32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home

Updated March 25, 2017
by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor
money tips

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

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

1. Stop Deleting Your Emails

Portrait of a handsome young man working on a digital tablet in a cafe

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

My new secret weapon is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up for Paribus. Once you do, they will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target or one of the other 16 retailers listed on their website, it will track the item’s price and issue you a refund anytime there’s a price drop!

You don’t have to do anything!

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

$100

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

Mypoints and Vip Voice are two of the only legitimate paid survey companies out there (they are rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau).

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

3. Watch YouTube-Like Videos: $30

jobs
freemixer/Getty Images

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

Now, most of them aren’t as entertaining as the Grumpy Cat series, but you’re getting paid — so who cares?

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.

4. Download These Apps

iphone6s2

A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone — and you’ll get paid for every month you keep them installed.

The apps collect data and help companies better understand web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).

– Nielsen Mobile Panel – If you have a smartphone, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone and browse the web like you normally do. After you’ve installed it for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something, from gift cards to TVs). The longer you stay an active panelist, the more rewards and prizes you can earn and win. (Note: This panel is currently only open to males)

– Smart Panel – This panel is open to everyone and once you’ve downloaded the app, they will give you $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you’ll earn another $10. And then for every month that you keep the Smart App installed, you’ll get another $5. All total, you can earn up to $75 for the 1st year!

– MobileXpression for Android This one can only be downloaded on Android 5.0 or below. After you’ve installed it for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). I won a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads & Samsung TVs.

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

Stay at home bookkeeper

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

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

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

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

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

6. Get a Free $39 For Telling This Company About Your Amazon Purchases


Yeah, that’s not a typo. If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to research to help companies understand what people are buying online.

Download and connect Shoptracker to your Amazon account. The company will instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.

7. Scan Your Groceries When You Get Home

Grocery100
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.

8. Get a Free $5 From Stash

martin-dm/Getty Images

It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money. 

But 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 (the first months is free).

Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money. 

But they leave 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 match your first investment — so you’ll get an extra $5 to get started!

To get your $5 match:

  1.  Enter your email here.
  1. Download the Stash smartphone app and create your account with the same address.
  1. That’s it! Within two days, they’ll put $5 into your account!

9. Earn a $100+ Bonus by Opening a New Credit Card

$100 Credit Card Bonus

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

We’re not advocating that you open 1,497 credit cards like this guy, but taking advantage of a sign-up bonus here or there can definitely help your bank account!

For example, this Disney Premier Visa® Card comes with a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months. You could probably meet that requirement just buying groceries. You’ll also get 2% in reward dollars on card purchases at grocery stores (score!), gas stations, restaurants and most Disney locations, plus 1% back on everything else you buy.


Check out this list of seven credit cards with no annual fee that offer a $100 bonus or more when you open a new account.

10. Earn $250 By Opening a Second Bank Account

saving money
hidesy/Shutterstock

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

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

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

11. Become an Uber Partner Driver

Uber Driver

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

As an Uber contractoryou’re responsible for setting your schedule and motivating yourself to work — no one is keeping tabs on you. 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 don’t have a car that meets the requirements, Uber’s Vehicle Solutions can connect you to options to help you find one from their network of partnerships.

In participating markets, you could rent a vehicle by the week – a simple way to dip your toes into rideshare driving.

If you qualify, you could also apply for a flexible lease with unlimited mileage and payments deducted directly from your Uber earnings. Ready to buy new? Driving with Uber could get you a discount on eligible vehicles.

Here’s a link to sign up to drive with Uber.

12. Rate Your Local Pizza Place

domino’s pizza
Samantha Dunscombe/The Penny Hoarder

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

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

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

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

13. Get Paid to Drop a Few Pounds

Michele Westmorland / Getty Images
Michele Westmorland / Getty Images

Picture this: You step on the scale and finally see your goal weight.

Congratulations! But it gets even better.

