Archives March 2021

10 Island Homes That Will Warm You Up This Winter

Frigid weather kicking off 2018? No problem! Let these island getaways fuel your fire.

A hazy shade of winter has settled in over much of the country, but these brightly colored retreats are a good reminder that it’s always sunny somewhere.

From Florida to Hawaii, we’ve got your dream destinations covered. Here are 10 island spots to fantasize about as you count down to spring.

Atlantic Beach, NC

239 Sea Dreams Dr
For sale: $695,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

This North Carolina beach house is set on Sea Dreams Drive — fitting for a home that’s just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. The bold, blue house on a hill offers up views from sea to sound. Cathedral ceilings also give this 3-bedroom retreat the feel of a classic beach house. Bonus: There’s an outdoor shower.

View more homes in Atlantic Beach.

Vero Beach, FL

692 Ocean Rd
For sale: $12.5 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

The warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean practically lap at the backyard of this Florida dream house. At more than 14,000 square feet, this home has ample space for entertaining. The first-floor master suite has its own dedicated wing and private bar; second-floor bedrooms each have their own balconies facing the ocean.

Check out more homes in Vero Beach.

Dauphin Island, AL

106 Westward Ho Ct
For sale: $399,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

There’s sand on all sides of this waterfront home on Alabama’s Dauphin Island. The 3-bedroom beach house has both covered and open-air decks, offering views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Sound. The interior features an open floor plan, fit for relaxing with friends after a day of swimming or beach volleyball.

Check out more homes on Dauphin Island.

Lahaina, HI

4809 Lower Honoapiilani Rd
For sale: $18.75 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Hawaiian hideaway is all water views all the time. Glass walls slide away, opening up rooms to the ocean vistas outside. The 7-bedroom estate also boasts private waterfront land and a winding pool with waterfalls and a spa. For a more laid-back experience, a luxurious, second-floor bathtub features two built-in lounge chairs pointed at the beach. Aloha!

Explore more homes in Lahaina.

Key West, FL

1500 Albury St
For sale: $2.19 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Nestled in the heart of Key West, this home may look historic, but it’s brand new. A backyard pool under a canopy of palm trees is the perfect spot for cooling off on simmering Florida days. Inside, an open kitchen — with modern appliances and a built-in wine refrigerator — is primed for having guests over for dinner.

View more homes in Key West.

Johns Island, SC

4289 Charles Freer Ln
For sale: $4.99 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This spacious South Carolina getaway offers 180-degree water views, along with a backyard dock to launch a kayak or simply watch the sun fade onto the horizon. A classic Southern-style front porch allows for relaxing outdoors on warm nights, and the backyard infinity pool is a refreshing respite when the weather heats up. For chillier nights, the screened-in sunroom features a stone fireplace and views of a large tidal creek.

Take a look at more homes in Johns Island.

St. John, US Virgin Islands

43 Chocolate Hole
For sale: $1.075 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

The sunsets alone make this next spot, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, worth the flight. The 3,900-square-foot island retreat features panoramic views of the surrounding islands along with a poolside bar and five bedrooms. For swimmers and snorkelers, the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument is a just short boat ride away.

Check out more homes in St. John.

Galveston, TX

1502 17th St
For sale: $360,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this home is no different. Just three blocks from the beach, the Galveston getaway has big pops of color reminiscent of the Caribbean. An open kitchen with bold wallpaper is perfect for entertaining friends fresh from the beach (bonus: it’s got a bar with a wine fridge!), plus the master bathroom has spa-like features for unwinding after a day in the sun.

Explore more homes in Galveston.

Balboa Island, CA

333 E Bay Front
For sale: $5.4 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Launch a boat and reel in the catch of the day from the private dock of this home on California’s Balboa Island. This bayfront beauty in Newport Beach comes with a spacious front patio built to entertain (hello, outdoor refrigerator!). A master bedroom features a private deck and the requisite panoramic water views.

See more homes on Balboa Island here.

Key West, FL

1319 Eliza St
For sale: $1.625 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Modern upgrades abound throughout this classic Key West-style home. Though it was built in 1933, some touches are distinctly 2018: accent walls made of reclaimed wood and barn-style doors leading to the bedrooms. A canopy of palm trees surrounds the backyard pool and large deck; if you’re more in the mood to dip your toes in the sand somewhere, beaches are within walking distance.

See more homes in Key West.



VA Loan Calculator | How Much Can I Afford?

Tim Lucas

Posted on: December 12, 2020

As an active-duty servicemember or Veteran, you have access to one of the best mortgage products on the market — the VA home loan. It requires no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, and has lenient credit requirements.

As of October 2020, five percent of all home-purchase loans were VA home loans.

— Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report

This VA home loan calculator shows your overall buying power, including today’s current VA funding fees, estimated property taxes, and HOA dues. With zero down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), you may be surprised at how much you can afford.

Check your VA home loan eligibility today.

VA home loan rates for 2021

Mortgage insurance rates for VA home loans are currently at historic lows. In fact, VA mortgage rates today are generally lower than other loan types like conventional and FHA. For example, Ellie Mae October 2020 Origination Report shows that the average interest rate for VA home loans is 2.75%, while the average interest rate for both conventional loans and FHA loans is 3.01%.

Interest rates vary and depend on multiple factors like credit score, down payment amount, and interest rate type, so every home buyer’s rate is unique to their situation.

Qualifying for a low interest rate is important for VA home buyers.

Qualifying for the lowest possible rate gives home buyers three distinct advantages:

  1. Lower monthly payments
  2. Lower overall interest costs over the life of the loan
  3. More buying power (lower mortgage payments mean you can afford a more expensive home)

Each lender offers different interest rates and terms, it’s best to comparison shop with multiple lenders. Not only will this ensure you’re getting the best rate, you may be able to negotiate better terms and fees for your loan as well.

VA mortgage calculator definitions

Down payment. This is the amount you put towards the purchase of your home. The VA requires no down payment, unlike other loan types, which generally require at least 3 to 10 percent.

Funding fee. The VA requires an upfront, one-time funding fee payment to help sustain the program. It’s why lenders are able to offer zero-down loans with low rates. The fee is either wrapped into the loan amount or paid in cash at closing.

