How to make money at university and kill that student loan #2: survey sites that don’t suck

As my son approaches university, I decided I would try to teach him how he can make, save, and spend money on a student budget. I have written about user testing, now it’s the turn of online surveys.

Paid survey sites pay money to get your opinion about things. Bear in mind the following:

  1. Doing surveys online is really boring. To stay sane, you won’t want to spend hours doing it.
  2. Some survey sites pay little or require you to take a million surveys before you earn enough money to cash out. Avoid.
  3. Be prepared to start lots of surveys only to be told you don’t qualify.

With that in mind, let me recommend just five sites.

Non-crap survey sites in order of preference


The best is SurveyBods. One month: £13.50. Nice to look at and has interesting surveys. Well, not dreadfully uninteresting anyway.


Next is Panelbase. One month: £10.70.

Third is iPoll. One month: £10.81. American and slightly clunky, but payout is decent.

Prolific. These are surveys for academic research purposes. One month: £5.10.

Pinecone. Not many surveys but well-paid (c.£3 each). Invitation only.

Total per month: ~£40. 

Next: micro jobs.



Good grief but do I despise the way Americans yap about the Revolution. I despise it, not in some wounded pride British kind of way, but in the cloying candy cane sickliness that is applied to all things 1776.

I’m not bitter really . . . I just lived for four years in America and lost count of the times I was told that your guys kicked my guys’ asses (sic).


I mean, setting aside the fact that I have no idea whose guys are whose — both our ancestor guys were no doubt busy scratching their miserable livings in peasant squalor and thus not too worried about which George lived in the big house — I think the Revolution was a disaster. A world in which America was part of Greater Great Britain, or at the very least, a member of the Commonwealth, would be an America more Canada than the United States and with all that manifest destiny crap that comes with being AMERICA!

And then there’s the reliance on France. Louis XVI’s France! You have got to be kidding me. But I am ranting. Suffice it to say that portraits of Seabury, Arnold, and all the prominent United Empire Loyalists hang in my home.

To the point: I have very little clue who Alexander Hamilton was except that he’s on the the money and was shot in a duel. But let it be known: in a country where no-one knows the first thing about Hamilton and Burr and where the Hamilton bandwagon is not yet rolling, I am well and truly on it. Basically, it’s the greatest thing ever.

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How to make money at university and kill that student loan #1: user testing

As my son approaches university, I decided I would try to teach him how he can make, save, and spend money on a student budget.

There are numerous ways of making money online that are suitable for students, some more lucrative than others. The key is to find something that doesn’t take too much time. You can fill-in surveys for 20 hours a day and earn a few coins, but then you only have four hours left to eat and sleep and dream of the degree you are no longer getting.

I have been testing a few schemes and have found some better than others. One of the better ones is user testing where people with internet savvy test various websites or apps and get paid.

User testing


By far the best is WhatUsersDo. According to their blurb:

Join our global panel of internet users and get paid to give feedback on our clients’ websites. Use your own computer from home. Our software records your screen and spoken thoughts. We pay up to 8 £/€/US$ per test.

After signing up I did an audition in which I had to record myself (using downloaded software) browsing and commenting on a particular webpage. Each test tends to look for a certain demographic — so you don’t qualify for everything they offer — but based on the tests I have completed so far, I think you can clear about one test a week and so earn about £32 / month. That’s a mobile phone bill covered.


Coming in second is UserTesting. I haven’t had as much success with them although I am currently testing a game app which is offering decent money. The going rate is $10 for a website test. File under #beermoney.


Finally there is UTest which has proven to be a bit of an unknown quantity so far. I was offered work testing for Nationwide and Starbucks but they wanted people who lived in London. It’s a lot more “freelance” than the other two: you basically use UTest to create a profile which is then seen by third parties who approach you independently. The Starbucks gig offered $70. I will report back once something happens. If anyone wants to follow me I will follow back and we can feel less lonely.

Next: survey sites that don’t suck the life from your soul.