Q. Hi Kim. I love your show and listen every Saturday night here in California. I have a long list of gadgets to buy this Christmas, but I don't want to rack up a big credit card bill. Do you know of any ways to earn some quick pocket money online?
-Darlene from Los Angeles, CA, listens to my national radio show in her hometown on KABC 790 AM
A. That's a great question, Darlene. It's hard to avoid the temptations of the holidays.
Many people indulge in too many sweets, which is bad for the waistline. And many put too many gifts on their credit cards, which is bad for the bottom line.
There are some interesting new ways to earn extra pocket money thanks to the Internet and smartphones.
It's important to be wary of scams, however, whenever you try to snag work through the Internet. Always remember that legitimate operations won't ask you for money or promise extravagant paychecks.
If you're the type of person whose friends look to for fashion and shopping recommendations, you can earn pocket money by using social media to drive traffic to online retailers.
For years, bloggers have been receiving rewards from marketers for favorably mentioning new products to readers. The model is being extended to posters on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Shopping site Beso recently threw open the doors of its Affiliate Program to all account holders. As an Affiliate, every time friends and followers click on products you share, you make money.
Pay ranges from 5 to 90 cents per click, with 14 cents being the average in categories such as clothing and shoes.
Other popular social shopping sites, such as the Fancy and Pose, have introduced similar programs.
To stay on the ethical side - and follow FTC and social network guidelines - users should disclose that they're getting paid for a referral-based link. That can be as simple as adding #ad, #paid or #spon to a post.
Another increasingly popular way to earn spare cash is by performing quick tasks for companies.
Many businesses - big and small - post opportunities through a free iPhone app called Gigwalk (an Android version is being tested).
A national retailer, for example, might need someone to mystery shop at a local outlet and evaluate the experience. An automaker may need to know what a new parking garage in your town charges so the data can be added to in-car navigation systems.
Many jobs involve photographing businesses or product displays in stores. It's how Microsoft is gathering the thousands of panoramic photos it needs for its Bing search engine. You don’t need to invest in expensive camera gear - the iPhone's camera is good enough for most vendors.
Once registered with Gigwalk, you're notified of tasks that come up in your city. You compete with other Gigwalkers and "apply" for gigs with a 140-character message.
As a newbie, you'll make $10 or less for many tasks. But as your reputation builds, you're shown increasingly lucrative jobs of $50 or more. Some companies invite experienced and reliable Gigwalkers to private groups, which is sort of like becoming a regular freelancer.
TaskRabbit is another popular micro-job platform. Currently serving a dozen major cities in the U.S., TaskRabbit started out as a safe way for homeowners to get help with odd jobs like house cleaning, pet sitting and assembling Ikea furniture.
But businesses are also discovering that TaskRabbit is a good way to hire on-demand virtual assistants, event staff and delivery drivers.
TaskRabbits must pass a screening process that includes a video interview and a thorough background check. Many TaskRabbits are college students, retirees and moms.
Here are some more great money-making ideas.