In an ever diluted atmosphere of “make money from home” sites, one of the most well-known and easy to use sites is Inbox Dollars. A reputable site that has been around for many years, Inbox Dollars advertises itself as far more than just a typical paid survey site, so I decided to check it out for myself and review the different ways they allow members to make money. While typical survey sites give users “points” they can exchange for prizes or other raffles, Inbox Dollars claims to give members cold hard cash. Let’s put that to the test!
$5 Signup Bonus
First things first, I needed to sign-up for the site. I signed up through an affiliate link that I found online that provided by an initial $5 signup bonus, so I was off to a good start.
The signup process was painless and pretty much what you would expect. I had to enter my email, create a password, and then confirm my account through a link in an email. However, once I went back to the site, I was surprised to see that I needed to enter some additional information such as my income level, marital status, and questions about my race and background. While this seemed a little invasive at first, it turns out Inbox Dollars uses this information to decide which surveys and offers to email me, which in the long run saves me precious time from filling out surveys that won’t be a good fit.
I completed these questions, and then headed over to my homepage, and sure enough there was a $5 balance. As part of my test, I tried to immediately cash out the money, but was denied. I took a further look and found out that there is a minimum requirement of $30 for each withdrawal. A bit high for my taste, but since I was starting from $5; this was more like a $25 minimum of earnings, which again is pretty much on par with other sites.
Total account balance = $5.00
Make Money on Surveys
Wanting to test each of the different methods for making money on Inbox Dollars, I jumped right into their money making surveys first, which was easily found until the “Survey” link in my dashboard. The surveys were custom selected for me based on the demographic information I entered, and most of them were in the range of $0.50 – $0.75 cents for a few minutes of surveys. On the other hand, there were several that we worth $2.00 – $5.00 for surveys that required 30+ minutes to complete. After a few hours filling out various surveys, and I then noticed that I had accumulated a decent number of “spins” as well, which are used for a custom spin and win game that is also offered on the site.
After spinning the virtual wheel a few times, I earned an extra $0.75 to bring my total up to about $12.00.
I then decided to take a break and check back in the following day. To my surprise, I had a couple of paid emails in my inbox the next day, which earned my some very easy extra cash in my account just by clicking on a few links. The best part of this is that each of the emails was tailored to my tastes from the earlier surveys, so it definitely didn’t feel like a chore to check out each of the offers. On top of that, they will only send a maximum of 3 emails a day, so I didn’t feel like I was being bombarded with offers either.
A few emails later, my account was up to about $13.00.
Watch TV & Video for Money
Logging back into the main site, I chose to try some of the TV & Videos offered. Most of the videos were only worth a couple of cents each, but the content was actually quite enjoyable and information, so I spent a good hour (or two) watching various clips. After each video, there is also the chance for a ‘scratch-off’ card, where you can try and match different symbols to win a prize. The payout for these cards was pretty low, but there is a chance to win $5.00- $10.00, so I can definitely see the incentive to watch for a longer time and hope for a lucky payout.
Overall, the payout rate was definitely lower than what I earned taking a few surveys, but it was also much more enjoyable for me to spend some time on the videos. If you are looking to make the top dollar for your time, the surveys are probably the better option. If you are just looking to kill some time on your lunch break, the videos are the way to go.
At this point, I was up to just under $15.00.
Make Money Browsing
Next up on my list, I wanted to check out the “paid to search” section of the site. I’ve tried these in the past with mixed results, so I admittedly had some pretty low expectations for this option. As expected, the payout was abysmal, at only $0.01 for a couple of searches. However, the search results were much more accurate than some other sites I’ve used, so if you made this your default engine, I imagine you could make a few extra bucks a month while getting results very similar to what you would see in Google or Bing.
An added bonus, I also got a few raffle entries called “sweeps” after a couple of searches. You can use these for various raffles on the site, but I decided to pocket them and let them accumulate for a later entry. (I tend to stockpile these types of bonuses and spend them all on a raffle I really want to win.)
All in all, no real impact to my bottom line as I ended this experiment with less than $16.00 in my account.
Playing Games for Cash
My personal nemesis, I then wanted to tackle the games section of the website. While I LOVE playing online games, my skill level is absolutely below par, and I am almost certainly guaranteed to lose! I spent awhile doing my best at the different word and arcade games, and had some mixed success playing Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. Inbox Dollars has a unique “leveling system” that pairs you against people of similar skill level, so after a few wins the competition definitely got much more difficult. In order to really make money here, I needed to make a cash deposit and compete against other uses in order to win more money. For someone with a decent skill level, you could definitely make some very good money here, but given my poor skill level, I decided to call it quits and just stick to the free games.
No impact to my trial balance as I ended with the same $16.00 in my account.
The Big Bucks – Shopping
Far and away the big money maker (as it always is on these sites), the shopping category clearly had the most attractive incentives. Ranging from a couple bucks to several offers with payouts of $10.00 or more, I did end up making a few purchases for products I was already shopping for. While I wouldn’t make a purchase for the sake of just getting the incentive in my account, if you are already in the market for an item, which not save a couple backs with cash back? Double that up with a cash back credit card offer and you could save an easy 5-10% off your purchase.
Total balance after a few small purchases was just over $30 in less than a full day or playing around on the site. While technically enough to cash out just, I decided to leave the money in my account and wait for a bigger payout, as I learned that there is a $3 transaction fee for any withdrawals less than $40.
After weighing the positives of the paid emails, surveys, and videos against the negative results I had with the paid search, it was pretty clear to me that this site is legit and a good way to make money in between meetings or on your lunch break. While it won’t make you an overnight millionaire, if someone is really good at those cash games, I could definitely see them earning some great spending money each month.
If you want to give the site a try, I’m happy to share the same offer I got during my sign-up, which is the free $5 bonus. Check it out and let me know your results in the below comments, I’ll be happy to offer any advice or feedback as I continue to play around on the site… and get paid for it!