After I finish work today, I’m hitting the road to go see my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving.
I’ll be hitting one of the worst roads in America, actually. It’s Interstate 4 — from Tampa to Orlando. So I’ll probably be sitting… in my car… on the road.
AAA estimates nearly 50 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving holiday — 1 million more than last year and the most since 2007.
Odds aren’t looking too good for me. However, while I’m burning fuel — and lots of time — I can easily make some extra money.
6 Ways to Make Extra Money While Sitting in Holiday Traffic
Nope, we’re not encouraging you to take out your phone and stare at your screen. Because when traffic starts moving, you’re going to want to stay on top of that car in front of you.
Just leave the phone in your pocket and feel the money trickling in. (Or is it just that awkward buzz of a text message?)
1. Listen to audiobooks.
I love audiobooks because I can listen to them — soak up the information, riveting plot, whatever it might be — while doing other things, including driving.
And you can make money listening to them. Yeah, this might sound like a head-scratcher from our ever-so creative founder, but listen up.
If you haven’t heard of SwagBucks, go ahead and check out our beginner’s guide. The site hosts a variety of rewards for online shopping, searching, watching videos and — in this case — listening to books.
Once you create an account (or log into your account), use the search tool to find “Audible” — the home of online audiobooks.
With this current offer, SwagBucks will reward you 800 SB (translated to $8) for downloading Audible, which costs $1 a month. If you keep your membership for more than two months, you’ll earn 1,700 SB (translated to $17).
You can redeem this for money or giftcards — and you get to listen to your favorite books on your commute.
2. Share your data.
Having a company harvest your data sounds scary, but we’ve tried this — and earned a $25 Amazon gift card along the way.
It’s called MobileXpression, a research company that studies internet trends. Right now, it’s looking for a few thousand Android users to sign up, which is pretty easy.
First, before you take the driver’s seat, sign up online. You’ll share some simple demographic information before being you can download the software, which runs in your phone’s background.
Don’t worry, the site says it won’t slow anything down. And the data submits itself. Simply go about your normal activities.
The app won’t monitor calls or hack into your personal info; it just wants to check out the web pages you view, the links you click and the time you spend doing various tasks.
After seven days, you can play an instant rewards game — but it’s not really a game because you’re guaranteed to win something (like that Amazon gift card).
3. Invest your money.
To be frank, the thought of trying to manage investments scares me. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds.
With apps like Clink, you can invest in the stock market with $1 a day. Plus, when you download the app and use the promo code PH2016, you get a $5 bonus, which is kind of cool.
The app walks you through the sign-up process. And you don’t need to know about investing or index funds or compound interest. That’s all handled for you. (Thank goodness.)
So rather than letting your money sit in a savings account as idly as you sit on the interstate, make an investment.
4. Ignore advertisements.
Sure, this sounds odd, but stick with me.
This app called SlideJoy will pay you around $6 per month. The catch is you’ll see an ad, news story or promotion each time you look at your Android phone (sorry, Apple people).
You don’t even have to act on these. If you’re not interested, simply swipe right and get on with your life (but you won’t be doing this while driving, right?). If you do like it, then swipe left.
And these only appear on your lock screen — instead of your pup’s face or your favorite photo from a recent vacay.
Using your phone normally, you can expect to make about $5 a month. But don’t scoff. In a year, you could pay off a month’s phone bill or buy plenty of pricy Starbucks lattes.
Read our full review of the app here.
5. Get paid for all the online shopping you’ve been doing.
This app doesn’t really require you to think — just shop.
If it detects purchases from Amazon, Target or one of its other 16 retail partners, it tracks the item’s price and issues a refund as soon as the price drops.
After you sign up, you don’t have to do anything. Except keep your eyes on the road — and continue shopping when you get to your destination.
6. Whip out this card for gas — or gas station snacks.
Yeah, I’m with you: Credit cards are sorta intimidating. But I recently signed up for a rewards card, and because I pay off my balance each month, it’s awesome.
Need some suggestions? The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® – Average Credit gives you two points for every dollar you spend on groceries, gas (that’s right now!) and utilities. Plus, outside of that, you’ll earn one point for every other dollar.
Translated: 1,000 points equates to $10. Not bad.
Even more importantly, the card is free. So don’t feel too guilty hitting up the gas station candy aisle. (Butterfinger Bites, please!)
Your Turn: Where are you driving this Thanksgiving?
Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.