The Lazy Person’s Guide to Making and Saving Money for Doing Almost Nothing

Young woman lying on the couch looking at her phone.
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Here’s a thing about me: I’m lazy.

Really, really lazy.

I know what you’re thinking: Wow, what a surprise.

But that’s not all! You see, I’m exceptionally lazy. Supremely lazy. I’m a laziness expert, a scholar, a connoisseur of laziness. Look up “lazy” in the dictionary, and there’s a little picture of me napping.

If it were up to me, I’d be lying on a beach in Bali, sipping on strong cocktails with little umbrellas in them, reading trashy paperbacks while servants hand-feed me shrimp and strawberries.

Alas, that is not my life.

Like so many of you, I have a job, spouse, kids, mortgage, car payment, bills, debt. I’m working my little tushy off, here. All of this financial pressure and work ethic really interfere with my laziness.

But because I’m lazy, I’ve learned how to put my finances on autopilot. I seek out apps and tools that help me make and save money with as little effort on my part as possible.

With a few clicks of a mouse or a few swipes on your phone, you’re done forever. You’re all set. Time to kick back and relax.

Check out these super lazy ways to make money:

1. Don’t Bother Keeping Track of Your Credit Score

Let Credit Sesame handle that. You have other things to do.

This free service shows your credit score and explains it to you. It shows your balances on any unpaid bills, credit cards or loans. It offers personalized tips on reducing your debt and raising your credit score.

2. Don’t Bother Going on Facebook to Share Your Opinions

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

A number of sites will pay you to read advertisers’ emails, sign up for offers and take surveys.

We’ve tried about a million of them (OK… we’ve lost count), but there are only a few we’d recommend:

  • 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.
  • VIP Voice is one of those companies. The 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 for taking surveys even if you don’t qualify to take the whole survey. Plan to login a few times each week, and you’ll have no trouble earning extra money this month with almost no work.

3. Who Has Time to Track Prices?

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.

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

4. Don’t Worry About Saving Money

A man smothers his face in a pile of money.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Acorns makes it easy for you to save without ever thinking about it.

Once you connect it to a debit or credit card, this “micro-investing” app rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and funnels your digital change into a savings or investment account.

Because the money comes out in increments of less than $1, you’re less likely to feel an impact in your bank account. (With just a tiny little bit more work, you can also set it up so it doesn’t round up every single purchase.)

Oh, and you get a $5 sign-up bonus.

5. 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. 

6. Don’t Worry About Cutting Your Monthly Bills

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

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 says it helps customers save more than $700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.

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.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

7. Let This Bot Optimize Your 401(k)

Retirement accounts are complicated. That’s where Blooom will help you out. It’s an investment advisory firm that optimizes and monitors your 401(k).

Enter your information into its system: your name, age and when you hope to retire. Connect your 401(k) account.

Within a few minutes, you get a free 401(k) “health report,” which tells you what’s going well and what needs improvement. Are you paying too many fees? Is your mix of stocks and bonds not properly allocated for your age?

If you want Blooom to take over, you can opt in for a $10-per-month service. Within a few hours, Blooom will reconfigure your 401(k) without you doing a thing. Better yet, it keeps an eye on it from then on.

8. Buy Real Estate Without Leaving the House

view of outside of a home from the street
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

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.

9. Find Money You Didn’t Know Was Yours

A woman picks up money off the street.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

Don’t feel like working for extra money? Find stuff you’ve already earned and forgot about!

Search online to find unclaimed money from retirement accounts you’ve forgotten, old security deposits and more. Check the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website to find out how to search in your home state.

This strategy can only help you find your own misplaced money. If you happen to forgo laziness when it comes to keeping good track of your cash, you may not find anything new.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He works a lot, but he wishes he could be super lazy, instead.