6 range
They also have a product testing service with many opportunities to try products that haven't even hit the market yet. These unreleased products are typically in their final stages of development, so you get to keep the product forever AND earn money just by answering a few questions.
One impressive factor about Pinecone Research is their payout options. Since the Nielsen Company owns them, Pinecone also has access to their paid trials, surveys, polls, and sweepstakes entries. Sweep prizes are paid out either quarterly or bi-weekly, with the quarterly prize at $4500 and the bi-weekly prize at $500. Both are sent out as checks made payable to the winners, so they're literally free money!
Aside from contest, members can withdraw cash starting at only $3! Snail mailed checks are sent in quantities of $3, $5, or $15 or you can redeem $15 through PayPal. If you opt to cash out through PayPal, you'll receive your pay in three to five business days. For those who choose to receive a check, you'll receive your compensation in seven business days or less.
Their crazy low payout threshold, along with their BBB rating and exclusivity earns Pinecone Research a rating. It's hard not to love a site where you earn free money! Make your voice heard today and take advantage of learning about new products before they hit stores while you make money with Pinecone Research.
I gotta admit, this is a better system than my current method of coin disposal. I save quarters for laundry, dimes for sugary snacks at midnight, nickels just kinda get lost all over the place, and pennies are thrown out my window at cars honking before sunrise.
ReceiptPal is a cool rewards app for both Android and iPhone that lets you turn your receipts into gift cards and cash prizes. My favorite feature is that ReceiptPal lets you earn points on almost every type of purchase!
Unlike Ibotta, where you can only earn cash back at participating stores, ReceiptPal works with virtually every place that gives you a receipt! For instance, I ordered a pizza last night from a local mom and pop restaurant. However, ReceiptPal doesn't mind that they're not a chain pizzeria and allowed me to earn points!
With their super simple app, you earn points through a variety of ways, including:
Snapping photos of your paper receipts.
Connecting your email to automatically credit e-receipts mailed to you.
Connecting your Amazon account to automatically credit any purchase with the online retailer!
As you earn points, you'll be automatically entered into their weekly sweepstakes for cash prizes. Once you have enough points, you'll also be able to cash them out for gift cards for Amazon or other local retailers.
What qualifies as a valid receipt?
Receipts are those where you or a household member were involved in the purchase.
Receipts can be from any retailer/store for consumer goods purchases of all types such as convenience stores, travel and entertainment, restaurants, grocery stores, clothing stores, sporting goods stores, electronics stores, gas stations, car dealerships, online retailers, etc.
Receipts must include the store name, purchase date, total amount spent and either phone number or zip code of the store (the entire receipt must be in the photo).
In my experience using the app lately, points are added to your account almost instantaneously. I've also found myself asking for receipts for small purchases, like a single soda at the deli, simply because it gets me one step closer to a free gift card.
So if you've ever wondered how you could get paid to upload receipts, then you should definitely check out ReceiptPal on either Android and Apple!
PayPal is offering $5 off a $10 purchase at Subway to the first 50,000 customers using this promo before May 30, 2019.
All you have to do is click on “Use Offer” to save the deal to your PayPal Wallet. Then shop through the Subway app and pay for your order with PayPal at checkout. Your $5 discount will then be automatically applied to your purchase. Please note, your discount will not be displayed when checking out in app, but will be applied automatically to your qualifying purchase as long as you have successfully loaded the offer to your PayPal account. You can verify this by checking your PayPal “Wallet” section after you've clicked “Save Offer.”
The promo didn't start until today, so I'd imagine this will be available for at least another few days. I don't see it lasting until May 30 though.
Who remembers the Equifax hack from 2017? You know, the one where 145 MILLION Americans had their private information stolen by hackers. Why? EQUIFAX HAD A MUSIC COMPOSITION MAJOR IN CHARGE OF SECURITY! I can't even….
If the hack slid under your radar last year, I'll let John Oliver catch you up. Each progressive revelation should make you that much more enraged over the whole situation.
One of the only ways to prevent getting your credit history tied up in the next hack is to put a credit Freeze and Thaw on your accounts. Previously, in order to do this, many states allowed the Big Three credit agencies to charge a fee for this and boy did they! $10 here, $15 there and before you knew it you could be flushing good money down the drain just to keep your credit safe.
However, as of September 21, 2018, credit freezes and thaws are 100% free nationwide. What's a credit freeze? It's a (now free) security measure that restricts access to your credit report, which means if hackers did get your personal information, they wouldn't be able to open an account under your name.
