4 Simple Ways to Make Money While You’re Stuck in the Student Pick-Up Line

Female crossing guard signals children to cross the road
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If you have kids in school, you know it. You dread it. You have nightmares about it.

It’s the car line where you sit and wait for your kids to come out of school.

Did that person just cut in line? No, do NOT get out of your car to talk to the teacher! Pull ahead already!

It’s a tortuous system when it works properly and a complete disaster when people don’t obey the rules.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The glacial pace of time moving as you wait to see the shining faces of your tadpoles can wreak havoc on your mind. Ease your frustrations and help the time pass a bit more pleasantly by finding something to do.

Hey, why not make a little extra money while you wait? You have a cell phone anyway, right?

Instead of playing one of those mindless games, put your phone to good use by making and saving a little money as the minutes tick by.

How to Make Money on Your Phone While You Wait for Your Kids

First thing’s first. Keep your safety and the safety of those around you as your top priority. Only use your phone if your car is at a complete stop and not going anywhere soon.

Look up frequently to avoid being that person who holds up the line and creates a chain reaction of parental rage behind you. If the line is moving, the phone can wait.

But, if you do have time to kill, these four tips could help you keep a little more coin in the bank.

1. Watch TV on Your Phone

You like to watch videos on your phone, right? Who doesn’t? Of course, everyone likes the latest compilation of cat videos. Or maybe you’re the type that likes to watch “Epic Fails” so you can see others suffering worse than you.

Don’t ruin your karma. Do this instead.

The folks over at InboxDollars will actually pay you to watch TV online!

The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows.

The shows are sponsored by brands who need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one of the ads InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

You’ll get a free $5 just for signing up.

2. Try Your Luck

There’s no better money than free money! If you want a fun, simple way to kill time while you wait for your little monsters to show their faces at the end of the school day, try Lucktastic.

It’s a free app that offers an assortment of digital scratch-off tickets each day. Lucktastic says you can win anything from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens, enter contests and play games.

Can you imagine winning that kind of money while you wait in line behind that obnoxious parent from the ritzy part of town? Yeah, take that, Mrs. Thomas with the tricked-out minivan!

3. Get Ready for Grocery Shopping

What are the kids going to say when they get in the car? “We’re hungry!”

Great. Dinner isn’t happening without a trip to the grocery store.

You probably know all about Ibotta. It’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, including, probably, your favorite grocery store. Why not take this time to get ready for grocery shopping?

By checking Ibotta, you’ll know just which products have cash-back offers available, and you can plan your week’s shopping trip to maximize your cash-back.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Download the app here, and sign up.

Pick your favorite stores, and peruse cash-back offers.

Add the offers to your stash. (You can do this before or after you check out.)

Once you have your receipt, redeem your cash-back offers by taking a photo of your receipt (and sometimes scanning a few barcodes).

Done! Cash-back right into your Ibotta account. Once you’ve reached $20 in earnings, you can cash out. Plus, after your first rebate, you’ll snag a $10 welcome bonus.

4. Make Money Driving for Other Parents

Maybe you could get really ambitious.

In 2013, three moms dealing with the same school pick-up line agony put their heads together and came up with a brilliant idea. They were already picking up their kids, why not pick up someone else’s kids for a little extra cash?

Wouldn’t you pay to not have to sit there? These ladies created HopSkipDrive.

HopSkipDrive is an online ride-service platform that helps parents schedule rides for their kids ages 6 and older. Right now, it’s available in Los Angeles, Orange County and the San Francisco Bay Area (with plans to expand!).

To select potential CareDrivers, HopSkipDrive has a 15-point driver certification process to fully vet individuals. You must be at least 23, have more than five years of childcare experience, pass a criminal record check, pass a vehicle inspection and ace an in-person interview with the HopSkipDrive team.

The safety measures continue.

Once a ride is requested, the parent receives a photo of their assigned CareDriver, which the parent will then show to their kid. There’s also a personal code word that CareDrivers must use to confirm with the kids at pickup.

Then, parents — as well as the folks at HopSkipDrive — can monitor the drive in real time through the app.

Brilliant, no?

You’re already in line, and it’s not going to move any faster. Take a few moments to boost your finances instead of just sitting there letting the internal rage simmer.

In a few minutes, your awesome kids will be with you and, if you made a little money, you can greet them with a smile.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

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