32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home

A woman shows off the cash she had in her pocket.
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So you’re looking for ways to make money from home… Join the crowd!

Thanks to a genius invention called the internet, Americans are discovering more and more creative ways to cushion their bank accounts from the comforts of home.

Not sure where to start? Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and keep reading.

How to Make Money From Home in 2019

If you’re looking to make money online, you’ll need to exercise caution. There are a lot of scams out there, but don’t fret: We’ve tested each item on this list.

Yup — none of them involve Nigerian princes, and you really will get paid.

Without further ado, here are 32 legitimate ways to earn extra cash from home.

1. Get Paid to Give Your Opinions

Online surveys aren’t going to make you rich, but there’s a certain appeal to clicking a few buttons and earning money while sitting at home.

We’ve tried a lot of paid survey sites, but here are a few others we’ve found and liked:

  • The MyPoints platform rewards you in gift cards when you take polls and answer surveys. It’s a great way to earn cash while watching TV or waiting in long lines. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
  • Survey Junkie is quick to reward you with points once you’ve completed a survey. Once you earn 1,000 points — equal to $10 — you can opt for a gift card or cash via PayPal. Pro tip: Take all the profile surveys to help you earn an easy 200 or so points up front.
  • VIP Voice surveys are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Plus, you’ll still get points even if you don’t qualify for a survey. Plan to login a few times each week, and you’ll have no trouble earning extra money this month.
  • InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys, and you’ll get a $5 bonus for signing up. Plus, you get to earn cash, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging points.
  • Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.

2. Invest in Real Estate (Even if You Aren’t Rich)

Not everyone has “buy a house” kind of money.

But good news: You don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started with Fundrise. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500, and Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(Remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

3. Stop Deleting Your Emails

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

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

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

4. Help Small Business Owners

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? And you don’t even have to leave your house? Oh, and you get to help others.

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 through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.

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.

5. Play Free Scratch-off Tickets

Man scratching lottery ticket.
StevieS/ Getty Images

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an Android app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

6. Sell Your Old Clothes, Accessories and More

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

Marie Kondo would be very disappointed because, the truth is, it’s probably not sparking much joy. Go ahead and thank it — then sell it.

One marketplace app we especially like is Letgo.

You can list anything in less than a minute. Just snap a photo, set your price and go. Unlike other selling apps, Letgo is totally free and doesn’t charge a commission.

7. Earn Cash Back on Groceries, Beauty and More (Plus a Free $20)

A jar of money sits in a shopping cart.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

A simple way to earn some extra money? Shop with cash-back apps and websites.

Here are two of our favorites:

  • The easy-to-use Ibotta app is the perfect way to squeeze some extra savings out of your grocery hauls. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Once you’ve checked out, snap a photo of your receipt and boom — cash back. When you sign up and claim your first offer, you’ll get a $10 bonus.
  • Shopping online? Shop through Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you up to 10% cash back on online Walmart purchases. Plus, you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

8. 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.

9. Get $10 When You Set Your Savings and Investments to Autopilot

Money in back pocket, symbolizing Swagbucks earnings.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re having trouble starting up your savings, there are apps for that. And you can get creative, too. Don’t just explore auto-savings apps. Look into micro-investing apps, too, so you have a chance to earn some passive income.

Here are two options we like:

If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

Acorns is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

Say maybe you want to invest in cannabis… now you can. You don’t have to have tons of money, either.

Using a micro-investing app like Stash, you can invest in the cannabis industry with as little as $5. Need a nudge? Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $5 after your first investment.

Once you sign up with Stash, take a look at the app’s portfolio options, including one cannabis-related ETF, to find an investment blend that meets your goals. You can be as conservative or aggressive as you need to be.

10. Get Your True-Crime Fix by Joining a Mock Jury

Jury duty isn’t always fun, but what if you could do it from the comfort of home? Becoming an online mock juror can be an interesting way to make some extra money.

