Get Free Money — 11 Steps to Collect $1,740 from These Companies
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Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?
Every year businesses give away thousands of dollars in free money and gift cards as a way of promoting their websites or products.
We've put together a list of of our favorites that will give you more than $1,700 in free cash right now.
Some of them only require filling out a form. Some of them take a bit more effort, but you can easily knock out all of these in a couple of hours.
How to Get Free Money
Without further ado, here are the companies giving out free money right now:
1. Automate Your Savings With Acorns — $5
Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change.
You can connect the app to your credit or debit card and let it automatically round up all your transactions, or manually round up only the ones you choose.
Contributor CJ Reid does the latter, accepting roundups of less than $0.50, such as his $3.60 cup of coffee.
“Rounding up 40 cents here and 25 cents there moves me swiftly enough to $5 so that I can begin investing without putting myself into the red,” she says.
Once your round ups reach $5, that amount will be transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio.
“Acorns makes it easy to invest by removing the responsibility of choosing individual investments or worrying about trades,” Reid explains. “You don’t need any previous investment knowledge or history.”
And once you get the process automated, Acorns investments make your digital change work for you.
“With a conservative portfolio,” Reid says, “I turned $15 into $19 within a few weeks.”
You can sign up and download the app here.
2. Snap a Picture of Your Receipt With Ibotta — $10
Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.
Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.
When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:
- 25 cents back for any item
- 25 cents back on strawberries
- 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
- $1 back on a box of tea
- $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer
Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!
3. Complete a Few Surveys — $5
A number of sites will pay you to read advertiser’s emails, sign up for offers and take surveys.
We’ve tried about a million of them (OK… we've lost count), but there are only a few we'd recommend.
MyPoints: This platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute.
You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
4. Start Investing With Stash — $5
It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.
Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.
Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money.
But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus when you enter the code PENNYH
5. Clear Your Old CD Tower — $5+
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.
We talked to one user, Gil Flores, who sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs and made $275 — an average of $1.57 each.
Just download the app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, you won't pay listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and even shipping is free.
Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-in order!
6. Get $50 to Invest in Causes You Care About
Investing can be a great way to grow your money, but have you carefully considered which companies you’re willing to back? Their morals and values? You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that's destroying our oceans or cheating the system.
Impact investing is a simple fix. It adds a new layer of transparency to investing. Take Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.
Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They consider everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.
You can start with just $50 and invest in this or other portfolios committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few. Plus, you’ll get a $50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment.
Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($3.75) per year if you invest $500.
Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.
7. Sign up for a Bank Bonus — $150-$200
We've put together a list of our favorite bank promotions happening right now. These banks will pay you up to $300 just to open a new account!
It's up to you to decide how to manage several bank accounts. Some of us find it's helpful to have multiple places to stick our money for various purposes — we're less likely to touch it that way.
You could always open an account, collect the bonus, and close it when you're no longer using it — just make sure you read the details and know the requirements you need to meet to earn the bonus.
8. Rent out Your Extra Baby Stuff With This App — $20+
Traveling with kids can be rewarding, but also very challenging. The goBaby app aims to make it a little easier on parents — while giving other parents the chance to make some extra cash.
Packing and hauling baby stuff across airports, planes, trains and automobiles sucks, and it might even cost you extra money.
Through the goBaby app, New York City-based mother of two Natalie Kaminski created a parent-to-parent marketplace where traveling parents could rent baby gear like strollers, car seats and other items from local parents with the same to spare.
This Airbnb-style exchange for baby supplies is available in New York City and will be launching soon in Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.
If you live in one of these cities, use the app to monetize the baby gear you already own!
Here’s how it works:
- Download the app for free here.
- Take a photo of the item you want to rent out. Add a brief description, and set your price.
- Choose whether you’ll deliver the item or have the renter pick it up.
- Give the item to the renter, and get it back within the scheduled dates.
- Get paid. Repeat!
9. Sign up for a New Credit Card — $1,425
One of the best ways for a Penny Hoarder to make some serious extra cash is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses.
Of course, to get the most benefit, you should have excellent credit, and pay off your card in full each month so you're not paying interest. (After all, every time you pay interest, you're losing some of the positive effects of the bonuses.)
For those of you wondering, here's how opening and closing credit cards affects your credit score (Hint: You can do it without causing too much harm).
10. Get Paid to Take Surveys — $5
You're going to be online anyway… why not get paid while you're there?
PointClub is awesome because you’ll get points for every single survey you take — guaranteed. Plus, the company gives you $5 just for signing up! Once you accrue enough of them, you can redeem those points for gift cards to a ton of useful vendors like Walmart, Amazon and PayPal.
11. Do Your Shopping via Ebates — $10
Believe it or not, some sites will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.
One of our favorites is Ebates, a cash back shopping site. It's giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate.
You can choose a $10 gift card for Walmart or $10 in Ebates cash for your next shopping trip on the site.
To earn your gift card:
- Sign up for Ebates here with your email or Facebook account.
- Make your first purchase through the site within 90 days, and spend at least $25.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points you cash in for your $10 gift card.
Enjoy Your Free Money!
There you have it. If you've finished the list, you've just made at least $1,700 in FREE money.
Feel free to take the weekend off.