Hello there, my friends! It’s another blistering Summer day, here in Pennsylvania, on Farmer’s Market day! If you’re wondering what I mean by Farmer’s Market day, on Thursdays, in my town, a small Farmer’s Market occurs at 3-6pm. In the past, they have supplied beautiful, fresh squash, eggplant, tomatoes, etc, but lately, the selection has been minimal and the usual farmers I visit haven’t been present. Perhaps someday soon though, will be my lucky day! Also, in Princeton, NJ, Farmer’s Market day happens to be Thursdays in the afternoon, right by the city’s library! I’ve never been to the Princeton Farmer’s Market, but from what I hear, it’s a pretty good one. Anyhow, today’s musing is one I am extremely enthused about and cannot wait to share with you! It’s something I’ve been doing for quite awhile, so I figure, why not share the love with my new blog friends?! Before I delve into that though, by now, I’m sure you’re familiar with my procedure – onto the morning eats of the day!
Breakfast: (Thursday, July 18, 2013):
1 container Stonyfield Farm Blueberry Greek Yogurt (I caught this container JUST in the nick of time! It was fast approaching its expiration date, so I quickly made sure I consumed it today. Overall, it was pretty good, nothing extraordinary, but one I would most likely purchase again. What I did like, was the ease of stirring and combining with the cereal. It had a pleasant blueberry flavor, as well. Try it and see what you think!)
1 cup Kashi Simply Maize Cereal (Yes, I know I mentioned earlier this week, the box was approaching the end and now I really mean it! There is probably less than 1/4 cup left, so the next time I have it, I will savor those last pieces, because from the prices I’ve seen in the grocery stores lately, sadly, I will be unable to purchase this anytime soon… unless, an incredible sale just so happens to suddenly transpire! Hey, I’m hopeful!)
1 cup Giant brand Puffed Rice Cereal (Understated as usual say, but a good one to mix in with others. Light and refreshing!).
1 Banana (Okay, so before you say, what is it this time with the banana? I’ll simply tell you this: if you happen to refrigerate your bananas like me, be sure to place them in the FRONT section, because placing them in the back will all but tarnish the top of the banana, making for a squishy and relatively messy experience. However, I am proud to report, the rest of the banana was able to be salvaged and tasted quite yummy!).
Now back to our regularly scheduled musing! In my spare time, I like to be proactive and of course, I love relaxing and taking it easy, but I also like to contribute my thoughts, opinions, ideas and also learn of new products and concepts! While doing this, I’ve managed to be rewarded, in more ways than one! I’ll let you in on a little secret, you already may or may not be acquainted with: ONLINE SURVEYS/FOCUS GROUPS! Wait! Before you begin to wonder if I am actually being legitimate, trust me when I say, I am! Throughout the week, for several years already, I participate in a host of several survey companies. It’s quick, easy and painless to sign up directly through the companies’ websites.
Over the years, I’ve managed to receive significant monetary contributions directly into my account through Paypal, checks in the mail, and also Amazon gift cards, restaurant gift cards (i.e. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Darden Restaurant Group – chains such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Seasons 52), plus other retailers (i.e. Target, Macy’s, Express), the list goes on! Taking surveys and being rewarded is particularly handy during the holiday season, where if you’re like me, funds can be tight and there is little wiggle room with purchasing. It also is beneficial for birthdays and other occasions, plus, it is great to have for those days when you simply want to shop and treat yourself, a friend, or family member to something new and exciting!
If you’re not sold yet, or your interest isn’t piqued, take a moment and browse some of the companies’ websites where I most often frequent (trust, tried and true, I’ve been an active member of the following companies for years and received compensation and rewards for my time on a routine basis).
ONLINE SURVEY COMPANIES:
- Opinion Outpost – (www.opinionoutpost.com); This company is easy to sign up and they are constantly emailing surveys. Some can be particularly time consuming, while others are extremely quick and simple. Even if you are emailed an invitation to a survey, it’s important to keep in mind, that you may not necessarily qualify for it. It can become frustrating, but if you have the leisurely time, a word of advice: keep at it! Trust me, it will pay off (literally), plus it often gives you the chance to learn about new products and concepts. Sometimes, they even will send you a product to try out before it’s released in stores! Through Opinion Outpost, you also have the opportunity to take surveys via their Facebook page. Their rewards program is one of the best I’ve seen, where immediately after requesting compensation via Paypal, you are directed to your Paypal log-in page and the funds begin processing and are typically in your account within the next day or so (depending on the time of day and whether it is a weekend or holiday.)
