How to Make Money from Home in 2021
So you need to know how to make money from home … Join the crowd!
Thanks to a genius invention called the internet, people all over the world 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.
32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money From Home
If you want to make money from home, you don’t need much more than internet access. As you browse for opportunities, though, exercise caution. There are a lot of scams out there, but don’t fret: We’ve tested dozens, if not hundreds, of money-making strategies and included only our favorites.
None of them involve a fake grandchild or anyone asking for your credit card number, and you really will get paid.
Without further ado, here are our favorite legitimate ways to make money from home.
1. Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News
The news never stops and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news junkie who fancies themselves a political mastermind or an expert in respiratory illness.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You could add up to a few hundred dollars a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. It’ll present you with short news clips to watch in your free time every day, then ask you a few questions about them.
You just have to answer honestly, and InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up and start getting paid to watch the news.
2. See If You Can Score Free Money From This Company
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash?
Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% back every time you swipe.
Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.
Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.
You were going to buy these things each month anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra income you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
3. Earn Money Taking Polls
What did you think of the new Spiderman movie? Is a hot dog a sandwich? Who’s your favorite Real Housewife?
The research company, MyPoints, has paid people over $236 million to answer poll questions like that over the past 23 years.
And they’re currently recruiting new panelists. You can do it right on your phone, and you’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and complete your first five polls.
Any extra money you can put toward your credit cards is good in our book — but in this editor’s opinion, no, a hot dog is not a sandwich.
4. Search Your Wallet and Cash in on Your Dollar Bills
Specifically, dollar bills with strange serial numbers — ones that aren’t easy to come by. The collectors at CoolSerialNumbers.com pay big bucks if you have a bill with a rare sequence in your wallet.
Turns out antique coins aren’t the only currency worth cash to collectors.
Check out the website for a full list to see whether you’ve got any of these rare bills, but here’s a rundown of the sort of serial numbers these collectors are looking for:
- 7 repeating digits in a row on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 09999999, 77777776)
- 7 of a kind on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00010000, 99999099)
- Super repeaters on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 67676767)
- Double quads on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00009999)
- and more!
5. Collect $5 to Invest in the Stock Market
Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company.
But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.
But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.
That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1
It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2
Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*
6. Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News
It’s been a historic year in news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with Swagbucks. They’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them.
You just have to answer honestly, and Swagbucks will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $429 million. We talked to one user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.
7. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?
One of our secret weapons is called Capital One Shopping Price Protection — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Price Protection will help you get compensated.
Disclosure: Capital One Shopping Price Protection compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.
8. Work From Someone Else’s Home
Working from home is wonderful, but sometimes it’s nice just to experience a new space — perhaps in a new town or a new country.
Consider house sitting. People will pay you big bucks to look after their house (and maybe a pet or two) while they’re away.
9. Turn Your Junk Mail Into Money
You know all those flyers and advertisements you get in the mail each day? The ones you never wanted but have no idea how to opt out of?
Well, you can turn them into extra income.
The Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC) is a market research company that wants to get a peep into your mailbox. Join its consumer panel, and start shoveling that junk mail into a postage-paid envelope and, at the end of each week, send it over to the SBK Center.
No, you won’t be rolling in cash, but you can make an extra $20 every six to 10 weeks.
10. Spend $5 to Own a Piece of Amazon or Google
Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common: They own another company.
But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.
That’s why a lot of people use the Acorns app. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $5. And with the recent sell-off in stocks, you might be able to buy them for cheaper than earlier in the year.
That’s right — Acorns allows you to invest in a bundle of well-known companies, letting you own a little of each of them while spending as little as $5. The best part? When these companies profit and issue dividends, you can profit, too.
It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Acorns will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you make your first investment.
11. Become a Tutor
Have you ever considered online tutoring to make extra money at home? Well, if you haven’t, you most certainly should. You can make some serious coin by answering students’ questions, explaining your notes and uploading tutorials.
That’s right — by sharing your knowledge, you can be rewarded handsomely.
Try marketing your services on a site like Tutor.com, where instructors earn $9 to $13 per hour, plus $5.50 per hour just for being logged in waiting for students.
Or find online tutoring jobs through one of these popular platforms:
12. Profit From Drinking Wine and Beer
You’ve got to enjoy life, so we’re going to cut you a little slack if you want to splurge on a glass of wine or bottle of beer.
But before you do so, make sure you download the money-making app that pays you for drinking.
Yes, you heard that right. We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your beer, wine and liquor receipts.
Ibotta earns money from the liquor companies and other retailers you shop with, and over the past few years it’s given back more than $600 million to Americans.
Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler earned $172 from her purchases in just over a year’s time, thanks to the free app.
It takes about 30 seconds to download Ibotta on your mobile device — what could you do with an extra $172?
13. 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.
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 from home through the online platform. For example, one Penny Hoarder contributor, Janet Berry-Johnson, made about $200 per 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.
14. Build a Business With a Blog
The startup costs for blogs are minimal: Just secure your domain name and hosting — only $2.95 per month from Bluehost.
You’ll need to write some quality content to get into WordPress (or your blogging platform of choice) and start sharing it through your social media accounts. Once you feel comfortable, you can monetize your blog through Google AdSense and affiliate programs for some nice passive income from home.
Sound appealing? Follow our seven-step guide to starting a blog.