Funding fee percentage. The percentage you’ll be charged will depend on down payment and whether you’ve used a VA loan before. The most common funding fee is 2.3% of the loan amount, or $2,300 for each $100,000 borrowed.

HOA/other. If you’re buying a condo or a home in a Planned Unit Development (PUD), you’ll likely be responsible for homeowners association (HOA) dues. Lenders factor in this cost when determining your debt-to-income ratio.

Homeowners insurance. Lenders require you to insure your home from damages like fire. The fee is generally added to your monthly mortgage payment, and paid for you by the lender.

Interest rate. The mortgage rate your lender charges for the loan. Pro tip: Shop around with multiple lenders to find the best rate for you.

Loan term. The number of years you have to pay off the loan (assuming you haven’t made additional principal payments). Typical loan terms are 30 or 15 years.

Principal and interest. The principal is what you’ll pay every month towards the loan balance, while the interest is the amount you pay your lender for lending you the money.

Property tax. You’ll owe the county or municipality where the home is located yearly taxes. Your lender will collect this as part of your monthly mortgage payment — the yearly cost is split in 12 installments. (Calculator estimates are based on averages from

Service type. The funding fee percentage changes based on the type of military service. Servicemembers in the Reserves have slightly higher fees than those who are active-duty.

VA loan use. If you’ve used a VA loan to purchase or refinance a property previously, then higher funding fees will apply.

VA mortgage eligibility

Interested home buyers should confirm their eligibility with a VA lender as each servicemembers situation is unique. That said, there are general eligibility guidelines, including:

VA funding fees

Type of Veteran Down Payment First-time Use Subsequent Use
Regular Military 0% 2.3% 3.6%
5-10% 1.65% 1.65%
10+% 1.4% 1.4%
Reserves/Guard 0% 2.3% 3.6%
5-10% 1.65% 1.65%
10+% 1.4% 1.4%

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA loan limits

As if January 1, 2020, VA-eigible borrowers can get any size loan with no down payment. There are no official limits.

But remember, you’ll still have to qualify for the mortgage.

Apply for a VA loan

If you’re a homebuyer with military experience, then see if a VA loan is the right mortgage product for you. Many active-duty servicemembers and Veterans are eligible to purchase a home with zero down payment and a low monthly payment — many just don’t know it yet.

Check your VA home loan eligibility today.

Learn more about VA loans


Is the Amex EveryDay Credit Card Worth It?

The $0-annual-fee Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers some solid value. Terms apply. But should you sign up? Here are some things to consider when deciding whether this card is worth getting.

Valuable perks of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Rewarding welcome offer

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers a welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

NerdWallet values Membership Rewards® Points at around 1 cent each, depending on how you use them, so this bonus is worth about $100.

Swipe more for greater rewards

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year, then 1 point per dollar after that. You’ll also earn double points on eligible travel purchases made through American Express Travel. Terms apply.

Those points payouts are pretty standard for a travel rewards credit card in this price range. What sets this card apart is that you can earn even more rewards by using it a lot.

Make 20 or more charges to the card during your billing cycle and you will earn 20% more points for those purchases. That makes the U.S. supermarket purchase 2.4 points per dollar and all other purchases 1.2 points per dollar. Terms apply.

Points transfer to airline and hotel programs

It is rare for a $0-annual-fee credit card to have full access to valuable airline and hotel partners. For example, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardmembers can’t transfer their points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners the way the holders of more expensive Chase cards can.

But in the case of this credit card, you have ample transfer opportunities. The points you earn with the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card — American Express Membership Rewards® points — can be transferred to 18 different airline partners and three hotel partners. Sometimes, booking award travel directly through the airline or hotel can cost fewer points than if you redeemed the points directly through American Express Membership Rewards. This ability to transfer points means you can choose from two prices when booking award travel, which can sometimes mean significant savings. Terms apply.

Further, American Express lets you pool points from other Membership Rewards-earning credit cards into one account. So if you want to cancel a pricier AmEx card, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is an opportunity to save your hard-earned points while shedding the other card’s high annual fee.

Money-saving offers

AmEx Offers are a great way to save money or earn more points at many different merchants. When logged into your American Express card account, you can browse dozens of merchant-specific offers for travel, dining, grocery, gas, merchandise and more. Simply click to add available offers to your card and you’ll get discounts or bonus points when you spend at those merchants. New deals are added regularly. Eligibility for these offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the AmEx Offers section of your account before redeeming.

The ability to earn more rewards (or save money on items you were purchasing anyway), in addition to the credit card rewards you already were earning, is a great benefit for a $0 annual fee credit card.

American Express Plan It payment option

While not a benefit that should be used frequently, the Plan It option that comes with the card gives you flexibility for paying for larger purchases. When you spend $100 or more on a purchase, this benefit allows cardmembers to split the charge into monthly payments over a fixed period of time. Instead of paying interest, you pay a fixed monthly fee. There may be up to three duration options. Terms apply.

The bottom line

While the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers good value, there could be more rewarding American Express cards for your lifestyle.

If you spend a lot of money at U.S. supermarkets, consider The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which offers higher rewards for spending at U.S. supermarkets while charging a $95 annual fee. But if you don’t spend a lot of money each month on credit cards, or if you often make 20 or more small charges in a month, the $0 annual fee on this credit card could offer the right balance of rewards and affordability. Terms apply.

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet.

To view rates and fees of The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, please visit this page.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:


Americans Are Dying With an Average of $62K of Debt

You’re probably going to die with some debt to your name. Most people do. In fact, 73% of consumers had outstanding debt when they were reported as dead, according to December 2016 data provided to by credit bureau Experian. Those consumers carried an average total balance of $61,554, including mortgage debt. Without home loans, the average balance was $12,875.

The data is based on Experian’s FileOne database, which includes 220 million consumers. (There are about 242 million adults in the U.S., according to 2015 estimates from the Census Bureau.) To determine the average debt people have when they die, Experian looked at consumers who, as of October 2016, were not deceased, but then showed as deceased as of December 2016. Among the 73% of consumers who had debt when they died, about 68% had credit card balances. The next most common kind of debt was mortgage debt (37%), followed by auto loans (25%), personal loans (12%) and student loans (6%).

These were the average unpaid balances: credit cards, $4,531; auto loans, $17,111; personal loans, $14,793; and student loans, $25,391.

That’s a lot of debt, and it doesn’t just disappear when someone dies.

