Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.
If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please . I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Guest post from Carrie of
For the past five years, I’ve been earning part-time money doing focus groups and testing and giving my opinions on products for market research firms.
These are not the same as doing online surveys. They usually involve traveling to a location in your area to participate. Sometimes, the study takes place over the phone.
Participating in market research is a fun way to earn some extra cash — especially for a stay at home mom, student, or a retired person with a flexible schedule. Other than gas to drive to the research facility, there is no cost to be a respondent.
What Are Market Research and Focus Groups?
When a company wants to change an existing product or launch a new one, they need people to test and try that product to get an idea of how it will perform in the marketplace.
These companies hire market research firms to gather groups of people in various demographics so they can compile this information from their target market.
How Do You Find Legitimate Market Research Companies?
The company I’ve done the most work for is . They have offices in several states.
You can search for other similar companies in your area with a Google search. I found the two companies I work with by searching “market research respondent database”. has quite a few recommend companies to choose from.
Remember to use good common sense when searching for a research company to work with. The number one rule is: don’t pay any money to join a database. Legitimate Market Research companies will never ask you to pay them any money to join. In addition, don’t give private information such as your social security number out to anyone.
What Is the Process For Getting Jobs With Market Research Companies?
To start working for a market research firm, you’ll first need to fill out an online profile. Then, if you’re accepted, a screener will call you when a study becomes available that fits your demographics. The screener will ask you questions to determine whether you’re a good fit for the project.
Please note: Companies typically don’t want you to do more than one study for the same type of product in a 3-6 month period. Before accepting you for a particular job, a screener will ask you questions that may disqualify you for a particular study.
How Much Can You Earn?
The amount of money you can earn depends on how many companies you sign up with. Compensation is given to you immediately when the study is completed, and it is in the form of a check or a prepaid debit card.
The studies are fun and pay quite well for the time involved. For instance, once I got paid $35 just to taste and give my opinions on a bakery product. It took all of five minutes!
I have listened to music and shared my thoughts on radio stations. I’ve been given free baby diapers and personal care products in addition to compensation for my time.
My sons were even selected to do a study once and each of them earned $150 in about 1 ½ hours! They were thrilled about that, of course. 🙂
In addition to the in-house focus groups that you can do with other people, you will sometimes take home product and try it out over a period of days. A couple of times I’ve earned $100-$150 for a few minutes of paperwork each day. This doesn’t include the value of the product — things like beauty products or baby necessities or food.
Carrie is a writer, wife and homeschooling mom of 7 and lover of good food and great books. Visit her online at .