12 Best Mobile Apps That Help You Earn Money for Doing Almost Nothing

Woman using mobile apps to make money
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Honest Abe


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We’ve all got smartphones these days, and almost everything we do on them requires using an app.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make extra money just for using them? Well, you can.

You’re not going to get rich by downloading mobile apps that pay you, but you can use these to earn a little extra money every month.

Considering some of them require you to do nothing, or just watch videos or take some paid surveys, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal to make a few extra bucks.

To get you started, here is a list of the best money-making apps.

  1. 1. This App Helps You Start Investing — With a $5 Bonus

    a close up shot of dollar bills

    Gordan1/Getty Images

    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. (The first month is free.)

    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!

  2. 2. This App Helps You Sell Your Old Clothes



    Do you still have a prom outfit from, like, 10 years ago?

    It’s never going to fit — or come into style — again, but something just keeps holding you back from sending it to Goodwill.

    Maybe money could change your mind? Instead of storing clothes indefinitely, try selling them on an app like Letgo.

  3. 3. This App Pays You to Take a Picture of Your Receipts

    Ibotta review

    Colleen Rice, TPH email marketing specialist, uses Ibotta to search through deals at Publix. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    Yeah, did you know that you can get paid cash back just for taking a picture of your receipt?

    Here’s how it works….

    1. Sign up for Ibotta here (you just need a name/email address to start).

    2. Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note the next time you go to the store (the offers change every week). For example, in my city, Ibotta will give 2% cash back on Best Buy purchases, $0.25 cash back on any Target purchase, and $3 cash back when I buy an appetizer from any restaurant.  Pretty cool, right?

    Once you’ve reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo. And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.

  4. 4. This App Pays You to Take Simple Surveys

    Survey Junkie
    ’s clean look and “cashout wheel” keep you motivated to take as many surveys as you want.

    The surveys are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points. Once you earn 1,000 points — or $10 — you can cash. Some surveys offers up to 300 points.

    My dashboard was always full of surveys to take — and I cashed out with a $10 Amazon gift card within a month of signing up. You can also have cash deposited to your Paypal account, but I chose to support my Amazon addiction instead.

  5. 5. This App Pays You to Drive Around Town 

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – JAN 13, 2017: Lyft driver Paul Pruce in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 13, 2017. (Jessica Kourkounis)

    Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

    Try driving with Lyft!

    Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

    We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.

    Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

  6. 6. This Android App Pays You to Surf the Web

    girl poolside on her smartphone

    Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

    Having a company harvest your data sounds scary, but we’ve tried this — and earned a $25 Amazon gift card along the way.

    It’s called MobileXpression, a research company that studies internet trends. 

    First, before you take the driver’s seat, sign up online. Here’s the link to sign up with Android. You’ll share some simple demographic information before being you can download the software, which runs in your phone’s background.

    Don’t worry, the site says it won’t slow anything down. And the data submits itself. Simply go about your normal activities.

    The app won’t monitor calls or hack into your personal info; it just wants to check out the web pages you view, the links you click and the time you spend doing various tasks.

    After seven days, you can play an instant rewards game — but it’s not really a game because you’re guaranteed to win something (like that Amazon gift card).

  7. 7. This App Helps Sell Your Old Electronics

    The decluttr app helps you make money from selling electronics

    sestovic/Getty Images

    Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them!

    Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods. Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-ins!

    You scan each product’s barcode with your phone, and Decluttr makes an offer.

    Prices vary — usually about 50 cents to $3 per item — but you can unload your media in bulk to make an extra $50 to $100 this week. And never have to look at them again.

    With Decluttr, you can sell stuff online without having to deal with individual listings and buyers.

    And shipping is free. The company emails you shipping labels to cover the cost. Just print the label, pack your items in any box and ship it.

  8. 8. This App Pays You for Walking Into (and Shopping at) Stores

    Man and woman with shopping bags looking at store window

    Kikovic/Getty Images

    Sick of shopping online and headed to a real, live store? Download the Shopkick app first.

    Once you sign up, the app pays you “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Target, Walmart, TJMaxx and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and more.

    It pays you even more “kicks” for scanning items in stores and purchasing them with a connected credit or debit card, as well as for scanning receipts and mobile shopping.

  9. 9. This App Helps You Find Out Where You Are Wasting Money

    Paolo Cipriani / Getty Images

    Paolo Cipriani / Getty Images

    We all sign up for stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to put subscriptions on a recurring payment and forget about it — looking at you Netflix.

    If you can’t keep track of them all, check out an app called Trim. Once you sign up and connect your bank account and phone number, it analyzes your transaction history for recurring payments.

    When it finds one, the app sends you a text and cancels any subscriptions you don’t want to keep.

  10. 10. This App Scans Your Email Receipts for Price Changes

    Cropped shot of a man using a laptop and a cellphone

    PeopleImages/Getty Images

    Deleting your emails could cost you serious money.


    A website called Paribus helps gets you money back for your online purchases at stores like Target, Walmart, Old Navy and more — but you have to keep your email receipts.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Sign up for free here.
    1. Paribus will scan your email archives for receipts. It’ll find your purchases from any of more than 20 partner retailers and monitors the prices everywhere online.
    1. Paribus then tracks to find price drops on your purchase, always trying to get you the most money back. It then claims the difference with the retailer or credit card issuer on your behalf through price protection policies.

    You’ll earn cash back while you lounge at home!

  11. 11. This App Pays You for Booking Hotels, Shopping and Dining Out

    Young women eat hamburgers in a restaurant.

    wundervisuals/Getty Images

    Dosh is a new cash-back app that pays you for making purchases at more than 100,000 hotels, online stores, and restaurants — including Starwood Properties, Marriott, Cost Plus World Market, Nike, Target, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and many more.  

    Here’s all you have to do:

    In addition to cash back, you can also collect a $25 bonus for booking your first hotel through the app, as well bonuses for referring friends and local businesses.

  12. 12. This App Houses Virtual Scratch-Off Tickets With Real Prizes

    BanksPhotos/Getty Images

    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 using a free app like Lucktastic. Each day, a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets is released. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10K. You can also earn tokens, enter contests and play games.

    The app is free to download — and play. Get scratchin.’

  13. Bonus: This App Pays You to See Your Amazon Shopping History

    Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

    If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to research to help companies understand what people are buying online.

    Download and connect Shoptracker to your Amazon account.

    It’ll instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.

Did this article help put money in your pocket?

Honest Abe


Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.