I've thought a while about writing a post like this one and finally decided, what the heck, if you don't ask, you get nothing. I'll try not to be to annoying about it.
I was once asked if I planned on doing anything to monetize this site. Truthfully, the answer is "not really." I occasionally have links that provide me some sort of referral bonus and I think I get something when people click on the ads along the sides, but anyone running a blog knows that, unless you have a huge audience, are a good salesperson and lots of high-paying links, you're doing it for fun. I've been running this site for just over two years and have earned a few hundred dollars over that time. Literally, almost enough to buy the kids new shoes (Little kids' feet grow fast!). But I have a lot of fun searching out the free points here and there and feeling like I'm getting something for nothing.
I'm not really good with things like credit card links and haven't explored that avenue, but I really have nothing but admiration (and jealousy) for those bloggers who are able to make their living off their blogs. They're hard workers and, while they sometimes get overexcited about the products, they almost always do an excellent job explaining the benefits of the cards and I've frequently used their links when they've provided particularly valuable advice.
Having said that, I'm going to give myself one day per year to "show my wares," so to speak. So today is it until 2015 for a post dedicated to monetization. And you can feel free to stop reading here, if you like.
All of these links below are my favorites for the category, not necessarily the ones that pay me the most. And they're all ones that I use, so I can at least say that they are honest. They're also ones that definitely offer benefits. Thanks for reading this far. Hopefully, you'll find something interesting.
1) InboxDollars is my representative from the "just click on a link" category. Seriously, they send you an email and you click on it. They give you small change. I have an "alternate email" where my IBD emails go so that I don't get my real email cluttered. They also have offers on the main site that give you a little bit more for submitting your email, doing a survey, signing up for a mailing list, etc. Finally, you can get paid for searching by using their downloadable search bar. IBD pays me a small percentage of your earnings for referring you. Also good is MyPoints, which pays me $1.00. The link is here:
Get a $10 gift card when you shop online with MyPoints!
3) The best "paid to search" site is still Swagbucks, which is also the best-known. This one is a gimme. Seriously. They use the google search engine, so the results are the same. The only difference is that they randomly give you "Swagbucks," which can be traded in for cash or prizes. For cash, 100 SB=$1. Google gives you nothing, except the occasional Google Doodle (which is also kinda cool). Added bonus: If you use my referral, I get either a flat $2.25 or 10% of whatever year earn (from them, not you) for as long as you use the site. I'll let you choose:
3a) Click this link and I get 10% of your earnings, forever! (Insert evil cackle. Man, I love that word, "cackle.")
3b) Click here and I get a flat $2.25.
4) And finally, there are online shopping rebate sites. Another gimme. Instead of going directly to the desired store's website (e.g., macys.com), You go to the rebate site, click on the store you want and then they redirect you to the store's website. The extra step means that the rebate site gets a commission, which they then share with you. There are about a million of these sites out there, but my two favorites, which have a combination of strong commissions and reliability, are Mr. Rebates and Big Crumbs. Each pays me a very small percentage of whatever you get. Topcashback also pays me a generous $10 when you earn $10, but I do not trust their reliability and generally use one of the other two sites for shopping, even if they pay less. Note: For best results, always clear your cookies before using the sites.
Thank you for getting this far. I appreciate everyone's visiting my site and all of your feedback. And will the first person who uses this code post? It's a little better than usual, just because you had to get this far. You have to highlight the area below to see it.