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What Does Happen to Debt After You Die?

For the most part, your debt dies with you, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect the people you leave behind.

“Debt belongs to the deceased person or that person’s estate,” said Darra L. Rayndon, an estate planning attorney with Clark Hill in Scottsdale, Arizona. If someone has enough assets to cover their debts, the creditors get paid, and beneficiaries receive whatever remains. But if there aren’t enough assets to satisfy debts, creditors lose out (they may get some, but not all, of what they’re owed). Family members do not then become responsible for the debt, as some people worry they might.

That’s the general idea, but things are not always that straightforward. The type of debt you have, where you live and the value of your estate significantly affects the complexity of the situation. (For example, federal student loan debt is eligible for cancellation upon a borrower’s death, but private student loan companies tend not to offer the same benefit. They can go after the borrower’s estate for payment.)

There are lots of ways things can get messy. Say your only asset is a home other people live in. That asset must be used to satisfy debts, whether it’s the mortgage on that home or a lot of credit card debt, meaning the people who live there may have to take over the mortgage, or your family may need to sell the home in order to pay creditors. Accounts with co-signers or co-applicants can also result in the debt falling on someone else’s shoulders. Community property states, where spouses share ownership of property, also handle debts acquired during a marriage a little differently.

“It’s one thing if the beneficiaries are relatives that don’t need your money, but if your beneficiaries are a surviving spouse, minor children — people like that who depend on you for their welfare, then life insurance is a great way to provide additional money in the estate to pay debts,” Rayndon said.

How to Avoid Burdening Your Family

One way to make sure debt doesn’t make a mess of your estate is to stay out of it. You can keep tabs on your debt by reviewing a free snapshot of your credit report on, in addition to sticking to a budget that helps you live below your means. You may also want to consider getting life insurance and meeting with an estate planning attorney to make sure everything’s covered in the event of your death. If you’re worried about leaving behind debt after death, here’s more on how protect your loved ones.

Poor planning can leave your loved ones with some significant stress. For example, if you don’t have a will or designate beneficiaries for your assets, the law in your state of residence decides who gets what.

“If you don’t write a will, your state of residence will write one for you should you pass away,” said James M. Matthews, a certified financial planner and managing director of Blueprint, a financial planning firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Odds are the state laws and your wishes are different.”

It can also get expensive to have these matters determined by the courts, and administrative costs get paid before creditors and beneficiaries. If you’d like to provide for your loved ones after you die, you won’t want court costs and outstanding debts to eat away at your estate.

Remember, estate planning can involve more than just drafting a will. Here are 7 documents you’ll need to fill out before you die. How do you deal with your debt and its effect on your plans for the future? Join the conversation on Facebook or in the comments section below.

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In our first article on money orders, How to Get Money Orders Near Me, we covered how and where to get them.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the flip side of that arrangement – cashing and depositing money orders at locations close to home.

But in case you didn’t read that first article, let’s start with a brief review of the topic of money orders. They’re not as popular as they once were, and they’re rarely used by the majority of people.

But there are times when sending or receiving a money order can be a preferred method of payment.

Table of Contents

What are Money Orders and How Do They Work?

Money orders are negotiable instruments, similar to checks. They can be used to make payments when cash, checks, or debit or credit cards are either unavailable or undesirable.

They’re frequently used by people who don’t have regular bank relationships. But also in situations where you need to make a payment, but don’t want to provide any of the personal information that appears on checks or credit cards. Money orders are not attached to bank accounts, so they don’t display account numbers.

On a practical level, money orders work much like checks. You can purchase them from thousands of different outlets across the country. They can be purchased in denominations of up to $500 or $1,000. If you need to make a payment that exceeds those limits, you’ll need to purchase multiple money orders.

They’re typically available for purchase at fees ranging from $1 to $5. You can purchase them using cash, credit or debit cards. You can also use transfers from a bank account if you purchase them at one where you have an account.

Since money orders are funded at purchase, the amount transferred is virtually guaranteed. That makes them equivalent to certified or cashier’s checks for payment security. And since they’re pre-funded, they can’t bounce.

Though money orders are widely accepted, it’s important to check with the payee first, since acceptance is not universal. Also, money orders generally cannot be used to make online purchases.

Once again, please refer to our article How to Get Money Orders Near Me to see where you can purchase money orders, as well as the fees and terms for each.

How to Cash or Deposit Money Orders

If you receive a money order, you can often (but not always) cash it anywhere money orders are sold. Cashing them is very similar to cashing a check, except you’ll have more options as to where to do it. (We’ll cover those options later.)

To cash a money order, you’ll need to sign the back of the document, just as you would a check. But don’t sign until you’re at the institution that will cash it, as some require witnessing your signature for validation purposes.

Whatever institution you go to cash the money order, be sure to bring proper identification. ID requirements will vary from one institution to the next. You can generally figure a state-issued driver’s license, current passport, permanent resident card, or military ID will be acceptable.

WARNING: Make sure the issuer of the money order includes your name and address on the document exactly as it appears on your ID documentation. If there’s any variation, the cashing process may either be more complicated or even refused by the institution.

Some institutions may require the payment of a small fee to cash a money order.

If you prefer to deposit a money order into a bank or credit union account, you should be able to do so the same way you would a personal check. The bank or credit union may not request ID information, since (in theory) they know who you are.

If you do deposit the money order into a bank or credit union account, access to the cash will be subject to the fund’s availability policy of the institution. Generally speaking, the funds will be fully available on the next business day. But some institutions will allow you to take a small portion of the deposit – generally $200 – on the day of deposit.

Watch Out for Fraudulent Money Orders!

Since they’re fully paid at the time of purchase, it may be hard to imagine how a money order can be fraudulent.

But just as is the case of personal checks – or just about any negotiable instrument – a money order can also be fraudulent. The likelihood is even greater if the money order is payment for an item you sold on eBay or some other online platform. The fact that the sender is so far away from you – and completely unknown to you – increases the possibility.

As a general rule, you can minimize the chance of incurring money order fraud by taking a few simple steps.

First, accept them only from local individuals, preferably those you’re familiar with.

Second, get a copy of their driver’s license or other identification – just in case the money order proves fraudulent. And sometimes just asking for ID can short-circuit a fraud situation before it happens.

