I love finding unique ways to save money or hacks to earn free money and gift cards. So it is no surprise that Survey Junkie caught my attention…
If you have toured the blog circuit, popular websites, or Reddit for any amount of time, or even if you are a blogger, you have likely come across a review of Survey Junkie. I was curious if you could make any “real” money using the website. To put Survey Junkie to the test Mrs. Money Geek and I downloaded the app, set an egg timer to 1 hour, and raced to see who could make the most money.
The following is our review of the Survey Junkie site and our experience with filling out surveys for quick cash.
Survey Junkie Review: Hacks, Taxes, Reddit, Oh My
Note: In this review, I will share our results, and some hacks to use the site effectively to make money.
Survey Junkie for Beginners
Survey Junkie is a website where users to take surveys in exchange for points that can be redeemed for gift cards or a deposit into your account. Signing up for the website is quick and painless; you can use your plus account, or your email to log in
I used my Facebook account as a login, so I do not need to keep remembering passwords. I am always a bit nervous using Facebook as a credential since some Apps will spam your Facebook feed. I’m sure my family isn’t interested in my virtual villages. Fortunately, the site to date has been spam-free.
Is Survey Junkie Legitimate, a Scam, or Something Worse?
I have played several online games, and some of those games offer the option to take various surveys to earn in-game currency or content. If you have ever played a freemium game your smartphone, you may be familiar with Tapjoy. I’m embarrassed to admit I have attempted a few Tapjoy surveys to earn extra lives or loot for DragonSoul.
Most in-game surveys I found were thinly veiled spam to sell a product or capture personal information. Frankly, the amount of spam has turned me off to most surveys sites or gift card offers.
Survey Junkie passes on the “legitimate test,” both my wife and I used the website for over an hour, completing multiple surveys. Neither my wife nor I were directed to any shady surveys, nor were we asked to divulge any personal or sensitive information.
Having tried surveys before, I was always frustrated me was that you would spend 15 minutes on a survey to ultimately find out you were disqualified. As such, I would receive no reward/compensation. Using Survey Junkie, I did get excluded from a few surveys. However, I found out quickly, and they give you a few token points for the try.
I didn’t find it nearly as frustrating as some apps. However, there was a big difference between the number of surveys my wife and I each qualified for. Some people’s opinions are going to be more in demand than others so that results will vary.
The REAL Question; Can You Make Money Using Survey Junkie?
To test the website, my wife and I set up a simple experiment. We both signed up for the site, set a timer for one hour, and tried to see how much money we could earn. The goal was to see if we could make more than the minimum wage using the app.
We also made it a competition between the two of us on who could make more with the site. Mrs. Money Geek beat me out by $0.20. Lessons were learned, one being, don’t challenge Mrs. Money Geek to money earning contest.
Despite our best efforts with the site, neither of us was able to break the minimum wage. We both stalled out around 3 dollars when the timer rang.
I was ready to conclude the effort a failure. However, Mrs. Money Geek provided a bit of objectivity.
“The Surveys were kind of fun, and we were doing them while watching TV” – Mrs. Money Geek
She had a point; I was looking at the surveys all wrong. If you think filling out surveys online is going to replace employment or other sources of income, then you will be disappointed.
However, if you view the surveys to make a few extra dollars a day when the opportunity presents itself than the website is a winner.
Chances are during the day you will have several minutes where you can complete a survey, such as:
• Waiting to pick the kids up from school
• Riding the bus or train, or during a carpool
• Downtime at an airport
• In-between meetings at work.
• While riding an exercise bike
• Donating blood or plasma
• Watching TV
During the day, you likely encounter several 10 to 15-minute opportunities where you can complete a quick survey. If you can squeeze an hour a day of surveys into your schedule, then that’s three extra dollars a day.
The Power of Three
Three dollars does not sound like a lot of money; however, three dollars are more powerful than you may realize. Three dollars times, 365 days a year, is $1,095. Most people would love to save an extra thousand dollars a year.
However, what if you could do better?
Let me show you how we’re going to create a hack to use that three dollars to create some real retirement savings.
Should you deposit the $1,095 into your 401k/IRA, and you meet the income requirements for the Retirement Savers Credit, you could receive up to a 50% tax credit. That’s right; Uncle Sam will potentially reward your thriftiness by giving you $547.50. Pretty awesome right?
Let’s not stop there, now imagine you plow that $547.50 back into your retirement account. Doing so gets you another $273.75, for your retirement goals and tossing your $273.75 into your retirement plan nets you another $136.87. Deposit your $136.87 into your plan, and you make $68.43.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll stop here, as you can see using the tax code we have now turned your $1,095.00 into over two thousand dollars.
Plus, you might qualify for even more tax credits
But wait there’s more!!!
