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Make Money by Taking Surveys? I Don’t Think So

make money by taking surveysHave you ever thought about taking surveys online for a little extra cash? I mean, why not? It would take maybe 10 minutes of your time, you could make $5, and you’d be a bit richer without hardly noticing it! AND, maybe it would even keep you off of Facebook for a few minutes out of the day. Double win! But, do you really make money by taking surveys?

I’m sure you’re skeptical, and quite frankly, you should be.

Make Money by Taking Surveys?

This post contains affiliate links.

For about the 3rd time this month, I’ve had a survey site reach out to me, asking if I would promote their site to my readers.

After all, the survey site would (supposedly):

  • Allow my readers to earn some extra money,
  • Receive some free product, and
  • I’d earn an affiliate wage of $2.50 for every person that signed up through my link.

Just like you, I was skeptical, so I asked if I could sign up myself to see how much I could earn as a regular user before recommending their site to my readers. They pretty much ignored my question entirely and continued to emphasize that I would earn $2.50 for every sign-up, which could really add up quickly.

…and my skepticism grew…

If they wouldn’t recommend that I take surveys to earn money as a site owner, why should I recommend it to you, my readers?

The only reason: money. (Good thing I don’t really need it.)

Naturally, I passed on the offer. And, instead of promoting the whole idea that you can make money by taking surveys, I’m pretty much taking a stand against it with this post.

How Much Can You Earn With Surveys?

I did some sleuthing to try to figure out how much you could actually earn by taking surveys, and not to my surprise, there are pretty much no articles out there that state what can be earned without there also being an affiliate link offered (which means that their data is likely skewed so that they can get more sign-ups and earn all their money by signing people up…and NOT by taking surveys themselves).

When I was 23 years old, I worked a 40 hour job and had absolutely nothing else going on. Out of boredom and curiosity, I signed up for a few survey sites. The first introductory survey took about 30 minutes to complete and paid me $5. Hey! Not a bad start, right? Too bad I needed my account to grow to $10 to earn an actual payout. Long story short, I was only able to qualify for a couple other surveys that only paid $0.50 or so, and I never physically got a check for my work.

Turns out, not much has changed over the last 9 years. Survey sites are still enticing, but they still suck as a form of income.

Expect to earn roughly $0.50-$4.00 per survey and an approximate hourly wage of $6 or less.

Can you earn a little bit of money with surveys? Sometimes, yes.

But is it worth the hassle? I say absolutely not. I mean come on, $6 an hour? You could do almost anything else and earn more than $6 an hour! Minimum wage is $7.25, people! Why are you taking surveys for $6 an hour?

What Can You Do Instead?

Like I just said, do ANYTHING instead of taking surveys. You’ll earn more.

“But Derek, I like that I could make money by taking surveys because I can do it in little time increments throughout my day, without interrupting my life.”

Again…$6 an hour? Is it really worth it? But hey, I’ll play this game with you a second.

What else could you do throughout the day that would be flexible and pay MUCH MORE than online surveys?

  1. Medical billing
  2. Web design
  3. Content writing (BTW, I’m hiring! Want to earn $25 per article? Shoot me an email through my “Contact” tab at the top of the page!)
  4. Blogging (put up some articles, put up some ads, and start earning money! Ha, well, it takes a bit more than that, but it IS possible to earn a decent, flexible income)
  5. Data entry
  6. Photography
  7. Book-keeper

Each of these options would earn you more than $20 an hour. Sure, you probably don’t have the skills to do all of them, but I bet you have the skills to do one of them!!

What work might be less flexible, but would earn way more than $6 an hour?

  1. Car detailing
  2. Bar tending
  3. House cleaning
  4. Pizza delivery
  5. Translator
  6. Child care
  7. Tutoring
  8. Pet sitting

This Has Been a Public Announcement…

Please, please, please, pleeeeeaaaassee don’t get caught up in taking online surveys. It sounds all great in the beginning, but the money just isn’t there. If you truly want to earn an income, just pick something from the list of gigs above. You’ll be much happier, and you’ll earn far more money.

And, in the future, if I ever recommend a survey site, you can be rest assured that it’s fricken awesome – like no other survey site that I’d ever seen. Either that, or I’ve lost all my moral integrity and I therefore give you permission to unsubscribe, unfriend me, and give me a punch in the kidney.

Make money by taking surveys? Not likely.

Make Money Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I am so glad that you wrote this article on taking surveys. I signed up for quite a few a while back and I am sorry I did. Seems they send you the survey, you answer 10-15 questions, and then you are disqualified…a total scam. They got the answers they wanted, then tell you that you don’t qualify? Total Nonsense.

