Recently, entering instant win competitions has become part of my morning routine. To save time, I have set up a folder on my Firefox browser which includes all of the following websites bookmarked onto the necessary page. Each morning I fire up the laptop and click on ‘open all tabs’ whilst the kettle boils. Then it is a matter of checking each website for a win and closing the tabs as I go along – this usually takes me about 3-5 minutes and it’s a great way to kick start the day.
Most of these websites involve creating an account and then setting yourself up for winning a prize by picking a set of numbers or entering your date of birth, postcode or street name. The requirements are different for each instant win competition and the prizes are quite varied – some of them are as low as a bag of Haribo whilst on other sites you can win up to £1000. Here is what you need to do:
Register with your email address and choose your emoji combination. Check the main draw and afterwards click on the ‘Unlucky. Try the fivers draw’ box to see if you have a win there too. Sometimes you will be required to watch a short video to see the winning emojis. Draws refresh at 7pm. Join here.
Sign up by entering your postcode and email address. Check the following tabs.
Main Draw – Instantly see if you have won a prize. Video Draw – Play a short video and a postcode will pop up at the end. Survey Draw – This is usually a 1 question survey, and they pay 1p towards the bonus draw for completing it. The postcode appears at the end. Stackpot – Check the list of winning postcodes to see if you have won a £10 prize. Bonus Draw – when you have reached the bonus amounts required (£5, £10, £20) you are also entered into these draws.
This website refreshes at 12pm, except for the Stackpot which refreshes at 9am and 9pm. There is also a Mini Draw at the bottom of the Main Draw page which appears at 6pm daily. Join here.
Register by picking your 5 numbers and entering your email and desired password. Then, each day just check the main page and see if your numbers have come up. Join here.
Register with your email address and simply scroll down the main page and see if you are listed as a ‘Dinner Winner’. The draw refreshes at 4pm on a daily basis. Join here.
Register with your email address. The winning raffle ticket appears on the main page each day. Join here.
Enter your email address and choose a lucky 4 digit pin to register. Check the main page on a daily basis to see if you have won. The draw refreshes daily at 1pm. Join here.
Register with your email address or Facebook account. This is a weekly draw – check the ‘results’ page to see if you have won anything. Join here.
Enter your desired username and email to register. A weekly draw. You can collect tickets for the draw by; listening to radio, watching videos, referring people or playing bingo. Join here.
Register with your email and date of birth. Open the home page to see if you have won. Usually you need to click away an advert to see it. Join here.
Enter your email and date of birth to register. Check the daily draw page to see if you have won a prize. Join here.
You are given an allocation of patches when you open an account and then you need to grab your patches on a map. Click on the pink ‘Claim £xxx’ box on the Lucky Patches page to see if you have won. Each time you log in, the company allocate you extra patches – which quickly build up and increase your chances of winning. Join here.
Register and enter your name and date of birth and the website will automatically generate a unique ‘birthdate code’ for you. Each day you will be presented with 10 draws – you will need to check each one to see if your claim button lights up. The draws are refreshed at 12pm. It is an advert heavy website and pop ups do appear but they are easily clicked away. Join here.
Enter your chosen username and email address and your 6 digit code will be generated. Check the draw page on a daily basis. Join here.
These following require a bit more effort as you need to enter your email address each time you check them:
Fill in your name, email address and date of birth to register. Click on ‘enter draw’, input your e-mail address and password to check if you have won a prize. Join here.
The next two websites on this list are not strictly instant win competition sites, but are worth signing up to just for their daily poll as the companies reward you with points for completing it. After you have earned enough points you can request a payout. Both sites also offer ways to earn money online, including taking surveys or watching videos, but the rewards are low for the effort needed.
Swagbucks – Join here.
Branded Surveys –Join here.
Many of these sites also have extra competitions on their other pages but generally I only check the main page. Otherwise this would get a bit too time consuming and I prefer to use this time to make money online. Check out some of my methods here.
I started Matched Betting in 2009 and have made myself a tidy sum since then. Whilst it is my most profitable way of earning money online, it is also the most complicated. It takes a little time to learn and is definitely not something than can be rushed into.
What is Matched Betting?
Matched Betting is a way of taking advantage of bookmaker sign up offers. These offers are designed to entice you to register a new account and place a bet. However, as you will soon find out, matched betting is not limited to sign up offers. Afterwards come re-load offers, as well as casino bonuses which can also turn a profit. You will need to carefully calculate bets with the help of spreadsheets and place them in a way that guarantees a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.
How do I get started?
