Can Writing Envelopes Make You Tons of Money? Not Exactly

A woman holds an envelope
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Videos about envelope writing for money are all over TikTok. People pitch it as all the rage when it comes to side hustles – “Just send envelopes to the addresses provided and you can make $50 – $70 per hour!” In reality, writing envelopes isn’t a viable form of income.

While it does allow you to gamble, think twice before paying anyone for their course or book that teaches you how to engage in envelope writing for money as a side hustle.

What is Envelope Writing?

Some online casinos will give you gambling credits (usually valued around $5) for making a request via snail mail. You send them an envelope stuffed with your personal information and sometimes a code. Then, they’ll apply the credit to your account.

Usually when any company runs a contest, giveaway or promotion, they have to let you request some sort of participation via mail. For example, in the 90s, my family sent in envelopes to get McDonald’s Monopoly pieces without purchasing any Big Macs. This is the same idea, except expanded to the world of online gambling.

Is Envelope Writing for Money Possible?

Nope! The credits that you’re awarded can be used to gamble – you can’t just cash them out. Now, if you gamble and manage to win money, you can cash those winnings out. But the base credit itself isn’t actual, real-world currency.

The problem here is that gambling isn’t a side hustle. It’s more of a recreational activity. For some people, it can be an addiction. But it’s not a job. The house really does win the vast majority of the time, so the odds of cashing out your credits aren’t incredibly high. You’re far more likely to lose them, which can be frustrating when you’ve put in the labor of writing all those envelopes.

Who is Making Money Off of Writing Envelopes? 

There’s no shortage of eBooks and online courses capitalizing on the trend of writing envelopes for money. These digital products may give you a list of (hopefully) current casino addresses, specific requirements for your personal information for each casino, and a lot of hope.

But cashing all of your $5 credits out for their full value is only slightly more likely than me and my family getting Boardwalk from McDonald’s when we wrote envelopes in 1996. They’re selling you a dream.

Plus, if you want to look up addresses and rules and conditions, you can do that on the casinos’ websites on your own. For free.

What are Some Side Hustles That are Better than Writing Envelopes?

We’re not here to crush your dreams. While envelope writing for money might not net you $50 – $70 per hour, there are plenty of side hustles that could pay in that range. Here are just a few. No gambling involved.


Thanks to the internet, a side hustle as a tutor is another job you can do from the comfort of your living room, just like writing envelopes. Online tutors can make up to $100 per hour and generally don’t make less than $40 per hour. The deeper your knowledge – or the more advanced the subject matter – the more you can expect to earn.

Online focus groups

Full disclosure: The work you’ll find from online focus groups is sporadic. You can’t plan on it being there for you every month. But when you land a gig? You can make hundreds of dollars per hour in some cases. Finding a focus group that pays more than $50 per hour is not hard — just have a little patience.

Virtual Bookkeeper

If budgets and attention to detail are your thing, you might want to consider a virtual bookkeeping side hustle. While there is some light training involved, you do not have to be a CPA or accountant to do the job. When you freelance virtually, you can make $60 or more per hour as entry-level pay.

Yoga Instructor

If you’re willing to take your side hustle in person, yoga instructors usually make somewhere between $32 – $35 per hour. However, if you work for a studio that pays a bonus for student turnout, you could find yourself making anywhere from $60 – $100 per hour. Assuming that students show up, of course.

Are There Any Other Side Hustles I Should Avoid? 

It’s hard in this economy. You stumble upon a job listing that only requires you to receive, repackage and ship mail. It feels tempting to respond – especially after you see the pay. But this is actually one of the most common job scams out there. The company that’s hiring you is often trying to evade some kind of law, and they’re using your (illegal) work as a way to disguise their activities, making the package or other mail less traceable.

Generally speaking, if the primary function of a job or side hustle is you visiting the post office or stuffing your mailbox, it’s probably a good idea to take a step back and ask if it’s really a legitimate opportunity.

Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of Femme Frugality and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.