Scarborough Research Sent Me $1 Cash in the Mail

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My husband was sorting through the mail yesterday, tossing spam and setting bills aside for closer review. Then he picked up an envelope addressed to “Current Resident” from a company called “Scarborough.” He’s not sure what inspired him to actually open it, but he was glad when he did because he found a crisp, new $1 bill inside. My husband is the sort of guy who picks up loose change off the ground, so getting a free $1 bill is a huge thrill for him.

Once upon a time I received 2 $1 bills from a market research company called Knowledge Panel. At the time I was unemployed and doing a lot of online surveys to make extra money while I looked for a new job. I signed up for the Knowledge Panel (read my full review here) and did surveys with them for a couple years, earning me hundreds of dollars, until I got a job and didn’t have time to do the surveys so they kicked me out of the program.

$1 Bill in the Mail from Scarborough Research

Because of that experience, when this $1 bill showed up from Scarborough Research, I was intrigued. The envelope had a letter asking us to complete a short enclosed survey and promised to send us $5 cash in return. This made me extra interested because the survey was less than a page long and I love getting money for minimal work. My husband was a bit skeptical though and neither of us are interested in signing up for any new research panels right now, so I decided to do some investigating.

So I started Googling for Scarborough Research to see what came up. I got varying results, from people who received calls from them and got paid to complaints from people who can’t get them to stop calling.

After poking around a bit and looking at their website, it’s pretty clear that they are a legitimate market research company and are actually run by Nielsen–the company known for Nielsen TV ratings and the TV boxes that track shows watched in certain households. I have no problem with that. My only issue is we don’t like to receive phone calls for surveys–we would rather do them online at our own convenience. By providing them your phone number, you opt in to receive phone calls about future surveys.

Since I read plenty of examples of people receiving the $5 for the follow-up survey, I think it’s worth trying out. I’m going to have my husband fill out the survey and send it back.

This is an invitation-only panel, so if you’re interested in joining Scarborough and doing phone surveys that pay up to $50, definitely send back the survey when you get it. If you’re not interested, just keep the free $1 bill and throw the rest away.

I will update this post if we receive the $5 payment from Scarborough.

Follow-up Update

We received the follow-up mailing from Scarborough on May 18th (about 2 months later) and it included a crisp $5 bill just like they promised.

$5 bill from Scarborough Media

We were very surprised that they sent us a bill and not a check and overall we were pleased that this was legitimate and we got paid. So far my husband has gotten one call from them (that he missed) for a survey, but he’s excited to earn more money from Scarborough.

Make Money Online Reading Emails: MyPoints

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I recently received an email from MyPoints thanking me for being a member for 17 years. MyPoints is the first site I ever joined to make money online when I was 13 years old. And I’ve been earning gift certificates from them regularly every since. They are hands down my favorite website for earning money online and one of the few I still use now that my schedule is too busy to spend time on sites with low payouts.

So what’s so great about MyPoints? They offer tons of ways to earn points online so it’s easier to accumulate points quickly, and many of them do not require you to spend money.

How to Earn Money through MyPoints

Here are the big ways you can earn through MyPoints:

  • Shopping Online – Click through before you shop online and earn points from your favorite retailers
  • Reading Emails – Yes, MyPoints sends out emails that you get points just for reading! Emails are worth 5 points each, which you earn by clicking a link in the email.
  • Printing Coupons – You know those coupons you usually print from to save money at the grocery store? MyPoints offers the same coupons, except you get 10 points for every coupon you redeem. Save money and earn at the same time.
  • Search the Web – It’s as easy as it says–search the web and earn points.
  • Take Surveys – Take easy surveys about products you use and quickly rack up points
  • Watch Videos – MyPoints has hundreds of videos you can watch to earn points every day

MyPoints also has a referral program so you can earn extra points when your friends signup.

My favorite part about MyPoints is they make it so easy to earn points without spending any money. Obviously, if you do a lot of online shopping, you’ll earn points a lot faster. But it’s not hard to earn just by reading emails, watching videos, and searching the web.

What Can You Redeem Points for on MyPoints?

One of the best parts of being a MyPoints member is that you have so many options to redeem your points. They mainly offer gift cards, but one of their options is a Visa Prepaid Card, which is good as cash and can be used anywhere that accepts Visa.

The awesome gift card rewards they offer include:

  • Amazon
  • iTunes
  • Best Buy
  • BP for Gas
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Kmart
  • Shell Gas Station
  • Safeway
  • Target
  • Walmart

If you’re very frugally minded (which I expect you are, since you’re reading this site), you’ll see they have a lot of awesome redemption options that allow you to spend money on groceries, household essentials, and gas for your car.

