The Penny Hoarder - The Penny Hoarder

How would you feel if you had an extra $180 right now?

You’d probably feel preeettttty good -- I know I would.

And recently, I figured out an easy way to earn that over the course of the next year. All you need is the help of your favorite technological devices.

Here’s what you’ve gotta do…

How to Get Started With SavvyConnect

The key is to use a platform called SavvyConnect.

Install its software on your devices -- phone, tablet, computer -- and let it work in the background. While you browse the internet, it “unobtrusively includes you in behavioral market research.”

In return for your contributions, SavvyConnect will pay you $5 per device, per month. If you install three devices, that adds up to $180 over the course of a year!

And once you install the software, it requires ZERO effort on your part.

The software is compatible with iPhones and iPads running iOS 8.0 or higher, but you can’t download it onto a Macbook (I tried). I guess two out of three ain’t bad. You can also download it on Android devices running OS 4.1 and newer, as well as on computers running Windows XP SP3 or higher.

If you aren’t comfortable sharing your information, there are still other ways to earn with SavvyConnect.

The easiest? Refer your friends and family to the platform.

For every project your referrals complete, you’ll earn $5-$15. And for every project completed by someone they refer (indirect referrals), you’ll earn another $2-$6.

Don’t forget they’re earning money, too.

“In order for you to qualify for these incentives, your referrals (direct or indirect) must install and keep active the SavvyConnect software,” the website explains.

Alternatively, you can complete surveys with parent company SurveySavvy -- once you fill out an online profile, it’ll send relevant surveys your way.

And, as a member of SavvyConnect, you might be eligible for “exclusive high-paying” surveys, according to the website.

There is one notable downside to the company: It pays via check. In the mail. I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty archaic to me.

Still, if you’re (nearly) effortlessly earning money, it might be worth tolerating the old-fashioned payment method!

Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.

Every day I get dozens of offers in my inbox asking me to take a survey for cash. It’s a fun way to make a little extra money, but the problem is it’s getting harder and harder to tell which offers are for real and which offers are trying to scam me.

To help us all avoid getting burned, I’ve put together a list of my top seven ways to spot a survey scam.

1. They Ask for Money

This one may seem obvious, but scammy survey sites wouldn’t keep popping up if people weren’t falling for them.

There are hundreds of these scams on the internet and they usually promise you access to “top-paying surveys” -- as soon as you hand over some cash. Once you pay the fee, all you get is a small e-book filled with a few links that you could easily have found for free by searching Google.

2. They Post an Ad on Craigslist

It seems innocent enough. A company says they’re looking for survey participants and that all you need to do is email them your contact information.

Stop! These types of offers are usually email farms that collect the email addresses of everyone who responds so they can spam the accounts later with offers for Viagra, etc.

3. They Offer Too Much Money

If a survey is promising $75 for 15 minutes of work, you should click the back button as fast as possible. My rule of thumb with any survey or internet offer is “if it sounds too good to be true, than it is probably a scam.”

4. They Want to Pre-Qualify You... for an Hour

These types of surveys are very sneaky. It’s not uncommon for surveys to begin with a few pre-qualifying questions to make sure you meet the company’s target demographic.

The problem is when the pre-qualifying portion seems to go on forever and asks a hundred questions. When you finally reach the end, the survey says, “Sorry, it doesn’t look like you qualify.”

The trick is that you really just took the survey and they didn’t pay you for it because it was all in the name of “pre-qualification.”

5. They Try Too Hard

Everybody is looking to make an extra buck these days, so it’s not very hard to find people to take paid surveys.

If it seems like a survey operator is pushing too hard for you to take the survey, it is probably a scam.

One red flag to watch for is a web page filled with testimonials from former survey takers. Real survey companies don’t have to put up such a front to attract participants.

6. They Require an Unachievable Minimum Before Sending a Check

This one annoys me the most. You join a survey group, and they promise you a dollar or two for each survey you take.

There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you find out later you must accumulate a ridiculous amount of earnings before they’ll send you a check.

This type of scam is popular because the survey company knows very few people will stick with it long enough to see an actual check.

7. They Lack a Privacy Policy

Always check to make sure a survey company has a privacy policy before signing up; otherwise your email address and personal information could be at risk.

These sites often take your information and resell it to other companies. That means you’ll see a lot more spam than you will cash.

Don’t get discouraged, Penny Hoarders. If you like taking surveys for cash, there are plenty of legitimate companies out there. Here are a few of my favorites.

Traveling for free. It’s the ultimate dream, right?

It might sound impossible -- but it’s not.

Combine some travel points with a dose of seasonal jobs, a sprinkle of creativity and voila: You really could travel for free.

I know because I did it for many years.

For the better part of a decade, I trotted the globe using frequent flyer miles, teaching English abroad, volunteering in several countries and working a variety of seasonal adventure jobs.

All these strategies allowed me to travel for much less money than you can imagine -- and often, for free.

Because I want all of you to experience the magic of exploring somewhere you’ve never been, here’s how to travel the world for free.

1. Play With Polar Bears

Due to retreating sea ice, polar bears have become classified as a threatened species.

Though we’ll hopefully figure out ways to reduce climate change and bring their numbers back up, now is still the time to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.

And if you spend the summer working at Deadhorse Camp in Alaska’s arctic, you’ll get to do it for free.

In addition to an hourly wage, you’ll get free lodging, three meals a day and a $1,000 end-of-season bonus to cover the costs of your plane tickets.

2. Move to Antarctica

Want to live in one of the most remote corners of the planet?

Get a job in Antarctica.

You’ll get free housing and food -- plus a decent income -- for spending months on the bottom of the world.

Because you won’t have anywhere to spend the money during your stint, you’ll also leave with a significant chunk of change…

Not only that, but Antarctic employers also pay for your transportation to the continent.

Because you can still use your own frequent flyer account, these round-trip flights will earn you enough miles for a free ticket to a different destination during the off-season.

3. Cuddle With Baby Goats

This is a real thing that exists. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), you can get free room and board in exchange for four to six hours of work per day. Gigs range from crushing grapes in New Zealand to cuddling goats in North Carolina.

And WWOOF is far from your only option; there are several more types of work exchanges that’ll help you travel for free.

4. Get Free Plane Tickets

Transportation is one of the most expensive parts of travel.

Without a doubt, the quickest and easiest way to get free flights is to rack up points with a rewards credit card.

We’ve got a whole list of some of the best rewards credit cards right here. None of them come with annual fees and they all have sign-up bonuses.

What I like to do is just put my regular purchases on the card each month (groceries, gas, and everything else) and then save the cash-back up until the end of the year. I'm usually able to save about $1,000, which I can use to cover the cost of 2-3 plane tickets.

We advocate responsible credit card use -- so, please, only get a credit card if you'll pay the bill off in full each month.

No rewards are worth going into debt over.

5. Hoard Points

Have you heard of MyPoints? It’s a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online and printing coupons.

I use it all time because it’s an instant way to save on everything you buy, including travel accommodations.

For example, it gives you up to six points for every dollar you spend on Expedia. Later, you can redeem those points for cash.

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

  1. Sign up for MyPoints here using your email address (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 points which you can redeem for a free $10 Amazon gift card.

6. Join the Cartel

Traveling for free takes a lot of work -- otherwise everyone would do it. So sometimes it’s smart to get help from the experts.

Chris Guillebeau, one of my personal heroes, has visited every country in the world. Lucky for us mortals, he shares his secrets through the Travel Hacking Cartel.

