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. 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. I have ditched all the weak ones and now only have a select few “favourites” that I stick to; the ones that are more worth my time.
Surveys are one of my “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 little return… but offers rewards for referrals. Funny that. Side note: that link is my referral. Whatever).
However, 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. 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 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, 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 £50
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. 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 used to be my favourite but the pay has gone downhill (most surveys used to pay out 50 “marketpoints” and now most are only 30). However, I 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, sometimes they even do bonus surveys like filling in a “diary” for a week (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 £30 via PayPal for 1080 marketpoints. This works out at 36 points per £1, while vouchers are a slightly better rate at 34 points to the £1. Up to you, really.
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 have a love/hate relationship with ToLuna. They are one of the biggest survey sites out there and I receive tons of surveys from them (like above, they can be about anything and I’ve received samples from them too). However, they are not really well paid. £1 equals around 5,500 points, and sometimes you can do a 20 minute survey for half that. One big bonus, though, is that there are lots of ways to earn points. Their website has lots of sponsored polls where you answer one question for 15 points. Some of these then lead on to bigger surveys. I’ve noticed a few cropping up for 200 points where it’s only two questions.
Payout by: lots of options including vouchers, but the best value is waiting until you have 185,000 to cash out £35 by PayPal
Pros: absolutely tons of surveys, and lots of ways to earn points, all survey invitations include what they’re about and how long they’ll take (so you can avoid the 30 minutes for 3,000 points ones!)
Cons: not as well-paid as other survey sites, and it’s one of the slowest sites to pay out (most pay really quickly but I’ve had to wait THREE MONTHS for payment before). Also be wary when you open their surveys – sometimes they’ve reached the quota, and it automatically redirects you to another survey. So if you open a 10 minute one for 2,500 points, you could accidentally end up doing a 20 minute one for 1,800 points. Very sneaky!
While the previous two 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.
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 not as regular as the last two
I always liked ipsos and cashed out regularly with them, but I only recently signed back up with them when they changed to i-Say, so I hope this is still relevant. Most surveys are worth around 100 points, and 1,380 points gives you £10 via PayPal.
Cashout by: lots of vouchers or PayPal
Pros: Another low payout threshold so you get paid pretty regularly, all survey invitations have the exact length
Cons: I don’t get surveys every day from them
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. 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, and ToLuna offer regular incentives for keeping them up to date.
- 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!