How to Get Paid to Eat Potato Chips, Watch TV, and More

I love sharing unique ways to save money and make some extra cash on the side...

Here's one of my favorite ways, which I recently shared with my Retirement Millionaire subscribers...

Get paid to eat potato chips.

Let me explain...

Some businesses want nothing more than your opinion as a consumer. These businesses will pay you to simply offer your opinion on things like new food and beverages, product designs, and even TV shows – the kinds of things we use on a daily basis. If you have some free time and are willing to be honest with your opinions, why not get paid?

The folks who do this sort of thing are regular people like you and me. They get paid – sometimes hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year – to criticize and praise their favorite goods and services.

In short, the money comes from market research firms. You may have heard of a few, like McCormick Consumer Testing. This company will pay you to sample foods with various seasonings.

One of my friends – the guy who first told me about this unique opportunity – participates in a McCormick consumer taste test as often as once a month. He gets paid $30 to try different flavored Doritos. The best part is, these studies usually last no more than 10 minutes. That's like getting paid hundreds of dollars an hour to sit and eat chips!

Sampling chips is just one example. Some of America's biggest companies hire these research firms to conduct studies on other things: new TV shows, business ads, cell phones, and surgeries. You name it, there's a survey for it. These research groups are scattered across the country and are looking for your opinion.

My friend received money to watch a new commercial for Comcast. As he says, "All I did was watch the commercial, offer my opinion on the piece, and then I got paid $100 for my participation."

Even medical groups will pay you. One business that specializes in performing Lasik procedures paid several dozen people to offer their opinion on one of its new ads.

Don't worry, you'll never have to travel, pay money, or do an ounce of work to qualify. Once the research firm has your name, it will contact you depending on the needs of the studies it's conducting. Many studies go on at once, so there's a good chance these firms are looking for someone like you.

So if collecting hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by offering up your opinions sounds intriguing to you, here's what to do...

Step 1: Open up the yellow pages and look under "market research." Call up the companies listed and let them know you're interested in participating in focus groups. This is a great way to get on their lists. You can also search on websites like or

You should also apply for focus groups you see advertising in the newspaper, on Craigslist, or through hospitals and health clinics. I found a 90-minute focus group for "Asthma and COPD Sufferers" on Craigslist in Baltimore. The study paid me $100 just for my time and opinions.

These groups can be anywhere. For example, if you're at the mall and see someone standing in the walkway with a clipboard, it might be worth talking to him. He likely works for a market research group and wants to pay you for your opinion. (Of course, if he doesn't want to pay... walk away.)

Step 2: Once you've registered, keep your phone on at all times. Researchers will contact you at their convenience, and you'll be asked a series of questions on the spot. Take the time to complete the questionnaire over the phone.

Most of the time, these studies fill up fast. If you try to call back, chances are the study will be filled. Also, be honest when answering questions and try to articulate your answers. Researchers are looking for people who aren't afraid to give their opinions.

Step 3: If you do qualify for a focus group, remember the date, time, and location of the study. If you're late or don't bother showing up, you can bet they'll never contact you again.

Step 4: Speak up! Businesses are looking for people who know how to speak their minds. You need to contribute to be considered for future studies.

Most people don't realize that you can make money doing everyday things like eating potato chips or watching TV... But if you're looking for a little extra income, it's the simplest way I know of to earn some extra cash.

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What We're Reading...

  • If you're interested in learning how to conduct a focus group or what you can expect in a focus group, read this in-depth guide to focus groups from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC").