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LONG BLOG

Easy Money for Gaming – a Poor Gamer’s Guide for the New Year

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The holidays are almost over and it’s now time to recover. I have a horrible hangover, which is to be expected, and my checkbook is bruised and battered after a month of acquiring gifts, in the name of the baby Jesus and whoever my Jewish friends give gifts in the name of during Hanukah. Moses? Pretty sure it’s Moses.

Some of you may be in decent shape though after a season of conspicuous consumption. I realize that many people on this site skew younger. You probably did well this holiday. I imagine that you came away with a lot of game related gifts and envelops full of cash. Many of you may not realize the pressures a married man with children and a large extended family goes through this joyous time of year. If that is the case, FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE RABSCALLION N’ER DO WELLS! I hope you get kidnapped by a pack of angry bonobos with unconventional sexual fetishes.


He's thinking that you sure do have a pretty mouth.

Hey man, remember that time, way back, when I said I wanted you to get kidnapped by bonobos who may or may not have put you in a ball gag and smeared Crisco all over you? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I was hung-over, and trying to figure out a way to pay the mortgage after my wife spent all our money, buying gifts.

The sad truth is that getting older, settling down with that special someone, and starting a family is expensive and let’s face it, our pastime of choice is not cheap. Even when you try to be frugal, whether its buying used games, waiting for sales, or giving Cleveland steamers to sailors and long shore men on the docks for quick cash, video games are expensive.

Hey Sailors! You looking for a good time?

There is good news however, and it does not include providing sexual favors to seamen and dockworkers with unconventional sexual desires. There is a lot of ways to score easy money with out becoming a member of the world’s oldest profession.

If you know the right places to look, have some patience, and don’t mind taking a few minutes out of the day, you can rack up a decent amount of money for gaming.

What I’m going to share with you is tried and tested by yours truly for the past eight years. During that time, I’ve been able to purchase new consoles, Apple laptops, and plenty software and a significant amount of games to boot.

I realize that previous paragraph makes me sound like something you’d hear from some coked out sleaze ball in a bad infomercial during the wee hours of the morning. I feel all dirty just typing it. Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but this shit actually works, as long as you put in a modicum of effort and set a goal for yourself. Think of it like an RPG, where you have to grind it out, killing rats for days straight until you can level up.

So, in no particular order, here are some ways that you can earn quick and easy cash, without having to put in much work.

The Humble Coin Jar

This is by the far the simplest way to earn cash. Many of you may already be doing this, but do you have an actual goal your trying to reach by saving all your coins? When I first started saving all my coins in a large gallon jug back in college, I can honestly say I did not. It was for a rainy day and would be pillaged frequently for weed and booze.


My dealer was not pleased in getting paid in rolled up coins.

Then, just prior to the Xbox 360 release, I decided to use my coins to help pay for it. I had a five-gallon water jug that was just over half full. I planned a weekend to count it all out and roll my coins. No Coinstar machines for me thank you very much. I’m not going to give up 10% of my haul to BIG COIN COUNTING MACHINE COMPANY. Take your 10% cut and shove it up your ass.

Nowadays, many banks have coin counting machines that are free to use for their customers, which is great, because counting coins sucks. There are people who say that coin counting is soothing. These people need professional help.

After counting everything out and trading in my old Xbox and games, I had more than enough money in coins and credit to pay for a brand new Xbox 360, an extra controller, charging kits, a couple of games, as well as a some of other accessories.

Unfortunately, I had to wait a couple more months to get my Xbox 360, as my GameStop took too many pre-orders that they could not fulfill, but that’s a different story.

From that point on, my coin jug was meant solely for the purchasing of consoles. Given how long the previous generation of consoles lasted, by the time the Xbox One and PS4 was released, I had enough to money in coins, store credit from trading in my Xbox 360 and PS3, and funds amassed by the other means that I share later on below, to cover the purchase of both an Xbox One and PS4, games and accessories, and a brand new MacBook Pro, because I DESERVE IT GODDANMIT!

Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that I have been saving for years up to this point, but as you can see, it was totally worth it.

On a side note, when saving my coins, I actually have two jugs, one for pennies and another for everything else. I like to keep my coins segregated because I’M A COIN RACIST. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a jug full of silvery coins without red cents diluting the mix. One day, after I’ve accumulated a decent amount and I’m ready to cash them in, I’m going to pour them into the bathtub and rub them against my naked body, like a perverted Scrooge McDuck.

Game the Bing Search Rewards System

I just recently started doing this. Bing, Microsoft’s answer to Google, has a rewards system for those who use the search engine. Microsoft is desperately trying to make a dent into Google’s search supremacy, so they’ve resorted to bribing people into using their search engine. I have no problem with this.

To get in on the action, you have to first create a Bing account and you’ll get points just for doing so. When you’re logged in, whenever you search on your PC, you get points. You’re capped at 15 points a day when you search on a PC. You can supplement the PC search cap though, by doing mobile searches, but this is also capped at 10 points per day. Making Bing your home page and setting it as your default search engine will also net you easy points.

