How to Make Money

32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home

Updated August 29, 2016
by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor

Listen – we all know the internet is full of “make money at home” scams, so we’ve scoured through thousands of different ideas to find you 32 legitimate ones.

These are all ideas that we’ve done before, so we know that they’re real and that you’ll get paid. Plus, I guarantee there are some in here that you’ve never heard of…

1. Give Your Opinion to Make $100+/Month

$100

Most of you know surveys aren’t our favorite way to make extra money, but we make an exception when we’re just vegging out on the couch. We figure as long as we’re just watching TV, there’s no reason we can’t click a few buttons at the same time.

Vip Voice and Ipsos Panel are some of the only legitimate paid survey companies out there (they’re rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau).

I’ve heard some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10-15 minutes, making it pretty easy to earn $100 or more per month.

2. Surf the Internet

working remote on beach with computer
I love this one, because you just set it and forget it.

Did you know that Swagbucks will pay you for making searches on your computer or phone? Swagbucks is powered by Yahoo search so it’s the same results you normally see, plus they give you a free $5 just to sign up! 

It’s not a lot of money, but I usually earn about $100-$200/ year in passive income doing this. Easy work, though — can’t complain.

3. Become an Uber Partner Driver

Uber Driver

If you find solace on the road and enjoy finding the best route across town, this is a great way to make money doing it!

As an Uber contractoryou’re responsible for setting your schedule and motivating yourself to work — no one is keeping tabs on you. You get 80% of everything you earn as a driver (Uber keeps 20%).

If you want to give it a try, there’s a few things to keep in mind. You must be at least 21 years old, have three years of driving experience, have an in-state driver’s license, a clean driving record and be able to pass a criminal background check.

Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state, and be covered by in-state insurance.

Here’s a link to apply with Uber.

4. Help Doctors Find a Cure

headache_migraine_sick_puppy ss Javier Brosch

Could medical testing be a fun way to make money?

Jillian Shea thinks it is: She made $12,000 from participating in sleep studies. She answered a few questions online from her home in Florida before heading to Boston for the lucrative study.

And she’s not alone. 

NASA’s sleep study at the Johnson Space Center in Houston paid participants $5,000 per month to stay in bed.

Want to give it a try? If you have one of these ailments, you might be able to earn a little extra cash… 

– Migraines – If you’ve never had a migraine, be glad you can just take my word for it: They really, really suck. Local research studies may offer payment/compensation up to $625 (learn more here). These studies help doctors discover better ways to treat — and hopefully eliminate — migraines.

– Arthritis – If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis and qualify, you may earn up to $1,000 for participating in this study.

– Rheumatoid Arthritis – If you have rheumatoid arthritis in the knee and/or hip and are otherwise healthy, you could qualify for a study that offers up to $625 compensation for sharing your thoughts and opinions.

5. Get a Free $10 Amazon Gift Card 

IMG_8825
Have you heard of MyPoints? They are a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online and printing coupons. We use them all the time at our house, because it’s instant way to save on everything you buy (for example, it gives you up to 5% cash-back on purchases in some categories on Amazon).

But, enough about that, here’s how to get a free $10 Amazon gift card that you can use to buy groceries (or anything for that matter):

  1. Sign up for MyPoints here using your email or Facebook account (it’s free).
  2. Use the Mypoints portal the next time you need to shop online (it’s connected to thousands of stores including Walmart, Amazon, and Target).
  3. As long as you spend $10 at any of those stores, Mypoints will reward you with 1,750 bonus bonus which you can redeem for a free $10 Amazon gift card.

6. Get Paid to Go on Top-Secret Missions

Mystery Shopper
Remember scavenger hunts when you were a kid? Ever pretend you were a private investigator on an important mission? Don’t let a few years get in the way of your fun.

QuickThoughts for Android turns your cell phone into private-eye technology, taking you on top-secret missions in your area.

Was that CVS you visited last month clean? How do the lines look at that McDonald’s you’ve stopped by for lunch? QuickThoughts Missions relies on your input — and sneakily-taken cellphone photography — to give businesses important feedback.