As a Cartel member, you’ll receive several emails each week with promotions and tips to help you earn more travel rewards.

Membership only costs $1 for the first 14 days, and $15 to $39 per month after that. It also comes with a unique guarantee: Earn 100,000 miles -- enough for four plane tickets -- in your first year of membership, or get your money back.

I’d say that’s a bet worth taking!

7. Eat Out at Restaurants

Cooking at home is an excellent way to save money, but sometimes you just can’t be bothered.

If you do decide to eat out, make sure you sign up for travel rewards programs first.

Major airlines such as United, Delta and American all have dining programs that give you miles when you eat at one of their affiliated restaurants. And, oftentimes, you can get a bonus just for signing up.

8. Set Sail

Is there any better way to see the world than by boat?

Probably not.

But #yachtlife is never gonna happen for me, unless I happen to marry a millionaire.

Since that’s looking fairly unlikely, I’ve often considered joining the crew for a sailboat or cruise ship. These travel jobs cover room and board and allow you to see many different locations within a single season.

Don’t be like the countless people who wish they could go places -- but don’t want to put in the effort travel hacking requires.

From experience, I can tell you: It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it.

Instead of sitting around wishing you could travel, follow these tips, and explore the world for free.

9. Earn Amazon Gift Cards When You Stay in Hotels

If you’re booking hotels and not earning some sort of reward for doing so, you’re doing it wrong. There are tons of programs that’ll reward you for booking rooms.

One is Rocketmiles. The hotel-booking website allows wanderers to book hotels all over the world and earn Amazon Gift Cards back — up to $100 per night, every night. The site is free to use; you just have to be sure to book your reservations through Rocketmiles.

You can even book for other people and still earn gift cards.

Plus, if you book your first hotel on Rocketmiles by July 31, you’ll automatically earn a bonus $15 Amazon Gift Card.

You’re welcome.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which 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.

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

Managing your money can be easy to put off.

Tomorrow turns into next week. Next week turns into next month. Then next month turns into a New Year’s resolution, and we all know those never get accomplished…

But we have four tips that’ll help you quickly get a handle on your finances.

By quickly, we mean pour yourself a glass of wine and dedicate one evening to your money. Or brew a pot of coffee on a Saturday morning.

Whichever you prefer, managing your money doesn’t have to be a drawn-out chore.

Here’s how to manage your money in a single sitting.

1. Get a Big Picture View of Your Financial Situation

For this, we recommend you pull your credit report.


It’ll be OK. We promise. And it’s free.

Use a service like Here, you can check out your account history, hard inquiries and any negative information.

Not to be negative… but that last part is key. If you have any loan defaults, late payments, delinquencies — you name it — set up a plan of action to tackle those and sort those out.

Every 30 days, the report will update, so if you’re taking steps in the right direction, it should show.

Gain access to your free report here.

2. Clean Up Any Unnecessary Expenses

Colorful charts and graphs are excellent visual aids in understanding where your money is coming from — and going.

Clarity Money offers just that. But it also goes beyond those charts; it informs you how to make better financial choices.

For example, Clarity will show you a rundown of your monthly recurring charges. Think: Netflix, gym memberships, rent and that magazine you subscribed to years ago. Rather than just saying, “Oh, I’ll cancel that… soon,” Clarity lets you cancel it right then and there with one tap.

The app will also help you negotiate your existing bills, too — so you don’t have to deal with any annoying hold music on customer service lines.

Sign up in silence here (however it’s currently only available for Apple devices).

3. Set Up an Automated Savings Plan

Establishing a savings plan might seem difficult.

Knowing how much you can spare can be a challenge to figure out, but you also need to determine where you’re going to stash it -- because keeping it in your checking account is too tempting and isn’t earning you any interest or rewards.

Also, seeing a chunk of your money disappear into a far-off account isn’t fun. But Chime, an online-only, fee-free bank account has gamified the savings challenge -- and rewards you for it, too.

Here’s how it works: Open a Chime account, and set up automatic savings. Each time you swipe your Chime Visa Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra cents trickle into your savings.

It’s like your own automated piggy bank (without the germy coins and annoying drugstore change machines).

Even better, each Friday through the end of July, Chime will grant you a 10% bonus on your round-ups.

Here’s an example of how much you could earn back in just one day:

  • Grocery store: $30.08
  • Gas station: $42.92
  • Coffee shop: $2.38

With these three transactions, you’ll bank $1.38. Plus you’ll earn 10% back, making that $1.50 in one day. If you keep this up for a year… that adds up to over $500.

And you don’t even have to think about it -- just go about your daily transactions.

Another plus: If you sign up for direct deposit, Chime gives you access to your money immediately. So you can get paid up to two days earlier than many other traditional banks.

4. Start Investing — Even With as Little as $5

Now that you’ve got all of that taken care of, here’s a little bonus for the brave.

Start investing.

No, we’re not crazy. Start by downloading a micro-investing app like Acorns or Stash.

You can set it up with as little as $5. Then, just like your savings account, automate it. Let even just $5 go into that account each month.

You’re letting your money build and grow without even thinking about it.

Now, managing your money isn’t that miserable, is it?

Between changing diapers, scrubbing sticky fingers, wiping runny noses, putting away toys (because stepping on Legos hurts), dealing with temper tantrums and toting Junior from school to practice to his pal’s house, being a mom is exhausting.

And expensive.

Sure, kids are real joys for the most part -- many parents maintain they wouldn’t have it any other way. But you might find yourself all too often strapped for time, money and sanity.

We’ve got you covered on one of those fronts: money.

Just when it feels like the last straw might break, here’s how to make money as a stay-at-home mom, without getting a real job...

1. Wait. Don’t Delete All Your Emails

Product prices constantly fluctuate online -- especially on Amazon.

Because we all seem to have the worst timing ever, it’s bound to happen: You buy an item, and the price drops soon thereafter.

But as a mom, when you need something, you it, and you certainly don’t have the time to monitor Amazon’s erratic pricing behavior.

Lotus, the mom behind Mommy to Max blog, put it best:

“But, who has the time to track whether the price has fallen after you’ve made a purchase? Or whether you’ve found the lowest price for a product that you’ve just purchased? I sure as heck don’t. (Not to mention the time and energy involved in requesting said options.)”

Enter Paribus, an online tool that scans your emails, tracks your purchases and pays you (75% of) the difference if it discovers a price change after you buy something. It works for Amazon and 29 other stores, including Zappos, Walmart and Target.

It’s money you otherwise wouldn’t get back. All you have to do is download it and go on your merry online-shopping way.

[caption id="attachment_54827" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom DGLimages/Getty Images[/caption]

2. Take Online Surveys While the Kids Nap

Online surveys are an easy, nearly mindless way to make some extra money or earn giftcards -- especially while the kids nap.

However, it can be difficult to find legitimate sites that won’t spam up your computer and inbox. That’s why we recommend InboxDollars and VIP Voice, which both received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

“I loved earning free gift cards from Inbox Dollars when Jesse was in law school and I had a lot more time than money,” writes Crystal Paine, blogger at Money Saving Mom. (Jesse is her husband.)

You’ll earn money for doing a number of tasks, including taking surveys, playing online games, redeeming coupons, reading emails and shopping online.

Both InboxDollars and VIP Voice are free to sign up for, but if you join InboxDollars now you’ll earn a $5 sign-up bonus.

[caption id="attachment_54838" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom FredFroese/Getty Images[/caption]

3. Participate in Top-Secret Missions While Running Errands

QuickThoughts is another survey site, but it’s a little different in that it uses your location to send you “missions.” (You can take normal surveys, too, but the missions are more exciting.)

