Hey don’t take offence, I’m a cheap loser too! Ask any Scottish person and they’ll tell you, we have a well deserved reputation for being frugal (thrifty, skinflints, cheapskites). Whatever you want to call it, I see it as a badge of pride. Recently, during a time off work for health reasons, I learned a lot more about the frugal lifestyle than even I had previously known. Several friends were curious about how I maintained my luxurious lifestyle.
One of those way is product testing, so I decided to share that knowledge with you.
Keep in mind, that what works for me isn’t going to be the same for everybody. For a start, I’m in Canada, Quebec specifically, so I have a lot less options than most Canadians (outside Quebec) or Americans as many companies don’t take time to implement French or adhere to special laws for my province or country. So once you get into it, you might find some amazing sites or recommendations that I don’t list here! Feel free to drop ’em in the comments. Some people work and have less time, that’s ok, try things out and find what you have the time and the brain for, you might surprise yourself with how much money you save.
At the bottom of the article I’m also gonna be throwing down some handy tips to remember when getting your save on through the interwebs.
This week we’re going to be talking about Product Testing Opportunities! So, without further ado, here it is (in order of preference):
One of the top ways I’ve found to get stuff for free is simply to test products and leave well thought out reviews! The trick to this is to have a good level of English and to be at least an okay writer. It’s not a masterpiece, but it does require clear and concise writing. For some sites, being a social media guru is a big plus, but even those of us without a lot of followers can get in on this sweet action.
Hands down the top site in this category for me. Essentially you sign up with your Amazon review profile and request to review products at highly discounted (and often free) rates. In exchange you test the product and write an honest review, following the guidelines of their site. These guys work in Canada, US and the UK, so a pretty broad spectrum there.
To change country just select Amazon.ca or another from the drop down menu below the search bar!
There are three important things to keep in mind with this one:
1. This does take some work, keep in mind you are a consumer advocate, review honestly and take your time to test products fairly. Follow the rules or you could get kicked out.
2. Having a higher Amazon review rating is a biiiig help for this one. You get one of those by writing good reviews for products and then being rated ‘helpful.’ It’s a big kick in the teeth sometimes because you have to rely on others for this. For example, my Amazon profile is here. If you check the rankings, you can see I’ve written a lot of reviews more than many people who are higher on the list than me. The reason for this is some people rate your review as unhelpful (which is very irritating when you feel it’s fair and well written) and often people don’t vote it up, even if they liked it.
So do yourself and your fellow reviewers a favor, when you read someone’s review and it’s well written and comprehensive, give a little click on that yes button where it asks if it’s helpful. They’ll appreciate it trust me! It’s like the equivalent of a Facebook like (which also helps for product testing for certain sites.)
3. Amazon Prime is an ABSOLUTE must for this one. You can’t stack products in your cart at reduced rates because the company will send you a discount code. So you have to buy each product as it comes. But Amazon charges shipping if an order is under $25 , right? Well that’s were Prime comes in. If you’re serious about this and being a reviewer, you’re going to have to pay that Prime signup fee every year. For me, I feel it’s worth it for the chance to test these products, for the money I save on stuff I need and also because I can use Prime for my other Amazon orders. Maybe ask for a Prime subscription for christmas, or budget it from the money you make elsewhere.
Sign up here.
They also run a program for sellers on Amazon here.
This is another awesome site for product testing. The higher social media score you have here, the more likely you’ll get picked, BUT, it’s not the only consideration.
Part of why Bzzagent is worth it is because it takes so little time to do it. Just login on a daily basis (add it to your daily bookmarks which I’ll talk more about later in the tips section) and complete any surveys you have. The survey’s are usually as short as 2-3 minutes and eventually you’ll be selected for a Bzzcampaign.
If you really hate social media, you either have to change your attitude or skip this one! If you already spend a lot of time on social networks and have a big following, this is going to be an amazing opportunity for you.
My favourite thing about Bzzagent is that once you have the campaign you have a long time (over a month) to complete the steps and unlike some other product testing sites I’ve seen, they’re not interested in being spammy. They want genuine, honest feedback and focus on quality of tasks over quantity.
Join Bzzagent through my referral and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Chickadvisor is a great frugal and lifestyle website (for women or those identifying as such) that has a pretty good product testing section. You can sign up for updates via email and just wait for the notification of each opportunity to arrive. However, if you’re looking for a website to connect with other ladies, I would highly recommend this one.
I came for the product testing and stayed for the forums. I really love this site and how supportive and female-energied their community is. If you do go ahead and sign up, feel free to friend me as I’m on there pretty regularly.
They also have a 10 dollars gift card every month for the top ten members, but it’s generally pretty fierce competition, so unless you’re already a huge fan of the site and on there regularly, the time = effort ratio is not ideal on this one. For me, it’s a great bonus since I already leave reviews there and talk to the gals in the forum daily!
