Nicole emailed in the following tip:
Do you live near a university? Then you might have a way to earn spare cash! If it’s a university that conducts social or scientific research, you can often qualify for paid participation in their studies.
The university near us conducts several studies each semester and posts details of them online in the search for participants. Some of these studies can pay quite well; my sister is participating in one about diet that will pay her $350 at the conclusion of the study!
If you’ve got a university near you, here are the things to keep in mind when finding and trying for a research study:
1. Go to your university’s webpage and run a search for “paid research study.” Or do the same with Google, using the name of your university.
2. Read the guidelines listed carefully; many studies have specific parameters so you might not qualify.
3. Realize that not all studies are created equal. Make sure the amount of effort you need to put forth is worth the payout.
4. Each study has a contact email address listed. When you write them, keep your e-mail brief and to the point. Let them know you’re interested in more information and you believe you qualify. Sometimes studies fill up rather quickly, so you could ask if there are any other studies coming up soon that you might be qualified for.
5. Most of the time you will be paid only after you have completed your participation requirements. Keep this in mind when thinking about your payment; it will help towards building a savings goal or giving you spare cash, but it probably shouldn’t be counted for helping to pay a bill due that week.