There are many websites that explain matched betting, including Oddsmonkey and Profit Accumulator. These sites will guide you through the process step by step and have their own dedicated forums and useful spreadsheets. However, there is a monthly charge (around £18) to use these sites after the initial trial period.
Are there any free websites that can teach me Matched Betting?
Yes, it is possible to access the same information for free with websites such as Freebets 4 all and Matched Betting Blog. In the same way as the paid websites, these sites contain up to date lists of sign up and reload offers, simple oddsmatching tools and basic matched betting calculators.
Admittedly, the information is not as comprehensively laid out as it is on the paid websites. There are missing features – the more advanced calculators, for example, but you don’t need these when you start out. Also, beware that most of links in these websites are affiliate links. You don’t really want the bookies to know that you are clicking through from a website that is dedicated to matched betting. It is worth considering sending a donation to the owners of these websites instead of using their links.
You can also learn Matched Betting completely independently, as I did ten years ago before these other sites existed. All the information you need is available on the Money Saving Expert forum. Start off with a read through the instructions and, if you are feeling a bit nervous, there is a questions thread for newbies here. When you have learnt the basics you can find a lot of the more complex methods on other threads in the forum. There is also a link to Ultimatcher, a free spreadsheet which can be invaluable to anyone starting out. It not only helps you calculate bets, but is also great for keeping track of matched betting funds.
Is it worth it?
Yes! There is a lot of money to be made in matched betting and I would definitely recommend investing some time in learning it. I completed all the sign up offers many moons ago and still bring in a minimum of £250 a month without very much effort at all. And I know from reading others’ experiences that it is possible to make a lot more than this if you have enough spare time to commit to it!
Thanks for reading. If you are interested in other ways of making money online – check out my other posts here.
Roughly 2 years ago I started volunteering at a local charity shop. My reason for doing this is that working from home I miss contact with other people. Also, it is nice to involve myself in the local community. So far, I have found the job very enjoyable and have learnt a lot from it.
What does volunteering in a charity shop involve?
There are many different tasks that need to be done in order to maintain the smooth running of the shop. When volunteers start out, their main task is to tidy the shop. This includes making sure that all the clothes are hung correctly and colour coordinated, and that displays are tidy. After a few shifts, they are given access to the till and become a fully-fledged member of staff.
Aside from serving customers and keeping the shop organised, behind the scenes we sort through the donations, price items and clean stock if necessary. Additionally, we also arrange window displays, complete our paperwork and so on… there is always something to do!
What are the donations like?
Our shop is located in a very affluent area so we sell mostly designer brands. Our customers donate many new items from designers such as Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg or Prada. Sometimes the brands donate their seconds, or clothes that have been used for modelling shoots directly to us.
We don’t sell very many ‘high street’ brands unless they are in new condition and from the more expensive end of the high street. Absolutely no items from shops such as ‘New Look’ or ‘Next’ are kept – we transfer these to other branches.
How are the donations dealt with?
Occasionally we get fake items which we cannot sell. We offer these to a textile recycling company, who visit us once a week and take away our unwanted items. These also include items that are unsaleable, such as stained clothing, dirty cuddly toys or odd socks.
Also, we get items that need to be disposed of, including broken mugs and used dish draining racks. This is a bit frustrating as they are costly to get rid of – roughly £2.50 per full bin liner. People mean well when they donate these items, but we really can’t do anything with them.
What skills do I need?
No specific skills are required. The volunteers in our shop come from a variety of backgrounds and bring different skill sets with them. Some are very artistic, which is brilliant for displays and dressing mannequins. Others are great with people which makes for increased sales figures.
Can I do this on a short term basis?
Absolutely! Whilst we have a few long term volunteers, most stay for a few weeks until they find paid employment. Most people work 1-2 days a week, but some are here for 2 hours and others nearly every day – it just depends on the individual’s circumstances.
If you can spare a few hours a week – why not give volunteering a try? Do you also work from home? If so – check out my top tips here.
For the last few years, I have been working from home. People often ask me if it is possible to work from home effectively. Whilst, admittedly, there are distractions in the household, they are easy to manage with a bit of careful planning. Over the years I have fine-tuned my routine and adopted habits which I believe enable to me to get the most out of working from home. Here are my top tips – I hope you find them useful.
Whilst the morning coffee is brewing, make use of those spare minutes and get dressed. It doesn’t need to be anything too smart. An outfit like jeans and a shirt or a jumper dress is enough to look ‘put together’ and give others the impression that you mean business. When I first started working from home, I just stayed in my pyjamas all day. However, I soon stopped doing this as it started to get embarrassing if I needed to answer the door. Also, it wasn’t a great look for when my partner returned home from work. Furthermore, when I do change into my pyjamas in the evening it signifies that my work day is officially over. This helps me to define a work/life boundary too.
