Sunday, November 4, 2012

Earning "extras" for the family

As we near the holidays, I know a lot of people begin looking for ways they can help earn a little "extra".  I have been a member of the National Consumer Panel, a division of Neilsen Research, for several years now. They provided me with a scanner and each time I go shopping, I scan the UPCs on the items I bought and enter the total into the scanner. Once a week, I hook the scanner up to my computer and submit the information, earning me points. The whole process is super easy. In fact, my kids usually do the scanning for me. They also have surveys, fairly regularly, that allow me to earn additional points. The points are redeemable for gifts that they offer in their gift catalog. It is a bit late in the year to really earn much in time for the holidays, but I can typically get 2-3 gifts each year for doing this. This is a great way to start earning those extras for next year.  There is no cost to sign up and they provide all the materials you need.  It is easy to install and use the scanner and software, but they have great support if you ever have any trouble or need help. 

I have heard that some people find it tedious to scan each week and that the points are not worth it.  To answer that, I can say that they have improved greatly over the years.  For almost every store I shop at, it is as simple as scanning the item, inputting the quantity and saying whether it was on sale and/or I used a coupon.  After everything is scanned, I enter the grand total.  There are still a handful of stores where you also have to enter the price of each item, and I agree it is a bit tedious, but like I said, it is only a small number of stores that work that way.  Also, they are offering tons of ways to earn extra points, such as the surveys, as well as random point giveaways, special panels you may be invited to join, and extra points for submitting once a week.  I try to only participate in activities that are worth my time and would not recommend something I did not see the value in and this is one of them.  Also, like I said above, this is something my kids like to help with, so I let them scan and put the items away.  That makes it less tedious and takes a chore off MY list :)

I am an ambassador for National Consumer Panel and receive incentives when someone applies for the program and again once they start scanning and submitting.  However, my opinion is my own and I would not recommend something I did not believe in.

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