Signs of a Fraudulent Money Order

Once you receive a money order, be on the lookout for any of the following:

If you’re unsure of any of the above, go online and look up a copy of a money order from the issuing institution. If there are any significant variations between the one presented to you, and what you see online, it might be a fraudulent document.

On a more practical level, be sure to cash or deposit a money order as soon as you receive it. In addition to the fact that money orders usually contain an expiration date, if one is fraudulent, the more quickly that’s determined, the more options you’ll have to pursue the issuer.

Places that Cash Money Orders Near Me

Once again, you can generally cash a money order where they’re issued. And there are thousands of such issuers across the country, with probably many located in your own community.

Here are some of the prime examples:

Your Bank or Credit Union

You should be able to cash or deposit a money order at any bank or credit union where you have a banking relationship.

What’s more, they should allow you to cash or deposit the money order free of charge. (You may be able to cash a money order at a bank where you don’t have an account, but they’ll likely charge you a fee.)

Using your bank or credit union has several advantages:

  1. You can either cash or deposit the money order.
  2. Once deposited, the funds will be available for online payments and later withdrawals.
  3. As just mentioned, you should be able to cash or deposit the money order free of charge.
  4. Since you likely have other business at your bank or credit union, you won’t need to make a special trip just to cash or deposit the money order.
  5. Your bank or credit union will represent a “second pair of eyes” to review the money order for potential fraud. And since you’re a customer, they may be able to help you resolve it.

United States Post Office

The US Post Office is one of the most common places to both buy and cash money orders.

According to the fee schedule of US Post Office, you’ll pay $1.25 to cash a money order of up to $500, and $1.70 for one up to $1,000. The fee is just $0.45 for postal military money orders issued by military facilities. However, if the money order was issued by the US Post Office, they generally will not charge a fee to cash it.

One of the major advantages of cashing a money order at the post office is that they have locations in nearly every community across the country.

Western Union and MoneyGram

Western Union and MoneyGram are two of the most common issuers of money orders. Many of the outlets where you can purchase and cash money orders offer the service through one of these two companies.

Western Union is a common issuer of money orders, and widely available at retail locations across the country. However, not every location that sells money orders will also cashes them. You’ll need to check the Western Union location page to find a Western Union agent, then call to make sure they also cash money orders.

Fees to cash a money order will vary by location, but you may not be required to pay a fee at a Western Union agent if the money order was provided by Western Union.

MoneyGram works similar to Western Union. They have many thousands of agent locations across the country, and will generally – but not always – cash money orders where they are available for purchase. Once again, check for a MoneyGram location, then contact that location and ask if they also cash money orders.

The fee situation is the same as it is with Western Union. There may be no fee to cash a money order issued by MoneyGram, but fees will apply to other issuers. Once again, check with the local MoneyGram agent to see if there are any fees for the particular money order you want to cash.

Be aware however that just because a retail location sells money orders doesn’t mean they also cash them. There’s a long list of companies that sell them, but the list of those that cash them is much shorter.

Some of the major local agents that work with either Western Union or MoneyGram, to both buy and cash money orders, include the following:


Many people are asking can you cash a money order at Walmart? Good news is, Walmart both sells and cashes MoneyGram money orders (they don’t indicate if they can cash money orders from other issuers, so call the store to verify before making the attempt).

They charge a fee of $4 to cash a money order. That will naturally apply to each money order you present, if you’ve been paid in multiple money orders.

Most Walmart stores do cash MoneyGram money orders, but be sure to check with any location you plan to visit to make sure.

Grocery Stores – Kroger

Grocery stores are not only a common source to purchase money orders, but you can often redeem them at one as well. Be careful, however, as many stores that sell money orders don’t cash them. Safeway and Publix are two examples.

One commonly asked question though is, “does Kroger cash money orders?”, and to your benefit, one major source of cashing money orders is Kroger, the largest grocery store chain in the country. They work with Western Union money orders. You’ll need to check with the local store since fees and limits vary by state.

There may be other grocery store chains that also cash money orders. But before making the attempt, first, call the store and verify that they do. Further, make sure they cash the type of money order you have. If they work with Western Union, they probably won’t cash MoneyGram money orders.

Check Cashing Services

Check cashing services specialize in providing banking-type services for those who do not have regular bank relationships. That includes both issuing and cashing money orders.

However, the main disadvantage of using check-cashing services is that they charge the highest fees possible. If you do try to cash a money order at a check-cashing service, be prepared to pay 10% or more of the amount of the money order. Many will also have a minimum charge on smaller money order amounts, that could easily exceed 10%.

As a general rule, check-cashing services should be seen as a last resort, and only if you’re prepared to give up a substantial portion of the money order to pay the fees.

Final Thoughts on Where to Cash Money Orders Near Me

If you’re paid by money order, your first choice to cash it should be your bank or credit union. Since you have an account relationship with them, they’ll give you the option to either cash or deposit the money order, and usually free of charge.

The next best option is to cash a money order with an agent location that works with that particular issuer.

For example, if you’re paid by a Western Union money order, you should cash it at a Western Union agent. The same should apply with MoneyGram money orders. If you do, you should be able to cash the money order without paying a fee. Same situation with a US Post Office money order. If you receive one, you should cash it at the post office.

Use check-cashing services only as a last resort, since the fees are ridiculously high.

About the Author

Jeff Rose, CFP®

Jeff Rose, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™, founder of Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.

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InboxDollars Review: A Legit Way To Make Extra Money In Your Spare Time

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If you’re looking to make some extra money in your spare time, then you may want to consider giving InboxDollars a try.

The platform advertises that it has paid out over $59 million in cash rewards over the years, so you know they’re a legit site.

In this article we’ll explore how you can sign up for InboxDollars and get your piece of this pie.

InboxDollars Review

Quick Summary

  • $5 signup bonus.
  • Multiple ways to earn cash.
  • Payments via PayPal, check, gift card.
  • Good way to waste some time and earn.
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What Is InboxDollars?

InboxDollars is a platform that allows consumers to get paid for doing surveys, watching ads, and redeeming cash back offers. Take your extra time and earn some extra money on the side. 

You can access InboxDollars through their website or by using their app, so you can make money on the go, or even while you’re standing in line. 