When you are at home all day, it’s all too easy to snack on anything and everything in sight. If, like me, you find this prospect irresistible, it pays to stock the kitchen with healthy snacks. These could include grapes, sunflower seeds or even some chopped up raw carrot. It is also worthwhile to eat decent breakfasts and lunches to minimise those hunger pangs. There are many healthy and easy to make recipes in this book, written by the makers of Innocent Smoothies.
Designate a work area.
Our dining table only gets used as a dining table when we have friends over. The rest of the time it is my desk and is where the printer, stationary and work documents live. Whether it is the end of your dining table or a proper desk, you definitely need a designated work space. This will increase your productivity as it sends a clear message that you are working and you are less likely to be disturbed.
Leave the house.
A little walk everyday certainly helps to clear the mind as well as getting those muscles moving. Just getting out for half an hour a day works wonders for my productivity. It is also possible to earn some extra money whilst you venture out for a short while. You could take part in a postal survey, or even complete some online surveys on Prolific Academic. Another option is to pick up an item or two from the pound shop to resell on Ebay.
Get involved in charity work.
If you miss having regular contact with others and can spare some time, why not seek out a volunteering position. In my role I have some quiet times, when I don’t have any projects for days at a time. So, I work in the local charity shop and this fills that time perfectly. It is also a great way to get to know and immerse yourself in the local community. Check out my post on this here.
Keep on top of the housework.
Whilst we don’t have a set in stone housework rota, I like to dedicate half an hour a day to housework. As long as the place is kept tidy, this is enough and prevents me from getting distracted by chores. We tend to put items away as we use them and avoid hoarding things. Also, when we have finished in a room, we leave it as we found it. A recent read of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – really helped me reinforce my beliefs and has also given me some new ideas.
What is the Ipsos Unex International Postal Survey?
UNEX is an international postal survey that aims to measure postal transit times between different countries. It is similar to the TNS Postal Survey in that it involves sending, receiving and recording mail; it differs, however, in other respects which I will highlight in this post.
What does taking part in this survey involve?
The pre-stamped parcels include a transponder, a scrunched up sheet of brown paper and a short generic letter which explains that the parcel is a test item. After you post one of these parcels, this will need to be recorded on the UNEX website. Additionally, you will receive parcels from other panellists which will also need to be logged on to the website.
I find it quite exciting to receive these just to look at the foreign stamps – some of them are very unusual! The website is extremely efficient and user friendly – it takes about 10 seconds to record a sent or received parcel.
What are the rewards?
UNEX operate a points based rewards system whereby you earn 10 points for each logged parcel. Additionally, they reward good performance with an extra 30 points per month. You can redeem these points for gifts or gift cards in a dedicated online shop. I usually wait until I have accumulated 260 points and claim a 20 Euro Amazon gift card.
Is it worth it?
If you visit, or pass by the Post Office often and are able to receive parcels, you will likely benefit from this survey. However, I doubt that the rewards are sufficient to cover the costs and inconvenience if you need to go out of your way to take part.
How do I join?
In addition, Quotas are looking for business panellists to take part in a new survey. It would involve sending roughly 5 letters (no parcels!) a week. You will need a franking machine or a PPI account. See here for further details.
Since writing this post, I have stopped doing online surveys. This is with the exception of Prolific Academic as it pays very well and their surveys are interesting to complete. My reason for stopping is that there are so many other ways of earning money online that are more rewarding and much less time consuming. For further info, check out some of my posts here.
This is probably the highest paying online survey website around. The surveys pay a minimum of £5 per hour and give you an estimated completion time before you start. The surveys are compiled by academics and cover a wide variety of topics. The only downside is that Prolific Academic doesn’t notify participants when a new survey is available, so you need to log on to the site frequently to check for them. Payment is via Paypal or Circle. The minimum payout threshold is £5. However, a fee is charged if you withdraw less than £20. Sign up here.
If you are really determined to join some other online survey sites – here is my original post:
Whilst you are unlikely to make a fortune out of completing online surveys, there is still the potential to earn some extra income each month with very little effort. You may have heard that survey websites pay you pennies for a lot of work – and even screen you out after you have answered most of the questions; this is certainly true of some of them but there are still good ones out there. The following websites are those that I have found worth doing:
This is my second favourite online survey website. All the surveys pay £3 and take 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Occasionally, Pinecone also sends out a product to trial and rewards you with another £3 for filling in the follow up survey. Also, from time to time the Company emails a very short unpaid pre-screening survey entitled ‘household questions’. Recruitment is usually done through banner advertisements that appear sporadically on random websites. At the moment there are banners on the Pick my Postcode site. Payment is made via PayPal or Prepaid Virtual Visa. Read Pinecone’s frequently asked questions here for more information.