And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork. Pretending as an adult is looking better and better! Using your phone’s GPS technology, the app will prompt you for information from places you’ve visited in the past few weeks, as well as places it detects you’re visiting right now.

It even has missions you can accept and complete in the future. For instance, it might prompt you to go to your local Walgreens and snap a photo of the seasonal display.

Super fun, right? And you’ll earn valuable gift cards for Amazon and iTunes while you’re at it. Unfortunately for iOS users, this opportunity is just for Android right now.

Which is kind of fitting, when you think about it. What would make a better private eye than an actual android?

7. Download These Apps

Woman Downloading Apps

There are a number of companies, including Google, that will pay you to install their app on your cell phone. And they’ll pay you for every month you keep them installed.

The apps collect data from your cell phone and help companies better understand web and mobile usage better — such as what times of day people browse, how long they 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/year or more):

– MobileExpressions for iPhones – This one can only be downloaded on iPhones. 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.

– MobileExpressions for Android – After you’ve installed this app 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.

– SavvyConnect – You’ll earn $5 per device for each month SavvyConnect is installed on one of your devices and you can earn up to a total of $180 per year

– Media Insiders Panel – If you’re male or 44 years of age or older and enjoy watching television programs, this company will pay you $5 a month to keep their app on your Android smartphone or tablet. Plus, you will be invited to participate in simple surveys about those shows you stream, DVR or watch live for additional rewards.

– Nielsen Mobile Panel for Ages 45+ – if you have a smartphone and you are 45 years of age or older, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone.

– 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.

8. Earn $250 By Opening a Second Bank Account

saving money

hidesy/Shutterstock

We’ve put together a huge list of banks that will pay you just to open a bank account! Some of them will pay you up to $250 just for opening a savings account!

There’s no harm in having multiple bank accounts. In fact, I often find it’s helpful to have multiple places to save (I’m less likely to touch the money), so I have savings accounts for my Christmas fund and my vacation fund.

The top bank bonus is $250 right now — head over to this list to see all of the banks in your area that are offering free cash.

9. Get a Free $5 From Clink to Start Saving

Macro of Five American Dollar Bill.

Macro of Five American Dollar Bill.

I’m kind of obsessed with Clink (and not just because they give you $5).

Clink helps you save for a rainy day or retirement by taking small amounts of money our of your checking account each day (around $1).

To get the $5 bonus, download the Clink smartphone app and setup your account with the same email address. Be sure to use the promo code: PH2016

I already got my bonus and now I’m investing $5/week. I’m already up to $40! That might sound small, but for someone who resists saving money like the plague, it’s a pretty remarkable start!

10. Earn Up to $60/Hour as a Part-Time Bookkeeper

Stay at home bookkeeper

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.

11. Rate Your Local Pizza Place

Papa Johns Pizza

Awww…yeah! Who wouldn’t want $5 and a free large pizza? :)

As many of you know I was a professional mystery shopper for many years (I got my start conducting liquor audits all over the Southeast).

One of the most popular types of mystery shops is for pizza companies — both Papa Johns and Pizza Hut regularly conduct mystery shops at all of their locations. As part of the assignment you’re required to time their delivery service, quality of pizza, etc.

It’s pretty easy to do and you can do it several times a year. If you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a list of my favorite mystery shopping companies.

12. Watch More Television

Watching Netflix

Alright, just hear me out on this one. It’s definitely possible to get paid to watch TV. There’s a new company called “RewardTV” that pays you to answer trivia questions about last night’s TV shows.

Do you know who they killed off on Game of Thrones last week? Tell them about it and they’ll pay you.

Did you know which contestant got kicked off “The Voice” this week? They’ll pay you.

You’re not going to get rich doing this, but it’s a fun way to make an extra $15-$20/month. Pretty cool, right?

13. Earn up to $700/Month Fixing Search Results

work from home

I’ll make about $700 this month for evaluating search engine results this month.

And the best part? Most of it is done while sitting at home in my pajamas. What am I doing? Let me explain…

Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. For example, if you type the name of one of our writers, Steve Gillman, into a Google search box, a half-million possibly-relevant web pages will be narrowed down using various criteria until a second later you see his smiling face. You’ll also see links to his personal website, his blog on the Huffington Post, and LinkedIn profiles for a bunch of guys who share his name.