Here’s an example: You stop by the drugstore to grab some meds for your sick kid. QuickThoughts might notice and ask you a few questions. Was the line long? Bathroom dirty? The seasonal beachside display on point?

Stephanie, the stay-at-home mom of four who runs Blended Life Happy Wife, uses the QuickThoughts app:

“(QuickThoughts) makes it easy for me to do surveys on the go. I can see the entire question and answer options on my phone screen without difficulty. (QuickThoughts) surveys range from a few minutes to as much as 30 minutes and it is random.”

She says she’s used QuickThoughts for nearly a year. For each survey she takes, she earns $1. Once she reaches $10, she cashes out for an Amazon gift card.

4. Share Your Amazon Purchase History (We Won’t Tell Anyone)

You’ve likely heard of the Harris Poll.

It’s a market research firm that tracks various aspects of consumer behavior, including your Amazon buying habits through ShopTracker -- if you so let it.

Don’t worry, though. It won’t share how much you’re buying on Amazon with your spouse. Rather, it simply tracks it for research purposes.

So what do you get out of it? An easy $36 a year.

“I started using ShopTracker last year and it’s insanely easy,” writes Latoya, a mom of two and the blogger behind Life And a Budget. “The only thing you need to do is register and install ShopTracker’s application. This only takes like two minutes and you’ll be rewarded each month.”

This is perhaps the most passive way for moms to earn a little extra each month, so go ahead and give ShopTracker a try. (Do note, though, you need at least a Windows 7-compatible PC; the platform won’t work on a Mac.)

[caption id="attachment_54839" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom RapidEye/Getty Images[/caption]

5. Strike Up a Work-From-Home Business

Working from home is a great way for moms to earn extra money, especially when you work for yourself.

It might sound impossible, but plenty of online programs will walk you through the steps of starting your own at-home business -- one that’ll allow you to set your own hours.

Learn To Be A Bookkeeper is one such course, and Amy McLaughry shared her experience with the program with Anywhere & Anytime, a blog for stay-at-home moms. She said:

“I get to choose the hours I want to work, where I want to work, and how much I want to work.  I can work while the kids are in school, and then be done for the day when they get home, I am always home for dinner and can make a good dinner for my family, and I can always put my kids to bed.”

If you’re interested in more online courses that’ll help you start your work-from-home, we’ve got you covered.

6. Let These Apps Work in The Background

This is passive income at its finest: Downloading an app and getting paid to do so.

Granted, these apps track your behavior in some sort of way (like ShopTracker), but the data won’t get spilled to your friends -- just research.

Here are some apps you can download now:

  • - Nielsen Panel If you have a PC or laptop, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this software on your computer and browse the web like you normally do.

[caption id="attachment_54829" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

7. Snag a $10 Amazon Card When You Sign Up For This App

This app helps you save money, too. It’s called MyPoints, and it rewards you when you shop online and print out coupons.

Sharon Rowley, the mom who started the Mom of 6 blog, uses MyPoints to earn money when shopping online, which she says she does all too frequently:

“I love to shop online. No dragging kids in and out of stores, no standing in line to pay, no temptation to throw something additional into my cart because it looked all bright and shiny there on the aisle. And I don't even have to get out of my jammies to do it.”

She also loves that you can pair MyPoints with coupons and other existing deals. There’s nothing like a good deal-stack! Check out MyPoints to start earning points towards your next gift card.

8. Sell Whatever Your Kids Have Outgrown

Clothes. Toys. Books. Strollers. Car seats. Cribs…

You name it, and I bet you can find a place to sell those items online.

For example, the letgo app lets you sell just about anything (as long as it’s legal). It takes about 30 seconds to snap a photo and upload it. You’re selling to folks in your area, so you won’t have to worry about shipping. Plus, letgo doesn’t take any cut of your profit.

Ashley, blogger of New Mom in a New Era, says she used letgo to purge all the baby items she knows she won’t need again:

“I know I'm not the only one with baby stuff that I'm definitely not going to use anymore, like newborn clothes! I use Letgo to list all the things I'm definitely not going to need anymore, or things I don't mind buying new for the next baby. It's also a good way to make a little extra cash!”

If your kids are a little older and have college textbooks collecting dust, try getting some money back for them. To find out where you can get the best deal, use Bookscouter. Type the book’s ISBN into the search bar. Then you’ll see which platform is taking the most money.

[caption id="attachment_54830" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom eclipse_images/Getty Images[/caption]

9. Drive for Uber or Lyft Between Carpool Shifts

If you’re a stay-at-home mom and want to make some extra money in your own time, driving for Uber or Lyft could be the perfect gig. 

Nicole Leigh Shaw of Scary Mommy blog muses about moms driving with Uber:

“We moms already spend hours a week toting kids to practices, parties and appointments, why not make money off of it? And if we can scrape the dried applesauce off the middle seat in the back row, we might even get more than one-star ratings from our fares.”

Shaw is joking, but we did chat with Nureka Chapman-Henderson, a mom of five who drives with Uber and makes about $100 per week. She doesn’t drive frequently, but she does do it between trips to the grocery store. For her, it’s perfect.

Worried your car doesn't meet the requirements to drive people around? You can still get paid to deliver food with UberEATS.

10. Sell Off Those Old Movies (or Annoying Video Games)

You can get paid to sell your kids’ old CDs, DVDs, video games, cell phones and anything techy.

This might be especially useful for those of you with older kids who have flown the nest -- but left everything behind.

We suggest downloading the Decluttr app. Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom says it’s super easy:

“Decluttr is quick and easy to use and I love that they offer instant pricing on your items. Unlike other sites, there aren’t any listing, auction, or PayPal fees.”

Just download Decluttr and scan an item’s barcode for an immediate quote. If you like the price, you can send it in -- all with free shipping.

11. Write What You Know (Mom Stuff)

Writing is a valuable skill nowadays, so if you know the tricks of the trade, you could make some extra money freelancing, which you can do while the kids nap.

Tap into your interests. You could get paid to write about anything from travel to cooking to technology to personal finance. Here’s a list of seven blogs that’ll pay you up to $100 per story.

Of course, there are tons of parenting publications out there, too, which are looking for first-hand “experts” (you). For that, we put together a list of six parenting blogs and magazines that pay up to $700.

Hey, you can always pitch a story to The Penny Hoarder, too!

12. Stash Away Some Money in Investments

Do you want to start investing but think it’s not for you? Or that it’ll take forever to build a portfolio? (Whatever that is, anyways…)

The Stash app is an easy way to get started. Plus, you only need $5 (and you’ll earn $5 right back when you sign up through this link).

The Broke Dad Blog wrote about Stash (yeah, we had to throw a dad in this list!).

Here’s what he said:

“Overall I feel like Stash is a great way to try out investing in the stock market if you don’t have a large amount of residual income to invest with. I figure I can come up with $5 a month for sure to invest and I am going to try to go for at least $5 a week to start.”

If you have $5 to spare, and 5 minutes of your time, signing up is easy.

[caption id="attachment_54832" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images[/caption]

13. Watch Videos and Earn Money

While your kid watches Sesame Street, you can make money watching videos of your own.

Swagbacks is going to be your go-to spot. This is what Elizabeth Hurt said on Mom Always Knows:

“I have had so many friends tell me to use Swagbucks but was never really into it until one day I was home bored on maternity leave. I was weary because so many of those sites are spammy or hard to use but I thought I would check it out!  Much to my surprise, the Swagbucks site was so easy to use, navigate and not spammy at all!”