15. 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.
16. Write & 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 to be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.
After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 per month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.
17. 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 a mock juror can be an interesting way to make some extra money.
Here’s how it works: Attorneys present cases to virtual juries as a way to test it before trial — to find what’s working and what isn’t and craft the best arguments.
You can sign up as a mock 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.
18. Do Calligraphy as a Side Business
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 to $500 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.
19. Make Money Doing Voice-Overs
Janna Polzin, a stay-at-home mom in Toronto, earns money by talking to herself. At home. 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 voice-over acting marketplace that helps vocal talent — both professional and amateur — find clients who need them.
20. 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.
You don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or on TV. You can work right from home.
Virtual assistants do things like:
- Scheduling appointments.
- Answering emails and phone calls.
- Updating websites.
- Internet research.
- Social media management.
- Booking travel.
To find open remote jobs as a virtual assistant, peruse some of these work-from-home job boards.
21. Sell Your Old Electronics for Amazon Gift Cards
Have old tech taking up valuable closet space? You could host a garage sale or sell them on eBay or Craigslist, but one of the easiest ways to get rid of them is through Amazon.
With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used electronics, plus other items, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.
Just enter the item’s information on Amazon’s Trade-In page to see how much you could pocket. Shipping is free.
22. Test Websites & Apps to Make the Internet Better
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 around $30 per hour through sites like UserTesting. The best part? You don’t need any user-testing experience — just a solid internet connection.
23. Start a Freelance Business and Set Your Own Hours
Have you considered freelancing? You can operate as a freelancer in just about any industry — as a freelance writer, designer, accountant, social media manager, website developer or more.
The great thing about freelancing as a business model is a low barrier to entry. You can get hired and get started on a gig without the same hassles you’d face looking for a full-time job — no resumes, no job interviews, no trying to impress some hiring manager.
Just share your portfolio or experience to let a potential client know what you can do, and you can start getting assignments right away.
If you’re just starting out, consider finding gigs through freelance platforms or freelancer networking Facebook groups. These will help you gain experience and connect with clients — without having to put a whole lot of work into marketing your services.
24. Earn $12/Hour Doing Random Google Searches
Search engines (think: Google, Yahoo and Bing) use complicated algorithms to determine the search engine 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 make money from home — around $12 an hour — for 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 work-from-home job portal.
25. 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 extra income?
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 40% of the sale price (while retaining the copyright).
26. Work as a Transcriptionist and Earn up to $25/Hour
Are you a good listener — and a good typist? You can make $15 to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.
You’ll need experience in the medical or legal fields to get transcription assignments in those areas, but plenty of researchers, reporters and Average Joes are willing to pay for someone to type up their recordings.
You are paid per audio hour, so this is a gig that’s perfect for people with great focus. If an hour-long recording takes you four hours to transcribe, you still only get paid for one hour. Listen closely!
27. Sell Someone Else’s Stuff
Selling Craigslist freebies is a great way to make a profit quickly, because you get the items for free. You could even have cash in hand today, without leaving home.
Go to the free section on Craigslist and look for things that are close to you and easy to sell immediately. They could be scraps from a job site or metal items you can sell, for example.
For a quick turnaround, avoid items like furniture or electronics. These can be good to sell, but they’ll take longer.
Cash in your treasures by reselling on Craigslist, including them in a rummage sale or selling to specialty buyers, like a pawn shop or a local business.
28. Rent out the Clothes That Make Your Friends Jealous
Are your friends always complimenting your great sense of style? Try making money off that killer taste!
You can rent out your clothing out through a site like Style Lend.
There are a ton of others on the market, but take sure to read the fine print on rental sites. Some don’t charge any fees to the buyers and sellers, but some charge a rental commission per order. You’ll need to price your clothes accordingly to account for any commission handed over to the company.
29. See if You Qualify for a Class-Action Settlement
If you use a product that’s involved in a class-action lawsuit, a little internet sleuthing could get you a cash payout.
The rules of each settlement are different, but in most cases you’ll have to provide proof of purchase or product use, like a serial number or a receipt. Once you fill out your claim form on the website, you may have to wait a few weeks or months before receiving your payment.
Check a resource like Top Class Actions frequently to see the latest lawsuits you might qualify to join.
30. Sell Online Courses
Got a set of skills or knowledge others would love to have? You could turn them into an online course and make money anytime someone signs up.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or resources, either. You could sell a pilot of the course or pre-sell spots before you even start producing content. That gives you some spare cash on hand to take the time you need to create the course.
The most successful course creators develop a loyal audience and make money selling courses directly. But you could also make good money selling your course through a marketplace with its own built-in audience, like Udemy and Skillshare.
31. Start a YouTube Channel
Turn your hobbies and other creative endeavors into cash by creating YouTube videos.
Monetizing a YouTube channel is a way for creators, entrepreneurs, freelancers and educators to build an audience and a brand, and create new income streams.
Once you build a loyal following — or at least create videos that get lots of views, like through search — you can monetize on YouTube in several ways, including:
- Ad revenue.
- Sponsored videos.
- Selling merch.
- Funding from fans through platforms like Patreon.
Our Best 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 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 hustle? You can find those in our list of legitimate ways to make money online.
1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.
2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.
For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.
*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.
The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.