I hope by now you can see why MyPoints is one of my favorite sites for earning money online. It’s easy to sign up and start earning without spending a dime. Give it a try and see how quickly you can earn awesome gift cards.

Signup at

Free Streaming Yoga Videos with Amazon Prime

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A couple years ago in November, my husband (then boyfriend) decided to try out Amazon Prime. I was aghast–Amazon wanted to charge us a yearly fee just to give us free shipping? But it was so easy at the time to get free shipping by ordering over $25 worth of stuff. They had a 30 day free trial, so his argument is we would just use it to buy Christmas presents and get the free 2-day shipping, and then at the end of the trial we would cancel it.

As you can probably guess by the fact that I am writing this post, we did not cancel the membership. The free shipping was incredibly convenient, and in addition to buying most of our Christmas presents on Amazon, we also started snagging deals on food, cleaning supplies, and more. And then we also discovered the free streaming video that comes with a Prime membership. That sealed the deal for us.

We are what you would call “cord-cutters” in that we do not pay for TV. Since both of us moved out on our own, we have never paid for cable. We’ve had streaming Netflix since it was available, but it wasn’t quite enough. Amazon Prime has filled that need for us.

In addition to having a ton of movies and TV shows that Netflix and Hulu don’t have, Amazon has a lot of exercise videos. We have always tried to save money and stay fit by taking advantage of streaming exercise videos. I especially enjoy yoga videos because it’s my preferred form of exercise, and yoga classes are so expensive in Chicago.

Amazon Prime offers so many streaming yoga classes for free as a part of the Prime Membership, that I can vary up my routine and find instructors I really like. I absolutely love it, and I feel like this is worth the price of the membership alone.

The nice thing is, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial so you can try it out before you join or just use it for a month, get your fill of free classes and the cancel without spending a dime.

Here are some of the classes I have enjoyed for free with my Amazon Prime Membership (and yes, some of them are not yoga :P):

So if you’re interested in staying fit without shelling out a lot of cash for a gym membership or a la carte yoga classes, try Amazon Prime. You’ll get the free videos, also free 2-day shipping, ad free streaming music (which means you don’t need a Spotify or Pandora subscriptions), cloud storage, and more.

Success – Student Loans Paid off in Full!

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Hey everyone! I know I don’t post much anymore, but I wanted to do a quick update today for anyone who still might be following along.

I paid off my student loans in full this week! This is immensely exciting as you will remember the total debt was once in 6 digits after a couple years of unemployment and deferring payments. There were many years when I was terrified about the amount of my debt and was worried about the effect it would have on my life going forward.

I am also pleased that I was able to pay off the rest of it on the eve of my 30th birthday. Now I am technically not a “thrifty 20-something” anymore, but I also have zero debt, so I am willing to make the trade.

For all of my readers out there that are still struggling with debt elimination and paying off their student loans, keep at it! Eventually, one day, you too will be debt free. And it feels wonderful once you’re finally there.

Finding Thrifty and Affordable Touch Screen Gloves

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I recently upgraded to a smartphone after years of sticking with a “dumb phone” so I could have a lower cell phone bill. Now that I’ve upgraded and the weather is turning colder, I’m stuck with the problem of needing to use my iPhone outside in the cold, but not wanting to take my gloves off. And, of course, you can’t use a touch screen device with any old gloves. You need to buy gloves made of special conductive leather that is compatible with touch screens or feature fingertips made of conductive threads.

So I started researching thrifty and budget-friendly texting gloves and found out there are a lot of affordable options at $20 or less.

Here’s two I discovered:

Agloves Touch Screen Gloves
Agloves Touch Screen GlovesAgloves makes some of the cheapest smartphone gloves you’ll find online. This pair is a lightweight option that is perfect for warmer climates and budget-conscious shoppers. The knitted gloves are soft and warm, keeping your hands toasty while you text.

Agloves feature “10 finger touch” so every finger-tip is compatible with your GPS, eReader, ATMs and other electronics. You can do any gesture with your iPhone without taking your gloves off. Stay warm without breaking the bank.

Comes in Small/Medium and Medium/Large. Solid Touch Screen Gloves
glovely-smartphone-glovesOne of the best smartphone gloves on the market is also one of the most affordable. makes these cozy, insulated tech gloves for colder climates. Their proprietary Invisitouch material is touch screen compatible across the entire glove, allowing you to text, email, or tweet without exposing your hands to the cold.’s genius doesn’t end there. The care label is made of microfiber material to clean smudges off your cell phone. Each glove also include a small magnet, making it easy to attach your gloves to each other so you never end up with a sad lonely glove.

Read about the rest of the cheap and affordable touch screen gloves.

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