Bing also provides daily search recommendations. Click on those and you can score up to 5 additional points per day. All in all, you can score 30 points per day by just taking several minutes to randomly search for bullshit on Bing. I do this first thing in the morning as soon as I get into the office. This is good, because I’m able to get it out of the way before the day even starts and people think that I’m so devoted to my job that I put my nose to the grindstone the minute I get it. It’s just part of my daily morning routine now.

It doesn’t end there though. Sometimes Microsoft runs promotions where you can earn double points over the weekend or on holidays, netting you 60 points or more a day. You also get bonuses for amassing milestones for total searches since creating an account.

If you refer a friend, you can earn an easy 100 points if they use start using Bing and perform a certain amount of searches. You can take advantage of this, by referring friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, spouses, hobos, anyone really. Then go on their computers and run a few random searches until you hit the milestone and boom, you got some easy points.

Finally, when you achieve Gold status after amassing 700 total points since creating an account, you get a 10% discount from the Bing store where you use the points you accumulated.

The Bing store has a lot of crap on there. Many of the items are actually Bing related merchandise and sweepstakes, where you can use points to enter your name to try and win, for example, an Xbox One, computers, vacations, and various other things. These are bullshit, so don’t even bother with these. These offers are there to keep you from using your points on more worthwhile, albeit more expensive things.

More importantly, the Bing Store also has gift cards, for Xbox points, the Microsoft Store, and Amazon, just to name a few. $5 gift cards range anywhere between 400 to 500 points, but it only takes a couple weeks to amass enough points in order to buy them and less if you’re creative.

All in all, Bing is not a bad search engine to begin with, so I actually don’t mind using it. However, if you’re a diehard AskJeeves user, is it really going to kill you to take five minutes out of your day to perform some random searches on Bing to score an easy gift card? Probably not, so go ahead and help Microsoft pad their numbers so they look competitive against Google. Yes, you may be whoring yourself out, but it’s not like you’re giving blumpkins to truckers in rest stop bathrooms off the interstate.

Very romantic

Download EasyShift

This is also a new addition to my easy money repertoire. EasyShift is an app that you can download to your smart phone, so this one is for iPhone and Android users. EasyShift has partnerships with consumer goods companies where they provide customer reviews to their partners.

Using the app is simple. It uses your geolocation to term determine your, uh, location, and then it will display on a map various stores and restaurants that you can go to and complete what they call shifts.

Shifts are easy to do. For example, there may be a shift at the local bar for Samuel Adam’s beer. You sign up for the shift and head over to the bar, where you’ll be tasked with taking pictures of the beer taps, signage, and advertisements. You may have to answer a short survey, but they are always brief.

Another example of a shift may be going to the pharmacy and taking a picture of their candy section or a particular display, then answering a short survey. This is all done through the app and is super easy and you also don’t have to buy anything, which is good, since we’ve already determined that we’re poor.

Completing shifts nets you $5 to $10 bucks, for a few minutes of work. The funds then get deposited to your PayPal account. I especially like EasyShift because they pay out in actual cash, not gift cards or points.

The only downside to EasyShift is that you’re limited to what’s available in your location. If you live in a rural area, there is not going to be a lot of shifts available and driving out to a store and using up gas defeats the purpose. However, if you live or work in a big town or city, there can be a good amount of shifts available. You have to act quickly though. Shifts are limited and sometimes they just need a few people to sign up for them. Once they got enough participants, the shift closes.

Since I work in New York City, if I have some free time during lunch, I’ll check to see if there are any shifts around my office. I’ll then just walk on over during my lunch break and sign up for them. On a good day, I can make $30 bucks during lunch. And since shifts take only a few minutes, I still have plenty of time to eat my lunch. Getting out of the office, taking a walk, and getting some fresh air is an added bonus.

After work, I’ll also check to see if there are any shifts on the way home. I’ll then make a stop or two and do some shifts. Since it’s on the way, I’m not spending anything extra on gas.

Again, you’re limited to your location and whether other individuals beat you to a shift, but we’re talking easy money here, and it’s cash, so you can use it on anything.

Take Surveys

I’ve been taking surveys online for nearly eight years now. I was lucky in that I found a decent company that has a good rewards system for survey takers. You should be wary in that there are a lot of shady survey companies who promise you a ton of money and perks that will leave you disappointed.

These fly-by-night survey companies are kind of like the fliers you get on the Las Vegas strip for houses of ill repute promising you a rendezvous with a supermodel quality lady. In the end, you’ll find yourself naked in the desert after all your possessions are stolen, and may have contracted gonorrhea from a prostitute who may or may not have been a man. Do yourself a favor and stay away from these companies, promising quick bucks taking surveys as it’s almost always a scam and you will be bombarded with spam and robocalls.

In my opinion, the best survey and market research company is eRewards. I’ve been using them for years and have never felt like I was being taken advantage of by them. There are many other market research companies out there, but eRewards works best for me.

eRewards is different from other survey companies in that they don’t accept everyone who signs up. They are looking for specific demographics. So even if you do decide to sign up with them, there’s a chance that they may say thanks, but no thanks. I find that since they are not allowing just anyone to sign up with them, they are able to provide better perks.