    • Yup. There may be some reputable companies out there that actually do pay out money, but it’s far less than someone could earn by working a minimum wage job! Totally not worth it. I’m telling people just to not waste their time. Thanks for the confirmation on that, Ann!

  2. Yeah, I used to do a couple of different survey sites but gave them up with no regret. For one site, they initially paid you $5 but then dropped it to $3. Then, they made it so that you had to respond to the survey within x number of hours and if you didn’t you were penalized and eventually they would kick you out if you missed like three surveys per month. No loss at all when I got the boot.

    Then I moved on to one that, like Ann B. above mentioned, would take you 5-10 minutes to pre-qualify only to find out that you were ‘not qualified’. Total scam

    • Yup. It’s just not worth the effort. There are so many other things you can do to earn better money these days. Forget surveys…

  3. I actually take surverys with a very reputable company, Pinecone Research. You have to be accepted into the program, and it is not a source of substantial income by any means, at $3.00 per survey, but it gets a few extra bucks in my pocket, umm I mean my savings account. I make about $9-$12 per month, and I choose to have a check sent to me, but they also offer Paypal.

    Now, about that content writing position…..

    • Hi Dana! Do you ever get the feeling that you’re putting way to much time into it for the resulting dollars, though??

      And about the writing position, we’re currently hiring!! Send me an email with a few article pitches, I’ll pick one, you then write up the article and submit it. And then we’ll take it from there! Email me at derek [at] lifeandmyfinances [dot] com. Thanks!!

  4. I think it comes down to perspective and what your expectations are. I used to do surveys quite a bit and I still do them every once in awhile, but I never expected to get rich off them. It was just to earn a little extra spending cash. No one is ever going to be able to quit their job and take online surveys full time, but many people aren’t interested in starting a blog or any small business for that matter. For these people surveys do offer an easy way to earn a few extra bucks. As long as they don’t expect to quit their day job I don’t see the harm.

    • But wouldn’t it be better to put your time toward something else? I mean, pretty much ANYTHING will earn more money per hour than surveys. Knit something, build something, become a blog writer. Instead of earning $2, you could earn $50!

      • Oh I agree there are many more effective and profitable ways to earn money. I’m just saying you and I aren’t like everyone else. There are a lot of people who love surveys because they’re easy money (just not a lot of it) and they don’t want to be bothered building a business or anything that involves actual work.

        • Yup, true true. As always, thanks for commenting, BK!

  5. Thank you for our honesty!! I agree with you regarding surveys!

    • You’re welcome, Liz! And speaking of honesty, don’t forget to check out the awesome new investing site, Wealthsimple! I’ve already earned 5.1% after just 4 months!! Love it!! AND, you get $50 for investing just $100 with them. Check them out here. 🙂

  6. Agreed!!! I suspect that some of these companies require folks to “qualify” to take their surveys and then deny most everyone without giving a payout. They then have your personal/demographic information for free!

    I will no longer waste my time for the possibility (probably not) of making 50 cents.

    • Yup. I remember signing up and “qualifying” for one site, and none of the surveys pertained to me at all, so again I made no money… Such a waste of time.

  7. They are indeed, totally lame. Thanks for the heads up to others!

    • You’re welcome, David!

  8. Haha… love it.

    Although FYI (and, not surprising at all), the ads that are imbedded here are showing survey sites because of how slick their targeting is 😉 So you can’t get away from it even if you wanted to! Haha…

    • Haha, freaking survey ads! They’re EVERYWHERE! Ha, thankfully, I made no money on clicks yesterday. All the readers must have gotten the message. 🙂

  9. Absolutely spot-on! In addition to not paying out, your email address is distributed to their “customers” who/which proceed to blow up your inbox.

    • Yeah, that’s definitely another negative. It’s best just to stay away and earn money elsewhere!!

  10. Great post, which reaffirms my belief in doing surveys for money.

    I tried a few sites and found that I didn’t qualify for most. The ones that I did complete didn’t pay much. I haven’t actually received any payout for the ones that I’ve done.

    I’ve made more money in one month helping maintain a state organization’s website than I have ever earned doing surveys over a period of months.

    My hourly wage for the web site gig? $20.00 an hour.

    • Yup, don’t waste your time. You’ll make a pittance and you’ll probably never make enough to get paid…

  11. Hey Derek. I always considered those make-money-taking-surveys come-ons a scam. Right up there with make-money-stuffing-envelopes come-ons. Thanks for confirming my instincts.

    • For the most part, yup!

  12. I know this article is (more or less) to elicit responses (and to issue a PSA of sorts), but you could actually end up earning less in some of the other ideas you mention when you factor in the process and time in actually getting em going. It’s not as easy as putting up a sign and doing web design. Or photography for that matter. Any one in the business will tell you that outright. I know photographers who once had large businesses / clients and have now drastically lowered their rates / lost much of their biz because the market is saturated and prices have been driven down.

    So, not to blast your post here – but there is a bit of nuance here not being considered. All the while, that survey-taker is making $$’s.

    • The point is though, that even if you find a good survey company, you’re still not going to earn enough money to live on – not even close. Start another side hustle and who knows, you could start earning more than your day job! AND, it’s doing something you love! Screw the survey-taking sites…

  13. I think Survey sites are cool if you run the ads in the background while you are working on the computer. This requires little to no work at all!

    • But you make how much money? $4 an hour? Even if it’s in the background, I still say it’s not worth it.

  14. I too have done research on the earnings potential from taking online surveys. There is little information out there. Most of what I found states you can earn $5-$10 per hour. Unless you enjoy taking surveys, it is not worth it.

    • I’d say the average is far less than $10. Completely boring, hardly any payout, and not rewarding at all. I say pass all the way.

  15. Considering that the minimum wage in my state is about $10.25 per hour now, $6 per hour is a horrible rate. Thanks for your post, I share the same sentiment when it comes to those surveys.

    • Yup. Thanks for dropping by and giving it a read!

  16. Realistically, even if you could make more than the $6/hr how sustainable is that? How many paid surveys are there? It also seems pretty boring to do a lot of them hour after hour. Maybe there’s an opportunity to make a little money. But as far as using it as an ongoing side hustle, that seems like a real stretch.

    • Yup, good point. And like another commenter said, at some point you end up growing out of the target demographic for most of the surveys. I say focus your energies elsewhere – it’ll be way more beneficial.

  17. I took surveys from legitimate companies for years, and at best I averaged $200+ monthly. I quit for a couple of reasons, 1) It was something of an education in marketing science and how the citizenry is manipulated, and 2) I no longer fit the desired demographic, which is younger with children at home in most cases. Because there is a middleman between company and respondent, inaccuracies in results should be expected when reading survey/poll results in the media. One might wonder when a survey supposedly asked opinions of those in well-paying jobs – why would those people be taking surveys and how did that come about? *Who* takes these surveys, that they would spend their time for such small amounts of money? I certainly did, and none of the income-earning options you mention are things I could do. It should be noted as well that one who signs up for surveys with legitimate companies must sign or consent online to a legal agreement that includes keeping quiet about survey specifics.

    • Great comment, Bonni. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

  18. I went down the survey route for a few days before I realized that it’s a scam. You can spend an hour just trying to get to a qualifying survey. I still like Swagbucks for their shopping rewards. Sometimes I’ll take the daily poll which is less than 10 seconds of my time, and I’ll put in the Swagcodes for a few extra points. However, the points back for dining and shopping (the Chrome extension makes it super easy to activate) are where to get the most bang for your time. Plus it’s totally passive earning that can get you a $25 gift card now and then.

    • Total scam. Not work my (or anyone’s) time. I haven’t ever done Swagbucks, but it sounds a little better at least.

  19. In addition to not being worth the money, the whole thing also kind of creeps me out. They are paying to crawl into your spending habits. No thanks!

    • I never thought of it that way. Good point!

  20. What really worked for me is offering a service on Fiverr.
    I partnered with a friend who design logos. I created the account and manage the orders but he design the logos.
    We where able to make $5,000+ in our first month, And we share earnings 50%-50% … Currently I’m learning graphic design too.

    Survey won’t get you anywhere, I’ve been there and I will tell you it doesn’t worth your time.
    Pick up a skill and learn to your satisfaction . YouTube, udemy , Lynda and skillshare are there to help you.

    • Wow, nice! Yeah, that’s a heck of a lot better than surveys that never pay!

  21. While I agree with you about online surveys, I have to say that I found it amusing that in the conclusion where you are recommending not to get involved with online surveys, you have an affiliate link to Swagbucks where people earn money for…taking surveys.

    • Yeah….J. Money caught that first…Unfortunately, that’s the add that comes up via the ad service I use. Womp wommmm… I just can’t get away from surveys!!! Ahhh!!!!

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