This is one people talk about a lot. Influenster will select members to receive ‘Voxboxes’ to their campaigns which are chock full of free products. You can get a higher score by having social media followers (and connecting those accounts) and also by earning badges through points by writing reviews. This one takes a LOT of effort. I don’t consider myself to have a super small social media following, but my score is only medium and despite leaving over 600 comments and reviews I’ve yet to get a voxbox.
I’m definitely feeling the lack of heat on Influenster, if it doesn’t happen for me soon and I get busier, this would be first choice to drop. All it takes to turn things around is one campaign though and there’s no harm in having an account.
[EDIT: Since this post I have received an invitation to my first Voxbox! Dreams do come true. I would now recommend Influenster, but with the caveat that if you are not of a ‘high’ reach it can take a lot of work to get a box.]
If any of you need more followers or want to help me out in getting more, you can add me on social media by using the links on my sidebar. Send me a message saying that you came from my blog and I’ll add you back!
This is another one where you link up your social media and wait for the ‘perks’ to roll in. Honestly, there’s no point in not signing up for Klout, it’s pretty great. It lets you pick interests and will show you news based on those interests.
However, even if you do nothing on the site it will still evaluate what you post via social media and raise (or lower, yikes) your score that way. So it’s really very low effort. I personally enjoy seeing their articles, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!
Add me on Klout if you join!
I’ve yet to get anything here, but I follow someone who has had! It’s not my most fave site and the reason I’ve yet to get anything is that it’s probably the one I do least on! Maybe someday that’ll change, but it’s still worth checking out, especially as one woman’s trash is another person’s shiny, shiny treasure.
Location plays a big part in product testing. There’s huge opportunities out there for those in parts of Canada, USA and the UK. If you’re in Europe…a bit more slim pickings. This is specifically written from a Quebecer’s point of view, so do further research if product testing interests you. You’ll also notice when you’re following more ‘frugal’ and ‘testing’ people on your social media, they’ll start a’talking when there’s a lot of new offers available. So keep an ear to the ground, new stuff becomes available all the time.
It really is worth increasing your social media time and following if this is something you want to do. Even if you only have a couple of followers it’s worth linking that platform as it’ll increase your overall score. You can easily pick one or two sites to be your main arena. For example, while I have a Tumblr, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, I don’t use all of them constantly. I use my Facebook a lot for personal stuff and to catch up with family. Instagram is where I go for my photography challenges and to follow fashion peeps. Tumblr is my ‘downtime’ with nothing to do place where I follow a lot of artists and funny people. Twitter is mostly for comps and I only read the twitter of my fellow frugal buddies for tips. Pick a platform you can stand and commit to the time you can manage.
Effort + payoff = HAPPY:
Don’t try and do too much or something that’s going to drive you crazy. You’ll quickly learn that there are some days that you just can’t. Sometimes it’s just better to walk away from the computer and do something else. You’ll quickly learn where you’re effort/payoff threshold is. But do keep in mind that sometimes you have to commit sometime to see the payoff, so put some time into it and if it’s not worth it to you after a little while, move on to a different site; your personal preferences are very important.
These days nobody wants to hear an advert on their social media. Be you. Talk naturally and passionately about what you love and why. Test products honestly and be constructive. Don’t sell your soul to get free things. I would never test any weight loss pills or anything too suspicious, for me it’s just not in line with my values to promote that. If you hate makeup, don’t pretend it’s amazing. I’m a newbie to makeup, but very interested in experimentation and makeup as art and I’m totally upfront about that! Lying about a product or service is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth and sooner or later that’s going to catch up to you, so just do you!
The biggest tip:
BOOKMARKS. I’m not sure if other frugal/testing gals out there have their own system, but this is mine. I have a list of dailies bookmarked that I open in new tabs everyday and work my way through. We always think we’ll remember, but you won’t. This is an easy way to keep track. It’s especially easy for sites like bzzagent. The tab is there, log in, check for surveys, do some work on any campaigns you got, move onto next tab and repeat. Set yourself a limit, like if you’re trying to increase your Influenster score with reviews, or earn a badge, do five reviews or comments a day.
Know where the line is to stop you from getting stressed out. Somedays I’ll skip Influenster since I’m not seeing many results there, but in the beginning I made a special effort to see if my increased effort paid off. Usually you’ll see some sort of response to the work you put in, so hang on in there and remember all this advice.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing or donating to my fund for my Cat Cornelius who had life-saving surgery.
Got a product testing opportunity not listed here? Comment below and I’ll check it out. Or discuss your product testing tips with us!
All opinions are my own and this post was not sponsored or paid for by any way by any of these companies.
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