The premise of InboxDollars is simple. They invite brands to pay members for information. When you fill out a survey, shop through a cashback portal, or provide feedback on a video, you will earn cash, and the participating company gets the information they need to build or adjust their marketing campaign or product. 

The company is a legitimate company, founded back in 2000 with a solid Trustpilot rating and thousands of positive reviews. InboxDollars even has an A rating at the Better Business Bureau. The company doesn’t share or sell your personal information for marketing purposes, and many reviewers talk about making money with the site almost immediately.

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How To Sign Up For InboxDollars

To get started with InboxDollars and start to earn money online, you’ll need to create an InboxDollars account. 

InboxDollars will reward you with a $5 bonus for signing up and confirming an email address through our link here: 

InboxDollars Signup Page $5 Bonus

To complete your account sign up, however, you will need to fill out the questions on a profile survey.

This survey consists of 30 questions and asks about your demographic information such as your age, geographic location, and gender.

InboxDollars Signup Information Profile

While this may take up to ten minutes to complete, you’ll not only receive a 50 cent bonus, but it will enable InboxDollars to tailor future surveys to your specific demographics.

How To Earn Money With InboxDollars

One of the most attractive benefits of Inbox Dollars is that you can make money in a variety of ways.

Not only do you get paid to sign up, but you can choose activities to suit your personal preferences. 

Get Paid For Doing Surveys

With InboxDollars you can get paid for doing surveys. Depending on the complexity of the survey, you could earn up to $5 for a survey. Most surveys will pay anywhere from $0.25 to $1.

For higher paying surveys, you can expect to spend 10-20 minutes taking the survey. Although this may not seem like much, the surveys are designed to be completed in a relatively short time, so they can easily fit into your daily schedule. You can complete the surveys at any time.  Stuck waiting in line or waiting to pick the kids up from school?  Fill out a survey or two and monetize your time!

InboxDollars Fill Out Surveys For Cash

If you’re part of a demographic group in high demand, your potential earnings can dramatically increase. If a company is desperate to hear the opinions of your particular group, you could earn as much as $20 for a completed survey. 

If you want to maximize your earnings filling out surveys, you need to check out the “My Surveys” page to check which are the best surveys. These are indicated with stars next to them as an indication that you are most likely to qualify for these particular surveys. It’s a good idea to start with these surveys, as you will earn the most, before working through any others. 

You can also rack up some points by completing all of the profile surveys if you didn’t complete them during sign up. 

Get Paid Watch Videos

InboxDollars also allows you to make money watching videos. You earn by watching short video snippets in their video player.

InboxDollars Get Paid To Watch Videos

These snippets can be related to almost anything, from cooking demos and commercials to movie trailers and celebrity talk shows. You can earn approximately $0.02 for each video you watch.

So, if you need a break from your latest Netflix binge, watch an InboxDollars video and earn a little extra cash as wait for your popcorn. 

Play Games

According to some users, playing games is one of the hardest ways to earn some money through this platform. It is still possible to earn a few extra dollars to your account balance. 

InboxDollars is partnered with GSN (the Game Show Network) to offer paid games. Unfortunately, you need to spend money to earn cashback on this “casino.”

If you already enjoy playing paid online games, it could provide a great way to earn some cash back, but this likely won’t appeal to everyone. You can expect to earn $0.18 for every dollar you spend on GSN games. If you’re not a gaming enthusiast, however, you could quickly eat through your InboxDollars balance.  So be careful.

Shop Via The InboxDollars Portal

If you’re already shopping online, you can use InboxDollars to earn cash back.

Cash back portals aren’t anything new, but if you’re already signed up to InboxDollars, you can use the platform to shop and earn cash back. 

One advantage of InboxDollars is that the platform will also help you to locate discounts, cashback deals, and free samples. There are rotating deals, so you’re not likely to run out of deals and options. The company will even send you an email to explain the deal, so you can assess them to check if they are right for you before you start shopping. 

InboxDollars Cash Back Shopping Portal

The InboxDollars coupons section is powered by, so you can find some excellent deals on the items you were going to purchase anyway.

There is a coupons tab on the platform, so you can search for coupons on home goods, food, and other categories. So, whether you earn $1 off mouthwash or a couple of dollars off baby food, you can save money on items you normally buy.

InboxDollars Coupon Section

Just select the coupons that you want to clip and print, and when you’re done hit the “print coupons” button. You’ll earn $0.01 per coupon, up to $0.25 per day. 

Of course, you’ll need to have some discipline to not use coupons for items you wouldn’t normally buy, as you’ll end up spending more than you save. 

Other Ways To Earn

There are also some other ways that you can add to your InboxDollars balance. One of the easiest is by answering emails.

Most of us have a full inbox, but you’re not likely to be overly taxed by a couple of additional emails. The platform allows you to earn cash back just by reading those emails from InboxDollar’s partner companies. 

To get the points, you need to either read the email and click a button or link or take up the offer in the email. 

If you find that you’re getting too many emails, you can always “roll up” your email notifications, so that everything is compiled into one message. However, InboxDollars does make a promise “not to flood your inbox,” but this is subjective. Some people find an email a day a pain, while others are unfazed by multiple messages. 

InboxDollars App

You can choose to use the InboxDollars website or the app. The app is available for Apple devices or Android through the Google Play store. It has a high rating on both the App Store and Google Play. 

InboxDollars mobile app

The app allows you to continue making money online, completing “my surveys” and other microtasks while on the go. So, you’re not tied to your laptop or desktop computer, making it easy to make some extra cash in those spare moments that you have throughout the day. 

The app has a clean layout and is easy to navigate, but some users have reported glitches in the app, which may mean you need to close the app and restart it.  

How To Get Paid With InboxDollars

As we’ve touched on above, you can earn anywhere from $0.50 to a few dollars for each task, and your earnings will be added to your account balance. Fortunately, InboxDollars makes it easy to convert this balance into cold, hard cash. Once you reach the minimum $30 balance, you can cash out with a gift card, check, or PayPal payment. 

To request a payment, you just need to click on the “Request Payment” link in the “My Account” tab. You will need to check your name, mailing address, and account details to ensure that your payment is correctly processed. You can then select your preferred payment option. 

InboxDollars Payment Options

First payments are processed approximately ten days after your first request and occur on each Wednesday. The first payment takes this long due to the verification process that needs to be completed before the payment can be issued. However, once you’ve had your first payment processed, future payments will be quicker.