You’re about to receive a generous check to spend on a celebratory dress in your new size, stock up on household necessities or to wisely stick into savings — all just for losing weight!

It’s not a fantasy. If you wager on your own commitment with HealthyWage, this could very well happen for you… if you stick to your guns and lose the weight.

It’s simple. Sign up for HealthyWage, and then define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it. Place a monetary bet on yourself ranging from $20 to $500 a month.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $10,000!

How many pounds you’d need to lose: This will vary based on your wager. Check out their calculator to find out!

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

Macro of Five American Dollar Bill.
Macro of Five American Dollar Bill.

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

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

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

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

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

work from home

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

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

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

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

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

16. Turn Your Grocery Receipts in For Rebate

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

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

Many of the rebates are for things like steak, ground beef, bread and eggs. Plus, you can shop at your normal grocery store. There’s no need to run clear across town to save money. Click this link and use referral code PENNY to get a $10 Welcome Bonus.

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

17. Sell Your Old Clothes

Guess
Guess/Facebook

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 at stores like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange.

18. Test Websites

Work from home jobs
Tempura / Getty Images

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

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

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

19. Sell Your Old Books

Used Books

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

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

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

Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent (usually PayPal) and prepare the books to be shipped. Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.

20. Provide Customer Service — in Your PJs

BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Have you ever considered doing customer service from the comfort of your home? An increasing number of companies are hiring work-from-home customer service reps, instead of running call centers.

These jobs can be full– or part-time and offer a variety of schedules, including daytime, evening and weekend shifts with a range of pay depending on the position and location.

Your job is usually to answer customer questions over the phone or via online chat. You may find sales positions that include higher pay and performance incentives; or technical support positions, which are best if you’re tech-savvy and have an interest in helping people understand technology.

You should enjoy helping people, though! You know how a bad customer service call can totally ruin your day? You don’t want to be the bad rep on the other end of that call.

If you don’t like working with customers, keep an eye out for other work-from-home jobs at these job sites.

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

Decluttr

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

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

One user, Gil Flores, 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, there are no listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and there is even free shipping.

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

22. Sell Your Smartphone Photos

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

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

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

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

23. Sign Up for Free Gift Card Promotions

giftcards

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

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

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

24. Get Paid to Go on Top-Secret Missions

What is deferred interest
Eva-Katalin/Getty Images

Remember scavenger hunts when you were a kid? Ever pretend you were a private investigator on an important mission?

Don’t let a few years get in the way of your fun.

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

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

And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork. Pretending as an adult is looking better and better!

Using your phone’s GPS technology, the app will prompt you for information from places you’ve visited in the past few weeks, as well as places it detects you’re visiting right now.

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

Super fun, right? And you’ll earn valuable gift cards for Amazon and iTunes while you’re at it.

Here’s the link for Apple and Android users.

25. Sell Your Trash

Trash

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

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

26. Sell Your Skills for $5 on Fiverr

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

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

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

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

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

27. Earn $100 By Helping a Company Name Itself

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

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

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

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

Rental Real Estate Sign in Front of house

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

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

29. Become an Online Tutor

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

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

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

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

30. Become a Dog Masseuse 

Puppy3

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

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

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

31. Write Slogans for Major Companies 

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

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

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

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

Try one or more of these platforms to get started:

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

32. Watch More Television

Watching Netflix

Do you like to stay up-to-date on the latest popular — and not-so-popular — TV shows? Get paid for the TV you’re watching in your spare time by writing reviews!

Writing about TV comes in a lot of forms, according to NPR television reporter Linda Holmes. Lots of sites pay writers to review or recap shows, but they come with different tones.

You could do a straightforward review of the craft of the show, search for symbolism in the story or start a conversation with readers about the lives of the characters.

If you prefer a bit of snark, you might write for a site that prefers to riff off TV shows. These turn your review into an opportunity for biting punchlines.

A few places to get you started:

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

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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