Swagbucks has a special section called Swagbucks Watch. You’ll earn points toward free gift cards for watching videos. If you’re feeling skeptical like Hurt had been, take the 1-minute tour of the site to see how it works.

You'll get a $5 bonus for signing up and watching your first video.

14. Pocket a Free $10 Gift Card from Ebates

We’ve established online shopping is a godsend for busy moms, so here’s another way you can earn money back from your purchases: Ebates. The online platform offers a wealth of coupons and promo codes.

Gina at Money Wise Moms has used the platform since 2008. Here’s what she had to say about it:

“I use it for all my favorite stores–Children’s Place for my daughter’s ‘slim’ pants, Shoebuy for my hard-to-fit wide feet, and more–and each time I earn cash back on the purchases I would make anyway. We just had to replace a dead computer tower, and I got $21 back just for shopping through Ebates.”

If you sign up now and grab your first rebate, you’ll earn a $10 gift card to either Target, Walmart, Macy’s or Kohl’s. (You’ll have to wait 30 days to receive it, but hey, it’s free money.)

[caption id="attachment_54833" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom mixetto/Getty Images[/caption]

15. Open a Credit Card For a Bonus and/or Rewards

We don’t suggest you rack up debt, but if you’re a responsible credit card holder, you can earn hearty sign-up bonuses, reward points or discounts just by going about your normal spending.

Plus, you can set up automatic payments, so you don’t have to remember when to pay that sucker off.

One of our contributors, Odysseas Papadimitriou, uses credit cards to save big bucks. “Knowing where to find the best deals -- on credit cards, in particular -- has helped me save hundreds, maybe even thousands, on child-related expenses,” he writes.

We like the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® because you’ll get 1.5% cash rewards on every single purchase — with no limits.

Plus, when you sign up now and rack up a $1,000 tab in the first 90 days (which probably isn’t too hard with kids), you’ll get $200 back. Oh, and there’s no annual fee either. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t get hit with interest.

You can also check out these six credit cards. All of them come with sign-up bonuses and no annual fees -- many feature cash-back offers.

16. Do a Little Extra Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is probably the bane of your existence, but you likely know your way around those aisles.

If you want to capitalize on that efficiency, consider delivering groceries via Shipt, an on-demand, grocery-delivery service. It works kind of like Uber in that you can accept grocery requests through an app. You’ll receive the list, fill up your cart, pay through the app and head out for delivery.

Last year, we spoke with Destiny Frith, who makes about $20 an hour doing this part time each week. It works perfectly with her busy schedule.

(You can also opt to utilize the service and get groceries delivered to your door. Some even say it helps save money!)

18. Take a Picture of Your Grocery Receipt

You’re not taking a picture to immortalize it -- that would be torturous since grocery bills always seem to end up expensive -- but to earn money back.

The Ibotta app houses tons of rebate offers from more than 340 stores, including Walmart, Target, Publix, Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

Ginny from The Simple Moms blog wrote about the app. She’d earned $117 in rebates -- without cutting coupons:

“I recently stopped my newspaper subscription because I just plain don’t have time to do the coupon clipping. 3 kids under 6 years old makes my brain mush and life busy. The Ibotta app is my coupon alternative and has simplified my life.”

It’s easy, too. Just download the app, find rebates on your favorite products, go shopping, then scan the items’ barcodes and submit a photo of your receipt after.

Some recent rebate examples include $5 back on select Huggies products from Sam’s Club, $2.50 back on Similac infant formula from Walmart and $2.50 back on a case of Bud Light from Target (in case you’re that stressed…).

Sign up now for a $10 welcome bonus after you’ve snagged your first rebate.

[caption id="attachment_54834" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom vgajic/Getty Images[/caption]

19. Find a Work-From-Home Job

Work-from-home jobs are aplenty these days, and they’re especially convenient for moms who have to juggle sticky schedules.

The mom of three behind Work at Home Mom Revolution has worked from home since she bought her first computer back in the ’90s. She started her blog for moms in 2007:

“At the time, I was a separated, single mom raising three children on my own, and working from home allowed me to be available to my girls when they really needed me most.  I wanted to encourage other moms on their path to finding work from home…”

If you’re not even sure where to start, don’t worry. Work at Home Mom Revolution posts some great opportunities.

You can also use these 12 job search sites, most of which are free. And keep an eye on our Facebook jobs page; we post our favorite, hand-picked work-from-home jobs there.

20. Set a Bet to Lose Weight

As a parent, you’re busy. You don’t have as much time to focus on yourself and your health. We get it.

If you need some motivation to lose extra pounds, HealthyWage might help. In short, you bet on yourself to lose weight. If you hit your goal, you pocket money.

Katelyn Pincock and her husband Cort tried it out. The parents of two bet $75 per month for six months. She bet she’d lose 40 pounds, and he bet he’d lose 60. Both hit their goal and banked nearly $3,000 to help pay off their debt.

“The mother of two children under the age of two gets her exercise on bike rides through the park, the kids snuggled into a bike trailer behind her,” senior writer Dana Sitar wrote of Katelyn’s experience.

If you want to see how it works, check out the couple’s story.

[caption id="attachment_54836" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]How to make money as a stay at home mom Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

21. Rent Out Your Baby Gear

If you travel with your little ones, you understand the chaos that can ensue.

Not only are there constant bathroom breaks and “Are we there yet?” sort of questions, you also need to be able to bring along all your gear: the car seat, the bouncer, the stroller, the crib…  

This can get tricky and expensive, especially if you’re traveling by air.

That’s why a mom of two launched the goBaby app, an Airbnb-style marketplace for traveling parents.

Ksenia B. told the goBaby team:

“We’re still planning to have another child, but currently a lot of this well regarded equipment is sitting around unused. goBaby has enabled us to easily make some extra income on the side with it…”

If you have baby gear sitting around, you can make a pretty penny by renting it out through the platform. Cribs can go from $10 to $50 a day, strollers for $15 to $40 a day and car seats $12 to $25 a day.

Check out all the information online and see if you want to rent out your gear to traveling (probably exhausted) parents.

We’ve all heard the old “make your money work for you” adage, right?

That means taking basic Finance 101 steps -- like investing. But sometimes we’re a little too busy working for our money and forget to invest.

And sometimes the idea of investing becomes a bit overwhelming. You might picture scenes from Wall Street, starched suits and maybe people soaking in a bathtub full of money. (That can’t just be me?)

But investing can be for everyone -- even if you only have $5.

Before You Start Investing, Here’s What You Need to Do…

First of all, your ability to invest -- and how much you can afford to invest -- is going to depend largely on your budget, goals and capacity to face risk.

For that reason, we can’t offer tailored, personalized advice. Sorry. You’ll need a financial advisor for that.

However, we can offer an overview.

Before you start investing, you need to make sure to tie up any loose financial ends and plug up any financial holes in your life. So we’re borrowing money advice from financial guru Dave Ramsey.

Before you invest…

  1. You should establish a cushy emergency fund. Ramsey suggests at least $1,000 to start, but eventually you’ll want to get that up to three to six months of living expenses.
  2. You should have your debt paid off. He suggests using the debt snowball effect.

If you don’t meet these two Ramsey-inspired qualifications, you can still invest; it just might not be in your best interest.

Also, you might already be investing through your employer retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA. Yup, that’s investing, and it’s not too scary, right?

