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

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Woman using mobile apps to make money
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Honest Abe

Disclosure:

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.

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, 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, we put together a list of our favorite apps that pay you just for using them…

1. This App Pays You to Go On Secret Missions

Girl showing credit card to the camera

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Remember scavenger hunts when you were a kid? Ever pretend you were a private investigator on an important mission?

Don’t let a few years get in the way of your fun.

QuickThoughts turns your cell phone into private-eye technology, taking you on top-secret missions in your area.

Was that CVS you visited last month clean? How do the lines look at that McDonald’s you’ve stopped by for lunch?

QuickThoughts Missions relies on your input — and sneakily-taken cellphone photography — to give businesses important feedback. And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork. Pretending as an adult is looking better and better!

Using your phone’s GPS technology, the app will prompt you for information from places you’ve visited in the past few weeks, as well as places it detects you’re visiting right now.

It even has missions you can accept and complete in the future. For instance, it might prompt you to go to your local Walgreens and snap a photo of the seasonal display.

And you’ll earn valuable gift cards for Amazon and iTunes while you’re at it.

2. This App Helps You Sell Your Old Clothes

Guess

Guess/Facebook

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. 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. This App Pays You to Take Simple Surveys

Screenshot of Ipsos Panel
The Ipsos I-say mobile app is one of the best, legitimate paid survey apps out there. They’re currently rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.

The questions are pretty simple. What do you like more — Coke or Cherry Coke? How many times have you been to the movies in the past 12 months? You get the idea.

You won’t qualify for every panel, but you can usually earn about $5 for 30 minutes of work.

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. This App Pays You to Watch Videos

Senior woman using mobile apps that pay her for various activities

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The folks over at Swagbucks will actually pay you to watch videos!

The videos 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 Swagbucks will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

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

7. This App Helps You Start Investing — And Pays You $5

Five dollar bill representing a special Stash app promotion

Macro of Five American Dollar Bill

We’re kind of obsessed with Stash around here (and not just because it gives you $5).

We love that anyone can use Stash to start investing. You don’t have to have an MBA or even make it all the way through “The Big Short” to understand how to invest with this app.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and it does the rest.

To get the $5 bonus:

  1. Click this link and enter your email here.
  2. Download the Stash app on your smartphone, and set up your account with the same email address. Within two business days, you’ll see the bonus added to your account.

8. 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 PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. This App Pays You to Play Virtual Scratch-Off Tickets for 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.’

12. 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.

Why?

An app called Earny 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. Earny 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. Earny 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 in your new throwback getup!

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

Young women eat hamburgers in a restaurant.

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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:

  •               Download the app and sign up.
  •               Securely connect a debit or credit card.
  •               Live your life and watch the cash back roll in.

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.

Honest Abe

Disclosure:

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.