This Is How to Make Some Money the Next Time You’re Sitting on the Toilet

close up of toilet paper and a phone to work from the toilet
Manuel-F-O/Getty Images


You’re busted.

Study after study shows a lot of us use our smartphones when we’re in the bathroom. The most recent I’ve seen says nearly 90% of us “admit” to doing it.

It’s not a big secret. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just a smart use of otherwise idle time, IMHO.

Get through some emails. Catch up on the news. Respond to your @mentions on Twitter (you’re so popular). Play a game, because this is the only alone time you get all day.

Or… make money.

If you’re just scrolling to waste time while you’re on the can, try tapping a few buttons that’ll help you earn money.

We’ve found tons of apps that are quick to set up and let you start saving, earning or managing your money simply. Most offer a way to earn a few bucks right away — so you can emerge richer than when you entered.

So that’s what that satisfied grin is all about…

How to Make Money on Your Phone… From the Toilet

Check out these apps to bank more than $50 in bonuses and other cash — plus set yourself up to earn more in the future — next time you take a seat on the porcelain throne.

1. Play This Game

Something about gas station scratch-off tickets is so satisfying, but I tend to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try using a free 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, enter contests and play games.

You’re playing games on the toilet anyway, aren’t you? (You don’t have to answer that.) Even if you just win $1, you’re still ahead!

The app is free to download — and play.

2. Ask This Financial Assistant to Drop Your $10 per Month Gym Membership

Analyzing your monthly budget is, to put it simply, not fun. But you’re just sitting here for the next few minutes. Put it to use by cleaning up your monthly bills with this simple trick.

We all sign up for stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to put subscriptions on a recurring payment and forget about it. Getting rid of the subscriptions you’re not using and socking away the savings could save you a ton of money.

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

3. Fill This out While You're Just, uh, Sitting There

Surveys aren’t the best way to make money fast. But there’s a certain appeal to clicking a few buttons and earning money when you’d otherwise be doing nothing.

Here’s our recommendation: Sign up for these legitimate survey sites all at once. Chances are, you’ll qualify for at least one or two surveys on each site a month, and the rewards will add up.

  • Swagbucks: The average payout for answering a series of questions is 75 points (called SBs), which is equivalent to 75 cents. You won’t qualify for every panel, but you can usually earn about $5 for 30 minutes of work.
  • VIP Voice surveys are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Plan to login a few times each week. You’ll have no trouble earning an extra $30 this month with almost no work.
  • Survey Junkie’s clean look and “cashout wheel” keep you motivated to take as many surveys as you want. They're relatively quick to complete and reward you with points. Once you earn 1,000 points — or $10 — you can cash out for gift cards or cash paid via PayPal.

4. Save Your Emails to Get Money Back From Stuff You’ve Already Bought

Admit it: You’ve made a few impulse buys from the toilet. Unless you had Indian food for lunch, you don’t have enough time to carefully consider your decision before tapping “buy now.”

If you’re an avid online shopper, you might not like keeping evidence of your binges. We found a free tool that might make you reconsider.

Paribus is 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.

5. Automate Your Savings

Saving money is tough. While you've got some uh… time on your hands, why not set up a way to save that you wouldn't even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $5 just for signing up!

Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, one Penny Hoarder saved $4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 100 days, then it’s $2.99 per month afterward.

6. Start Investing — but Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Saving money is hard. Investing? Usually harder. Automating the process lets you get started on both without thinking about it.

A micro-investing app does that for you. Here are our favorites:

Stash 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.

With 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.

Bonus: Sign up for either app, and you'll get an extra $5 after making your first investment.

7. Download This App to Get Your Bills Under Control

Here's an easy step you can take to improve your financial well-being — without even standing up.

An app called MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.

You can earn points in the rewards program by paying bills on time, connecting your bank account or downloading the mobile app.

You can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

8. Scan Your Favorite CD — Then Get Rid of It, and Turn on Pandora

Do you still have a CD player in the bathroom with that one CD inside? Sell it and go digital.

We appreciate your impeccably-alphabetized CD tower, but it’s time to dust off those jewel cases and cash in on your once-impressive music collection.

Decluttr will buy your old CDs, video games, DVDs and Blu-rays through its app. You scan the barcode with your phone, and Decluttr makes an offer.

One user, Gil Flores, sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs and made $275, an average of $1.57 each.

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

For everything else cluttering your space, try Letgo, where you can list pretty much anything you want to sell directly. All you have to do is snap a photo, and you can create a listing in less than a minute.

You don’t even have to leave the commode.

9. Boost Your Monthly Budget by Cutting Interest Rates

Unfortunately, many of us carry some amount of debt around like a full bladder.

But it’s time to relieve that burden — and avoid funneling money toward insane interest rates that quickly add up month to month.

Trim is an all-in-one money-saving tool that lives in your computer or smartphone. When you sign up with your email or Facebook account, you’ll gain access to a number of powerful features, including its debt payoff calculator.

No need to retrieve passwords or connect accounts. Simply type in your remaining balances, interest rates and minimum payments. As you play with monthly payment numbers, you’ll notice your debt-free date and total interest will change.

Once you land on a monthly payment you can handle, mark your debt-free date on your calendar and plan to celebrate!

10. Complete Your Objectives in CS:GO

If you're going to pass the time on the loo playing video games, you need this app. Seriously, it helps you achieve financial goals — while you take out enemy players.

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.

P.S. Don’t Flush Your Cash Down the Drain

As you’re finishing up, just a quick reminder: Don’t squander your earnings.

If you struggle to stay on top of your bills, credit card spending or debt, I recommend my favorite financial tool (really), Credit Sesame.

Credit Sesame gives you a free credit report card — including a credit score — and provides you with recommendations and financial education resources. It’s free to use and makes managing your money actually, well, manageable.

Dana Sitar ([email protected]) is a writer and editor at The Penny Hoarder. Say hi and tell her a good joke on Twitter @danasitar.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.