How to Make Money Online: 45 Recommended Ways to Earn Extra Cash
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If you’re a stay-at-home mom, student or even full-time employee who could use a little extra cash, you’re probably looking for ways to make money online.
And who wouldn’t want to pad that bank account from the comfort of your own couch?
You can do many of these online gigs from anywhere in the world. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection.
Here Are Our Top Ways to Make Money Online
1. Get Money Back for Online Purchases
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.
2. Get Paid to Watch Movie Previews
Most of you already know about InboxDollars, but did you know that it will pay you to watch movie previews, celebrity videos, the latest news and dozens of other videos? Plus, you'll get a bonus $5 just for signing up.
You need to watch all of the shows in a specific playlist to earn your bucks, so be prepared. InboxDollars lets you know how long the playlist runs before you start watching, and playlists range from a few minutes to about a half hour.
The availability is subject to change, but it's possible to earn up to $225 a month watching these videos!
3. Snag a Free $10 Walmart Gift Card
One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on purchases at Walmart.
Plus you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.
To earn your gift card:
- Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
- Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $10 Walmart gift card.
4. Take Online Surveys
Online surveys aren't our favorite way to make money, but if you're just vegging out on the couch — or shielding your eyes while being forced to watch “Final Fantasy 113” — why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks?
5. Get Cash Back on Groceries
We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.
Here’s how it works:
Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Even better, Ibotta is an online job that pays instantly through PayPal once you've reached $20 in earnings. You can also choose to be paid quickly through Venmo or any gift card available in the app.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
6. Invest Your Digital Change (and Get a $5 Bonus)
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.
The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, we reviewed how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $420 a year!
At that rate, you could set aside $1,000 in about two and a half years — without trying.
The app is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.
7. Win Money With Virtual Lottery Tickets
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 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. So you could start making money without buying anything! For more info, check out our guide on how to get the most out of Lucktastic.
8. Win a Prize by Downloading an App
A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone or computer — this is a great way to boost your passive income!
One we love is called MobileXpression. After you’ve installed this app on your smartphone for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). We've seen users win a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.
The app collects data and helps 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).
9. Collect a Signup Bonus From a New Bank Account
You’ll need to make sure you’ll actually use a new bank account before signing up online. But a few minutes and smart spending could net you a bonus of $50 to $250, depending on the bank.
For example, right now Chase is offering $350 when you open a new bank account and make a direct deposit within the first 60 days.
10. Invest in Real Estate (Even If You're Not Wealthy)
Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.
Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called 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).
(But 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.
11. Become a Virtual Bookkeeper
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home 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 generate an income 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.
12. Start Investing (and Get a $5 Bonus)
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 to get started.
13. Play the Slots — and Bank $5 for Your Savings Account
Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?
The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.
As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.
Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.
In two months, she’s saved $35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.
Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. If you sign up before November 30, 2018 and enter the code PENNY5, you’ll also get a bonus $5 in your account!
14. Get Paid to Watch Videos
Yup, Swagbucks pays you to watch videos! You won’t earn a lot (up to 150 rewards points per day), but the videos are in all sorts of categories — entertainment, home, travel — so you’re likely to find something that appeals to you.
Or, try this trick: Just turn off the sound on your computer, open a new tab, and keep the videos going in the background while you work.
You can also download the Swagbucks TV app, which plays videos back-to-back on your phone. Again, just plug in your phone, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and set it aside to play videos — and earn rewards — while you do something else.
You could earn up to $90 a month watching videos through Swagbucks!
See our Swagbucks Guide to learn how to get the most out of the program.
15. 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.
16. Sell Junk You Find on the Curb
If you’re always spotting half-decent used furniture or other household items tossed out on trash night, grab them to sell on Letgo.
You can sell just about anything on this intuitive app.
You’ll need space to store your finds — and time to scour the streets — before you’ll start to profit. Don’t forget the time you might spend cleaning or repairing an item so you can get top dollar for it when it’s time to sell.
You’ll never look at the trash out on the curb the same way again!