Here’s how it works: Attorneys present cases to online juries as a way to test it before trial — to find that’s working and what isn’t and craft the best arguments.

You can sign up as an online juror through a site like eJury. When a new case is submitted, you’ll be notified. Jump in to review the case and answer questions. You can earn $5 to $10 per case, depending on its length.

11. Protect Your Free Time With a Work-at-Home Job

A woman looks at a laptop while sitting on her couch.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

For some people, working from home offers the perfect scenario. It could cut your one-hour commute down to, well, nothing. It might allow you to see your kids more often.

Whatever it is — even if it’s that you get to spend more time with your cat (valid reasoning) — the most difficult part can be finding that perfect full-time job from home.

We recommend starting your search with ZipRecruiter.

When you click here to search, ZipRecruiter sends you to a list of geo-tailored work-from-home job openings. (Because, yes, even some work-from-home job opportunities have location restrictions.)

Through your search, you’ll find there are a number of jobs you can do from home — from part-time customer service openings to sales positions to data-entry gigs.

12. Let Someone Borrow Your Place for the Night

Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. We talked to Terence Michael, an Airbnb superhost based in Los Angeles.

Here are some of his tips:

  • Break out the labelmaker. “I have the entire house loaded with labels,” Michael says. “They look nice; they’re modern. This helps people feel less helpless.”
  • Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels. Here’s a little hack from Michael: “I order on Amazon and have it delivered when people are there.”
  • Be kind to your neighbors. “I say, ‘I’m not going to put anyone here who I think won’t be good for you,’” Michael explains. “And I turn a lot of big groups away, especially in Nashville. I don’t want anyone going to the cops or the city.”

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

13. Get Paid to Lose Weight

Top view of a young woman doing exercise at home.
GrapeImages/ Getty Images

So this is the part where you scratch your head and say, “No way.”

HealthyWage is a program that allows you to place a bet on your weight-loss goals. The idea is that if nothing else, maybe, just maybe, a cash prize will motivate you.

It’s worked for many others.

Take, for example, Angie Richards, who bet herself she’d lose 40 pounds in six months. She ended up losing 52 pounds and winning $1,200.

Then there’s Katelyn Pincock and her husband, Cort, who each bet $75 per month for six months. They ended up winning $3,000.

Unfortunately, the program doesn’t come with a magical diet or sweatless workout regimen. But hopefully the potential to win some cash will help you keep your eyes on the prize.

14. Sell Your Crafts, Vintage Finds and Even Project Supplies

If you’re creative, you can make some decent money selling your work through Etsy. Although there are some fees, including a 5% transaction charge, the marketplace connects you with more than 33 million buyers globally.

That’s a whole lot of potential customers.

Even if you aren’t creating masterpiece paintings or elegant jewelry or adorable baby clothes, you can still make money through the platform. For example, one Penny Hoarder contributor, Janet Berry-Johnson, made about $200 a month selling needlecraft kits and patterns.

Maybe you’re more of a vintage type? Adventure through flea markets and even eBay to find vintage items you can fix up and resell through the platform.

Sure, this is still work — but not really, if you enjoy it!

15. Start a Blog

The startup costs for blogs are minimal: Just secure your domain name and hosting — only $2.95 a month from Bluehost.

You’ll need to write some quality content to get into WordPress (or your blogging platform of choice) and start sharing it through social media. Once you feel comfortable, you can monetize your blog through Google AdSense and affiliate programs for some nice passive income.

Sound appealing? Follow our seven-step guide to starting a blog.

16. Share What’s in Your Fridge

gilaxia/ Getty Images

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.

Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.

The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

17. Get Paid to Rent out Your Car

Want to make money with your car… but not keen on playing taxi? Let folks rent your car when you’re not using it.

OK, that sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.

That’s more assurance than you get when your teenager gets behind the wheel…

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up with your Facebook account to rent out your car here.
  2. Set your own rates and availability.
  3. You’ll get a notification when someone books your car.
  4. Your car will be equipped with a Getaround Connect™, so renters will be able to locate, unlock and lock your car from their mobile phone during the trip period. No need to meet in person to exchange keys.

