(Apologizes to anyone getting this twice on the feed- upgrading WordPress caused a small hiccup and all my scheduled posts posted at once)
Lately, I’ve seen a lot of chatter about alternate income streams. This is probably partly due to the current state of the economy, but I think people that read and write personal finance blogs are always interested in new ways to make a bit of extra money, either to help dig out of debt, to help increase savings, or just to have a bit of extra spending money each month.
I am one of those people who is interested in quick and easy ways to make a few extra bucks, I won’t lie. Of course, I’m not sure that there really are quick and easy ways to make money. At least not legal ones. But every month, I manage to pull in anywhere from $15-$50, and that number seems to be steadily increasing.
No, it’s not a lot of money. But it’s a nice addition to my budget.
Where does the money come from?
Some of it is blogging income (and as an aside, I agree with many other bloggers that blogging income is absolutely not passive income). As you can see, I use BlogHer Ads, Adsense, and I have recently put up a YNAB affiliate ad. I could be making more off of my blog, but at this point, this site is more of a hobby than a business, and I’m just not able to put in the time necessary to make the site turn a major profit. I don’t want to overmonetize the blog. I very much enjoy being a part of BlogHer – every interaction I have had with the staff there has been incredible, and I love the rotating headlines below each banner ad. I’ve found a few new blogs that way, and I hope you check those links out, both on this site and on others, as there are many different headlines rotating. I put up the YNAB affiliate ad last week, and longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve been using YNAB since the beginning of the year, and I absolutely love it. I’m happy to promote a product I use and love. Adsense is hit and miss, as many users know. I’m okay with that for now.
I don’t participate in any sort of pay-per-post program, though I have been contacted by advertisers to do so. I want my readers to be able to trust my opinions and to know that if I’m telling you I like a product, it’s because I really like that product, not because I’m getting any sort of kickback for writing about it.
As I have said, half of my blogging income is donated to charity, so right now, the site just about breaks even. That’s really all I want it to do, though I’d like to increase the amount donated to charity over the next year or so.
My next major additional income stream comes from mystery shopping. There are a lot of mystery shopping sites out there, and it’s tough to know which ones are legitimate. A few months back, I read a review (that I cannot find now) of ICCDS. I signed up and almost immediately began getting opportunities to mystery shop. The shops pay anywhere from $10-$25, plus additional coverage for purchases on occasion.
I’m incredibly happy with ICCDS. While I get a lot of opportunities to mystery shop, I don’t always have the time or the inclination to do the shops offered. I could be pulling in significantly more money if I took them up on even half the shops offered to me, easily over $100 a month. The type of mystery shop varies. I have done two shops at local gyms. Other shops require you to go to a store and interact, perhaps make a purchase (which you can then return if you want). You then have to fill out a detailed report, and that’s it! If you’re interested in mystery shopping, I really recommend checking them out.
My third alternate income stream comes from online surveys. I have received checks from both Buzzback Research and Pinecone Research. Pinecone Research isn’t always open to new members – you have to find a link when they open up to new members. I found my link as a banner ad on a site I was browsing, but I know that current members are often given links to share. When I get one, I will post it on this site. You can sign up for Buzzback at anytime, however. The surveys are not too difficult, and payment is typically between $3 and $5. I do get more surveys from Pinecone than from Buzzback, and I might not make a lot from the surveys, but it does add up.
So there you have it. Some fairly easy ways to pull in some extra money every month. No, I’m not telling you how to get rich. If someone tells you an easy way to get rich, it’s a scam and you should run in the other direction. But if you’re looking for a few extra bucks here and there, these ideas are worth checking out.