NEW YORK (MainStreet)Wouldn't it be nice to get paid to do all of the mundane tasks work out at the gym, listen to music, go on yet another blind date that you do as part of your regular schedule anyway?
You'll never get rich doing so, but here are five ways to earn some cash as you go about your daily routine.
Going to the gym
You're dragging yourself out of bed an hour early to go to the gym anyway. GymPact gives you a way to get paid.
Here's how it works: at the beginning of the week, you tell GymPact how many times you'll go to the gym over the following seven days. Each time you work out for at least half an hour, you get a payout, normally between $0.30 and $0.50. After you earn $10, you can cash out via PayPal. So far, the company has paid out more than $250,000 to its 200,000 users, said GymPact spokeswoman Marissa Window.
You need an Android, iPhone or tablet to use GymPact, which uses GPS to make sure you're actually at the gym. GymPact also has options for people who run outside or workout on home equipment.
The catch? If you skip a planned workout, you have to pay a minimum of $5, which is put into a pot to fund the 92% of users who make their weekly goals. The app, which you connect to your credit card, lets you choose a steeper fine, if you really want to motivate yourself.
And, hey, you don't need to worry about the fine if you're working out anyway, right?
If you haven't yet found the love of your life, WhatsYourPrice offers a way to monetize online dating.
Billing itself as the "world's first online dating auction," the website allows "generous" members (mostly men) to bid on dates with "attractive members" (mostly women). A woman who receives a bid checks out the bidders profile and decides if she's up for a night out. If she is, she goes on a date and gets paid.
The average bid is $80, and so far the site's 650,000 members have gone on more than 3 million first dates, said WhatsYourPrice spokeswoman Angela Jacob Bermudo.
And the site claims there are non-monetary advantages to earning while you date. "I've found that if a guy is willing to pay me for a first date, he's going to be much more serious than all the others who are just looking for a hookup," Betty, a fictional, and slightly embittered, cartoon WhatsYourPrice member says in an advertisement for the site. "And if it turns out we're not a match, at least I get paid for my time."
Of course, in order to reap WhatsYourPrice's financial rewards, you have to be able to stomach the idea of "generous men" paying you for your time. And if the first date moves beyond a getting-to-know-you dinner at a restaurant, it'll be up to you to wrestle with exactly what aspect of the first date you accepted money for.
Listening to music
Music Xray promises to shell out $0.10 every time you listen to a song through its fan targeting campaign. The company will link anyone with a Facebook account with demo and very early recordings of emerging artists, who pay for exposure, said August Navarro, vice president of Music Xray's operations and community development. Listeners who like pop, or other genres common among Music Xray member musicians, may be offered the chance to hear more than 100 songs a month, although people with tastes that aren't as close a fit are likely to be matched with far fewer tracks, Navarro said.
For people who regularly look for new music, it may also be an effective tool. Music Xray matched this Leonard Cohen fan with Paul Kloschinsky's "Wearin' Blue," Rick Parnell's "She's the Wind" and Joe Rosati's "Sunset Savior," each of which was worth a listen.
But if the tunes do become painful, after 30 seconds, you can skip the track and still earn your dime. Once you've listened to enough songs to earn $20and that could take monthsyou can cash out via Paypal. Be warned: some users of earlier Music Xray products have griped in forums that they don't get assigned enough songs to reach the payout point.
Still, if you're already looking for some new jams and you have the right taste in music, you may be able to get some cash on the side.
"This is clearly not a way to make a living," said Navarro. But for people who already enjoy music discovery, "it's a nice little addition."
If you're one of the millions of Americans who, as we head into swimsuit season, is dieting to take off the extra weight over the past year, HealthyWage will pay you for your efforts.
The company pays cash prizes to dieters in three separate "challenges."
Reduce your body mass index from above 30 to below 25 in one year, and you'll get $100. Or if you're confident you'll lose the weight, pay $300 up front and you'll get $1,000 for dropping the pounds. Or, instead, take the 10% challenge, where, for a $150 buy in, you'll earn $300 for losing 10% of your body weight in six months. Those who have dieting partners can band together in teams of five to compete for a $10,000 grand prize for the team that loses the greatest percentage of weight over three months.
The payouts are generated by participant fees, corporate sponsors that contact participants through the website and companies that offer HealthyWage as part of their employee wellness program.
As a bonus, you're likely to lose more weight if you have a financial incentive than if no money is involved, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (A caveat: the study didn't show that people were more likely to keep the weight off.)
Since the company's inception in 2009, people have earned almost $1 million by losing almost 2 million pounds, said HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry, who called his company a "fantastic way to earn a little extra cash while getting healthy."
If you're happy with your weight (or you'd like an extra incentive to drop some pounds), don't fret! You can still use AchieveMint, a start-up launched earlier this year that tracks your health-related activities through more than a dozen applications, including Facebook, foursquare, Twitter and RunKeeper. Each time you do something healthy, like workout or test your glucose, you get points. Reach 25,000 and you get $25. The 75,000 members' payouts are funded by healthcare companies, who pay for "anonymous aggregate market research" generated by member activities, said AchieveMint CEO Mikki Nasch.
Reaching 25,000 points will take you awhile...a visit to the gym nets you just 65 points (worth 6.5 cents toward the $25), and tweeting an article will garner you 5 points (the equivalent of half a penny.)
But members are typically looking for more than just money when they join, said Nasch. "Having all their health data in one place and receiving some encouragement in the form of points helps motivate them to keep doing healthy activities," she said in an email.
Still, she said, "the cash is a great reason to sign up."
--Written by Simone Baribeau for MainStreet