Rewards Sites That Actually Work (Online and In-Store)

One of my ladies, Janette, is the absolute best at telling you what you need to hear. She prides herself on being upfront and telling the truth. For that reason, she’s always been a great person to know, especially when you need a second opinion. I’ve known Janette since college, and she’s given me great advice about everything from shades of eyeshadow to guys I was dating. And she was convinced my husband was The One even before I was!

rewards sites to earn money and gift cardsWhen another of our gal pals asked us over for brunch recently, she asked Janette and me if we had any ideas about how she could earn some extra money. “Well, I have one really fun technique up my sleeve,” I told her. “I use reward sites to earn money and, in my experience, these reward sites actually work.”

I spent the rest of brunch sharing notes about my personal favorite sites, from ones that pay you to take surveys after you shop to others that offer rebates once you’ve made purchases to the apps that turn each trip to the store into a fun little scavenger hunt for points and savings.

I told them about all my favorite ways to take shopping to the next level, and then I waited to see if they received the extra special accreditation that I’m now calling The Janette Test. In other words, did they meet with Janette’s approval? I’m excited to tell you that all my favorites did! I now have a finely-honed and Janette-approved killer list of reward sites that actually work, and it’s my pleasure to share them with you today.

Reward Sites That Actually Work: The Good

I was happy to see that none of the sites that I told my ladies about over brunch totally failed the Janette Test. In fact, they all landed in one of three Janette-given designations: good, better, best.

The site I like to use that landed the good rating was a survey reward sites, which is exactly what it sounds like—a website that gives you rewards for taking surveys online.

  • Survey Junkie: I think there are about 2 billion survey reward sites on the Internet these days (small exaggeration), but I like Survey Junkie because it makes me feel like I’m contributing to companies and brands I love by giving them my important opinions and useful feedback, which, as a devoted shopper makes me feel pretty good! What Survey Junkie does is match you up with surveys from companies based on the demographics you belong to. I don’t get many questions about the best tractors to use for plowing a field, but I am a prime target for questions about finding the ultimate deal on shoes. You have to wait for the site to make you eligible for new surveys, and, to be totally honest, I often run out. You can complete surveys on multiple devices, and you can redeem your points for either gift cards or PayPal, whichever you prefer. Most surveys give you between 20 and 200 points. When you’ve accrued 1,000 points, you can cash them out for a $10 gift card.

    Janette Test Says: “Hmm, sounds legit, but I bet I’d get bored with it fast. I could see myself running out of surveys and then forgetting all about it. Still, this one sounds pretty good.”

    Location: Online

Reward Sites That Actually Work: The Better

I’m not sure I would ever admit this directly to my ladies over brunch—I do have my shopping reputation to maintain, after all—but there are days when the instructor pushes us extra hard at spin class and even I don’t have the energy I usually do for hitting the aisles.

That’s okay, though. There are some rewards apps out there that reward you for the type of stuff you always do online, like playing games, watching videos, and just surfing the web. Here’s a little bit about my favorite…

  • InboxDollars: InboxDollars goes a bit beyond your normal survey rewards site because, like I mentioned above, in addition to taking surveys you can also earn free money for playing games, watching videos, and just straight up searching the web. Let me take a cue from Janette and be totally honest here: the videos you get points for watching are totally picked at random and they aren’t ever popular shows that you’ve heard of. In other words, get ready for random videos about how to make maple-glazed butternut squash. Anyway, this site doesn’t pay you in gift cards, instead only paying you in cash. And, you have to earn $30 before you can cash out.

    Janette Test Says: “I like the flexibility in being able to earn gift cards with a free app, instead of just cash. I mean, you can do what the name implies and use them as a gift, plus they’re also just as good as cash. Oh, and $30 sounds like a lot for a minimum cash out. The videos and web surfing part is good, though, so I think I like this one better than the first. Next?”

    Location: Online

Reward Sites That Actually Work: The Best

As someone who knows how thorough the Janette test can be, I was a little nervous to share what I knew about my favorite rewards site that I use. As it turns out, though, I didn’t have anything to worry about!

  • Shopkick: Shopkick is a mobile shopping app that you simply must have to up your shopping game. I know it’s done wonders for mine. How Shopkick works is that it gives you points (called kicks) for shopping behaviors you already do, things like scanning barcodes, making purchases, and even walking into your favorite stores. You just keep the app open and it will alert you to chances for scoring kicks nearby, an added layer of fun that turns the normal shopping experience into a cool scavenger hunt. Once you get a certain number of kicks, you can then cash them in for gift cards to all your favorite stores. Like the other apps on this list, it’s also totally free to download.

    Janette Test Says: I think I’m all in on this one. I mean, I don’t really have to go out of my way much, or even at all, to use it. Plus, unlike the survey apps, I can see myself using this almost every day because of the scavenger hunt point scoring system. You’re right, I like this one the best!

    Location: Online and In-store

As you can imagine, I was thrilled that all three of my favorite free smartphone apps that pay you money scored so high on the Janette Test, and I was especially happy that she’d liked my personal favorite, Shopkick, the best.

So, yes, it can be difficult to find killer reward sites that actually work out there, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. I obviously recommend starting with Shopkick, which is my personal favorite—and Janette tested and approved. You can’t go wrong with that!

Get to know one of the best reward sites that actually works—and even passes the Janette Test with flying colors! Download Shopkick’s free app today and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered the rewards of shopping with a free sidekick.

And, if you love social media as much as you love your smartphone, join Shopkick on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a little daily shopping inspiration.

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