Like many side gigs that involve your car, some car owners worry about the costs for things like gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. With Getaround, renters are responsible for refilling the fuel used on the trip.

18. Scan Barcodes and Collect Free Gift Cards

There are a lot of shopping rewards apps on the market these days, but Shopkick is a bit different. How?

You don’t have to make a purchase to start earning gift cards.

With Shopkick, you can earn points just for walking into stores and scanning items’ barcodes. Collect as few as 250 points to start cashing out for gift cards to your favorite retailers, including Target, Starbucks and Best Buy.

Yup — just spend some extra time scanning barcodes in the grocery store tonight, and you’ve got yourself a free latte for your drive to work tomorrow.

19. Hang out With Pups

Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover says top sitters earn an average $450 per month.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability. 

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

20. Rent out Your RV

RV owners: When’s the last time you hit the open road?

If you’re not living in your rig full time, rent it out through an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace, like RVshare. Think of it like Airbnb… but for RVs.

We spoke with Karla and Patrick Atherton, who’ve been using RVshare since October 2017. In 2018, the couple made $37,830.55 through the platform.

To see how much you could earn by renting your RV out, snag a free estimate in just a few minutes.

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

A woman holds a stack of books and a Kindle
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

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’s even free shipping.

Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-ins!

22. Turn Gaming Into Saving

Blast is a savings app for Android made by gamers for gamers. It allows you to save, earn and win cash for playing games.

It works with every game in the Google Play Store, as well as top PC games, including Counter Strike Global Offensive.

The app is free, with no hidden fees.

While you play, the app works in the background and transfers small sums from your checking account into a high-yield Blast savings account based on “triggers” you set — things like the number of opponents you defeat or enemy bases you destroy.

You can even earn extra cash by completing “missions” that allow you to test new games or take familiar games to the next level.

Additionally, your Blast savings account earns 1% interest, is FDIC-insured and is secured by bank-level encryption. You can withdraw your money anytime or just let your savings grow.

23. Cash in on Your Smartphone Addiction

Let’s be real: That phone habit is hard to break. So you might as well make some money while you’re scrolling.

Download AppKarma, a free rewards app that lets you earn cash and gift cards when you try out gaming apps and watch videos.

Android users can download the AppKarma app directly through the Google Play Store.

iPhone users: AppKarma is not in the app store, but you can use it from your mobile browser. Click on the link from your iOS device to access the AppKarma web app. Complete the first offer (and earn 100 points!) to get started.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get 500 extra points when you sign up, plus you’ll get an email shortly after signing up with a special promo code worth another 750 bonus points.

You can exchange your Karma Points for gift cards to Amazon, PayPal, iTunes, Target, Starbucks and Walmart, among other retailers.

24. Get a $300 Bonus for Opening a New Credit Card

Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Star athletes get signing bonuses when they join a new team. Star executives get signing bonuses when they join a new company. Well, what about the rest of us? Don’t worry: We found a credit card that’ll hook you up with a signing bonus.

The revamped Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card* will give you a $300 bonus when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months. (That’s not hard. Just pay your regular bills and buy your groceries with the card, then pay off the balance each month.)

Here’s what else you’ll get with this card:

  • 3x points on eating out and ordering in.
  • 3x points on gas stations, rideshares, transit, parking and tolls.
  • 3x points on flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals.
  • 3x points on streaming services, including Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium.

Plus you’ll get a 0% intro APR for 12 months, and there’s no annual fee.

25. Publish a Kindle Book

If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.

You can publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Penny Hoarder contributor Steve Gillman wrote a book in a week. Note: Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.

After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later. He outlines exactly how he did it and the best tips and tricks for you.

26. Use Your Type-A Skills as a Virtual Assistant

If you have a knack for organization and communication, you just might make the perfect virtual assistant.