I personally suggest applying a free credit freeze with all three agencies. You can lift (AKA thaw) the freeze at any point, like when opening a new credit card. Once you have your new account, you can re-freeze your credit – all for free now!
PayPal members (so basically everybody) can get a free 2 year ShopRunner membership. For those new to the neighborhood, ShopRunner gives you free 2-day shipping at over 100+ participating stores, such as Bloomingdales, NFL.com, Staples, and 1-800-Flowers. An annual membership normally costs $79, so this freebie is valued at $158.
If, for some reason the link above doesn't work, then here's afree 1 year ShopRunner subscription link that has worked for years.
If you're unfamiliar, ShopRunner provides 2-day shipping (similar to Amazon Prime) to over 140+ major stores.
Also, you're welcome for me avoiding the painful “I never run to shop!” joke.
Original ShopRunner Review
We're 40 days away from Christmas. Yep, you read that correctly. I'm going to highlight a few services and websites over the coming weeks that might make your life easier during the holidays (and beyond), but remember that there are tens of thousands of Hiffers out there. Every service isn't going to be best for you, so I'm only focusing on ones that I use or ones that I think most people would find helpful.
You've probably heard of Amazon Prime. For $79, you can get free two-day shipping on pretty much every Amazon purchase. It's awesome. The problem is when you go to buy something on another site, you're back to paying $6 for shipping that takes a week if you're lucky. And we haven't even got to potential return fees!
Enter ShopRunner is a yearly $79 membership site in the mold of Prime. But instead of being available for just one store, it's works on over 150 participating stores (with dozens more on the way) that have banded together to offer free two-day shipping. A membership gets you free shipping from NewEgg, Toys and Baby-R-Us, MLB and NFL.com, American Eagle, PetSmart and tons more. Even better, you get free shipping on any returns as well. Because, let's be honest, we all occasionally make a regrettable 2am drunk purchase.
Aside from the free shipping for yourself, you can also designate up to four fellow household family members to share your account. And if you need to return something, you get free return shipping as well.
Is this for you? I don't know. I have no idea what your online shopping habits are. However, if you and your family shop even a handful of times online at participating stores, you'll make your money back through saved shipping costs rather quickly. In fact, ShopRunner is so confident you'll love them, they're giving people a free 30 day trial with no strings attached. If you like the service, you can keep it past the trial. If not, you are free to cancel it.
So if you do as much online shopping as myself, give ShopRunner a shot and see how awesome they are.
Lowest payout threshold means you get your 💵 quicker!
Nielsen backed, therefore more offers & trials.
In 2005, when HIF was only a figment of my imagination, I was heavily into the “make money online for free” scene. It's actually what I considered making HIF about until I got into freebies!
Most of the offers involved paying a little money and getting little more back via a check in 10-18 weeks. There were scams and you had to stay on top of things, but if you were diligent and read the fine print, it was a cool little world where you could make some side money.
One of the popular methods were survey sites. They paid less than the big offers, but you could make a quick buck today versus waiting 18 weeks for a bigger check.
Flash forward to earlier this summer. I heard the term beermoney and began looking into it. Turns out, that's what the free money online scene had evolved into! As in you won't get rich, but you'll earn a little extra beer money. 😄 🍺
As I read more about beermoney, I started recognizing names from 15 years ago. With times still tough for so many, I figured why not put together a list of the best survey sites that legitimately pay out in 2021.
There are 3 simple rules when it comes to the best survey sites.
Important Survey Rules!
Use a new email for surveys only.
Don't give out your personal phone number.
If it's too good to be true…
If you follow these rules, you're golden!
For starters, make a new email account and only use it for survey sites. I prefer Gmail, but any free email service will work. The goal is making sure your personal or work email doesn't get slammed with survey offers.
Next, you'll want to get a free Google Voice phone number. This way if a legit survey company is ever acquired by a shaddy company, they can't sell your phone number to spammers!
Last, if it sounds too good to be true, then I promise it is. Make sure not to waste your time on any site that promises big, huge paydays. I participated on these sites during my downtime – watching TV at night, waiting for my girlfriend to get ready, sitting on the subway, etc.
Over the course of a month, casually taking surveys, I made enough to buy a few rounds at the bar this weekend. I could have made a little more if I spent less time watching The Expanse!
Key Survey Tips I've Learned
On top of those Rules, I picked up two key tips to maximizing my time and keeping my sanity on beermoney sites.
You can always give fake info or choose not answer.
Shop around – different sites want different people!