These surveys pay an average of £1.20 and usually take about 20 minutes to complete. The payment threshold is approximately £30 and is paid via PayPal or in high street vouchers. When you complete a survey you are also automatically entered into the quarterly sweepstakes draw. Join here.
The typical payment per survey is £1 and each survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. Payment is made by cheque and the payment threshold is £50. New Vista Live credits new accounts with £5 just for signing up. Join here.
These surveys pay at least £1 each, the amount depends on how much time it takes to complete the survey. The rate of pay is typically £1 for every 5 minutes. The payout threshold is £50 and payment is made by cheque, which is posted to you automatically. Join here.
These surveys are very short and typically pay between £0.10 to £0.30 each. They take 1-2 minutes to complete and One Poll doesn’t often screen you out. The site credits new accounts with £2.50 and the payout threshold is £40 which is paid via BACS or PayPal. Join here.
This company rewards you with up to £5 per survey. Occasionally there is an opportunity to join a focus group or trial a product. The payout threshold is £8 and Valued Opinions pay in Amazon or selected high street retailer gift cards. Join here.
Pays between £0.25 to £10 per survey, and each one takes around 10 minutes to complete. The payout threshold is £10 and Panelbase pays via bank transfer or Love2Shop / Capital Bonds vouchers. The site also credits you with £3 just for signing up and occasionally there is an opportunity to join a focus group. Join here.
The surveys on this website tend to be quite low paying (approximately 40p for a 10 minute survey), so I don’t spend much time on them. However, it is worth logging in everyday to complete the daily poll, watch videos and earn points for using the search engines. Join here.
In the same way as Swagbucks, these surveys are very low paying and not really worth doing. However it is worth having an account just to complete the daily poll and you can also earn points for clicking on some of the links. Payout is 1,000 points ($10) and is done via PayPal. Join here.
All of these survey websites are free to join and the questions are usually very easy to answer. You can complete most of them whilst you watch television or even at work if you have a job that permits you personal internet access. The surveys come in handy to top up your cash and whether you dedicate 20 minutes or 2 hours a day, your earnings will soon add up. Many of the sites also offer you rewards if you refer a friend. It is worth keeping in mind that these earnings are taxable.
Since I started working from home, I have signed up to most of the product testing companies in the UK. It is always lovely to receive free products in the post and I have discovered some great brands too.
The amount of work that is required in return for the products varies enormously. Some companies request lengthy conversation reports or even ask you to send in videos of yourself using the product. Others simply require you to fill in a short questionnaire.
In no particular order, here is a list of the product testing companies that are worth signing up to.
Specialises in cosmetic items and its trials are frequent. Most of the products arrive in unbranded, plain packaging and are usually premium high street brands. When a product becomes available, panellists are emailed trial information and a short questionnaire to apply for the trial. After the product test, there is a follow-up questionnaire which usually takes about 3 minutes to complete. Join here.
Trials are mostly cosmetic and food orientated. Most of the products are unbranded or the labels have been defaced. There is a lengthy profile questionnaire on joining, but it is well worthwhile completing it. Emails with links to join trials are sent out – but you need to act fast as they fill up very quickly. Join here.
Boots Review Panel:
If you are lucky enough to be chosen for this panel you are in for a treat! The trials consist of testing products that are sold in Boots, and can range from £7 lipsticks to £200 perfumes. In return, you are asked to leave a short review on the company’s website. Boots send out emails before posting the products and you can decline them if you so wish. I have covered this in more detail here. Sign up here.
Boots Volunteer Panel:
A testing panel for Boots own brand products. When a new test is available, a questionnaire is sent out which can sometimes be a bit lengthy and often screens you out before you can complete it. If you are lucky enough to make it to the end, they might choose you to join a trial. Panellists are also recruited to partake in sessions at the Boots evaluation centre in Nottingham. Apply here.
Offers trials of Procter & Gamble products. I have found it is best to be selective with this company as there is quite a lot of work involved in the trials. Typically they require at least 3 written reports on conversations about the product; a starter, half-time and final survey. On top of this sometimes panellists are requested to post on the Company’s blog and upload photos to the website. Whilst this is fine for a high value product such as a hairdryer or epilator, I don’t feel it is worth it for, say, a cleaning spray and a few vouchers. Register here.
