It’s incredibly easy to spend money sitting in front of a computer screen, especially on Cyber Monday. No Black Friday lines, no painful exchange of actual cash — not even the depressing sound of swiping your credit card.
But it can be even easier to make some of that money back in the same sitting!
Here are some effortless ways to generate a little bit of extra padding for your wallet while you’re shopping on Cyber Monday.
1. Watch Videos on Swagbucks
I just earned one Swag Buck (SB) — equal to about one cent — by learning how to use a muffin tin to make prosciutto egg cups on Swagbucks.
I’ll even save money on brunch this weekend and get fancy at home without facing perturbed looks from the waiter when I order a mimosa, minus the orange juice.
Swagbucks’ video topics range from food to celebrity gossip and comedy. And, you don’t necessarily need to watch the videos — just run them in a background tab while you go about your Cyber Monday business.
You can even mute them if you’re not interested in lipstick color recommendations or what to make for dinner.
You can earn about 2 SB every 10 minutes. Once you accrue 100 SB, you’ve earned a $1 gift card to Amazon, Walmart or Target (though you can only redeem rewards once you’ve banked at least 300 SB).
It doesn’t sound like much, but think about how much time you spend in front of your computer. Free money is free money — and it adds up.
I even ran two Swagbucks videos in two different background tabs — and doubled my earnings! Just make sure your computer can keep up, and be sure to click over into the tab from time to time to ensure the videos are still playing.
You usually have to watch a collection of three to four videos to earn an SB or two; I had some issues with getting them to play automatically.
Swagbucks can save you money in lots of other ways, too. Check out our primer on all the ways to put Swagbucks to work for you, and be sure to shop through Swagbucks on Cyber Monday!
2. Share Your Surfing Info With Market Research Panels
Free cash? There’s an app for that. Several, actually.
If you’re willing to share anonymous information about the way you use your computer and mobile devices, you could earn some significant rewards for absolutely no effort.
Once you take a three-minute survey to ensure you qualify, you can download Smart Panel’s app, which runs quietly in the background of your PC, tablet or smartphone, collecting anonymous information about your surfing habits.
You’ll earn $5 for qualifying, $10 once you’ve had the app installed for two weeks, and then $5 for every month installed thereafter. You can choose to redeem your rewards for Amazon gift cards — or just get cold, hard cash via Paypal.
Nielsen Mobile Panel
The Nielsen mobile app works similarly to Smart Panel, and is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices.
Once you qualify, install the app on your phone. You’ll earn up to $50 per year in rewards — some of which are Amazon and Starbucks gift cards.
Cross Media Panel
Formerly known as Google Screenwise Panel, this one pays out varying amounts depending on how many devices you link.
If you regularly use a computer and a smartphone, you’ll get $4 to sign up, then $2 each week you use your device afterward. As long as you’re over the age of 13, you just need a Google account and can use Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox.
Got a tablet, too? Lucky you! You get a $6 sign-up bonus and $3 in passive income every week.
Click here to get started. When you’re ready to cash out, you can choose from a number of super-useable gift cards, from Visa to Domino’s (which I might totally go for. Sometimes pizza is worth more than cash.)
Media Insiders Panel
Here’s another! With Media Insiders Panel, you’ll earn $5 per month, per device — and you can link up to three. Plus, you’ll get loyalty bonuses up to four times per year if you leave it installed.
If you qualify and install it, you’re guaranteed to earn prizes, and you’ll be automatically entered in the “Weekly Winners” sweepstakes. Goodies given out include iPads, Kindles, digital cameras and more.
3. Let Viggle Listen In
Do you play music or watch TV in the background while you do your Cyber Monday shopping?
Users have cashed in their points for over $14 million in rewards to date, according to Viggle’s website. Choose from best-seller gift cards like Amazon, Best Buy and Sephora, or even once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a trip to see the finale of “The Voice”!
4. View Beautiful Ads on Your Android Lock Screen
Hey Android users: If you let any of these apps display ads on your smartphone, you’ll earn cash rewards just for using your phone. (Sorry, Apple fans; you can’t use any of these apps yet.)
They all work in about the same way: Install the app, let it populate your lock screen with visually appealing ads relevant to your interests, and rake in the cash.
Although your earnings are tied to unlocking your phone, these apps have algorithms to detect fraudulent usage — so locking and unlocking your phone all day won’t magically make you a millionaire.
Once you rack up $10, you can request your rewards deposit through Paypal. Check out the app here.
This app rewards you in points, which you trade for cash — about 2,500 points for $1.
The app store description says Fronto is trying to pay $20 to each user each month — not bad for something you literally just set and forget!
One hundred Slidejoy Carats equals $1, and you can get paid after you hit just 200 Carats. You can even choose to donate them directly to charity!
5. Search With Bing
Bing will pay you to use its web search, instead of a particularly doodly one you may use by default.
So when you’re scouring the Internet for the best Cyber Monday deals, make sure to do it through Bing Rewards. You can get $5 gift cards to vendors like Amazon, Chipotle and Starbucks.
Your Turn: Do you know any awesome ways to earn passive income on Cyber Monday?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hi to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.