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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Answer Questions Online (Day 24)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

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 email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Alaina of Telecommuting Mommies

Are you interested in getting paid to share your knowledge? There are sites that will pay you for your answers to user’s questions. You won’t get rich, but with the holidays right around the corner, you could earn some extra cash by signing up with these sites below.

Who Can Qualify For This?

Anyone can qualify to make money answering questions online — as long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and are at least 18. Some sites only hire within the U.S., others hire in other countries as well. A few of these sites have an application process, while others just ask that you fill out a profile and sign up.

If you are particularly knowledgeable in a subject such as car repairs, some of these sites can help you put that knowledge to work. Other sites don’t require that you be particularly knowledgeable about a subject if you can research it quickly online.

Finding answers to most questions is easy if you know which sources to trust online for reliable information and can then summarize that information quickly  for someone.

How Does This Work?

This varies depending on which site you decide to sign up with. Some sites have users post questions and they are then notified once answers are posted. This means that you can log on, check to see what questions interest you, and decide if you want to answer them.

Other sites such as ChaCha and KGB, where the answers are coming in from text messages, the questions must be answered right away. They do not require you to sign up for shifts, and you can hop on at any time.

What Companies Pay to Answer Questions?

1. Just Answer

This website hires experts in certain areas including law, home improvement, health, tech support and others. Check out the list of categories and see if you are an expert in one of these areas. Then, fill out an application, have your credentials verified, and start getting paid to answer questions.

Questions are not answered in real time but users post a question along with a price they are willing to pay for that answer. Questions may be priced from $5 to around $20. You only get 25% of the price being offered when you first start, but you can move up from there to 50%.

Once your answer is accepted, the money goes in to your account. The minimum payout threshold is $20 and they pay via Paypal.

2. Student of Fortune

This site is a combination of online tutoring and a question/answer site. Users post an academic or technical problem they need help with and how much they are willing to pay for that help. A preview of your tutorial will appear along with your price. When it is chosen, you get paid around 80% of what the user pays.

The downside is that you could write something, not be picked and not make any money. The upside is that once your tutorial us uploaded to the site, they keep it there and will show it for future questions. You have the ability to continue earning for a long time off of one tutorial.

3. ChaCha

ChaCha is a mobile texting service where users can text a question and ChaCha guides answer them (also via text message.) Guides are paid for every answer that is given. If you are 18 or over and eligible to work in the U.S. then you can apply to be a guide.

The pay is very minimal and has dropped significantly since they first started. Some might say it’s not worth the time, but if you are sitting on the couch watching TV and surfing the net, you could a little bit of money by answering a few questions now and then. Answers are given in real time so you have to attempt to find the answer as quickly as possible.

4. WebAnswers

This website is set up a little differently. Anyone can sign up and there is no application process — so you can sign up and start answering questions right away. You must answer 50 questions, however, before you become eligible to start earning anything. After that you are required to sign up for a Google Adsense account.

You can earn money several different ways. When your answer is chosen as the “Best Answer” you start earning advertising royalties on that question/answer thread. WebAnswers is also temporarily running a trial where it pays for you to ask questions as well. Your advertising is also displayed on other pages, not just on your questions and answers, and you earn on that as well.

5. KGB

KGB stands for “knowledge” — and it’s also the number you need to text message your questions to (KGBKGB = 542542). This service is very similar to ChaCha, and is also a two-way mobile texting service where users ask questions and agents provide the answers in real time. They pay $0.10  for each response that you answer and $0.05 for each response that you give where their database automatically populates the answer and you send it along.

You must pass a test to show your abilities to find an answer quickly online. Also, some of the content coming in through the text messages may be crude or inappropriate. Agents are not required to answer these questions but it is something to be aware of.

Have you worked for any of these question/answer sites before? If so, tell us about your experiences!

Alaina shares her twelve years of work-from-home experience at her blog Telecommuting Mommies. She also opens up her personal life as a homeschooling, blogging, work at home Mom of four at The Maestro Mom.