But the search engines don’t always get it right.

They are full of errors, so they need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, relevancy, and usefulness. If you’re interested in this type of work, head over to this article to get more info on how to apply.

14. Turn Your Grocery Receipts in For Rebate

Ibotta
You don’t have to cut back at the grocery store if you know the right tricks. Have you heard of rebate apps?

My favorite is the Ibotta app which works by giving you a cash rebate on your grocery store purchases if you take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone.

Many of the rebates are for things like steak, ground beef, bread and eggs. Plus, you can shop at your normal grocery store. There’s no need to run clear across town to save money. And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.

Some other good ones are SavingStar and Checkout51. Download them all and sometimes you can get three rebates on the same item. :)

15. Sell Your Old Books

Used Books

We’ve all got way too much extra junk just sitting around. Get rid of some of it and use the extra money for your Christmas shopping.

Have any old college textbooks?  You could, of course, have a garage sale or sell them on Craigslist, but one of my favorite ways to get rid of them is using Direct Textbook.

You just type your book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number — it’s near the book’s barcode and copyright info) into the search bar and let Direct Textbook connect you with over 25 of the best-paying and most reputable buyback companies online. Cool, right?

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 (usually PayPal) 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.

16. Make an Extra $50/Week Working for Amazon

Amazon Boxes
Have you heard of Amazon Mechanical Turk? Unlike other online sites that look for contract help, the Amazon Mechanical Turk service offers easy to accomplish tasks that can be completed by almost anyone with a computer.

From the articles and advice I’ve read from others completing tasks, the key seems to be just to jump in and quickly accept the next task you are qualified for. Don’t spend time hunting for the perfect task, just do them next, next, next, etc.

While basic tasks may only pay $0.10, they are easy and quick to complete. It does not take long to complete a task in less than a minute, so in an hour, with little experience, you can make $6 to $10, depending on how fast you are.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is not a get-rich-quick scam or one of those “make massive income in your spare time” ripoffs. But, realistically you can make an extra $50 or so each month.

17. Sell Your CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Video Games and Electronics

Decluttr

Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them!

Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods.

One user, Gary Clements, told TPH he recently sold 620 CDs to Decluttr for an average price of 52 cents each — a total of $323.97! Gil Flores sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs for a total of $275.

Just download the app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes.

18. Sell Your Crafts on Etsy

crafts

Just because you don’t have a dedicated crafts room like Martha Stewart or Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t mean you can’t become a successful entrepreneur by selling your crafts online.

In the past crafters have had to slug it out at craft fairs and farmer’s markets, often meaning long hours and little profit. All of that has changed in the last few years as a number of online marketplaces like Etsy have opened that allow amateur crafters a forum to sell their goods.

In fact, we recently found a mom who’s earning $70,000/month on Etsy! Click here to read her story.

19. Get Paid $50+ to Write an Article for These Sites

Shot of a young man working on laptop in a cafe

If you like to write, we found a few blogs that will pay you to share your thoughts. And there’s no limit to the number of articles you can submit, so this really is a nice side gig.

  • TheKrazyCouponLady.com – $50
    This site accepts articles on a broad range of topics including style/fashion, couponing, family/parenting, and personal finance. The ladies guarantee that you’ll hear back from them within 7 days and will receive $50 via Paypal if they choose to publish your article. You can read all the details hereEditor’s Note: We recently found out TheKrazyCouponLady is no longer paying for submissions. Please be advised.
  • Listverse.com – $100
    Listverse publishes nothing but lists. Their posts are all long lists (usually beyond 1,500 words long) containing at least 10 items, with an explanation of why each item deserves its place on the list. Read more details here.
  • ThePennyHoarder.com – $75
    Got a crazy way to make/save extra money? We also pay our readers to submit articles and would love to have you contribute. Read all of our guidelines here.