- MySurvey – (www.mysurvey.com); This was quite possibly the very first online survey company I ever registered for and I have been a dedicated and active member ever since. They frequently email surveys as well, sometimes more than others, and similar to Opinion Outpost, just because you are emailed an invitation to a survey does not necessarily mean you will qualify to complete it. They also have a generous rewards program where you can choose from Paypal monetary funds which will go directly into your linked checking account, movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, and the list goes on.
- Pinecone Research – (www.pineconeresearch.com); Pinecone is one of my favorite companies and I have also been a member for several years. For EVERY survey you complete, I mean EACH ONE, you receive 300 points = $3. Yes, I do mean, three ACTUAL dollars, in your wallet. The surveys are often relatively short to complete and frequently, you will receive products to try out at home and will then be emailed a follow-up survey, which means you could end up with $6, which may not really seem like a lot, but in my opinion, every dollar counts and it’s more than I would have if I didn’t participate! However, the registration for the panel is not always open; it opens several times throughout the year and for openings, I suggest checking my favorite coupon blogs on a routine basis (i.e. http://www.forthemommas.com, http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com, http://www.hip2save.com). Rewards, as I mentioned come in the form of points, which are equivalent to 300 = $3, or if you don’t want monetary compensation, you are able to choose from gift cards, etc.
- E-Poll – (www.epoll.com) This is one of the newer surveys companies I have recently joined. Already, I have received and used Starbucks, Red Lobster and Seasons 52 gift cards! The surveys don’t arrive in my inbox as frequently as some of the other aforementioned companies, but still they do appear on a pretty routine basis. Often, you are able to watch TV programs prior to their airing on network TV, while some of the other surveys can be quick and simple.
- Valued Opinions – (www.valuedopinions.com) – I am quite fond of Valued Opinions and joined this past Winter. I’ve been very pleased with this company, as the surveys are easy to complete, however, I don’t always qualify for those I am invited to take (as I mentioned previously with some of the other companies, as well). From Valued Opinions, they have less reward options, but they are still decent, in my opinion. Typically, I will choose an Amazon gift card once I accumulate enough money in my account. I like that with Amazon gift cards, I can purchase anything I desire (usually I’ll purchase large packs of flavored coffees and syrups – they have SUCH an abundant collection and variety to choose from – check it out sometime!)
- Buzzback – (www.buzzback.com) – An easy survey panel to join, I get emailed surveys from time to time, however, I don’t always qualify. Rewards are less abundant (primarily Paypal – which of course, is OK by me!) Occasionally, they will send you product tests to try, as well, which are always fun to receive and experiment with!
Unique from online survey companies are focus groups. There are two websites in particular I am registered for who routinely e-mail me surveys to complete to determine if I qualify or not for various focus groups they are holding in my metropolitan area. If you’re curious about what a focus group is, it is simply where individuals (who fit the characteristics a company or researcher are looking for on a certain topic (i.e. food, beverages, clothing, political issues, etc) gather in group setting and share their thoughts and opinions. Typically, you are compensated for your time through either a check or VISA/American Express Gift Card. They can be fun to participate in, but do usually require an hour or so of your time. Occasionally, these companies I will detail below will email surveys to complete to determine if you qualify for even an ONLINE focus group, which can also be time consuming, but good to know it can be completed at your leisure, at home, in your pajamas (if you so choose, of course!)
- Focus Pointe Global – (www.focuspointeglobal.com) Easy and quick to register on by completing a brief demographic questionnaire pertaining to your household and interests. They will email you surveys to complete to determine if you qualify for upcoming groups and studies. If you do qualify, they will typically call you in a day or so to inquire if you are still interested and provide you with more information about the study/group. You are in NO WAY obligated to participate.
- Schleisinger Associates – (www.schleisingerassociates.com) Very similar to Focus Pointe Global, except, they frequently have more opportunities for engaging in ONLINE focus groups and studies. It is easy to sign up on their website, where you will also be asked to complete a brief questionnaire on your household and interests.
- FindFocusGroups.com – This is a website I frequently check, which is updated on a routine basis, categorized by state. Simply click on your state to see what focus groups are currently being recruited for, fill out a qualifying survey and then if you qualify, you might receive a call to confirm your interest and participation! In the past, I have participated in various types of research and have received checks from $25-100 or more! It’s worth a peek!
Taking surveys and participating in focus groups, of course, is not for everyone, but it’s worth it to take a peek. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line at any time! I know, if you’ve never tried something like this before, it can be daunting, or confusing. It’s a way to have fun and earn some rewards at the same time!
QUESTION: Have you ever taken an online survey or participated in a focus group? If not, would you?