This company has some great products on offer which vary in values – anything from chocolate to beauty products. However, as with The Savvy Circle, it is also worth being a bit discerning with the trials. This is because in return for your freebie, they expect you to submit conversation reports, write a review and post about the product on social media,etc. Apply here.
Home Testing Club:
Focuses on new product launches. Most of the trials are of items usually found in the supermarket. Questionnaires for product trials are posted on the Company’s website (although sometimes you will receive an email invite). If you are accepted the products will be posted out and followed up with a link to a very short questionnaire. Apply here.
Tesco Home Panels:
According to Tesco, this panel is based on your Clubcard data. The Company usually emails panellists trial invitations and they fill up very quickly, particularly for clothing items. After the trial has finished it is followed up with a short questionnaire. Tesco also send out some very short surveys and reward you with Bonus Bond vouchers for completing them. See my write up here for more details. At the moment they are not looking for new panellists, but it is worth checking here periodically.
This Company offers trials of a wide variety of products from brands including Philips, Lego and Pampers.
The trials involve completing tasks including writing reviews, posting on social media and leaving comments on the website. There are often also ‘mid’ and ‘end’ surveys to complete. Join here. For further details see my post here.
This is predominantly a survey company, albeit one of the highest paying ones. Sometimes Pinecone will send out a product to trial after you complete one of the Company’s surveys and reward you with another £3 for filling in the follow up survey. I have received a variety of products including crisps, fruit juice and floor wipes from them. Pinecone usually recruit through banner advertisements that appear sporadically on random websites. Presently, there are banners on the Pick my Postcode site.
A French company that focuses on fragrances and flavours. Similarly to Pinecone, it is primarily a survey company. However, quite often products are sent out to trial after the survey. I have received a variety of products including fabric conditioner, floor cleaner and shampoos in the past. Currently, they are not looking for new panellists, but is worth keeping an eye on this page.
As you may have guessed by the name, this company specialises in beauty products. There is usually a waiting list to become a tester as these product trials are very popular. If you are fortunate enough to reach the top of the list, Beauty Bible will send you a questionnaire. This is so the Company can tailor your package according to your skin type, hair length etc. Beauty Bible is quite unusual in asking for a £30 contribution. However, it is well worth it as the packages contain over £100 worth of goodies. Apply here to join the waiting list.
Last, but certainly not least comes the much coveted Amazon Vine programme. It is not possible to apply for this panel. The only way to join is to leave some well written reviews on the site and hope for an invite. If you do make it onto the programme, you will get to pick from a list of products that are sold on Amazon. I have covered this in more detail here.
What is the Kantar TNS Royal Mail Postal Survey?
It is a postal survey conducted by Kantar TNS for Royal Mail. The objective is to independently monitor business and personal post that travels through the Royal Mail UK network.
What does taking part in this survey involve?
Each week Kantar TNS send out a pack which includes letters and parcels. These must be prepared for posting and posted to other panellists according to a weekly schedule. You will need to record items received from other panellists on the Kantar TNS website.
Is it worth it?
Kantar TNS reward you with 12 x 1st class stamps and 4 x 1st class large letter stamps per month. Additionally, they send out seasonal gifts including Easter chocolates and diaries at Christmas. Upon the completion of a short training period, and again after 6 months, panellists also receive a ‘presentation pack’. This includes approximately £10-12 worth of stamps.
It usually takes me 5 -10 minutes to prepare the items to post to other panellists. Some weeks I only have 3 letters to send, others I might have 10. Occasionally this includes a cube shaped parcel for which it is necessary to purchase a label from the post office. Kantar TNS then reimburse this cost in the form of Love2Shop vouchers.
As I visit the post office at least three times a week anyway, it is convenient for me to take part in this survey. I am not sure, though, that it would be worthwhile for anyone who needs to travel to get to a post box and/or post office. The costs incurred to do so would more than likely outweigh the benefits.
Anything else I need to know?
Aside from the main postal survey there are additional ways of earning income through the site, including the Unaddressed Mail Survey. This involves recording any junk mail you receive that is not specifically addressed to you, including takeaway flyers and catalogues. Kantar TNS pay £5 in Love2Shop vouchers for every three weeks you complete.
There is also a Correctly Delivered survey where you need to log the number of items you receive on a daily basis, plus report any ‘doorstepped’ items, for two weeks. The reward for this is £5 in Love2Shop vouchers.
The latter two surveys are by invitation only, but I seem to be included in them fairly regularly. In addition to all this there are weekly and monthly prize draws. Also, you might be lucky and receive a randomly allocated ‘Golden Smart’ – worth a cool £100 in vouchers.
How do I join?