These days, you don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or on TV. You can work right from your couch.

Folks will pay you to help schedule their days, answer emails, update their website, run social media accounts and book travel accommodations — all from the comfort of your couch.

To find open virtual assistant jobs, peruse some of these work-from-home job boards.

27. Sell Your Old Books for Amazon Gift Cards

A woman hold an Amazon gift card in her left hand as she types on a laptop.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Have old college textbooks taking up valuable shelf space? You could host a garage sale or sell them on eBay or Craigslist, but one of the easiest ways to get rid of them is through Amazon.

With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.

Just enter the item’s information on Amazon’s Trade-In page to see how much you could pocket. Shipping is free.

28. Help Make the Internet Better as a User-Tester

Did you know you can get paid to poke around on websites and test out apps? It’s called user testing.

Basically, companies will pay regular folks like us to offer feedback on websites and apps. How’s the design? Can you find your way around? Have questions that aren’t answered?

You can make up to $60 per test through sites like UserTesting. The best part? You don’t need any user-testing experience — just a solid internet connection.

29. Become a Freelancer and Set Your Own Hours

Have you considered freelancing? You can operate as a freelancer in just about any industry — from freelance writing to accounting to design to web development.

If you’re just starting out, consider finding gigs through freelance platforms. This will help you gain experience and connect with clients — without having to put a whole lot of work into marketing your services.

30. Sell Your Photos (Even If You Took Them With Your Phone)

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Fancy yourself a solid amateur photographer? Instead of posting all day, every day, to Instagram, why not turn your work into some extra cash?

Start with a stock photography marketplace like Foap.

Download the Foap app, then upload your photos — even if you took them with your phone. When your photo is purchased, you automatically profit. Because Foap does most of the legwork, you’ll split the profit 50-50.

Want to go even bigger? Upload high-quality images to Shutterstock, one of the more popular stock photography sites. Each time your photo (or video) is sold, you pocket up to 30% of the sale price (while retaining the copyright).

31. Get Paid to Do Random Google Searches

Search engines (think: Google, Yahoo and Bing) use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see — and they don’t always get it right.

Although these algorithms are “smart,” they’re also prone to errors. Imagine searching for photos of hummingbirds — only for a photo of a seagull to pop up. Or maybe you’re looking for some news on immigration — only to find you’re reading a tabloid site.

That’s where humans can intervene as search engine evaluators. It’s your job to analyze search results and judge them based on quality, relevance and usefulness. And you can earn around $12 an hour or doing so.

We suggest you start by looking at Lionbridge job openings. The tech company is often hiring, so even if you don’t see any openings now, keep checking back to The Penny Hoarder’s online job portal.

32. Tutor Kids From Around the World (From Your Couch)

Did you know you can make money tutoring online?

There are several online-learning platforms focused on teaching English as a second language to students in other countries. For example, Angela Brumbaugh is a QKids teacher. She teaches 36 half-hour sessions a week and makes up to $20 an hour through the platform.

Then there’s VIPKID, another online tutoring site. Jennifer Ross works part-time for the company, and at $22 an hour, she brings home more than $520 a week.

A Word to the Work-From-Home Wise: Don’t Let Taxes Surprise You

Even if you’re making money from home, you still need to track your income, expenses, mileage and those quarterly estimated taxes.

Unfortunately, a spreadsheet doesn’t always cut it. Instead, use Hurdlr, a free app dedicated to helping self-employed entrepreneurs track and streamline their money — and taxes.

Hurdlr’s easy-to-navigate dashboard clearly showcases your money streams in real time (both before and after taxes), and the tool makes filing taxes actually easy. Seriously!

You can file your taxes through the app or send your reports directly to your CPA. It’ll also help you maximize your income by identifying all available deductions. Hurdlr reports its users find, on average, more than $5,600 in deductions annually. That’s $5,600 right back into your pocket — or into your business — all thanks to Hurdlr.

*The information for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

Editorial Disclosure

This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Pro.