It’s still early in a brand-new year.
It’s a time filled with potential and promise. A time for spring cleaning and thinking about how to make 2016 even better than 2015.
As a result, many of us focus on getting more fit and healthy this year — and it goes for our finances, too!
The Best Ways to Make Money in 2016
Fattening your wallet doesn’t have to be as difficult as resolving to shrink your waistline. In fact, we’ve compiled 10 foolproof ways to pad your pockets in 2016.
Best of all? Many are opportunities to earn passive income (read: real pants not required).
I can raise a glass to that!
1. Yell About Politics
Have strong opinions about Donald Trump? Something to say about Hillary?
You might avoid an awkward holiday dinner and earn a few bucks if you only spout your beliefs on survey sites.
We like Swagbucks because of its high payouts and real-cash-value rewards.
When you’re responding, try to stick to your thoughts on Trump’s tenets, rather than his toupée. I think we can all agree on that, anyway.
2. Surf the Internet
Yep, you can earn extra cash doing exactly what you’re doing right now. Just trade Google for Bing and earn rewards just for searching the web.
You can earn over 100 credits — about a dollar’s value in cash — every week, just for searching like you were going to anyway.
Bing’s rewards include useful gift cards to popular vendors you were totally going to patronize anyway, like Amazon, Starbucks and Sephora.
You can even earn extra credits for completing (easy) bonus tasks, like setting Bing as your home page.
I always made fun of my mother for hoarding paper trails for things like toilet tissue or plastic cutlery.
I was always so confused: If it’s not eligible for some sort of write-off, we don’t need to bring ink and paper into this, right?
Thanks to apps like Ibotta, I’ve recently come around to keeping receipts. It’s super easy: just search the app to see which items you’ve purchased qualify to earn you a cash rebate.
Then, take a photo of your receipt as proof you purchased the item — and earn some cash back! It’s super simple.
You can even look through the app’s offerings ahead of time and plan your meals or shopping trips around getting the biggest bang for your receipt-rebate buck.
4. Actually Keep Your Weight-Loss Resolution
Keep making and breaking a resolution to get fit each year?
Make 2016 the year you finally achieve weight loss success by putting your money on the line.
Not only do you stand to earn some decent cash, a monetary incentive makes going for a run or having a lettuce-based lunch look much more inviting.
Check our full list of ways to earn money while losing weight here.
5. Download Some Apps
It turns out navigating to your app store and clicking “download” might be functionally equivalent to opening your wallet and inserting cash!
A number of companies, including Google, are willing to pay you to install their apps on your cell phone. And they’ll pay you for every month you keep them installed.
The apps collect data from your phone and help companies better understand web and mobile usage.
You earn while they learn what times of day you browse, how long you stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).
Here are my favorites — install all of them and earn $400 per year or more:
– Smart Panel – 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!
– Media Insiders Panel – If you’re male or 44 years of age or older, this company will pay you $5 a month to keep their app on your phone. Plus, you can install it on up to 3 devices, making your total possible earnings up to $200 a year.
– Nielsen Mobile for iPhone Users – if you have an iPhone, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone.
– Nielsen Mobile Panel for Ages 45+ – if you have a smartphone and your 45 years of age or older, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone.
After you’ve installed it for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). I won a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads & Samsung TVs.
Placed Panel: This one is for Android or iPhone. Choose a guaranteed PayPal prize, instead of an entrance into a sweepstakes to reliably earn money.
Although those higher payouts look tempting, the odds are not in your favor — better to hoard pennies than hope for dollars!
6. Change Your Bank Account — or Open Another One
Tons of banks offer cash incentives to open a new account — just look into requirements to make sure you qualify. Here are the best three deals we found in 2015. We’ll keep you in the know on this year’s new offers!
Even if you can’t find a bank that fits your needs and also offers an opening bonus, you’ll want to look into these banks who offer surprisingly high interest rates.
A 5% interest rate might not seem like much, especially if your savings account is a little meager to start. But it’s way better than 1%, and can add up to a lot over time!
7. Keep Checking Your Phone at the Dinner Table
If you’re like me, this advice would be breaking a 2016 resolution!
But if you use an Android device, you can earn extra money just by continuing to use your phone as usual.
Apps like Adme will display beautiful ads on your lock screen. They’ll pay you a few pennies a day just for using your phone as usual!
8. Take Advantage of Your Credit Cards (Rather Than Letting Them Take Advantage of You!)
Many savvy financial experts advise against any credit card use.
But if you can use credit cards wisely and responsibly, they can offer great returns. Earn cash back and frequent flyer miles to take you around the globe, without decimating your savings account.
If you choose the right rewards card, you can earn money every time you spend!
Do some research on rewards cards to figure out which one(s) will best suit your needs — we reviewed these six popular options to get you started.
And if you already carry rewards cards, make sure you’re using them to their full potential!
Go after credit card sign-up bonuses — strategically, and only if you can handle multiple credit cards without breaking the bank (and your credit score).
Again, always check the restrictions and qualifications. You might have to spend more than would be feasible for you in a limited amount of time, and it’s not actually profitable to sign up for cards that’ll stretch you beyond your means.
9. Do What You Love
What if you could market your hobby, spend more time doing what you really enjoy — and make money at the same time?
Is baking your go-to destresser? Check your local cottage baking laws. You might just be able to sell your homemade goods.
Got a knack for writing code? Build a site for a friend’s side business.
If you love organizing, offer to help people get their act together after the holiday kerfuffle.
If you take Fido on an hour-long walk every day, knock on your busy neighbor’s door and see if Spot wants to come, too — for a buck or five.
There are tons of skill-share apps to make all these services digitally marketable, but don’t forget the effectiveness of a friendly face or a neighborhood flyer.
10. Declutter and Cash In
Get a lot of unwanted — though well-intended — tchotchkes for Christmas? Maybe you’re just ready to get a jump-start on spring cleaning.
One Penny Hoarder’s trash might be another’s treasure!
Schlep your stuff to the local flea market or post it on Craigslist. Clean up your act and line your pockets — rather than your overloaded shelves.
New Ways to Earn Money This Year
These are just a few of the easy ways to earn extra cash this year.
Keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder to learn more tips, tricks and hacks as we discover and share them with you!
Your Turn: How are you planning on earning extra income in 2016? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.