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Ways you can earn cash online in your spare time

HOUSTON – The average American spends 24 hours online each week. We're scrolling, tweeting, posting and shopping, but what do we have to show for all those hours at the end of the day? Usually not much.

Here are some ways you can earn money online in that spare time, and what you should know before you get started.

Websites that will pay you

Consumer expert Amy Davis found three websites that will actually pay you for time.

Swagbucks

Website and app Swagbucks will pay you for completing surveys. Usually, the longer each questionnaire takes, the more you will earn. A 27-minute survey, for example, would earn you 240 Swagbucks, which are actually worth a penny each.

You can redeem your Swagbucks for gift cards to Amazon, eBay, WalMart, Starbucks or a whole bunch of other places you shop. You can also get paid to search the web, watch videos and open emails. 

Vindale Research

Vindale Research pays you in cash for taking surveys, opening emails and watching videos. You earn $1 just for signing up. You have to accrue $50 before you can request your payment by either Paypal or a regular check. 

Inbox Dollars

Inbox Dollars gives you $5 for signing up and activating your email address. Once you earn $30 you can request to get paid, also in cash.

The downside

The downside to these websites is that most of the surveys are designed to get more information about you, how much money you make and what you like to buy. The websites want to sell that information to retailers and other marketing companies. You should open up a separate free email account just for the influx of junk mail you'll receive by taking the surveys, and give that new email address to these websites.

You won't get rich, but you're not increasing your wealth on Facebook either.