After your first payment, your payments will be processed each week, but you will need to request it before Sunday 12 am, so it can be processed the following Wednesday. 

The payment options include ePayment, which allows you to use your Tango Card to bank your earnings. However, you can also request a check payment that should be received within two weeks or request a PayPal payment or gift card. 

Pros And Cons Of InboxDollars

As with every platform, nothing is perfect, and there are some pros and cons associated with InboxDollars.

The platform does offer a number of different ways to earn money, so if you have some spare time on your hands, you can switch between completing surveys, playing games, watching videos, and redeeming coupons. This diversity means that if you get bored with completing surveys or there are no surveys available for your demographics, you can still earn money by completing other tasks. 

The downside of InboxDollars is how long it will take you to cash out. There is a minimum threshold of $30, which can be challenging unless you’re using the platform each day. Additionally, some users have complained that it takes a while to find surveys that they qualify for. This can be discouraging if you have limited time and are struggling to find surveys that are appropriate for your circumstances. 

Alternatives To InboxDollars: Swagbucks Vs. InboxDollars

If you’re still unconvinced about whether InboxDollars is the right option for you to earn money online. Online surveys are not a new concept, and there are quite a few alternative platforms that allow you to complete surveys and other tasks as a side gig.

One of the most well know alternatives is Swagbucks. Like InboxDollars, Swagbucks is primarily a survey platform, but you can also earn watching videos, playing games, and online shopping. 

Swagbucks was established in 2008 and has paid out over $379 million in rewards to its 10 million users. 

The most obvious difference is that each task is rated according to how many Swagbucks or SBs you will earn. One SB is roughly worth one cent, so you’ll need 500 SBs to earn a $5 gift card or PayPal transfer. This does make Swagbucks a little more complicated to use. You can earn anywhere from 40 to 100 SBs for completing a survey, which sounds more impressive than $0.40 or a dollar, so it is easy to be lulled into the sense that you’re earning more. 

Swagbucks is a legit company, and it does offer more partnerships compared to InboxDollars. For example, you can use Swagbucks Watch to watch random YouTube videos, but you’ll only earn a point or two for every half hour. 

This does make Swagbucks a viable alternative, and there is nothing stopping you from using both platforms to make some extra cash. Check out our full Swagucks review for more about the service.

Is InboxDollars A Scam? Is It Worth It?

InboxDollars is a legitimate site, and it is not a scam.

As with all of these types of platforms, you’ll only get out of InboxDollars what you put in. The earning potential is there, but it may not be as effective as platforms that solely focus on one area. 

For example, SurveyJunkie pays more for surveys, while TopCashBack may be a better alternative for cashback. 

InboxDollars does provide a good all round platform, however. This allows you to complete surveys, or if you’re not in the mood, you can mix things up by watching a video, playing a game or doing a little online shopping. 

Although the minimum cashout threshold is a bit high at $30, if you’re completing tasks each day, you should find this to be simple to accomplish on a regular basis.

InboxDollars Review


Mortgage Tips

7 Easy Meals to Make With Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s one of my favorite times to eat delicious food and reflect on what I’m grateful for. We often have leftovers that we can make budget-friendly meals with after Thanksgiving and one thing I always strive to do is eliminate food waste.

My family has no problem eating leftovers for 2 or 3 days but then they get bored. While you can freeze some of your leftover holiday food, you can also take the opportunity to discover some new meals and recipes by repurposing some of your ingredients.

Here are 7 easy meals to make with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

I wasn’t always into casseroles. As I get older, the more I realize how hearty, filling and easy casseroles can be. You can literally use any ingredients you have on hand to make a delicious casserole. This Thanksgiving casserole is excellent because it calls for leftover ingredients like mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, and stuffing.

You can even add extra ingredients if you have them in your fridge or leftover from the previous day’s meal. This is an easy way to get rid of all your Thanksgiving leftovers and keep food waste at bay.

Pilgrim Sandwich

This could be a tasty lunch for your family the day after Thanksgiving. The recipe is simple and calls for leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread and cheese. You can add mayo and lettuce if you’d like. Nevertheless, this is an easy and budget-friendly way to make meals with Thanksgiving leftovers in 10 minutes or less.

Turkey Pot Pie

One thing I don’t like about leftover turkey from Thanksgiving is that it can get dry over the next few days. One of the best budget-friendly meals to make with Thanksgiving leftovers that will keep your turkey moist is adding it to a pot pie.

Use any leftover gravy you have and add turkey along with veggies like carrots, green beans, corn, etc. You can make a pie crust from scratch or buy one. You may even have a leftover pie crust in the freezer if you did any holiday baking as well.

This is one of the best recipes I’ve seen for turkey pot pie and it helps you prepare the meal in an hour or less.

Leftover Stuffing Waffles

This is a recipe I’m actually going to try to make this year with Thanksgiving leftovers. All you need are mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and 2 beaten eggs. Mix everything up then add it to your waffle iron and you’ll have a warm and delicious breakfast in minutes.

If you’re spending the day after Thanksgiving shopping in-store or online, you can prepare this as a power breakfast and avoid ordering restaurant food during the day. That’s truly the beauty of having Thanksviging leftovers – not having to feel tempted to order restaurant meals for a few days.

Here are 7 easy meals to make with Thanksgiving leftovers. Click To Tweet

Turkey Hash with Country Gravy

If you’re in the mood for a breakfast skillet in the morning, consider making this turkey hash with country gravy recipe from the Food Network. It calls for hot Italian sausage. Or, you can just prepare it with whatever protein you have on hand. Just scramble the sausage, leftover turkey, and stuffing in a skillet. Add some green peppers and onions if you wish. Then top it with a poached egg and some turkey gravy.

This may even be a breakfast meal you add to your regular recipe list.

Turkey Chili

This turkey chili recipe is healthy and a must to prepare at least once if you’ve never tried it. Switch up your regular chili recipe with this one to help you get rid of Thanksgiving leftovers like turkey meat, mashed potatoes, and rice. You’ll need low-sodium chicken broth, two cans of pinto beans, and chili seasonings like oregano, cumin, and chili powder.

This is the perfect meal to make with Thanksgiving leftovers if you’re looking to stretch food while family is staying over for the holidays.

