If there’s one new years resolution you should have this year, it’s to save money for that dream trip. And what better way to do that than earning money from the comfort of your own home?
If you’ve ever looked into ways to earn money online, you’ve probably heard of filling in surveys. A lot of people don’t take them seriously – and not for bad reasons, because some of them are absolute rubbish – but they are usually looking in the wrong places.
I have been doing surveys for years and I’ve (genuinely) earned thousands of pounds from them. I’ve tried and tested a ton of sites. I’ve had payouts from nearly all the ones I’ve signed up to, even if some of them have taken way longer than they should have done. Now, I’ve ditched all the weak ones and only have a select few “favourites” that I stick to; the ones that are more worth my time.
I’m not going to pretend that survey sites are instant money makers. They’re not, and you do have to… you know, fill out surveys in order to earn the cash. It’s not a passive income, but does provide a little extra. Surveys are one of my main “side-hustles”, and you may remember from my last post that they’re the subject of one of my 2017 challenges – I received a £50 cheque today, so that’s a good start!
So, what are surveys? Quite simply, they are a market research tool used by companies to figure out what they should be doing, who their target audiences are, and how they think. These companies outsource to survey companies, who then pass some of the money on to those who participate in the research.
I’ll admit: it’s not the most exciting thing you can do with your time. A lot of money-making websites don’t advocate them as much as I do because it’s a bit of effort (yet they bang on about Swagbucks which imo requires WAY more effort for very little return… but conveniently offers rewards for referrals. Funny that. Side note: that link is my referral! Do with it what you wish, if you want to give it a go then maybe you’ll get on with it better than I do!).
However, with surveys I’ve reviewed trailers for blockbusters that aren’t even on the radar yet. I’ve received tons of free samples to answer questions about. I actually have fun doing surveys about travel, movies and alcohol; I even find the political ones interesting.
And in return, I’ve had years where I haven’t actually had to pay for anyone’s Christmas presents AND treated myself (wooooo, Amazon vouchers!).
The pros? They’re totally flexible, you don’t have to take every one you’re sent, and some of them are genuinely excellent pay. This week I’ve done a £4 survey that took me 15 minutes and a £5 survey that took me under half an hour. Before that, I basically hadn’t done any in a month.
The cons: well, put bluntly, some of them ARE virtually cons. Thankfully, I’ve weeded out the crap – I’ve been on sites that have a £50 minimum payout but only send you three surveys a year, and I’ve had ones that pay 25p for a half hour survey (screw that, you can do better than that, baby). You can also get screened out of surveys – say, if they’re looking for a certain demographic to interview. Normally this is decided within the first few questions, but some can take 5 minutes before they decide you can’t continue. Now THAT is annoying.
So here are my top survey sites and why I recommend them.
This is my ABSOLUTE favourite. It’s the highest paying survey site I’ve found in the UK – and it’s not product-based market research. Its main focus is political issues (you might have seen them attributed to statistics in the news), which I generally find really interesting compared to… you know, surveys on cars. They claim to pay £1 for every five minutes of your time – I find that some of the higher paid surveys take longer than that, but equally I’ve had “5 minute” ones that have taken less than a minute but I still get the £1. If I’m short on time and can’t do all my surveys (which… happens a lot), I ALWAYS prioritise doing ones from these guys first. They’re not as frequent as some survey sites but I usually get at least £10 of surveys per week, so potentially you could get a payout every month.
Payout by: cheque for £50
Pros: best paying survey site, interesting surveys, automatically send you a cheque when you reach £50, you don’t even have to prod them to redeem it
Cons: they don’t send surveys every day, minimum payout is pretty high
Similar to PopulusLive, YouGov is also a politically charged survey site. Most statistics in the news are attributed to them so you might recognise their name too. I love YouGov because it’s community-based and their surveys are easy, but they’re not as well-paid as Populus. It’s usually 50p a survey, but they don’t normally take longer than 10 minutes. They also have a way to rate and review absolutely everything – from politicians to actors to crisps to retailers. Unfortunately there’s no pay for this, but it can be strangely addictive… (is that strange? Yeah, I’m sure it is.)
Payout by: cheque for £50
Pros: you never get screened out of surveys so you’re guaranteed a paycheck, interesting surveys
Cons: another high minimum payout, but takes a lot longer to reach than Populus
One of the survey site leaders, this has always been one of my favourites and the pay is always pretty consistent for the lengths of surveys. I also receive up to 10 surveys a day from them. This means potentially I can cash out £30 every week, but that would take a bit of work! Their surveys can be anything from product related to movie trailers to banking, and sometimes they even do bonus surveys like filling in a “diary” for a week or downloading an app (these are usually pretty well paid). I’ve also received a few samples from them where I’ve had to fill out a feedback survey afterwards.