How to Start Investing -- Based on Your Budget

You don’t need thousands of dollars to start investing. You can actually start with as little as $1.

We’ve aggregated four investing platforms and have categorized each one based on your budget.

If you only have $1 and some change to spare…

Rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar is all the rage right now. Those remaining pennies add up fast.

Acorns is embracing the trend and allows you to start investing with just a handful of change. Plus, it’s all done with a few taps on your phone.

Once you download the free app, you’ll pick your portfolio based on your age, income level and your aggressiveness. Acorns determines the rest; you don’t have to pick and choose individual investments.

Then, if you so choose to round-up your transactions to the nearest dollar, that spare change will stack up until it hits $5, which will trickle into your investments.

Each month, you’ll pay $1 for the service. If you work your way over $5,000, you’ll be charged 0.25% of your balance a year.

If you have $5 to spare…

Stash is another fan-favorite app. You only need $5 to get started -- plus you’ll bank an extra $5 when you sign up now. So really, it’s kind of free.

Here’s how it works: When you sign up with the SEC-registered investment adviser (that means your money will be safe), you’ll gain access to more than 30 investment options.

If you don’t know where to start or already feel overwhelmed, Stash will walk you through the process with personalized assistance. It even defines any financial jargon. You’ll buy fractional shares, which basically means you can pick and choose what you can afford to invest in.

Your first three months are free. After that, you’ll pay $1 per month, though if you build a portfolio of more than $5,000, you’ll be charged 0.25% per year.

It all starts with $5. And by clicking, “download.”

If you have $100 to spare…

If you read The Penny Hoarder, you’ve probably heard of Aspiration. We frequently write about how much we love its free Summit Checking Account.

It also has an investing platform called Aspiration Redwood Fund, which invests your money in sustainable businesses that are “leaders in their industry when it comes to caring about their people, the planet, and their company’s purpose and mission.”

That means you’ll feel like a good, socially responsible human when you invest through the platform.

You’ll need $100 to open up an account, but the additional service fee is totally up to you.


You know how some investment firms getcha when it takes a huge chunk of your returns? Aspiration lets you decide how much you pay its portfolio managers.

If you want to make sure this is real, go ahead and read up on the Redwood Fund here.

If you have $500 or more to spare…

For another option that lets you invest with flexibility, check out Ally Bank’s self-directed trading tools.

Through Ally, you can choose which companies you want to buy stock (or fractions of stock) in and invest as much (or little) as you want.

There’s also no minimum deposit to open an account. However, you’ll need to make a minimum opening purchase order of $100 to start investing.

You can open an Ally Invest Securities brokerage account by clicking on the banner below to get started.

Again, we’ll always recommend speaking with a professional to figure out what your best move is based on your personal finances (because, well, they’re personal).

When I heard about a website calling itself “the ultimate shopping hack,” I had to investigate.

The site in question?

Jet, a “smart shopping platform” boasting that it turns “built-in costs into opportunities to save you money.”

Here’s how it works: When you add items to your cart on Jet, other products’ prices get even lower.

The more you buy, the more you save.

Plus, Jet offers free shipping on orders over $35 and free two-day shipping and free returns.

Sounds pretty good, huh?

I wanted to check it out myself, so I made my shopping list -- and compared Jet’s prices on a dozen popular food and household items to those at my neighborhood grocery store.

(Spoiler alert: Jet was cheaper… but just wait until you see the final price.)

Because Jet sells many products in larger sizes, I sometimes had to use the grocery store’s unit price to determine a comparable price.

I figured I’d start with two of the essentials: cereal and coffee. Because, really, who can live without either of those?

1. Cereal


Cheerios (18 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $4.99

Jet Starting Price: $2.98

2. Coffee


Folgers Ground Coffee (48 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $16.82

Jet Starting Price: $10.68

3. Granola Bars


Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (98 count)

Local Grocery Store: $25.68

Jet Starting Price: $14.23

As I continued down my list, I realized Jet has a ton of grocery items I buy on a regular basis, which made it pretty easy to hit the free shipping minimum of $35.

4. Soup

Campbell’s Soup (10.5 ounces; 12-pack)

Local Grocery Store: $21

Jet Starting Price: $24.46

5. Pasta


Barilla Spaghetti (32 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $3.38

Jet Starting Price: $2.90

6. Vinegar


Great Value Distilled White Vinegar (1 gallon)

Local Grocery Store: $2.99

Jet Starting Price: $3.91

If you’re in need of household or family goods, Jet has those, too -- so I surfed over to those sections next.

7. Diapers

Pampers Cruisers (Size 3; 174-count)

Local Grocery Store: $51.05

Jet Starting Price: $41.41

8. Laundry Detergent


Tide Pods (81-count)

Local Grocery Store: $21.93

Jet Starting Price: $18.99

9. Toilet Paper


Charmin Ultra Soft (18 mega rolls)

Local Grocery Store: $13.99

Jet Starting Price: $17.96

10. Dish Soap


Dawn Hand Renewal With Olay (18 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $2.57

Jet Starting Price: $4.17

Last stop? Toiletries. Let’s see how Jet checks out.

11. Shampoo/Conditioner


Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner (32.1 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $10.49

Jet Starting Price: $10.79

12. Toothpaste


Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous (4.1 ounces)

Local Grocery Store: $3.41

Jet Starting Price: $4.24

How Much You Could Save With Jet

All right, here’s what you’ve been waiting for… the totals.

Local grocery store: $178.30

Jet subtotal: $157.48

Though that’s already looking pretty impressive (plus that extra $7.54 I saved when adding more items to my cart), there are still three more discounts to add.

Watch how they stack on top of each other…

  • First-time shopper discount: Jet offers 15% off your first three orders (a maximum of $20 per order).
  • Debit-card discount: Since it has lower transaction fees than credit cards, paying with a debit card saves you an extra 0.8% on each item, though some items might not be eligible.
  • No-return discount: If you agree to not return certain non-perishable items, Jet will give you an additional discount.

Taking all of those into account (except the no-return discount), the TOTAL Jet price, excluding taxes, comes out to $129.22 -- a $49.08 savings, over 30% less than the grocery store.

Holy what?!

Of course, you have to consider you won’t always have the 15% new customer discount; it’s only valid for your first three orders. But even without it, you can still save a significant amount.

And, you don’t have to go fight crowds, stand in line or even look for parking.

Want to give Jet a shot? Use code SAVE15 to get 15% off your first three orders!

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Jet for working with us to bring you this content. It's rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!

When did the Jetsons become real life?

With news of Airbus working on flying taxis, Amazon adding drones to its workforce, and CocoJet printing chocolate bars, we’re well on our way.

And now this…

Almost 10% of Americans who traded in a vehicle last year didn’t get a new one.

That’s according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll published May 25, and the news is having an (un)surprising effect.

We’re Living in an Uber World

The same poll found that 39% of adults used ride-hailing services like Uber last year, and 27% of that group said they did so several times a week.

Perhaps more remarkably, the poll found that almost a quarter of adults sold or traded in a vehicle in the past 12 months. Most got new vehicles, but about 9% of that group turned to ride services as their main way to get around.

Similar percentages said they also plan to do that in the upcoming 12 months, and Uber is noticing.

Rachel Holt, head of U.S. and Canada operations for Uber recently told reporters, “Looking at less-mature regions, trips were up 600% in February, year on year.”

Growth in ride-heavy New York City is impressive, too. A recent report by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission shows the number of Uber trips climbing to over 250,000 per day from less than 100,000 just two years ago.

