The 12 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2017
New year, new you, right?
Cliche as it may sound, it’s never a bad time to start padding your bank account, regardless of what time of year it is.
Whether it’s for a rainy day, a major purchase or just to relieve some financial anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with looking for new income streams.
And you’re in the right place. This list of ways to make money this year will get you in better shape in more ways than one.
Some of these will literally help you get healthy, another can help inspire change. One can get your voice out in the world, while another can help you declutter your home.
Most importantly, all of these can help you make some extra money to put toward paying down debt.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite tips from the last few months. There are 12 of them, so you can either do all of them this month, or split them up throughout the year (one a month).
Hope they help!
1. Grab a Free $10 Gift Card to Amazon
Anytime I shop online, I use a cash-back rewards site like MyPoints.
It’s a smart way to earn cash for the shopping you’re doing anyway!
And it works at most of my favorite retailers. Once you sign up for a free account, you can get 1.4% cash back on purchases at Target and a whopping 5.4% at Walmart.
There are more than 1,000 stores on the list, so you can purchase nearly everything you need through the cash-back site.
Plus, when you spend your first $20 through the portal, MyPoints will give you a free $10 Amazon gift card.
2. Scan Your Own Groceries
You’ve head of Nielsen, right? Yep, the same company that tracks TV ratings.
Well, it has a new app that will pay you to scan the groceries in your fridge.
Once you sign your family up for the Nielsen Consumer Panel, the company will send you a free scanner or you can use your smartphone.
Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to NCP.
If you want to give it a try, you can fill out an application here.
As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items and even toys for the kids.
The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations and brand new vehicles.
3. Make Money Completing Simple Tasks
A number of websites out there will pay you to read advertiser’s emails, take online surveys, even watch videos.
I’ve tried about a million of them, but there are only a few I’d really recommend. Swagbucks is one of those companies.
It’s free to join, and best of all, you get $5 just for signing up.
Some sample offers include one asking you to sign up for a email newsletter from AMF Bowling. It pays 50 cents and takes about 15 seconds. Another offer asks you to sign up for a free TurboTax account to earn $3.50.
These are simple and there are nearly a hundred of them to choose from. If you’re interested in giving Swagbucks a try, visit the sign-up page here to get started.
4. Let Someone Borrow Your Place for the Night
Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are a few tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events in your area.
- Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
5. Open a 2nd Bank Account
We’ve put together a huge list of banks that will pay you just to open a bank account!
Having multiple bank accounts isn’t a bad thing. 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 and vacation fund.
The top bank bonus is $500 right now — head over to this list to see all of the banks in your area that are offering free cash.
You don’t have to walk into an actual bank, either. Aspiration’s Summit Checking Account is an online-only bank account with no fees, no minimums and an interest rate up to 1%.
6. Get Paid to Get in Better Shape
Let’s face – every year we all make the same New Year’s resolution to get in better shape.
Well, this year you’ll have a little extra motivation if you’re getting paid for it.
Already in great shape? Try starting a boot camp at your local park a couple of nights week.
Start with just a few friends – these camps tend to grow pretty organically once people see a group of people working out. Most boot camps trainers can earn $100/hour or more.
7. Write a Letter to Your Member of Congress
You know how etiquette books say to never discuss politics at the dinner table?
Well, if you love a good political discussion and need an outlet — or if you just want a way to earn money working from home — consider working for one of two grassroots advocacy groups that offer work-from-home opportunities.
These advocacy groups run grassroots political campaigns on issues such as health care, energy, defense and taxes. Each hires people (which is where you would come in) to call constituents or advocates, folks who might be interested in the issue at hand.
Your job is to help those people communicate their opinions by writing letters on their behalf to members of Congress.
Both companies like you to work 20 to 25 hours a week during a project, but some people work full-time hours.
Campaigns usually last from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on what the political issue is. Pay varies, but you should earn about $12 to $15 an hour or more.
8. Write About TV Shows
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:
- Pitch Previously.TV editors your ideas here.
- If superheros are more your speed, check out this recapper job with HollywoodLife.
- Get your foot in the door at Mic writing TV show recaps.
9. Stop Deleting Emails
This is my new secret weapon.
It’s called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases.
It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it scans 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 its website, Paribus will track the item’s price and issue you a refund if there’s a price drop.
It also checks the tracking info for your online orders. If something shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping — up to a full shipping refund.
You don’t have to do anything!
10. Check Your Wallet for Strange Dollar Bills
Specifically, dollar bills with strange serial numbers — ones that aren’t easy to come by.
The collectors at CoolSerialNumbers.com have created a list of their most-wanted serial numbers, and you might just have a bill with one of these sequences on it in your wallet.
Depending on the rarity of your bill’s serial number, it could be worth a ridiculous amount of money.
The site is currently selling one dollar bills for anywhere from $100 to over $2,500.
Check out the full list to see if you’ve got any of these rare bills, but here’s a rundown of the sort of serial numbers these collectors are looking for:
- 7 repeating digits in a row on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 09999999, 77777776)
- 7 of a kind on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00010000, 99999099)
- Super repeaters on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 67676767)
- Double quads on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00009999)
- and more!
11. Sell Your Old Stuff
Are your closets and shelves packed to the brim with stuff you never use — or even look at?
You can sell virtually anything on letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. Not only does it remove a lot of the hassle of selling things online, it’s 100% free to use.
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!
For old books from college, you can use Bookscouter. Just type your book’s ISBN into the search bar and the site will connect you with more than 25 of the best-paying and most reputable buyback companies online.
12. Take Pictures of Your Friends
If you have an iPhone 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 iPhone photos into cash.
Here’s how it works: You download the free app and sign up for an account. You take a quality photo and upload it 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 5 minutes of work.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but there are some limitations.
For one, your photo must be accepted by the Foap developers. If it’s too small, grainy or boring (think: not marketable), it won’t make it to the marketplace. And those cute Instagram shots? They don’t accept those either.
Here’s the full run-down.
Nothing on this page is going to get you rich, but sometimes it’s just about making a few extra hundred dollars each month, right?
So get to work and have an awesome 2017!
Good luck Penny Hoarders!
Your Turn: Have you tried any of these ways to make money?