Here’s Exactly How to Make $50 While You’re Waiting in Line at the Grocery

Woman using mobile phone while shopping in supermarket
Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Few things test my patience like a lengthy checkout line.

I’ve just trudged through endless aisles of food — usually without the grocery list I accidentally left on the kitchen counter — and am ready to hightail it home.

Then there’s the line. The endless line.

Typically, I employ my no-one-start-a-conversation-with-me strategy. I take out my phone and mindlessly scroll through Instagram.

Or, if I allow myself to think too much, I’ll remember the reason I came to the grocery store — and realize that reason is not in my shopping cart. Which then forces me to give up my spot in line.

Instead of, well, all of the above, make the best of the inevitable. Here are a few quick ways to make money while you stand in that checkout line.

Note: Depending on your grocery store’s efficiency, internet connection, the season and the time of day, these might take multiple checkout lines. Either way, it’s money.

Here’s how to make more than $50 fast…

1. Earn $10 on Ebates

Have you heard of Ebates? It’s a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online. We love it around here because it’s an easy way to save on everything you buy. For example, you’ll earn up to 5% cash back on every purchase you make at Amazon.

Plus, you’ll get a bonus $5 when you sign up. Here’s how to get it:

  • Sign up for Ebates here using your email or Facebook account. (It’s free.)
  • Use the Ebates portal next time you shop online. It’s connected to thousands of stores including eBay, Amazon and Home Depot.When you spend your first $25 at any of the connected stores, Ebates will reward you a free $5 on top of the cash-back rewards you earn normally.

When you spend your first $25 at any of the connected stores, Ebates will reward you a free $5 on top of the cash-back rewards you earn normally.

2. Snag a $10 Bonus With a Micro-Investing Account

Ah, investing. It’s one of those things you’ve been meaning to look into, right? It’s totally intimidating, though.

But what if you could strike up an investing account while standing in a checkout line? No, we’re not crazy. Well, not totally.

Acorns is a micro-investing app that connects to your bank account and/or credit and debit cards to save your digital change. It automatically rounds up purchases with your connected accounts and invests the difference into your Acorns account.

For example, you’re about to foot a $32.19 bill at the grocery store. Acorns will round up your purchase to $33 and dump the remaining 81 cents into investments. It’s a fun and easy way to stack up some spare change.

You can download the app and sign up here. Plus, you’ll immediately score a $10 bonus when you make your first investment.

3. Earn Cash Back on Those Groceries (And Get a $5 Bonus)

Got a bit of a longer line ahead of you?


Go ahead and download Ibotta, another cash-back app. It’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, including, probably, your favorite grocery store.

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 our $5 welcome bonus.

4. Take a 10-Minute Health-Insurance Survey for $25

This might be a task you start in the checkout line then finish up once you get home, but let’s face it, the quick $25 is totally worth it.

JOANY, a healthcare concierge service that helps people find and compare health insurance plans, is looking for your feedback.

You don’t have to be a JOANY user to take the survey, but you must meet these qualifications:

  • You purchased health insurance for 2017 through your state exchange,, a broker or a plan, such as Oscar or Aetna.
  • You don’t receive health insurance through your employer or school.
  • You aren’t on Medicaid, Medicare or VA health insurance.

If you qualify, JOANY promises fewer than 50 questions and less than 10 minutes of your time. Most questions are multiple choice, making answering easy. And do note your answers are private and protected under federal law.

Check it all out (get it?) here.

Are you at the cashier yet? Good. You just earned $55. Congrats!

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.