Are all these people just hoping to be on the new season of “Cash Cab?”

This Might Be the Best Time to Start Driving in NYC

Supply and demand, right? If you’ve considered driving with Uber in New York City’s five boroughs, this might just be the best time to do so.

And to convince you of that, Uber is now offering incentives for new NYC driver partners. Unfortunately, these discounts won’t apply for those hoping to drive in the city’s suburbs.

Here’s a taste:

1. Cash in on the new driver incentive.

Pocket $250 when you complete 40 New York City trips within your first seven days of activating your Uber account.

2. Note the $5,000 first-month guarantee.

To promise you those initial start-up fees are worth it, Uber guarantees you’ll make $1,250 in net fares per week -- or $5,000 in your first month.

If you don’t, it’ll pay you the difference.

However, you’ll need to complete 65 trips with 65 unique passengers -- 25 of those must originate in Manhattan below 110th Street during peak hours (listed in the fine print here). Really, that’s most of Manhattan.

3. Rent a car, and get a $415/week credit.

If you don’t have a vehicle, you can rent a new car.

As long as you complete 65 trips per week in your first two weeks of driving with Uber, you’ll get a $415 credit. You’ll also need to rent from an Uber-approved dealer.

To read all the details, head over to Uber’s New York City Guarantee hub.

If you want to give this whole “Uber in the City” thing a try, now might be your best time so you can reap some of these sweet incentives. They’ll last until July 31.

The initial sign up process is still easy; just fill out your information here.

What’s the Catch?

But… (there’s always a but)… there are start-up fees. Let’s explain those really fast.

New York City requires all Uber driver partners who drive within the five boroughs to possess a Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) license. Before you can get your TLC license, though, you need a Class E license or a CDL.

On average, these licenses (along with the other requirements) cost about $525 to $625.

Here’s a breakdown, according to Uber:

  • TLC license application fee: $250
  • For-Hire Vehicle Exam: $150-$250
  • Drug test: $100
  • Fingerprinting: $25

Drivers also need a vehicle. If you already have one in the city, great. It must be at least a 2006 model and pass all inspections.

If you don’t have a car, you can choose to rent one through an Uber-affiliated dealer.

If you don’t have $625 sitting around (or a car)…well, that’s where the big Uber driver incentives come in -- and they're in place until July 16.

Want to Drive Outside the City?

Let’s be honest, driving in NYC might not be your cup of tea -- it’s pretty hectic.

If you want to drive with Uber in New York -- outside the five boroughs -- you’re in luck, as the company is expanding to the rest of the state.

The best part? You won’t need the pricy TLC license, which makes signing up to drive much easier.

As an Uber contractor, you’re responsible for setting your schedule and motivating yourself to work -- no one is keeping tabs on you. Your earnings will be calculated by adding a base fare, plus time and distance traveled after your pickup, and Uber charges a service fee (20-35% depending on your city).

If you want to give it a try there are 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.

If you want to give it a try, here’s a link to sign up.

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.

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Sam's Club for working with us to bring you this content. It's rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!

Penny Hoarder staff writer Lisa McGreevy has been an expert Sam’s Club customer since the early ’90s.

For her, the warehouse club means less visits to the grocery store and more savings — about $200 a month, she estimates.

And it’s not just the wholesale prices that help her save. Whether it’s free prescriptions, heavily discounted fresh meat or knowing how to spot clearance items, there are a ton of tricks that can help you spend even more at Sam’s Club.

We recently followed her around on one of her shopping trips to see the many specific ways to save money at Sam’s Club. (Also, see the video above.)

1. Download the Sam's Club Scan & Go App.

[caption id="attachment_58653" align="aligncenter" width="1494"]Sam’s club scan & go app Penny Hoarder writer Lisa McGreevy uses her Sam's Club Scan & Go App. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

McGreevy estimates she saves at least 30 minutes each shopping trip by using the Sam's Club Scan & Go app.

Basically, you scan your items’ barcodes as you shop, click “Pay,” then the nice greeter at the door will check your receipt and your cart, and you’ll be on your way.

2. Know Your Numbers and Letters

[caption id="attachment_58656" align="aligncenter" width="1176"]Sam’s club scan & go app McGreevy shops at a Sam's Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

There’s a method to the pricing madness. Did you know that prices ending in .01, .31 and .91 (etc.) mean products are on sale or clearance?

Then look up at the inventory code. A “C” means the item will soon be removed from inventory, so the price will drop again.

3. Get Free Prescriptions

[caption id="attachment_58657" align="aligncenter" width="1494"]Sam’s club scan & go app The pharmacy is stocked at Sam's Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

If you sign up to be a Sam’s Plus member, you can snag up to five free prescriptions.

4. Look for Discounted Meat

[caption id="attachment_58658" align="aligncenter" width="1487"]Sam’s club scan & go app Meat is displayed at a Sam's Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

If you’re looking for a bargain on meat, hit up Sam’s Club in the morning. That’s when you’ll find “quick sales” on premium cuts of meat.

5. Use the Buddy System!

Sam’s Club members: Did you know you can bring up to two guests in with you? Share the love why don’t you?

6. Stop by the “Freeosk”

[caption id="attachment_58659" align="aligncenter" width="1767"]Sam’s club scan & go app The “freeosk” at a Sam's Club in Pinellas Park, Fla., offers free samples. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Have you ever seen that weird looking vending machine in your store? It’s a Freeosk. Scan your membership card and grab a freebie — anything from a coffee mug to pet items.

7. Get Cash Back — Immediately

If you have a cash-back credit card, check to see if it offers cash-back deals from Sam’s Club. When you make an online purchase, you can bank 5% back!

8. Roll in Cash Rewards

Sam’s Plus member cards not only give you great deals on prescriptions, you’ll also earn $10 back for every $500 you spend.

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Sam's Club for working with us to bring you this content. It's rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. When she was a kid, she tagged behind her parents when they made their Sam’s Club hauls. The food samples were awesome; the lines were not.

We’ve all got smartphones these days, and almost everything we do on them requires using an app.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make extra money just for using them? Well, you can.

You're not going to get rich by downloading mobile apps, but you can use these to earn a little extra money every month.

Considering some of them require you to do nothing, or just watch videos or take some surveys, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal to make a few extra bucks.

To get you started, we put together a list of our favorite apps that pay you just for using them...

1. This App Helps You Sell Your Old Clothes

[caption id="attachment_47912" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Guess Guess/Facebook[/caption]

Do you still have a prom outfit from, like, 10 years ago?

It’s never going to fit -- or come into style -- again, but something just keeps holding you back from sending it to Goodwill.

Maybe money could change your mind? Instead of storing clothes indefinitely, try selling them on an app like Letgo.

2. This App Pays You to Take a Picture of Your Receipts

[caption id="attachment_57341" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Ibotta review Colleen Rice, TPH email marketing specialist, uses Ibotta to search through deals at Publix. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Yeah, did you know that you can get paid cash back just for taking a picture of your receipt?

Here's how it works....

1. Sign up for Ibotta here (you just need a name/email address to start).

2. Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note the next time you go to the store (the offers change every week). For example, in my city, Ibotta will give 2% cash back on Best Buy purchases, $0.25 cash back on any Target purchase, and $3 cash back when I buy an appetizer from any restaurant.  Pretty cool, right?

Once you've reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo. And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.

3. This App Pays You to Take Simple Surveys

Screenshot of Ipsos Panel

The Ipsos I-say mobile app is one of the best, 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?

You get the idea.

You won’t qualify for every panel, but you can usually earn about $5 for 30 minutes of work.

