The Tip Jar: Ways to make extra cash with very little effort

Marketers will pay you to take surveys, watch TV, or go to a bar.

I know the feeling, you slog your guts out for 40 hours a week and then see your hard-earned cash disappear when rent and credit card bills come a calling.

Regrettably, taking on a second job to make ends meet is a reality for some, but if you're just looking to earn a little extra pocket change, there are options out there that don't require huge amounts of effort.

The Tip Jar has looked at a few options that can make you cash from the comfort of your couch, or just by carrying out your usual social life.

Take an online survey

Companies want to know what you think, and there are easy ways to get paid for this by doing online surveys. Here are a few that pay pretty well.

Mindswarms: I did a double take when I saw this, but there is genuinely a website that pays you $50 for every survey you take, and it's called MindSwarms.

The only catch? These are VIDEO surveys, with MindSwarms asking you to answer seven questions by video that is used by design firms, ad agencies and large companies who will use the answers to make better products. Think of it like a focus group via webcam.

Provided you qualify for the survey, the money will be made available to you via PayPal within 24 hours. There are also 1-question surveys that pay $10.

SurveySavvy: If video is not your thing, MoneyPantry suggests that one of the best-paying regular online surveys out there comes from SurveySavvy.

Their studies will pay between $1-$20 depending on the length and topic, but even more money can be made if you refer people to the service.

For every survey someone you've referred completes, you earn $1-$2, and you also get paid 50 cents to $1 for every survey completed by someone THEY have referred (known as indirect referrals).

Swagbucks: A popular survey site among students is Swagbucks, which allows you to accumulate points that can be converted into gift cards or cash.

The SB "points" aren't worth a huge amount and gift cards are cheaper than cash. For example, around 500SB will get you a $5 Amazon card while you need 16,000SB to get just $100 cash.

But you can earn them by carrying out a wide variety of tasks online, for example by changing your search engine to Swagbucks (powered by Yahoo), taking a survey, or by watching a video, so the points can accumulate quickly. 

Drinking for free

A fan of craft beer? Well then you should check out the rather excellently named Secret Hopper, which is basically secret shopping, but for craft beer.

It's not something just anyone can do. You have to apply, but you don't need any previous experience as a beer connoisseur, the only requirement being a "taste for beer and an eye for detail."

Now you're not really getting paid for this per se – CraftBeerJoe notes that what Secret Hopper actually does is pay for your drinks. A typical brewery visit will give you $20 to cover the cost of a flight and a pint, and you're asked for your views on the brewery afterwards.

You can apply here.

Money for watching TV

If you're a binge TV watcher, you could turn those long periods of inactivity into financial productivity (albeit, it doesn't pay a whole lot). PennyHoarder has a list of ways to make money by watching videos, but we've picked out a couple worthy of mention.

Viggle: You download the Viggle app and whenever you're watching a live TV or streaming program, you "check in" via the app to start earning points.

The app has mixed reviews however, mainly because the points are worth very little, so you may have to watch thousands of hours of footage just to earn $10. The conversion rate for watching videos on Swagbucks is more generous.

However, there are bonuses available if you complete in-app games, check in during certain commercials and watch NFL or NBA games. Check out Tough Nickel's review here.

Perk:This app gives you points that can be converted into cash or giftcard rewards for watching ads, trailers or shows through the app, with prizes also available by doing (free) scratchcard games and trivia quizzes.

Judging by the mostly positive reviews on Amazon, a year's usage should be enough to earn you several hundred dollars in gift cards.

InboxDollars:This site also pays for online shopping and taking surveys, as well as having a TV service – provided you don't care what you watch. It'll pay you a few cents for every one of its videos you watch, allowing you to earn up to $2 a day.

So once you log on, turn on the video channel and then carry on your regular life without watching, though it'll occasionally send you an "Are you still watching" reminder. Either way, you're earning cents for passive viewing.

Getting paid to use your phone

Now whether you're into this depends on where you stand on companies/marketers tracking your phone.

But if you're in the "I'm probably already being tracked, so might as well make some money from it" camp, then you might want to check out Cross Media Panel.

Right now it's full so you're unable to join, but when spots open again this app pays you to use your phone, tracking your activity and purchases for research purposes.

It only pays you in e-gift cards, but you earn $6 just for signing up and $3 per week thereafter, so you could earn more than a $150 a year for each device you download the app onto.

If you're an Amazon shopper meanwhile, you could use the Harris Poll-backed ShopTracker app, which will pay you $36 a year to have access to your Amazon purchase history.

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