Always remember you can give fake info or select the “don't want to answer” option. There's no law against telling somebody on the Internet that you're Bob T. Bobbertson III from Tucson, AZ, a 90 year old Southern Baptist worth a million bucks. Perhaps while answering some questions, Mr. Bobbertson's eyes frequently slip to the screen as the Mariners continue their date with destiny. Who knows what he might have clicked!
Though be warned – the more inconsistent answers you give, the less surveys you may qualify for. That's why I always pick the “choose not to answer” option if I don't feel like giving away my personal info.
Finally, shop around! Each of these sites are running surveys or studies for specific brands or products. That means one site might want a single guy taking their surveys while another wants married moms. After joining multiple sites, you'll quickly notice which sites are giving you the most opportunities.
Armed with these tips, you can make money during your free time starting today!
Stuck Signing Up?
Some signup processes make it seem like there's nothing more to do after you join. Simply go back to the homepage and log-in with the account you just created. You'll then find the main user area!
3 Best Survey Sites
Without further ado, let's get to the best survey sites!
Inbox Dollars is a platform run by Cotter Web Enterprises, a company with an A+ BBB rating. They pays users cash for participating in polls, taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and reading emails. They're not only one of the oldest sites on this list (up there with HIF in total age!), but they're also routinely rated as one of the top survey sites.
One reason users tend to love InboxDollars is the more you use their features, the more opportunities you're given to make money. For example, those who read the paid emails every day will continue to regularly receive them. However, if you don't read the emails or delete them without opening, InboxDollars will skip days and email you less. However, if surveys are your jam and you keep taking them, InboxDollars will start offering you more of them. They basically let you choose how you want to earn money.
Hands down one of the best bonuses offered on this list is InboxDollars gives all new users $5! Seriously, just for joining, you get $5 added to your account.
Payout for offers range from $.50 all the way up to $50. Most emailed offers are super easy to complete, though the higher paying offers tend to take at least 5 minutes. There are also high-paying offers that require you to sign up for other products or trials, but I personally skip all of them. My research shows those offers typically are approved within two days.
One wrinkle is their high minimum threshold required to cash out, which is $30. They also don't offer PayPal, but they do allow for Prepaid Visa cards (which have no fee) or you can get a physical check via snail mail with a $3 processing fee.
InboxDollars ultimately is an excellent platform for making a little extra money on the side. I give it based on their longevity, BBB rating, awesome signup bonus, amount of offers, and ease of use! If their payout methods weren't stuck in 2002, I'd bump them up to 5 stars.
Swagbucks is another tremendous money-making option run by Prodege, an A rated BBB company. Not only that, but I've written about Swagbucks frequently and many Hiffers have been earning rewards with them for over a decade!
Swagbucks' two biggest perks are their numerous ways to earn rewards and money along with their extensive history of paying out rewards. In September 2017, they hit a milestone of paying back $200 million to their users!
Let's talk about Ibotta for a minute, shall we? To me it sounds like one of those pills you'd see a commercial for with people sitting in outdoor bathtubs. “Don't take Ibotta if you're pregnant, have an upset stomach, or handled rabbit fur within the past 5 days. Common side effects include drowsiness, diarrhea, and an unpleasant conversation with your roommate one day.”
But in reality it's a pretty cool app for your Android, iPhone, or other iOS supported device that pays you to shop for groceries. You can think of it as a new form of coupons. After downloading it and registering, you can see a list of products that, if you purchase, will earn you money on the same scale of a coupon.
So take the image below for example. If I purchase Capri Sun, I can earn $1.00. If I purchase Kool-Aid Singles, I can earn another dollar.
As you can see, it's honestly free money if you're already buying these items. And it's not just food. I have $0.50 for Chap Stick, $1.50 for Tresemme shampoo, $1.25 for Colgate toothpaste, and a bunch more.
So, any Hiffers out there already using Ibotta? What do ya think?!
Here's yet another installment “hey, I should take that old post I made and polish it up!” Today is the list of customer reward and loyalty programs that you might not be aware of. Everybody know their local grocery store offers a rewards program, but did you know that many other stores where you might make everyday purchases offer them as well? Below I've compiled a list of such programs and there were quite a few I didn't even know about. (I can't tell you how many movie ticket's I've bought over the past few years – wish I'd known about Regal's program earlier!)
ACE Hardware (ACE Rewards) – Earn 10 points for every $1 you spend and once you get 2,500 points, you get a $5 reward. You also get 1,000 free bonus points on your first purchase so you basically have to spend $150 the first time around before getting a reward. If you are a DIY person, spending that much on home improvements isn't hard as I learned first hand while trying to repair my mom's fence. I think I ended up just breaking it more.