20. Sell Your Smartphone Photos

photo-1446000442451-e162542e5f8d

If you have a smartphone and a photographic eye, making money may have just gotten a lot easier. Oh yeah – you’ll also need access to marketable scenery.

There’s a new app called Foap that allows you to turn your smartphone photos into cash.

Here’s how it works. You download the free app. You sign up for an account. You take a quality photo. You upload photo to Foap’s marketplace. Someone buys the license to your photo for $10. You make $5.

If your photo sells 20 times, you make $5 each time and end up with $100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work. Pretty cool, right?

21. Sign Up for Free Gift Card Promotions

giftcards

Believe it or not, there are sites that will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.

One of my favorites is Ebates, the cash-back shopping site. They’re giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cashback rebate. You can choose a $10 gift card from Target, Walmart, Macy’s or Kohl’s.

You do have to wait 30 days, but it’s free money so can you really complain? :)

22. Earn a $100 Bonus by Opening a New Credit Card

$100 Credit Card Bonus

As long as you pay down your credit balance in full each month, rewards cards are a great way to make some extra money.

This one’s for my sports fans! Right now you can get a $100 cash-back bonus when you open an NFL Extra Points Visa Signature card

Qualifying transactions will get you a 10,000-point bonus, which is enough to redeem for $100 in cold, hard cash. Then, you’ll continue to earn points to redeem for cash back and other prizes as you use your card for everyday purchases.

Plus, you’ll get discounts and special access to tickets and NFL swag — and the card is customizable to represent your favorite team!

23. Live in California? Get Paid Up to $300 to Turn Off the Lights

Unplug
California residents can earn up to $300/year by syncing their utility accounts to a program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage by one hour per week. Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account. OhmConnect will give you $40 just for signing up! 

2. You must have an online account with one of these three utility companies to participate: Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.

2. OhmConnect will send you weekly payments for reducing your electricity for one hour per week. They do this because you’re helping to not contribute to the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on. They’ll send you up to $300/year per year, plus you’re helping  save the planet!

24. Sell Your Trash

Trash

Americans throw away approximately 266 million tons of trash every year, and it turns out we might as well be throwing away cash!  There’s a reason dumpster diving has become so popular in recent years and that’s because things that you think are worth nothing often have value.

Anything from your empty wine bottles to old magazines can be sold online. Here’s a full list of the things in your trash that might be worth cash.

25. Sell Your Skills for $5 on Fiverr

Image: Fiverr
Earning $5 at a time may not sound like much, but those little sales can add up to thousands of dollars.

That’s the idea behind Fiverr.com, an online platform where users sell their products and services for $5 each. Fiverr says users create 4,000 new listings, or “gigs,” every day.

Gigs range from the standard data entry and research tasks to the truly out-there. For example, as I write this, sellers in the “Fun and Bizarre” section are offering:

  • A piece of rare metal that will melt in your hand
  • A prank phone call to anyone you choose
  • Three balloons released into the sky with your message in them
  • Your name written on two grains of rice
  • A photo of you on the cover of “Rolling Stone”
  • A video of a woman pretending to be “crazy in love with you” — which has 253 buyers and a 98% positive rating so far

You can seriously sell almost anything on Fiverr. Here are some more ideas.

26. Earn $100 By Helping a Company Name Itself

Photo by jpellgen

Professional branders aren’t going anywhere, but for small businesses that can’t afford the million dollar price tag, crowdsourcing allows businesses to outsource the creative process to people like you and me through “naming contests.”

There are hundreds of naming contests on websites like NamingForce.com and SquadHelp.com. The way it works is that nameless businesses list a little information about their company and a prize amount for the person who can come up with the best name. The rewards are anywhere from $50-$500, with the average amount around $100.

For example, one company on SquadHelp says they are a company that buys used video games and they will pay $80 to the person who can come up with the best name. A few of the submissions so far are “Cash 2 Gamers” and “Game Epix.” Think you can do better? Give it a try here.

27. Let Someone Borrow Your House/Apartment for the Night

Rental Real Estate Sign in Front of house

I’ve used Airbnb to both rent out my apartment and stay in many others while traveling, and it’s a fantastic way to put your home to work for you. However, taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Whether you’re renting out a single room or your entire home, make the most of your Airbnb rental by following these tips. If you do it well, you could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your savings account.

