How to Make Money

Our 12 Favorite Mobile Apps For Earning Extra Money (+ How I Earned $75 from #4)

June 11, 2014
by Kyle Taylor

You’re not going to get rich by downloading mobile apps, but I have used these 12 apps successfully to earn a little extra money every month.

In fact, I made $75 from downloading #4 and I’ve had good success with all twelve…

1. Nielsen Homescan

This app will pay you to scan your groceries. Crazy, right? Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Consumer Panel family (yep, the same company that tracks TV ratings), the company will send you a free scanner or you can use your smartphone. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen.

If you want to give it a try, you can fill out an application here.

As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items, and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points towards prizes. You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles.


2. Swagbucks

This Swagbucks mobile app is one of the only legitimate paid survey apps out there. They’re currently rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.

The questions are pretty simple. What do you like more — Coke or Cherry Coke? How many times have you been to the movies in the past 12 months? And so on.

The average payout for answering a series of questions is 75 SBs, which is equivalent to $0.75. You won’t qualify for every panel, but I usually find that I can earn about $5 for 30 minutes of work.



Swagbucks Shot

3. Ibotta

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps. The Ibotta app will pay you cash to take a picture of your receipts.

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for a free account with Ibotta (just need a name & email address).

2. Download the mobile app and then click on the “Rebates” section.

3. From here, you should see dozens of different rebates you can take advantage of. For example, right now the app is offering me 50 cents if I upload a picture of a receipt showing that I bought milk. And there’s another rebate for $10 if I upload a picture of a Best Buy receipt.

Now, you obviously don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need, but I think you’ll find tons of rebates for things you are already buying. Plus, you can stack regular coupons on top of the rebate, meaning some of you savvy shoppers will be able to get free stuff.


4. Smart Panel 

There’s a new company called “Smart Panel” and they will literally pay you to download their free app. 

The apps purpose is to collect anonymous statistics from your phone to help your favorite web sites, apps, tech companies, and mobile carriers give you better services and more features. They want to know how long you’re spending on Facebook each week, what YouTube videos you like, and how often you check your email.

It’s run by Verto Analytics which is a trusted analytics firm.

Here’s how it works…

1. You can’t download this from the app store. Here’s the promo link. It’s free to download.

2. Once you’ve qualified and downloaded the app, they will give you $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you’ll earn another $10. And then for every month that you keep the Smart App installed, you’ll get another $5. All total, you can earn up to $75 for the 1st year!

You can redeem your rewards via Paypal or an gift card.

5. Field Agent

The Field Agent app will pay you to complete small tasks around town for their clients. The tasks are pretty simple: scanning barcodes with your iPhone, checking prices at your local grocery store and conducting field surveys.

Payouts vary and depend on the job and area that you are in. For example, as I write, a job is posted in Mission Viejo, California is looking for an agent to take 4 separate photos of products in the toothbrush section of the local Target. This particular gig pays 9 dollars.

And in Brooklyn, New York, a field agent can jump in to a local Toys “R” Us store, snap a shot of the $19.99 & under video game display and zip out a healthy $5.50 richer.

Remember though: you’re in this to make money; don’t bust out the plastic when you see a new Xbox 360 game nearby that you’ve been itching to buy. Field Agent job payouts typically vary between 2-8 bucks (payable through PayPal). Most of the jobs only take 5 minutes, so the real time involved is with driving to each location. Still with travel time and gas, you could easily make $10-$20/hour completing mini-jobs.

6. InboxDollars

InboxDollars has been around since practically the beginning of the internet, but they just came out with a pretty cool mobile app that will pay you to search the web, play games, and take surveys.

The app is totally free to download. Plus, they give you a free $5 just to signup.

Once you’ve accumulated $30 earnings (it’s possible to do this in only a couple of hours), you can request payment via check. It does take about 2 weeks to get the check, but I’ve successfully cashed out five different times now.

7. Receipt Hog

RecieptHog is very similar to Ibotta. You take a picture of your receipts and the “hog” rewards you with points that you can redeem for Paypal or Amazon gift cards.

The difference with this app is that you don’t have to shop anywhere specific, or buy anythings specific. You can take a picture of any of your receipts and the app will reward you with points. I like the fact that I earn points for shopping anywhere, but I also find that it takes me a lot longer to cash out with this app in comparison to Ibotta.

8. Bookscouter

The Bookscouter app is really useful when you want to sell your old books that are just collecting dust on the shelf. You scan your book’s barcode with a smartphone and Bookscouter will let you compare the payout of 20+ different buyback companies.

Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent and prepare the books to be shipped. Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.

9. ESPN Streak for the Cash

Think you know sports? The ESPN Streak for the Cash app will let you make predictions for upcoming games and then reward you with cash if you have the longest streak of correct predictions. To make it tougher, you have to make call for 10 different sports.

The person with the longest winning streak earns $50,000 every month. Pretty sweet!

10. Mobee

Have you ever tried mystery shopping? The Mobee app will pay you to go undercover in your local stores and rate the level of customer service and cleanliness, among other things.

Most of you know that I’ve done quite a bit of mystery shopping, so I was pretty excited to find this app. I found it really easy to use and the shops went pretty quickly, but I wasn’t too impressed with the payment amounts. For example, there was a Subway mystery shop in my area that was paying $8. That’s not a huge amount for a mystery shop, plus I had to buy a sandwich during the shop that wasn’t reimbursed. Regardless, it was like getting a free lunch, so I’ll take it!

11. SlideJoy – 12. ScreenPay

Both SlideJoy and ScreenPay operate on the same principal – download their app and they will serve ads on your smartphone’s lock screen. For this, you get paid a monthly stipend.

The SlideJoy app doesn’t specify how much you earn (it’s based off how often you look at your phone), but the ScreenPay app will pay you a flat fee of $3 a month, plus they’ll give you $1 just for signup up. These are both Android apps, so they won’t work on your iPhone or Blackberry.

Your Turn: Are you currently using any of these apps? What’s your experience been?

by Kyle Taylor
Kyle is the founder of

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