AMC Theaters (AMC MovieWatcher) – You earn two points for every ticket you buy and can get up to four point per visit. Cash the points in for free popcorn (10 points) or movie tickets (30 points).
AutoZone (Rewards) – Spend $20 in-store and you earn one credit. If you then earn five credits within six months, you'll receive $20 AutoZone store credit.
Best Buy (Reward Zone) – For every $250 you spend, you'll get a $5 gift certificate as well as special offers during your birthday month.
CVS Pharmacy (ExtraCare) – Earn 2% back with every purchase in-store and online, plus earn 1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions purchased.
Dick's Sporting Goods (Score Card) – Earn one ScoreCard Rewards point for every $1 you spend in store or online. Once you accumulate 300 points, you'll earn a $10 reward.
Dunkin' Donuts (Dunkin' Perks) – Use the promo code DDPERKSCoffee and receive a coupon in the mail for a free medium coffee.
Eddie Bauer (Friends) – Earn 10 points per every $1 spent and once you hit 1,750 points ($175 spent), you'll get a free $10 gift card. Thanks to Barb for pointing this out!
Hallmark (Hallmark Gold Crown) – 1 point is earned for every $1 spent plus you get bonus points for every card you buy. Points can then be used to earn discounts and coupons.
JC Penny (JCP Rewards) – Register online with any credit or debit card and you'll automatically earn points when you use them to make a purchase. Every dollar spent earns 1 point and you need 250 points to get a $10 gift card. But watch out, points don't roll over month to month, which stinks if you ask me.
Office Depot (Worklife Reward) – They offer 10% back on ink, toner, paper & design, and printing / shipping services. Everything else earns 1% back.
PETCO (Petco PALS) – In-store purchases receive discounted prices similar to how grocery stores reward programs operate. In addition, if you purchase 10 bags of the same brand and size premium dry dog or cat food within a 12-month period, you get one free. They have a similar “buy 8, get 1 free” pet grooming policy.
Petsmart (PetPerks) – Sign up now and receive a Welcome Kit with more than $100 in store coupons. In addition, you get exclusive offers and coupons sent to you.
Regal Cinemas (Regal Crown Club) – Earn one credit per dollar spent on tickets plus you earn four credits for every concession transaction. Their reward program is similar to a ladder, where you earn prizes at 50 points earned, 100, 150, etc. And last, but not least, members become eligible for special deals on certain days ($1 Candy Monday, $1 Popcorn Tuesday, etc.)
SEARS (Craftsman Club) – Looks like they'll just send you mailings and coupons, but there's no points system.
Staples (Staples Rewards) – Like Office Depot, they offer 10% back on ink, toner, paper & design, and printing / shipping. However, they don't offer the 1% back on everything else. Booo. To make up for this shortcoming, they give $2 in rewards for every used ink cartridge that you bring in.
TGI Fridays (Give Me More Stripes) – Earn an $8 certificate for every $100 spent (excluding alcohol-only purchases) plus get a coupon for a free appetizer when you sign up AND a one-time use jump-the-line-pass. That pass alone is worth it for me.
Toys incorrectly-displayed-R Us (Rewards R Us) – Earn $5 for every $150 spent during certain periods, which tend to be around three months. In addition, earn discounts on diapers and baby formula.
We've written about Swagbucks quick a few times already (tons of forums posts plus this extensive Swagbucks review I made back in January). After two months of using them as my primary search engine, I'd say I'm even more in love with them than I initially was. I've already earned enough points for two $5 Amazon giftcards and I'm fairly close to a third. How can you not love free money just for searching?!
If you're still sitting on the fence about joining Swagbucks, maybe this will help nudge you in the right direction. Starting today, any new member who signs up can use the code HEYITSFREE to earn two free swag bucks, which will be added to the three swag bucks already offered to new members, thus giving you five swag bucks starting out! For reference, a $5 Amazon giftcard costs 45 swag bucks, so you'll already be 11% of the way to getting your first prize. But that's just one example, they have hundreds of prizes to choose from and dozens of different gift card options.
I usually average around 2-3 swag bucks a day though my normal search habits, which takes me about 15-20 days to earn a prize. Just think how many giftcards you'd have by now had you signed up when I first wrote about Swagbucks in January!
The code expires at midnight PST on Wednesday, so you've got almost two days to sign up and use the code. For people who are already members of Swagbucks, feel free to leave a comment with your opinions on the site. I'm interested in hearing what others think!