Payout by: lots of options including Starbucks vouchers, Amazon vouchers etc, but I usually cash out £10 via PayPal for 1150 marketpoints. Amazon vouchers are slightly better value (1100 for £10) but I’d rather have the cash
Pros: I receive millions of surveys from them, they’re a worldwide company so anyone can use them
Cons: not always well-paid, can screen out of surveys
I always liked ipsos and cashed out regularly with them. Most surveys are worth 75-150 points, and 1,000 points gives you £10 (980 for Amazon, but I usually get a Tesco voucher so it goes straight on food!)
Cashout by: lots of vouchers or a pre-paid Mastercard
Pros: Another low payout threshold so you get paid pretty regularly, all survey invitations have the exact length
Cons: I can’t actually think of any! They no longer do PayPal payments, but as I get Tesco vouchers, it’s basically money for me anyway
I’ve only been a member of Mobrog for a couple of months, but I’ve already cashed out loads with them! They are very straightforward – the rewards are money, not points. The biggest bonus? THEIR MINIMUM PAYOUT IS £4!! They pay within hours. I earned £16 in my first couple of weeks. Definitely one of my favourite survey sites already.
Cashout by: PayPal
Pros: Low payout, easy & regular surveys, fast payment, all the invitations have the length
Cons: Literally nothing yet
While some of the other companies are worldwide, Valued Opinions is a UK site (although I noticed they’ve set up in Australia too). They have a very straightforward system, none of these points; you earn what you earn. Their minimum cashout is £10, which is fantastic, and they pay within minutes. My only problem with them is that their pay isn’t always great. Sometimes a 15 minute survey only earns you 50p. Pretty much all their surveys are consumer-based (products, banking, cars, technology etc) so they’re not one of the more exciting ones, and recently they’ve developed this really annoying system where they ask you a bunch of irrelevant questions and then invite you to a different survey to the one you clicked on. That said, I cash out quite a lot with them!
Payout by: vouchers (Amazon, Argos, Sainsbury’s and loads of others) or PayPal
Pros: they pay you within minutes of redemption, minimum payout is low, all survey invitations have the topic and length
Cons: again… not always well-paid, and the pre-screening questions are a waste of time
This isn’t one of the most popular survey sites, however I use them because THEY OFFER VIRGIN AIR MILES! I have literally earned 10,000 miles through them already – I’m determined to get a free flight to New York! Most surveys are around 400-500 points, and 6,500 points gives you 2,500 air miles.
Payout by: lots of rewards programs (including Hilton, Marriott and Virgin)
Pros: Virgin air miles!
Cons: I started screening out of a lot of surveys when I no longer put myself as a business owner or a decision maker at my place of work… do what you will with THAT knowledge. I don’t receive a lot of surveys from them, but usually every couple of days.
Tips for completing surveys
- Some people do try to cheat the system by not reading questions and just clicking to get through the survey. The companies know this and have put systems in place to catch you out (by “choose this specific answer in this question” etc) which will then screen you out of the survey. PopulusLive are BIG on this (and rightly so – they’re paying you a lot!). Quite frankly, it’s a waste of your time and theirs, so do try to pay a little bit of attention.
- That said, there are a couple of ways to “play” surveys. When a survey asks if you or any of your household works in the following occupations (usually including advertising, journalism, food manufacturers etc), it’s a safe bet to select no.
- By filling out your profile surveys, it should minimise the amount of irrelevant surveys you receive. Most companies do offer a small incentive for filling them out too.
- Luckily, most survey sites now tell you in the invitation how long the survey is going to be and how much the pay is. Therefore, when I get an email for a 50p survey that’s projected to take me half an hour (I’m looking at you, ToLuna), I ignore it and concentrate on ones that actually pay you for your time.
Filling in surveys won’t make you a millionaire. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, and no one should pretend that it is. But it is a guaranteed, free way to make a little extra money, and what better incentive than looking at what the money can buy you? It could bring you one step closer to sitting on that beach or wandering around a temple! :)
Hope my tips have helped! I’ll be exploring various ways to earn and save extra money as I try to do the same myself this year. I’ll be posting monthly updates of how I’m doing with my challenges!