19 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home
So you’re looking for ways to make money from home… Join the crowd!
Thanks to a genius invention called the internet, Americans are discovering more and more creative ways to cushion their bank accounts from the comforts of home.
Not sure where to start? Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), and keep reading.
How to Make Money From Home in 2020
If you’re looking to make money online, you’ll need to exercise caution. There are a lot of scams out there, but don’t fret: We’ve tested dozens, if not hundreds, of different money-making strategies and included only our favorites.
Yup — none of them involve Nigerian princes, and you really will get paid.
Without further ado, here are 19 legitimate ways to earn extra cash from home.
1. Earn Cash While Watching Cooking Videos Online
If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
2. Play Free Scratch-off Tickets
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 scratching for free using an Android app called Lucktastic. (It’s called Lucktastic Match for iOS.) Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $2,500. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Sephora and more.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.
3. Earn up to $69/Hour as a Small Business Owner
Can you open an excel spreadsheet? Does earning $69 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a CPA and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through online courses called Bookkeepers.com.
You don’t have to be an accountant or even really good at math to be successful in this business. In fact, all you need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems. The ability to stay moderately organized is helpful, too.
You can make up to $69 an hour, according to data from Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks, and you have no commute. It’s a great opportunity for parents who want a part-time job, recent college grads or anyone who wants to bring in real money working from home.
Robinson shares what it takes to be a virtual bookkeeper, plus tips for making this career work for you in his free class at Bookkeepers.com. If you stick with the classes, you could be running your own business in just a few months.
4. Get Paid for Your Opinion
Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. It’s also famous for handing out free rewards points (called SBs) at random just for being a member.
You’ll get SBs for each survey you qualify for and complete that you can redeem for cash via Paypal or gift cards to a number of popular retailers, including Amazon.
Even better? You’ll earn a 500 SB (or $5) bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
5. Turn Those Crumpled Receipts Into Free Gift Cards
What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
Fetch rejects receipts more than 20 days old, so don’t forget to take that picture! You’re basically throwing away free gift cards if you don’t. Plus, with its new e-receipt feature, any time you shop online at partner brands using the same email as your Fetch account, you’ll earn points.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to get a 2,000-point bonus toward redeeming your first gift card — you only need 3,000 points to cash out.
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
6. Get Paid up to $600/Week to Drop off Starbucks
Your city is filled with two things: Starbucks, and people who want Starbucks.
An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver an extra latte when you’re already out and getting your caffeine fix. And it’s not just coffee. You can deliver from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Five Guys and hundreds of other restaurants in your area.
With Doordash, you set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.
You’ll earn money for each delivery, plus tips. Jose Neri, from California, reports earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.
The best part? No passengers — that grande, no-whip macchiato will be the only thing to hear your beautiful singing voice.
If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week.
7. Copy This Strategy to Get Checks in the Mail Totaling $526
Remember when getting the mail was fun? Now it’s just bills. And Valpak envelopes.
But for Colleen Rice, checking the mail meant finding checks. For doing nothing. Seriously. Since she started using a free website called Rakuten, she’s received $526.44.
Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy toilet paper on Amazon — even book that flight home for Thanksgiving.
Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights. She even used the money she earned to help her pay for her recent cross-country move.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping your go-to stores through the site.
Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 on the first check it sends you.
Talk about money for nothing.
8. Create an Online Course
You don’t need experience or a degree to make money teaching on Udemy.
If people want to learn what you have to teach, you can create a potentially profitable video course at home. Curious? Learn more about how to create a Udemy course.
9. Sell Your Crafts, Vintage Finds and Even Project Supplies
If you’re creative, you can make some decent money selling your work through Etsy. Although there are some fees, including a 5% transaction charge, the marketplace connects you with more than 33 million buyers globally.
That’s a whole lot of potential customers.Pro Tip
Establish a strong brand and backstory. Connecting with customers makes them more likely to spend time on your shop.
Even if you aren’t creating masterpiece paintings or elegant jewelry or adorable baby clothes, you can still make money through the platform. For example, one Penny Hoarder contributor, Janet Berry-Johnson, made about $200 a month selling needlecraft kits and patterns.
Maybe you’re more of a vintage type? Adventure through flea markets and even eBay to find vintage items you can fix up and resell through the platform.
10. Make Your Own Schedule as a Data-Entry Clerk
Data entry isn’t the best-paying work-from-home job, but it is one you can do with few skills or previous experience — all you need is a solid internet connection and a computer, and you must be at least 18 years old.
1 1. Write and Sell an Ebook
If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.
You can self-publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Writer Steve Gillman wrote a book in a week. Yup, Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.
After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.
