My Favorite Websites and Apps for Saving Money: National Consumer Panel (Day 3)

Welcome to my first series ever–My Favorite Websites and Apps for Saving Money. In this series, I’m detailing websites and apps that I use to save money.   A few of these are actually legitimate ways to EARN money!  These are all websites and apps that YOU could easily start NOW in order to save money or even EARN money!  Every little bit adds up!

Thank you for joining me, and remember that you can ask me any questions in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.  Let’s continue with Day 3!!

Website #3:  National Consumer Panel

What is the National Consumer Panel and how does it work?

The National Consumer Panel is a member-only organization that collects consumer data from a representative sample of consumers in the United States.  Since it is member-only, you do have to apply to be accepted as a member, or panelist.  They do accept applications from time to time, and whether you are accepted is determined by where you live and if they already have panelists that fit your same household profile.

You can apply here.  You will be notified by email if you are accepted into the program, and then you will receive all the information you need to get started.  You will be sent a hand-held bar code scanner in the mail with detailed instructions on how to use it.

I was very satisfied with all the information they provided–they definitely set you up to succeed.  I even received a phone call from their customer service to make sure I had everything I needed and to answer any questions I might have.  It made me feel like a VIP!

Once you receive your bar code scanner, you will scan the bar codes for all the items you purchase.  (You will receive a booklet with standard bar codes to use for items like produce that don’t come with their own bar codes.)  At least once a week, you will transmit your shopping data to the National Consumer Panel and receive points.

Also, they offer several surveys each month that you can complete for additional points.  The surveys generally take 5-10 minutes each and give you either 150 points or 50 points and a sweepstakes entry.

What are the rewards for being a panelist?

Gifts and Gift Cards

The National Consumer Panel has an online gift catalog with gifts ranging from electronics and housewares, to apparel and pet products.  They also have gift cards, but since I’ve been a member (I was accepted in September 2016), I’ve only seen gift cards for movie theaters.

However, there is a disclaimer that the rewards vary from time to time, so I will just continue to accumulate my points and wait for more gift cards to pop up.  (I initially joined because of all the testimonials out there of people redeeming their points for Amazon.com gift cards.)

AT&T Plan and Accessories Discount

Once you’ve been a panelist for at least 3 months, the National Consumer Panel also offers a whopping 25% discount on AT&T wireless plans AND accessories.  I am an AT&T customer, so I can’t wait to use the 25% discount on accessories.  That level of discount is almost unheard of!

Is it worth it to join the panel??

Yes, I really think so.  I have been pleased so far with my membership on the panel.  Once I got the hang of using the scanner, it only takes me approximately a total of 30 minutes per week to scan in all my purchases and transmit them to the panel.  I think 30 minutes a week is a fair trade-off for earning a few extra gifts each year that my family would not have been able to get otherwise.

I’ve found that scanning my purchases works best if I scan each item as I pull them out of the grocery bags when I get home.  By combining the scanning with the unpacking I’d have to do anyways, I’ve barely noticed the extra bit of work.

Also, it appears that the longer you remain a member of the panel, the more points you will earn.  For example, as a new panelist, I receive 150 points each week for transmitting my purchase information.  From testimonials I’ve read around the web, the weekly points go up in value after every year of membership.  If that is the case, the points will come much faster later.

Are you a member of the National Consumer Panel?  I’d love to hear your testimonial on how you make it work for you!!

Be sure to come back here on Monday (11/21) to read about the first money-saving APP I’m covering–Checkout51!!

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