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  • JenK says:

    Just FYI…I teach for a university, and Student of Fortune is considered by professors to be a cheat site. It’s quite a problem for us–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught students cheating by posting questions from my syllabus there and copying the answers that get posted. If you take classes anywhere or plan to in the future, be very careful about having your name associated with SoF. I know that it’s not your fault as an author if students lift your work without proper attribution, but working with this site means there is a good chance you could be helping others cheat their way to a degree.

  • Sarah says:

    I have a question for anyone familiar with the Student of Fortune web site. It looks like an interesting way to make money, but I am very concerned about the academic integrity of the service. I read the academic honesty policy. It sounds like a sincere effort to encourage learning and discourage cheating. But when I perused the actual questions asked and the previews of tutorials available, I see what looks like a very clear pattern of what could only be called cheating in my view.
    There are tutorials with titles like “ETH 316 All CLass Week 1-5 All Assignments And Dqs / Scored 98%” – that is giving the specific class, week, and grade. That particular tutorial is simply a ton of links to documents with titles like “ETH 316 Week 1 Individual Assignment Ethics Essay.doc” (And how can I resist pointing out the irony that this appears to be blatant cheating in and ETHICS class!) Most of the questions I saw weren’t asking for help unpacking a difficult concept – they were asking for very assignment-specific responses, often down to the required word count and paper format.
    Am I missing something? If someone has experience with this site, I’d love to hear some feedback about my observations.

  • I did ChaCha for a long time. I stopped because I have a life. lol. It got to be a pain having to be tied to my computer all the time especially evenings. Was also easier when we had two laptops. Drove my husband nuts when he would have to hand the computer over constantly so I could answer the question.

  • Claudia says:

    I’m a college student, and Student of Fortune (among other websites) is specifically listed by my school as a cheating site.
    I know people need extra money, but working for sites that exist to help students cheat just isn’t worth it.

  • Jenny says:

    I tried one earlier this year. I worked many many hours and figure I recouped about $3/hr for my work. I think it may have fried my computer too because of the many hours I worked on the computer with multiple windows open trying to get questions answered. I couldn’t surf the web while working because of the time restrictions to answer quickly. Lots of crude messages. I tried to work when they said they needed someone (hot times they pay more) but I found it discouraging so I don’t do it anymore.

  • Anna says:

    I was wondering whether anyone has made money at a decent hourly wage from these sites. I tried WebAnswers for a little while, but didn’t really find it profitable, so I haven’t tried any others since.

  • Kristie says:

    OOh, as a librarian I have to cringe when I see things like this. I am all for asking a car mechanic a question, but for general knowledge questions-librarians do this for free and we spend years in school learning how to manipulate information correctly. Do I want to write a paper with research that some unskilled worker just googled? That said, why would I not try to google the info myself? The good information (peer-reviewed, etc) is in databases that the average internet user does not have access to-unless they have a library card. Maybe it is because I am a knowledge hound at heart, but I cannot think of a legitimate question to text to a pay site that I can’t just answer on my own. If I were helping a child with homework, and it was after library hours, I would use, and internet library, run by (you guessed it) librarians who answer questions in a timely manner. For free.

    • When I worked ChaCha, it was the age before smartphones. I’d get a lot of “what is the score in the such in such game?” or “what time does this place close?” There were other ones that were obviously someone doing their homework but they majority were texted in questions like the ones I mentioned. I honestly don’t know how well it would work now that most people have smartphones. It was created more for when you aren’t near a computer to find out something. Good in theory.

  • Alaina says:

    Thanks for the info about Student of Fortune everyone, good to know!.ChaCha and KGB are the ones I have worked with in the past and am more familiar with. After going back and looking at them all more closely I can see the big difference between some of the sites and SOF and how it could be used for cheating. Good point.

  • Chris says:

    I was with ChaCha a few years ago, but I can earn more in less time with Swagbucks.

  • Kristie says:

    It occurred to me after I posted my message that I may have appeared to come off ungrateful. I enjoy this series and all of the hard work that went into creating it. My only concern is bad information (and it is out there). I only wished to warn, not to insult. Thank you for all of the work you do. I find this site to be very valuable.