4. This App Pays You to Drive Around Town 

[caption id="attachment_60460" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] PHILADELPHIA, PA - JAN 13, 2017: Lyft driver Paul Pruce in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 13, 2017. (Jessica Kourkounis)[/caption]

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft!

Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

5. This App Pays You Up to $180 Just to Download It

[caption id="attachment_61532" align="aligncenter" width="660"]SurveySavvy Martin Dimitrov/Getty Images[/caption]

How would you feel if you had an extra $180 right now?

You’d probably feel preeettttty good — I know I would.

The key is to use a platform called SavvyConnect.

Install its software on your devices — phone, tablet, computer — and let it work in the background.While you browse the internet, it “unobtrusively includes you in behavioral market research.”

In return for your contributions, SavvyConnect will pay you $5 per device, per month. If you install three devices, that adds up to $180 over the course of a year!

And once you install the software, it requires ZERO effort on your part.

The software is compatible with iPhones and iPads running iOS 8.0 or higher, but you can’t download it onto a Macbook (I tried). I guess two out of three ain’t bad. You can also download it on Android devices running OS 4.1 and newer, as well as on computers running Windows XP SP3 or higher.

6. This App Pays You to Watch Videos

[caption id="attachment_43652" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Senior woman using mobile apps that pay her for various activities freemixer/Getty Images[/caption]

The folks over at InboxDollars will actually pay you to watch videos!

The videos are sponsored by brands who need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one of the ads InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

You’ll get a free $5 just for signing up.

7. This App Helps You Start Investing -- And Pays You $5

[caption id="attachment_37067" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Five dollar bill representing a special Stash app promotion Macro of Five American Dollar Bill[/caption]

We’re kind of obsessed with Stash around here (and not just because it gives you $5).

We love that anyone can use Stash to start investing. You don’t have to have an MBA or even make it all the way through “The Big Short” to understand how to invest with this app.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and it does the rest.

To get the $5 bonus:

  1. Click this link and enter your email here.
  2. Download the Stash app on your smartphone, and set up your account with the same email address. Within two business days, you’ll see the bonus added to your account.

8. This App Helps Sell Your Old Electronics

[caption id="attachment_54803" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]The decluttr app helps you make money from selling electronics sestovic/Getty Images[/caption]

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. Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!

You scan each product’s barcode with your phone, and Decluttr makes an offer.

Prices vary — usually about 50 cents to $3 per item — but you can unload your media in bulk to make an extra $50 to $100 this week. And never have to look at them again.

With Decluttr, you can sell stuff online without having to deal with individual listings and buyers.

And shipping is free. The company emails you shipping labels to cover the cost. Just print the label, pack your items in any box and ship it.

9. This App Helps You Invest Your Pocket Change -- And Gives You $10

[caption id="attachment_34084" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Ways to save money Geber86/Getty Images[/caption]

Acorns is a smartphone app that connects to your bank account, credit and debit cards to save your digital change. It automatically rounds up purchases with your connected accounts and invests the difference in your Acorns account.

This Penny Hoarder accidentally saved $116 -- about $35 a month -- by connecting one debit card to the app and forgetting about it.

At that rate, you could spend 10 minutes setting up your Acorns account and easily put away $420 this year. Plus, they give you a free $10 when you download the app and make your first investment.

10. This App Helps You Find Out Where You Are Wasting Money

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="788"]Paolo Cipriani / Getty Images Paolo Cipriani / Getty Images[/caption]

We all sign up for stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to put subscriptions on a recurring payment and forget about it -- looking at you Netflix.

If you can’t keep track of them all, check out an app called Trim. Once you sign up and connect your bank account and phone number, it analyzes your transaction history for recurring payments.

When it finds one, the app sends you a text and cancels any subscriptions you don’t want to keep.

11. This App Pays You to Deliver Food

Man delivering food through the UberEats app

This app lets you earn money while you’re running errands by getting food to hungry people.

To deliver food through UberEATS, you just have to meet these requirements:

  • Be at least 19 years old and have at least one year of driving experience.
  • Have a driver's license, insurance and vehicle registration.
  • Be able to lift 30 pounds.

Just like the rideshare option, you’ll set your own hours and only work when and how often you want to.

That means how much you earn is largely up to you.

If your car decides not to start one morning, no worries. You can also deliver food on your bicycle!

We'll admit it -- we’re a little obsessed with Target.

It’s hard not to be. The store has pretty much everything you need, right in one place. But don't be fooled by the prices on the shelf.

If you know the secrets to Target shopping, you can save a ton on every shopping trip! You don't have to spend all day clipping Target coupons, either.

Here are our favorite ways to save money at Target...

1. Save Your Email Receipts.


It turns out that deleting your emails could be costing you serious money.


An app called Earny helps gets you money back for your online purchases at stores like Target.

It’s free to sign up and once you do, it scans your email archives for any receipts. If Earny discovers you’ve purchased something from Target or one of the other 20+ retailers listed on its website, it continuously monitors those prices everywhere else online. When they find a better price, they take advantage of price protection policies offered by major stores and credit card issuers to get you a refund.

Even better, Earny acts as a personal assistant and contacts the retailer on your behalf. You don’t have to do anything!

2. Scan Your Groceries When You Get Home.

Did you know that the Nielsen company will pay you to scan your groceries each week? Crazy, right?

Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Consumer Panel family, you’ll be asked to simply scan the barcodes on your groceries and send your data off to Nielsen each week. Pretty easy, huh?

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

Sign up to be a Nielsen Consumer Panel family here.

3. Use a Cash-Back App.

Did you know that you can get cash-back on your purchase just for taking a picture of your receipt?

Here’s how it works….

1. Sign up for Ibotta here (you just need a name/email address to start).

2. Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note the next time you go to Target. For example, Ibotta's currently paying out 25 cents just for a picture of a Target, regardless of what you bought. Pretty cool, right? Once you’ve reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo. And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.

Obviously, you don’t want to buy a bunch of crap you weren’t already planning on purchasing. But, this can be an easy way to get a little cash back for doing something you were already going to do.

4. Stack Sales With Retale and Rebate Apps.

Yep, Retale. Not retail.

We all know the best way to save is by shopping around. But who has time for that?

Retale shows you all of the weekly ads from stores in your area, including Target. You can search on specific items to find the best deals near you — then add them to your shopping list with one click.

And if you're someone who likes to stack, they even have a tab to discover store coupons to make the deals even better!

Here's a link to download Retale on Android.

Here's a link to download Retale on iPhone.

Pro Tip: Sometimes you can get rebates on the same product across these apps. More savings without spending any more!

5. Know Your Markdown Tags.

If you do go into a physical store, you'll need to know the secrets of the Target markdown tag. Check the upper right corner of those little red tags for the markdown percentage. The lower left corner of the tag will tell you the original price.

Also, prices ending in $0.04 usually indicate that the item has been marked down multiple times and will probably not going any lower. But, those ending in $0.06 or $0.08 have a chance at further markdowns.

6. Bank 5% Cashback Every Time You Make a Purchase

Listen, it’s okay to admit you get as excited as Kristen Wiig at Target. If you’re perusing the “One Spot” more than once a month, it’s probably time to join the RED club.

Target’s branded RED debit and credit cards offer an insane 5% cash back on every purchase you make at the store and online (excluding prescriptions).

There’s no annual fee on the credit card, but if you don’t want to add another card to your credit report, just go with the debit card. It links right to your existing checking account for Target purchases making it a mindless way to save every time you walk in the store.