12. Get Your True Crime Fix by Joining a Mock Jury
Jury duty isn’t always fun, but what if you could do it from the comfort of home? Becoming an online mock juror can be an interesting way to make some extra money.
Here’s how it works: Attorneys present cases to online juries as a way to test it before trial — to find that’s working and what isn’t and craft the best arguments.
You can sign up as an online juror through a site like eJury. When a new case is submitted, you’ll be notified. Jump in to review the case and answer questions. You can earn $5 to $10 per case, depending on its length.
13. Do Calligraphy on the Side
Maybe you don’t want to be a content writer, but if you have excellent handwriting skills and a set of calligraphy tools, you can address envelopes. You could make $2 to $5 a pop just for being a talented calligraphy writer.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but book a wedding with 100 guests, and you could rake in $200 or more for handwritten invites.
Launch your own website to sell your services, or offer calligraphy through Etsy. For example, Margo Dittmer gets creative with her calligraphy services and sells custom wedding certificates for $175 each on Etsy.
14. Make Money Doing Voice-Overs
Janna Polzin, a stay-at-home mom in Toronto, earns money by talking to herself. In her closet.
After her son was born in 2013, the stage actress turned to the online acting community and kept hearing about one voice-acting platform again and again: Voices.com.
“I often walk away from my computer thinking, I can’t believe I just made money from that!” she says.
Voices.com is an international online voice-over acting marketplace that helps vocal talent — both professional and amateur — find clients who need them.
15. Use Your Type-A Skills as a Virtual Assistant
If you have a knack for organization and communication, you just might make the perfect virtual assistant.
These days, you don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or on TV. You can work right from your couch.
Folks will pay you to help schedule their days, answer emails, update their website, run social media accounts and book travel accommodations — all from the comfort of your couch.
To find open virtual assistant jobs, peruse some of these work-from-home job boards.
16. Help Make the Internet Better as a User-TesterDid you know you can get paid to poke around on websites and test out apps? It’s called user testing.
Basically, companies will pay regular folks like us to offer feedback on websites and apps. How’s the design? Can you find your way around? Have questions that aren’t answered?
You can make up to $60 per test through sites like UserTesting. The best part? You don’t need any user-testing experience — just a solid internet connection.
17. Become a Freelancer and Set Your Own Hours
Have you considered freelancing? You can operate as a freelancer in just about any industry — from freelance writing to accounting to design to web development.
If you’re just starting out, consider finding gigs through freelance platforms. This will help you gain experience and connect with clients — without having to put a whole lot of work into marketing your services.
18. Sell Your Photos (Even If You Took Them With Your Phone)
Fancy yourself a solid amateur photographer? Instead of posting all day, every day, to Instagram, why not turn your work into some extra cash?
Start with a stock photography marketplace like Foap.
Download the Foap app, then upload your photos — even if you took them with your phone. When your photo is purchased, you automatically profit. Because Foap does most of the legwork, you’ll split the profit 50-50.
Want to go even bigger? Upload high-quality images to Shutterstock, one of the more popular stock photography sites. Each time your photo (or video) is sold, you pocket up to 30% of the sale price (while retaining the copyright).
19. Earn $12/Hour Doing Random Google Searches
Search engines (think: Google, Yahoo and Bing) use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see — and they don’t always get it right.
Although these algorithms are “smart,” they’re also prone to errors. Imagine searching for photos of hummingbirds — only for a photo of a seagull to pop up. Or maybe you’re looking for some news on immigration — only to find you’re reading a tabloid site.
That’s where humans can intervene as search engine evaluators. It’s your job to analyze search results and judge them based on quality, relevance and usefulness. And you can earn around $12 an hour or doing so.
We suggest you start by looking at Lionbridge job openings. The tech company is often hiring, so even if you don’t see any openings now, keep checking back to The Penny Hoarder’s online job portal
Our Favorite Work-From-Home Advice
Making money from home sounds all glitz and glam — and it can be, in a sweatpants kind of way. But there are also things you need to know before fully diving in. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- If you’re looking for a full-time work-from-home job, we rounded up 15 of our favorite remote job boards.
- Listen: There are a lot of work-from-home scams out there, so be sure to use your best judgement. We shared exactly how we vet the work-from-home jobs we write about — so you can do it on your own, too.
- If you’re looking to settle into a full-time work-from-home job, you’ll want to stock your home office with the essentials. Trust us when we say: Working from a couch all day isn’t good for your posture!
- Oof. Taxes. You should know about these work-from-home tax deductions. Plus, how to handle your taxes when you have a side gig.
- Are you looking for a side gig? You can find those in our list of 45 legitimate ways to make money online.
Happy working from home!