17. Earn $17.50 Per Hour as a Proofreader
Do you have an eye for typos and a serious dedication to the laws of grammar?
You could be a perfect candidate for a side hustle in proofreading.
The average per-page rate for freelance proofreaders is 35 cents, according to Proofread Anywhere founder Caitlin Pyle. If you read at an average pace of 50 pages per hour, you could make $17.50 per hour!
Test your grammar wiles with a tricky quiz, and learn how to find freelance clients, in Caitlin’s free seven-day introductory course for proofreaders.
18. Tutor Kids Online
If a classroom full of grimy squealing kids isn’t your scene… we get it. You can still work as a teacher. Better yet: You work as a teacher, set your own hours and work from home.
There are several online-learning platforms focused on teaching English as a second language to students in other countries.
Angela Brumbaugh is a QKids teacher. She teaches 36 half-hour sessions a week and makes up to $20 an hour.
“The curriculum is set for you before class, and your job is to simply guide the children through the lesson, offering guidance, smiles and tons of encouragement,” she says. That’s a big perk for many: No lesson planning.
“The students are hard-working, curious and light up the classroom with their smiles,” she says. “Class time actually goes by fast, and the only con I can see is sometimes I wish I had more time to spend with them!”
19. Invest in Bonds Automatically
Where you stash your money is almost as important as how much you have. Believe it or not, you don’t need to start out with a lot to be a smart investor.
With a free app called Worthy, you can start investing with just $10.
No matter how much, that money is yours. You want to grow it safely, right? Your first thought is a savings account, which will earn you an average of 0.06% interest, according to CNN Money. That’s practically stagnant.
You’ve got to think outside your bank.
Worthy is a microinvesting app that pays out a fixed 5% annual interest rate — around 83 times more than what you’d get from the bank.
It invests in bonds that act like a savings account — you can deposit or withdraw money at any time with no fees or penalties. You can even set up a recurring investment or use Worthy’s round-up program to invest your spare change.
20. Boost Your Savings by Playing Video Games
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 earn extra cash by completing “missions” that allow you to test new games or take familiar games to the next level.
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.
21. Earn $36 Per Year Shopping on Amazon
Calling all Amazon shoppers!
This is such an easy, passive way to rake in an extra $36 a year. ShopTracker, one of the leading public opinion research companies, wants you to share your Amazon purchase history. And you’ll be paid for every month you share!
When you sign up for ShopTracker, it keeps your private information, well, private. All it wants to see is your order information. It's a great way for beginners to earn money online easily.
To earn your first gift card today:
- Sign up, and download the ShopTracker app on your Windows computer and Apple or Android phone. It takes about two minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your Amazon use to qualify.
- Open the app and log in to your Amazon account to automatically share your purchase history. You’ll receive your Visa e-gift card code for $3 via email within 48 hours.
- Take a couple of minutes to share your purchase history to earn another $3 each month.
22. Resell Concert Tickets
Think you know which games and shows are going to sell out?
Buy a few tickets, and flip them once the box office is out. On sites like StubHub, you’re not a scalper — you’re a reseller! StubHub guarantees ticket authenticity for the buyer, which weeds out a lot of the seedy guys selling fakes.
StubHub takes a 15% commission on every sale, so price your tickets accordingly.
23. Participate in a Game Show (and Win Money)
If you’re one of those people who can pull useless pieces of knowledge from out of nowhere, you’ll want to download this app.
It’s called HQ Trivia. With at times more than a million players logging on at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern each day to play, you might’ve heard of it.
“Quiz Daddy” Scott Rogowsky is the game’s main host. He asks 12 questions. You’ve got three multiple-choice options and 10 seconds to answer each. If you get all 12 questions correct, you’ll split the grand prize (around $5,000 lately, though it’s been $25,000 or more on randomly chosen special occasions) amongst the other winners.
Pro tip: Share your personalized referral code with friends and family to get an extra life. Trust us: You’ll want it.
24. Work as a Transcriptionist
Are you a good listener — and a good typist? You can make $15 to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.