Many employers offer to match on 401k contributions. Many workers struggle to take full advantage of the opportunity to have their savings matched. Since they need their whole paycheck to support the family, pay down debt, or other goals.
However, if your employer offers a dollar for dollar matching, or 50% matching your $2,000-dollar contribution could become 3k or 4K instantly.
An hour a day to boost your retirement savings by 4k a year now starts to look promising. Imagine if you and your partner both spent just an hour over the day sneaking in a few surveys.
What If You Do Not Qualify for The 50% Credit?
Hope is not necessarily lost if you do not qualify for the full 50%.
Even just qualifying for an employer match may still be a great opportunity.
However, if your income is too high for the full 50%, you may qualify for a 20% or a 10% credit. A smaller savers credit combined with the tax savings from your deductible contributions may still be significant or have a similar result.
Tip: If you can’t lower AGI low enough during one year, consider bunching. Instead of contributing a thousand dollars one year and another thousand the following, you could save up the contributions to contribute two thousand dollars in year two.
You may be able to lower your taxable income, eligibility for the retirement saver’s credit is based on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). AGI can be reduced by things such as contributions to deductible retirement savings accounts, and Health Savings Accounts.
Additionally, the saver’s credit is not the only credit that ties out to AGI or Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). The premium tax credit that is used to help make health insurance affordable uses, MAGI. The tax code is full of phaseouts and exemptions; a small contribution can sometimes save the day when it comes to taxes.
What If Your Employer Doesn’t Match or Offer a 401k?
If your employer doesn’t offer a 401k or offer matching, you can open up an IRA at most banks or with a reputable financial advisor. If this is your first time setting up a retirement account or your first time investing, find someone knowledgeable about taxes, and considers safe investments.
Should you follow this plan, you will have gone to great lengths to save some extra money for retirement. The last thing you would want to see is your hard work eaten up by high fees, or market losses.
What if you can save three dollars a day without Survey Junkie?
If you can free up three dollars on your own, then Survey Junkie could augment that. Now you might be saving 6 dollars a day or more. When you realize how powerful just a few dollars a day can be, saving money might become a bit of a fun savings challenge. Challenge yourself to see how much you can keep every day. (don’t go too crazy with it, it’s easy to get burnt out. Life requires balance)
What if you are already optimized?
Maybe, you were already maxing Your Health Savings Accounts, Retirement Accounts, and are not paying any income taxes. In that case, you could always save the money for a vacation, Christmas shopping, back-to-school shopping, or something else fun.
Additionally, filling out surveys may not be for you and your goals, and you may prefer other ways to make money. (I’m not trying to convince you the road to wealth is paved with surveys.)
Survey Junkie Taxes
The money you earn from Survey Junkie is taxable income, and you will need to report it on your tax return. Since the plan is to contribute this money to retirement accounts, the impact on your taxes should be minimal. However, it would be self-employment income, so self-employment taxes would need to be paid, tax credits do not typically apply to self-employment taxes.
A tertiary benefit is the self-employment taxes paid may potentially increase your future social security benefits.
The good news is you should be able to apply some expenses against the taxable income, such as a portion of your cell phone bill or internet bill. (consult a tax pro)
Contributing the estimated saver’s credit and/or taxes savings into your retirement account will lower your taxable income. You shouldn’t be any worse off earning money.
However, taxes are complicated; it’s best to model the plan by doing a mock tax return.
Survey Junkie, Reddit, and Side Hustles
I’m sure I will get some pushback from the blogosphere or Reddit about this plan. I can see the blog comments now, about how people are better off working overtime, investing in real estate, starting a blog, affiliate marketing, or flipping. (Did I cover them all?) I can’t argue that those are not more effective was to make money.
However, most of the traditional sides hustle, require some initial investment, and more than an hour a day of commitment — people who find that engaging in a conventional side business is not feasible. Survey Junkie can be an effective way to make a few extra dollars a day.
Making It Work
If you fall into the Goldilocks situation, where you would qualify for the full 50% retirement savers credit and get decent matching from an employer-sponsored 401k then just 3 dollars a day can be mighty. The key to success is to estimate out your taxable situation and estimate what is necessary to get the maximum benefit.
Filling out surveys may not be the best way to make money, however, its better than waiting until tax season and finding out you missed out on credit tax credits. Even worse, it beats finding out you owe the IRS and now you’re putting taxes on a credit card, or payday loan.
Individual results will vary, and you may need to consult with your tax professional. However, if you have met all the criteria an hour a day could be worth three thousand to four thousand a year in retirement savings.
If you are looking for a way to make a few extra dollars, give Survey Junkie a try and let me know how it goes, should you decided to try Survey Junkie, please consider using my affiliate link here. It helps keep the site running so I can keep bringing you unique ways to save money and inspirational Success Stories.
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