Many of the more reputable market research companies will ask you for your background and how many surveys you’re willing to take per week. I try to take as much as possible. Some weeks I may be bombarded with survey requests, but other weeks I may get none. It all depends on whether your demographics match the study they are performing.

One of the perks to eRewards is that you always get some credit when taking their surveys. Let’s say that you start a survey that they sent to you. They’ll tell you that it may take up to 20 minutes to complete it in its entirety, and when you complete the survey, you’ll get $6.25 in credit, which is pretty good. You start taking the survey, answer a few questions and you may be cut-off. There are many reasons that this can happen. Maybe you don’t fit the demographic? Perhaps they already reached their limit of respondents in your demographic? If that’s the case, then no problem, because you will still receive partial credit just for attempting to take a survey. Not too shabby for just a few seconds of clicking off boxes.

Some of the longer surveys that you qualify for can be tedious, but you’re getting paid a lot more for taking them, so what the heck and it’s not hard work. I actually find some of the surveys they send pretty interesting and at times entertaining. Some companies put a lot of effort to make their surveys as interactive as possible, which is an added bonus.

Once you have amassed enough credit from taking surveys, you can cash them in the marketplace. Again, it all depends on which market research company you sign up for, but eRewards does have a partnership with GameStop. So after a short time and a few minutes a day, you can cash in your credit for $25 GameStop gift card. Not too shabby.

Sign Up for Media Research Programs

This is by far the easiest out of all the ways to make some easy money for gaming, but with the one caveat that you’re giving up some of your privacy.

Some of you may be aware of companies like Nielsen and Arbitron. Essentially, these companies want to know what you’re watching on the television or listening to on the radio. They then take that information and sell it to the networks, so they know how shitty their programming is.


A show about a talking horse. Someone see if that has been done before.

Many of these companies require you to either hook up some hardware to your cable box or carry a meter device that looks similar to a pager.

For those of you who are too young to know what a pager is, it’s what drug dealers carried around in the 80’s and 90’s to let them know when they had a buyer. All the cool kids had a pager. I wanted a pager, but my parents refused to get me one since they had a negative connation. Only doctors and drug dealers carried pagers, and no one was going to mistake me for being a child prodigy physician like Doogie Howser.


Prodigy drug dealing doctor.

These media research companies don’t like it when you tell people that you’re taking part in their programs. They make this very clear not to disclose this information to anyone when you sign up. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt that I am currently not part of any of these of these media research programs. OKAY!

With that out of the way, media research companies will pay you, in actual cash, $30 to $50 every month just to be in their program. If you have more than two people in their household, many times they will double that.

I have a good friend (NOT ME) that signed up with one of these programs. The company sent over two meters, one for him and his wife. These meters are smart. They shut down when they stay stationary for awhile and don’t think that one person can carry around both of them, as the media research company will know, which is creepy as fuck.

After awhile, my friend’s wife refused to wear the meter. My friend did not know what was so difficult as he would just put the thing in his pocket during the day and at night put it on its base to recharge and transmit data. His wife however, would forget the meter at home, or forget to charge it, or leave it in her purse where it would shut off. She had enough when the media research company began to call her to remind her to wear her meter. This was the last straw for her as she simply refused to carry the device anymore.

This put my friend in a bit of a pickle. He was no longer getting the credit of having two active meters in his home. That’s when he came up with a brilliant idea after watching the movie Police Academy 3, where Zed and Sweetchuck tie flashlights to the guard dog’s collars so that their superiors think that they were doing their nightly rounds. The video below is in German, but it makes the scene so much better.


Police Academy has taught me everything to know about life.

Just like in the movie my buddy just attached the meter to his dog’s collar. He then notified the media research company that his wife was now a full time stay-at-home mom, which they had no problem with.

So my pal and his four legged friend make $60 to $100 a month, which they can use towards anything. Every once in a while, my friend’s wife tries to finagle her half of the payment, but he reminds her that she had her opportunity to take part and gave up any entitlements to the dog, who kindly gives him her portion every month for snausages, belly rubs, and praise.


WHO’S A GOOD GIRL? WHO’S A GOOD GIRL? YOU’RE A GOOD GIRL

One may call this gaming the system and unethical, but my pal will disagree with you whole heartedly. He sees this as providing a service to an unrecognized demographic of canine television viewing habits that the media research companies have been ignoring for years.


What about a show about talking dogs? Someone see if that has been done before.

The strategies provided above are proven means to earn easy cash for whatever your heart desires. I found them useful for my personal gaming fund, but you can use them on practically anything, booze, toys, sensual massages, WHATEVER. As long as you’re willing to put in some effort, there are many companies that will compensate you for your opinions and socking away loose change can add up over time.

So give it a try and also let me know what are some your strategies for saving money for games in the comments below - the more questionable and unethical the better.

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About SpielerDadone of us since 5:24 PM on 02.08.2013

I'm just a dad writing about games, technology, movies, and geeky stuff that tickles my fancy.

A little background:
- I'm the youngest of two children with one older sister.

- I'm first generation American as my parents were born in Italy.

- Married to a wonderful wife and have two amazing daughters who makes me laugh, smile, cry, and scream every day.

- Hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, sci-fi, film, and of course, video games.