Roasted Turkey Lasagna

Lasagna is another budget-friendly meal to make with Thanksgiving leftovers. This recipe shows you how to make your own sauce and you can also add in some Italian sausage of your choice. This dish could also allow you to clean out your pantry before the end of the year especially if you’re been storing a lot of pasta.


After spending the entire day focusing on gratitude, it just doesn’t sit well with me to toss out leftover food the day after. Thanksgiving leftovers can be repurposed to create so many budget-friendly meals. It’s perfect for a relaxing weekend spent at home with family. Perhaps you don’t want to spend more money on takeout or have to go to the grocery store right away. So while the big meal may cost a little more money to prepare, you’ll make up for the added cost by stretching your leftovers and trying out some of these delicious and creative recipes.

What Are Your Favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? 


Mortgage Tips

13 Best Online Survey and Research Sites To Make Money

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While there are many ways to get ahead in life, few are as beneficial as earning more money.

By increasing your income over time, you can boost your cash savings rate, save more money for retirement, and even afford a splurge once in a while.

Ready to get started?

And if having more money makes you feel more secure, you’ll probably sleep better at night, too. Of course, it’s not always easy to increase your income.

Your employer might hate giving raises, for example, or maybe overtime at work has become scarce. If that’s the case, you might need to pick up a part-time job, start a side hustle from home, or look for unorthodox ways to earn money in your spare time.

Table of Contents

The 13 Best Survey Sites For Money In 2021

  1. Survey Junkie
  2. Swagbucks
  3. Inbox Dollars
  4. Ipsos iSay
  5. LifePoints
  6. Vindale Research
  7. Pinecone Research
  8. Global Test Market
  9. E-Poll Market Research
  10. American Consumer Opinion
  11. Pro Opinion
  12. Harris Poll Online
  13. Wonder

If you’re short on time and looking for how to make money fast, one of the easiest ways is with online survey sites. While the payouts can vary, these survey companies let you earn money just for answering questions, browsing the internet, and more.

Plus, unlike a part-time job with strict hours and the standard commute, you can complete surveys during your actual free time – at night when the kids are in bed, early mornings before work, or while you’re watching TV.

And if you’re worried about distinguishing between sketchy sites and legitimate ones, no worries. I’ve taken the time to research and review the good, the bad, and the shady to present you with the best survey sites that can make you money in 2021. 

Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie makes it quick and easy to jump into the survey game.

According to their websites, they say they are the most popular spot online to earn cash and rewards for sharing your thoughts, while that might not be technically true, they are one of the largest survey sites out there.

They were launched in 2005 (which is pretty old for a survey site) and they have over 10,000,000 members. 

Survey Junkie uses a point system for their rewards. For every survey you complete, you’ll get anywhere from 50 – 450 points. 100 points equals $1.

As you can read in my Survey Junkie review, they are very honest about how much you’ll make, unlike some of the other competition. They clearly say on their website, You Will Not Get Rich taking surveys.

You’ll be able to cash out your points either through PayPal or with a gift card. If you request a payout through PayPal and it can take up to 24 hours, but in most cases it is immediate.

Compared to other sites out there, this is a huge advantage. Some companies and sites can make you wait several days or even weeks.


Swagbucks was one of the first paid survey sites to appear on the internet, but it has grown to offer more options and more fun ways to earn money with each passing year. With Swagbucks, you’ll earn points for shopping online, watching videos, searching the web, and answering surveys.

make money taking surveys with Swagbucks

When it comes to redeeming your points, a wide range of gift cards are some of the best options on the Swagbucks website. If doing surveys for gift cards is not your thing, you can also redeem your points for PayPal cash. Read more in my Swagbucks review.

Signing up for Swagbucks is easy and, best of all, it’s free! If you want to see all the different ways to earn money with Swagbucks

Inbox Dollars

With Inbox Dollars, you’ll earn cash for an array of activities. In addition to earning rewards for completing surveys and questionnaires, you can also get paid to surf the internet, play games, print grocery coupons, and shop online. Best of all, signing up is absolutely free!

If you use the InboxDollars site regularly, you can usually earn up to $20 or $30 per month for your various activities. Plus, you’ll get a $5.00 credit just for signing up! They claim to have now paid out over $57 million of cash rewards. Read more in my InboxDollars review.

Ipsos iSay

iSay is not the most popular survey site out there, but it should be in the consideration when you’re looking for a place to make some extra spending money for sharing your opinion.

In most ways, iSay is identical to the other sites on the list. One thing which sets them apart is the Poll Predictor. If you’ve been on a survey site before, you know one of the most frustrating things is to enter a survey, answer a few questions, and then get kicked out for not qualifying.

If this happens with iSay, you get asked a Poll Predictor question. These are questions like, “Have you ever been overseas? “And you have to guess what percentage of people said yes. The closer you are to the right answer; the more chances you get for winning the prize drawing.

How much are you going to earn using iSay? Their rewards are on par with other survey sites out there, and similarly, the amount you get paid is going to differ depending on the length of the survey.

You’ll need to accumulate at least 500 points (equals $5) before you can request a payout with PayPal or transfer the money to a gift card. Read more in my iSay review.


Formerly MySurvey, LifePoints is actually an adaptation of a program that was started back in 1946. It began as the National Family Opinion organization that used to send out surveys through the mail.

In 2001, they joined the digital age, and now they are one of the best survey sites around. According to the website, they have issued out more than $15,000,000 rewards to members.

With LifePoints, your opinions are collected for Lightspeed Research, a company which provides survey-based research solutions to businesses using consumer data.

The rewards are on par (or better than some) with most other sites. They offer $0.50 to $1.25 for every survey that you complete, with the shorter surveys only taking around 5 minutes to finish.

When you want to cash out, you’ll have to accumulate $10, which is less than some of the other sites, and you’ll be able to get your money through a check, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or the more than 60 other gift card options.

Vindale Research

vindale research logo

Vindale Research isn’t going to be the highest paying survey site, but that doesn’t mean that you should automatically eliminate it. It’s a great addition to your survey sites and can help you earn a couple of extra dollars every month. 

Vindale Research is one of the oldest survey sites out there, which means the company knows what they are doing. For every survey, you’ll get anywhere from $1 to $5, which isn’t bad money for the time that you’ll invest. Obviously, the more detailed a survey is, the more you’ll get paid.