You’ll need experience in the medical or legal fields to get those transcription assignments, but plenty of researchers, reporters and Average Joes are willing to pay for someone to type up their recordings.
You get paid per audio hour, so this is another task that’s perfect for people with great focus. If an hour-long recording takes you four hours to transcribe, you still only get paid for one hour. Listen closely!
Here’s a free seven-day course to get you started.
25. Write Slogans
Can you write stellar slogans quicker than Don Draper? Enter your ideas on slogan contest websites.
If your slogan for a company or product beats the competition, you could get $50 — or a few hundred dollars — for some contests.
If you’re feeling particularly heartfelt, search around for opportunities to enter submissions for greeting card sayings.
26. Sell Your Snapshots
Upload your smartphone photos to Foap and let people buy a license to use them.
You get $5 every time one of your photos sells. Your photo can even sell more than once, so that $5 for a beautiful landscape shot could turn into $20, $50, or $100 if enough people want to buy it.
Unfortunately, your Instagram feed is ineligible. So snap a picture before you upload it to Instagram, and send the unedited and uncropped version to Foap.
27. Get Virtual Assistant Jobs
If you have a knack for organization and communication, there are people who will pay you to help organize their day!
You don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or TV — now you can be a virtual assistant right from your couch. VA gigs vary in pay, hours and workload.
You might help people and businesses with data entry, social media management, website maintenance, research and customer service. And you could earn up to $60 an hour doing it!
Find virtual assistant jobs through these sites:
28. Claim Missing Money
State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.
Check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Click your state on the map, and it’ll redirect you to your state’s appropriate search site. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)
Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search, and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name.
“As I was scrolling through, I saw his name and his middle initial,” she says. She asked him to confirm his old Florida address; he grew up in Tampa. Sure enough, Mark Howell was entitled to $56 from a “matured insurance policy.”
Kelli immediately searched her other family members’ names. Her husband was the only who had any money to claim. And, sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right? We’ll take it!
29. Create YouTube Videos
It may take time to build that audience that turns views into dollars. The average revenue per 1,000 YouTube views is just over $6. But with enough videos for fans to scroll through, those views can add up over time. While you're building an audience, you could also join an affiliate program related to your channel and make money through affiliate links in your video descriptions.
30. Serve as a Mock Juror
Fascinated by courtroom drama, but hate wasting the day in jury duty for a measly $4 payout?
Serve as an online mock juror to help lawyers prepare for real cases. You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time.
Instead of hearing arguments from both sides of the case, you review evidence, like documents, videos and photos, at your computer.
31. Test Websites
Sign up to help companies determine how customers use their websites.
32. Join a Class-Action Lawsuit
If you use a product that’s involved in a class-action lawsuit, a little online legwork could get you a cash payout.
The rules of each settlement are different, but in most cases you’ll have to provide proof of purchase or product use, like a serial number or a receipt.
Once you fill out your online claim form, you may have to wait a few weeks or months before receiving your payment.
Psst — we regularly post new class-action settlement information, so check in often to make sure you’re not missing a chance to get paid!
33. Re-Sell Domain Names
Love predicting the next big hashtag, catchphrase or business name? Scoop up domain names for cheap, and re-sell them to the highest bidder on sites like Flippa.
You can also make good money online by buying and selling active websites, instead of domain names.
If a blogger doesn’t want to update their site anymore, but is still making money online from advertisers, it could be worth spending a few pennies to take over that property.
Remember, .com URLS are still cooler than .nets and .orgs!
34. Make $12 – $15 Per Hour Writing Letters to Legislators
If you’re a good writer or editor, you can make $12 to $15 an hour writing letters to members of Congress. You’ll be able to learn more about the issues available before committing to writing a letter, so if you want to stick with your own political views, it’s easy to pick and choose.
Before you apply, make sure you have the required computer equipment. For example, I can’t do this job because the software the companies use doesn’t work on Macs.
35. Trade In Books for Amazon Gift Cards
Have old college textbooks taking up valuable shelf space? You could host a garage sale or sell them on 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.