28. Become an Online Tutor

tutoring business
Education is one of the world’s leading industries, and the private tutoring market alone is expected to top $102 billion by 2018.

Have you ever considered becoming an online tutor to make extra money?  Well, if you haven’t, you most certainly should.  You can make some serious coin by answering student’s questions, explaining your notes and uploading tutorials.

That’s right, by sharing your knowledge, you can be rewarded handsomely.

Try marketing your services on a site like Tutor.com, where instructors earn $9-$13/hour, plus $5.50/hour just for being logged in waiting for students.

29. Become a Dog Masseuse 

Puppy3

We’ve talked before about ways to get paid to spend time with cats and dogs, but this is a new one: pet massage.

That’s right — some people earn money for massaging animals. It might sound a little strange, but apparently many cats and dogs enjoy a good massage as much as humans do.

If you like petting your furry friends, why not explore this option? With a bit of training you can make $50 per hour as a pet massage therapist. Here’s how to get started.

30. Write Slogans for Major Companies 

voice acting
Can you sum up a product in a sentence? Think of something funny — and not another joke about too many candles — to put on a birthday card? Make a point in few concise words?

If so, you might be able to make money writing slogans.

Companies sometimes need new corporate taglines, advertising slogans and jingles. Bumper sticker and greeting card makers want cute, endearing or funny thoughts to put on their products.

When these businesses need help, they sometimes collect submissions from freelance writers or run contests that anyone can enter — including you!

Try one or more of these platforms to get started:

  • Slogan Slingers helps companies create slogan contests in which their registered writers compete. It’s free to sign up as a writer, and the company claims you can “make up to $999 per contest (minus our small admin fee).”
  • Get a Slogan is a “crowd-sourcing platform that brings in custom, creative and catchy slogans from a variety of sloganeers.” Companies come to them for help, and writers submit their ideas. It’s free to sign up, but you initially have only “qualifying” status. Once you obtain “qualified” status, you’ll receive $50 for each of your winning slogans.
  • Freelancer.com has a section devoted to slogan-writing projects, which are sometimes run as contests. For example, at the moment a personal injury law firm is offering $150 for the best “unique and memorable tagline/slogan.”

31. Join an Online Focus Group

Image: Focus group
Ever wonder how the products you see on grocery-store shelves wound up there? Or who thought those TV commercials were a good idea? Somewhere between the concept and the final edits, it’s likely that a focus group was involved.

Focus groups vary in size and type, but most of them provide some sort of compensation — a check in the mail, a PayPal deposit or even a gift card.

“The more formal the focus group, the more I expect to be paid,” says Sarah K., who’s participated in focus groups about bridal registries and sports nutrition products in the Los Angeles area.

For a longer session, she expects to make $100 to $200. “I’ll happily participate in a longer focus group if it pays well, is nearby and doesn’t conflict with any of my appointments,” she says.

One of my favorites is ProOpinion which is a focus group for professionals. Click here to visit their site and fill out the short sign-up form to get started.

Here’s another great list of legitimate focus group companies.

32. Test Websites

Work from home jobs

Tempura / Getty Images

Like most of us, you’ve probably commented on how some websites are confusing and others excellent. Rather than complaining to your spouse or friend, how would you like to make those comments to the owners of the sites and get paid for playing critic?

I do just that, and you can, too. In fact, you can make $30 per hour as a website tester.

The company is called User Testing. Here’s what the process looks like: you’ll download some software and then when tasks are available, look over a website while your mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, and spoken comments are all recorded as a video. Afterward there might be a few questions to answer, but the whole process often takes 15 minutes or less. Cool, right?

Your Turn: Would you try any of these methods to make extra money at home?

Advertiser Disclosure: We are paid for some of our opinions in the post and some links may redirect to an affiliate partner. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which ThePennyHoarder.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We do not feature all available credit card offers or all credit card issuers.

Want to avoid all of the "make money at home" scams? We've gone through them all and figured out which ones are real and which ones are fake...

by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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