  • I’m confused here. I am not sure why some of the recommendations here are for positions that pay so little. For instance, with ODesk, starting at below minimum wage could make a busy mom very discouraged. Many of the readers, including me, are moms with young children and we would pay more for babysitting than some of these jobs pay. I started my own business from home and make much more per hour than some of these recommendations. I would not sell the readers short here. There are many, many other viable business options that would allow moms to help their families financially.

    • Crystal says:

      Great questions and I’m so glad you asked! You are so right that there are many, many other business options out there. I’ve featured many of those ideas over the years and am constantly encouraging my readers to think outside the box and create significant streams of income (see this series here if you missed it:

      However, this series is specifically about earning money before Christmas. Yes, some of the jobs are low-paying, but it also takes a LOT of time and work to start your own business and get it off the ground. When I started my own businesses, it was *years* before I was consistently making more than minimum wage. In the mean time, I did many jobs like this to help us stay afloat. They aren’t always ideal, but when you’re in a pinch and need the income, they work.

      My hope is that some of these ideas will help those who are struggling and don’t have months to get a business off the ground before they have bills to pay. I hope that these ideas will help them be able to be able to earn some cash over the next few weeks to pay for Christmas.

      I’m trying to feature a variety of ideas since we have a broad base of readers. Not everything will work for everyone, but all of these ideas should allow you to earn cash by Christmas — no matter what your situation or giftings and talents are. And, in the process of trying some of these ideas, I’m hoping people will be inspired to experiment and try some other ideas that may turn into much more than minimum wage!

      Congratulations on your success in your business! How exciting! I’d love for you to email in and share more about your home business. I may be interested in featuring you in an upcoming post or series!

      • Crystal, this is really great and I appreciate you taking the time to send a comment back on this. I have almost always turned a profit, even when deciding just this month to bring on an assistant as the work was becoming more than I was able to handle without sacrificing too much time away from my kids. As you well know, before you know it the business takes the driver’s seat and the time with your spouse and kids takes the back seat and that’s not the type of balance we are looking for! I decided to start a business with direct sales for that reason. Simply put, we didn’t have a lot of money to start anything, so after the small start-up fee it did not cost me anything to stay in business. I will check out the series you linked to in your comment. I would love to help write some posts in regards to running businesses from home. I know there are a lot of people out there that do write on these topics, but I came from many years of corporate America/consulting before coming home to be with my kids, so I have been fortunate to see how big companies are run and have adopted a lot of those same practices into my own small business. I think it’s important for women to get some good tips and tools on how to successfully run a business while running a family and household. As you know, it is not easy but it is doable! I think it’s also important to be knowledgable about what to do (and what not to do) when you get started to make it a great experience for everyone. God has given me both a passion for my family AND for being an entrepreneur so I work hard at both everyday! I would love to serve you and your readers in this way; there are readers out there that are perhaps the same as me and many other moms; simply wanting to provide for their families, desiring to work yet NOT desiring to leave the home for a traditional 8-5. Thanks for your comment; you know your readers best obviously, and with such a wide range you want to appeal to all needs.

    • Tom says:

      What are they?

    • Misty monroe says:

      Could you spread your expertise on how or what you suggest? I’m a single parent and I’m not looking for a get rich quick or answering surveys where they pay 2 dollars and your phone rings non stop because you had to go through all the name number questions. And the telemarketers start calling.

  • aimes says:

    I decided to apply for one, I think it was Just Answer. I have 25+ years with MSOffice specializing in Excel and Access, plus an MCSE. I started filling out the profile and it told me to give a brief description of my skills but to be sure to pay attention to grammar and spelling. I put in the sentence above and was told it was ‘too long’ but not how long it should be. I started editing, one character at a time, until it accepted the description. In hindsight, that probably should have been my first clue. Next I took a test on my skills. Then they wanted a head shot. If you’re not an actor, who has that? While I was hunting around for something that might be suitable, note that I had not completed the profile yet, I got an e-mail that they did not find me suitable. Oh, well.

    I think it is a great service but not for everyone, obviously.

    I’m doing well with the mystery shopping you mentioned earlier. Should be getting my second check this week. I’ve also set up several things to sell and used a couple of other ideas. Keep it up! Lots of good things here.

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