Let’s say you spend $150/week on groceries at Target -- that’s $390 in cash back that could go right into your savings account each year!

Plus, if you sign up and qualify before May 20, Target will send you a coupon for 10% off your next shopping trip.

7. Download the CartWheel App.

Download Target's CartWheel app on your smartphone so that you can see the latest discounts on everything from clothing to food. This is where the discounts really start to add up, because you can stack these savings with your coupons & RED card cashback.

Download Cartwheel for free on your iPhone or Android device.

8. Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts

Do you waste money impulse shopping? You need a way to save things you want to buy later — and nab them when they’re on sale.

Yeah, a personal shopper would be fabulous. Who wouldn’t want someone to take care of the less-fun parts of shopping? But a personal assistant is, you know, uber expensive.

The next best thing? A mobile app and browser extension that does it for you.

Through Shoptagr you can save items you want from over 1,600 online retailers to a single wish list.

The app and Google Chrome extension notify you in real time when an item goes on sale (down to specific size and color), so you can always get the best price.

Here’s the link to sign up with Shoptagr.

“Dad, how fast can elephants run?”

“Oh, about 45 miles per hour.”

That’s an actual conversation one of our writers once overheard at the zoo.

That’s about the time she began to realize everything our parents tell us isn’t necessarily true.

This exchange about elephants’ running abilities -- which overshot their actual speed by about 300% -- makes us realize there are probably more of these lies, er, “stretches of the truth” coming from our parents.

If you’re a millennial who frequently sought your parents’ advice, you might still believe a lot of these money myths, too…

1. If You Don’t Have an Office, You Don’t Have a Real Job

When our parents were growing up, concepts like remote working, telecommuting and the gig economy didn’t exist.

The technology that makes them possible didn’t either.

So we understand why our parents think people who work from home don’t really work. But millennials know better.

We do everything online -- from dating and paying bills to ordering food. So why should working be any different?

More and more people are starting to work from home, work for themselves and build their own careers with gig-economy apps like Uber.

As an Uber partner driver, you’re responsible for setting your schedule and motivating yourself to work — no one is keeping tabs on you.

Instead of punching a clock and working on someone else’s terms, you work as much or little as you want. You earn money based on how many rides you take.

Getting paid to drive around the city, listen to podcasts and meet interesting people? We’ve really got our parents beat on that “corner office” thing.

2. Banks Are Evil

You left college and entered the job market just as everything came crashing down. Everyone you knew blamed it on the banks — something about bad loans and Ryan Gosling, maybe?

Big banks gave the whole system a bum rap. If you’re looking for something better, we found a bank with a heart — no kidding.

With Aspiration’s Summit checking account, you’ll do all your banking online, which saves a ton of paper and space — we like when our money is green ;)

Plus, the account pays up to 1% APY, which is about 100 times more than a typical checking account. And you’ll never pay to use an ATM anywhere in the world.

The real heart of this bank, though? It helps you support your favorite cause. It donates 10% of its revenue to charity, and you can easily set up automatic donations from your account to contribute on your own.

If you’re ready to make the switch, here’s the link to sign up to open an Aspiration account.

3. Credit Cards are Evil

Many millennials believe credit cards are evil -- a wariness we suspect was passed on by their parents.

Used responsibly, though, credit cards are far from evil -- they’re a helpful financial tool.

The plastic cards build your credit and simplify budget tracking. Many also offer cash-back or travel rewards.

For example, the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® offers 1.5% cash back for every dollar you spend, plus a $200 bonus for using the card after you sign up.

That said, we know credit cards aren’t for everyone. If you won’t use a credit card responsibly -- only charging what you can pay off each month -- then your parents were right: You should avoid credit cards for now.

If you’ve been foiled by credit cards in the past, there’s still hope for you.

You can use Credit Sesame to see your credit score and make a plan to pay off credit card debt.

The free app’s “credit report card” makes your credit history easy to understand, and its custom recommendations can help you figure out how to get out of even the worst debt situations.

4. Writing Checks is Safer Than Using Plastic

No one writes checks in public anymore, except your grandmother and — you learned too late — the woman in front of you in line at the grocery store.

When you ask your mom why Grandma won’t put away the checkbook and swipe a debit card, she says, “It keeps her information secure.”

And you’re thinking, “Does she know she’s handing over a piece of paper with her name, address, routing number and checking account number in plain sight?”

The only thing missing is her mother’s maiden name.

On top of that false sense of security, writing checks can give you a false sense of your balance, too.

If you’re writing checks and not keeping immaculate records in your teeny wallet ledger, you can easily miss a transaction or two and overspend. Then you’re hit with a negative bank balance and overdraft fees — or a bounced check.

If you want to keep your finances secure and orderly, don’t be afraid to use plastic. Just protect your information.

A free service like TrueIdentity helps you avoid identity theft by keeping a watchful eye your finances. It sends alerts by email, phone or text if someone tries to apply for credit in your name.

Isn’t that better than counting on Jim at the grocery store to keep his prying eyes off your personal info?

5. You Absolutely Must Go to College

The key to a successful life, according to our parents?


But college isn’t always the answer. It costs more than ever, and doesn’t always provide a return on your investment.

Everyone should explore alternatives, like apprenticeships, trade schools and coding bootcamps before going into debt for higher education.

Too late?

If you’re already battling student loan debt, think about refinancing. You can consolidate your existing loans into one with a more manageable interest rate and monthly payment.

A good resource is Even Financial, which can help you borrow up to $35,000 (with no collateral needed) and compare interest rates from several lenders.

6. You Should Stay at One Job Forever

Back in our parents’ day, staying loyal to one company meant raises and promotions, gold watches and paperweights, sometimes even a pension.

So it made sense.

But today, those perks are few and far between, and hopping jobs is the norm.

You shouldn’t move around too much -- and should probably stay at each position for a year or more -- but it’s perfectly normal to change companies or careers.

Not only will you stave off boredom, you’ll also gain new connections and skills at each company.

7. Insurance is More Expensive for Red Cars

We don’t know where this myth came from, but nearly everyone’s heard it -- and nearly everyone still believes it.

The thing is: It’s total baloney. Your car’s color has no effect on your insurance.

“You may have heard the color of your car is used in calculating car insurance rates, but this is something we don’t even ask for when you get a quote from us,” Progressive Insurance spokesperson Ron Davis told us.

What does affect your rate?

Primarily, it’s based on your driving record, age and driving experience. But there are a few factors that might surprise you — like marital status, sex, your car’s make and model, and more.

8. Only Rich People Need Financial Advice

Your parents always managed their own money and did their own taxes, so you assume accountants are just for rich or lazy people.

But anyone can benefit from a little financial guidance.

We’re not talking about pricy financial advisors — though, depending on your situation, we’re not against them.

Instead, we’re talking about a free app called Clarity Money. It tracks your spending, helps you budget, makes it easy to find and cut unnecessary expenses and automates your savings to help you reach your goals.

Your parents will be proud to see how well you’re managing your money on your own… Clarity Money can be your little secret.

9. You Should Get an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles

Yup, this is a myth.

It was true back in the day, and still remains true for some old cars. But the majority of cars on the road today can go nearly 10,000 miles without an oil change.

Check your vehicle’s manual to see what’s recommended -- you could end up saving hundreds of dollars on oil changes.

You know how your parents said you can’t believe everything you read?

Well, turns out you can’t believe everything they said, either.

Your Turn: Did you still believe any of these money myths?

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which The Penny Hoarder 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.