My consumer mentor Mary Hunt has once again proven she's the best of the best with respect to saving — or, in this case, making — money. Regardless if we're retired or wish to make some extra bucks or, perhaps, simply want some mad money to begin our Christmas shopping, Mary offers wonderful advice about websites that pay us to take surveys, watch videos, and test products. Start today with these online programs.


A List Apart 

As long as you've got a big idea and an interesting voice, A List Apart wants to hear from you. Articles must be at least 1,500 words, fun, compelling, and informational; for each accepted article, pocket $200.



View and rank websites for cash! sound? If Appen hires you, it pays an hourly wage if hired for easy work with technology, automotive, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and governments worldwide.



Several times monthly the idea of blogging comes to my mind but, unfortunately, I continue to procrastinate. While it's an ideal way to "talk" to and advise one's audience and get paid for the enjoyment, some start-up requirements are necessary; For example, the blogger's own website must be created, either by hiring the job out or constructing oneself from sites such as SquareSpace and Wix (the latter, for instance, allows a prospective blogger to start from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates).


Fast Chart

Any reader who is a skilled medical transcriber? If so, then this site's for you. Work from home as an independent contractor (my title at the Times Free Press) for a competitive salary.



Assuming you can provide needed services for others, this website allows mad money payment for such. Beginning with as little as a $5 for a job up to the sky's-the-limit, your talents and expertise can land you relatively easy bucks. The positions run the gamut from speech writing to computer file conversion and everything in between.


Freelance writing

Thirty-five years ago, Ellen's Poison Pen began as a freelance (ad)venture. While I haven't participated in freelancing the last few years, it was fairly profitable for me at one time. Because we live in such a digital age, online freelance work is fairly easy handiwork assuming one is a strong (and creative) writer, have time to put into the effort, and doesn't mind rejection. Austinlchurch is a great advice site for beginners.



While this site searches for short articles with 500-600 words on one topic, it emphasizes finding money to make writing a realistic career. While other websites provide guidance on how to write, how to query, how to format manuscripts, and so on, FundsforWriters gives direction on the funding streams: markets, competitions, awards, grants, publishers, agents, and jobs available for your writing abilities, with motivation chucked in.


Helping services

Online sites that match freelance handy 'men' with folks who need chores done around the house.


Inbox Dollars

Earn money by taking surveys, shopping, etc. Sign up with both this site and Swagbucks (info to follow), to get five bucks just to register for their search engines.


International Living

Those intrepid travelers who like to write about their experiences, this site looks for stories about the remarkable and exhilarating experiences people have enjoyed while traveling to other countries. $75 per each accepted post isn't too shabby!



I've always been an obsessive list maker (monthly calendar to weekly to daily, plus intermittent scraps of paper). With yours truly – surely the World's Most Compulsive List Maker – in mind, Listverse wants well-written lists to earn $100 per article.



If you don't mind making phone calls on behalf of companies (Boo, telemarketers!), this call center hires customer service reps and salespeople who work from their home. While earning only a small hourly wage, callers also can earn commissions.

(To be continued next week)

Contact Ellen Phillips at