The company also offers product evaluations that you’ll earn more cash for (because they are more time-consuming). They will give you a product or service, and you’ll be required to write an honest review on it. This can pay anywhere from $5 to $75.

Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research works a lot like other paid survey sites. Once you sign up, you’ll earn points for each survey you complete.

As an added bonus, the responses you give during surveys will help you learn about new products before they hit the market and influence their respective marketing campaigns. And once you start racking up the points, you can redeem them for cash or prizes.

While you have plenty of options when it comes to redeeming your points, Pinecone research is also one of the few online survey sites that will actually send you a check in the mail instead of making you redeem for gift cards or merchandise.

Pinecone Research - Make Money taking surveys

Global Test Market

Global Test Market is one of the rare survey sites that has received accreditation from the BBB. They are one of the most diverse survey sites that include topics of anything from cars to movies.

Just like the other survey sites, every time you complete one of the surveys, you’ll receive anywhere from 35-250 points, which equals about $1.50 to $1.75 per a survey.

Once you rack up enough cash to payout (which you’ll have to accumulate at least $50), you’ll have several different options to receive your money. Global test market will pay you through a check, through your PayPal account, or redeem it for gift cards.

In addition to getting points for each survey, you’ll also be entered into monthly cash drawings. Sure, there is no guarantee, but it’s a nice additional incentive.

ePoll Market Research

One of the lesser-known survey sites is ePoll Market Research. The company was established in 1997 and helped pave the way for the hundreds of different online survey sites that we enjoy today.

While there are no clear guidelines, ePoll surveys tend to revolve around the media and entertainment business. So younger survey takers and TV/movie watchers will probably enjoy ePoll more than some of the other demographics.

With ePoll, you may be required to watch a commercial, or even a TV episode and then answer questions about it on the survey.

In fact, on rare occasions, ePoll will send out a movie or TV show for you to watch at home and then review on the site. These opportunities are infrequent but are a nice additional perk of using the site.

Most of the surveys take around 10-15 minutes, not counting the time it takes you to watch the required viewing if there is any.

American Consumer Opinion

While it might be hard to believe at first, American Consumer Opinion will pay you real, actual money to share your opinions and complete online surveys.

Once you join their online opinion panel, you’ll be asked to offer opinions on new products you have tried, test out new advertising campaigns, and tell companies what you think of their marketing techniques and slogans.

Payouts from American Consumer Opinion vary, but your payout will come in the form of points you can redeem for cash. You can also get your cash through PayPal if you want, and redemptions start at 1,000 points or $10.

Pro Opinion

With Pro Opinion, you’ll get paid to answer questions in your field of expertise. In addition, you’ll provide valuable research that is used to create expert responses and articles on the Pro Opinion website.

After you sign up, you’ll receive surveys on various topics and products via email. Once you complete these surveys and build up a stash of points, you can redeem them for cash via PayPal, purchases made through, or gift cards to various retailers.

As an alternate suggestion, you can even redeem your rewards as a donation to the Red Cross.

To get started, you’ll need to offer quite a few personal details including your gender, home address, birth date, employment status, education level, and household income.

After that, however, you’ll be matched with surveys that line up with your individual strengths and existing wealth of knowledge.

Interested in learning more? Sign up with Pro Opinion here.

make money doing surveys with Pro Opinion

Harris Poll Online

Like American Consumer Opinion, Harris Poll Online offers cash incentives to people who are willing to log in regularly and complete online surveys and questionnaires. Once you join, you’ll begin earning rewards for each survey you take.

Once you earn enough reward “points”, you can turn them in for purchases made on websites like Amazon, iTunes, Home Depot and Walmart. Conversely, you can also turn in your points for movies, books, and home goods ordered straight from the Harris Poll website. Plus, you’ll be entered into a $10,000 sweepstakes each time you complete a survey.

While exact payouts per survey aren’t advertised and can vary quite a bit anyway, Harris Poll Online is free to join and the rewards can be lucrative if you use the website often enough.


Unlike the other paid survey sites on this list, Wonder will actually hire you to conduct independent research on a wide range of topics. In that sense, Wonder offers much more of a “part-time job” than a side hustle you can complete in your spare time.

If you meet their criteria and get hired, you’ll conduct expert research on anything from historical events to government laws and regulations. In turn, that research is used by professionals who pay to use this service.

Earnings vary highly depending on your level of skill and the amount of time you spend finding the crucial details your clients need. Still, this is a great way to earn some money online and from the comfort of your own home.

How to Get the Most Out of the Best Online Survey Sites

The allure of free money can be hard to walk away from, especially if you can earn that money just by clicking around on the internet a few times per day. Still, there are plenty of ways to maximize the amount of money, merchandise, and gift cards you earn over time. Here are some tips that can help:

Sign up for every legitimate online survey site you can find.

While you can earn money from any of these sites fairly easily, the amount of money you can earn from each might be limited. If you have plenty of time on your hands, it can pay to sign up for several online survey sites and participate in each.

The more surveys and online tasks you complete, the more money you’ll earn over time. You may even find that a few sites are your favorites this way, or that one site ends up helping you net more cash than the others. Regardless, you won’t really know how each works until you try them out.

Watch out for scams.

While every online survey site mentioned in this post is absolutely legitimate, there are some copy cat websites and even fraudulent websites out there.

If a website is making wild claims about free money or asks for more personal information than you feel comfortable giving, that’s a good indicator that they are up to no good.

Make sure to read reviews and follow up with research to make sure a website is legitimate before you begin using them. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Set aside time to complete surveys each day.

If you feel like you don’t have time to complete surveys, you’re not alone. Most of us live busy lives, and it can be difficult to keep up, let alone take on a new side hustle.

Still, if you watch television each day, then you have plenty of time to complete surveys online. Simply turn on your favorite show and complete survey questions during the commercial breaks.

If you like some quiet time at night, that’s also a great time to earn extra money through online search or complete a few online surveys while you relax.

The Bottom Line

The best online survey sites will reward you for everything from searching the internet to watching targeted videos, opening emails, completing surveys, and giving your honest opinions on products and services.

But to get your hands on that free and easy money, you have to sign up first!

Have you ever earned money through an online survey site? Why or why not?

About the Author

Jeff Rose, CFP®

Jeff Rose, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™, founder of Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.

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