Enter the item’s information on Amazon's Trade-In page to see how much you could pocket. Shipping is free.
36. Tutor Chess Players
Love to play chess? Tutor other chess players online to make $35 to $50 per hour.
Tutoring sites like WyzAnt can take a big cut (40% until you hit 20 hours of tutoring!), but you’ll get practice (and get paid) without leaving the house.
Even if you’re a lower-rated player, you can charge $20 per hour to work with beginners.
37. Rent out Your Clothes
Are your friends always complimenting your great sense of style? Try earning money off that killer taste!
You can rent out your clothing online through a site like Style Lend.
There are a ton of others on the market, but take sure to read the fine print on rental sites. Some don’t charge any fees to the buyers and sellers, but some charge a rental commission per order. You’ll need to price your wears accordingly to account for any commission handed over to the company.
38. Sell Your Crafts
Do friends always ask you to knit them a hat or hand-letter their invitations?
Take your crafty side to Etsy and sell your services or finished products. Etsy takes a 3.5% cut of every sale, but the platform is super easy to use, and you get your own online store.
You’ll need a digital camera or a recent smartphone to photograph your wares. Great photos and plenty of detail shots are crucial for convincing shoppers to put down their hard-earned cash for a carefully made craft.
39. Create an Online Course
Have a skill to share? Teaching through Udemy or Skillshare could bring in big bucks.
Higher education might be super expensive, but many people will pay $50 or $100 (at least!) to learn something new from an expert.
You’ll have to invest your time planning your curriculum and recording the videos that will accompany your course. But a high-quality presentation will seem all the more valuable to your potential students.
40. Sign up for Amazon Mechanical Turk
This program from Amazon pays real people to do tasks computers can’t do, like choosing the best photo from a set or taking online surveys.
The downside: Some tasks pay very little for your time.
Here’s a smart workaround: Use Reddit threads to find the tasks that pay the most and/or require the least work so you can make the most money online in the least time.
With some careful searching and task-choosing, you could earn an extra $100 a week — or more!
41. Enter Naming Contests
Sign up for sites that host contests to name new companies or websites. You can earn $100 — but only if your suggestion is the winner.
Luckily, there are a bunch of naming sites out there, offering creative ways to make money. And once you’re a member, you can enter any of the thousands of contests to your heart’s content.
If you’re creative enough, you could generate an online income from several contests each year.
42. Write and Sell an Ebook
Are you an expert with advice to share? Create an ebook and then you'll be making money online each time it sells for years to come!
Make sure to set aside time to write an ebook people will be willing to pay for, though; you’re probably not going to knock this one out in an afternoon.
If you have a blog or have written extensively about a topic, see whether you could compile those past articles into a book. At the very least, those posts can give you a foundation for your book, and a great head-start on your word count goals.
43. Sell Private-Label Products on Amazon
Have the initiative to create labels and packaging? Turn a generic product into a private-label item that could make you thousands on Amazon.
But this isn’t a quick moneymaker: You’ll need to do plenty of research and find a supplier before you start slapping on labels and actually making money. One TPH contributor made more than $1,000 a month, even after paying for Amazon to fulfill his orders.
How’s that for passive income?
44. Become a Search Engine Quality Rater
Want to make money online with Google? The web is so full of information, search engines need real humans to help keep it tidy. The work can be tedious, but pays about $12 per hour.
Companies offering this kind of work typically pay once a month, so it’s not a way to make quick online cash.
But if you have time on your hands — maybe between jobs or seasonal gigs — you can put in some serious hours whenever the mood strikes and get paid for browsing the web.
45. Make Money with Old Newspapers and Magazines
Wondering what to do with that stash of daily papers you found in the attic?
You’d be surprised by what people will pay for a news item or magazine advertisement that means something special to them.
List them on eBay to earn extra cash! Make sure to have your buyers pay for shipping, so you make the most per newspaper page sold.
These are just our favorite ways to make money online. The internet’s constantly cooking up new money-making opportunities, so keep your eyes open!
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