26 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 legitimate ways to earn extra cash from home.
1. Make an Extra $1,200 This Year From Your Couch
We could all use some extra money, but who actually has time for a full-blown side gig or a second — even third — job? We’re tired.
The good news is you can make extra money without even leaving your couch. All you need is your phone or computer. (The beverage of your choice is optional.)
A free rewards website called Swagbucks will pay you to take surveys. Yup. All you have to do is answer some questions about yourself, and you can get paid.
This might sound too good to be true, but we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year. Not bad for something you can do from your couch.
It takes seconds to sign up, and you can even earn a $5 bonus.
2. Get a $5 Amazon Gift Card For Playing Games like Words With Friends and Rise of Kingdoms
Get paid to play games on your phone? Yeah, right. We’ve all heard that before.
Here’s what that usually means: Logging dozens of hours on games you’ve never heard of, just for a few cents. Gee, thanks.
But a free Android app called Mistplay actually pays you for playing popular games like Words With Friends 2, Rise of Kingdoms, Yahtzee, Clash Royale, Star Wars and more.
As you play, Mistplay rewards you in points, which you can exchange for gift cards for brands like Visa, Amazon and more.
You’ll even get bonus points when you sign up and enter the code penny50.
The more you play, the more you’ll earn. Plus, Mistplay offers some bigger in-game rewards — up to $20.
It takes just a few minutes to sign up and start getting paid to play games.
3. Turn Your RV Into Extra Cash When You’re Not Using It
Got an RV? Don’t live in it full time? Rent it out through an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace, like RVshare. Think of it like Airbnb… but for RVs.
We chatted with Patrick and Karla Atherton, a California couple who rent out a travel trailer and two motorhomes through the site. In 2018 alone, the couple made $37,850.55 with RVshare. Not bad, right?
To see how much you could earn by renting your RV out, get a free income estimate in just a few minutes. Then snap photos of your RV, upload your insurance and boom — you could be making money, too.
4. 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.
5. Get up to $500 in Free Stock
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $500!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’re got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
6. 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 $10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, 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.
7. Add This Chrome Extension
Add this Chrome extension if you’re an avid online shopper. Whenever you browse the ’net, you can click Wikibuy to get more info about the items you want to buy.
Click it to find coupon codes, add to your watchlist (to be notified when the price drops), see the price history or see a price comparison from other sellers including Walmart, Target, eBay and Jet.
With all that info, Wikibuy will let you know if this is the best time to buy.
It even tells you when your items will be delivered. If you like what you see, click the “Add to Wikibuy Cart” button that shows up automatically on Amazon, and Wikibuy places and tracks the order for you.
Bonus: Your payment information isn’t passed to the retailer, so it’s in fewer places online.
You also have the option to link a credit or debit card and earn credits while you shop. You can use your credits to buy things through Wikibuy.
After a simple free install, browsing to check out just takes two clicks, and your savings is instant. You can close your million Chrome tabs now — you’re welcome.
Wikibuy compensates us when you sign up for Wikibuy using the links provided.
8. Get $5 to Invest in Companies You Care About
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.
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 give you an extra $5 after your first investment.
9. 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.
10. Make up to $100 for Having Psoriasis
Living with psoriasis… psucks.
If you suffer from the uncomfortable autoimmune disease, you no doubt split your time trying to get rid of it and trying to hide it.
We found a way you can get a little payback for your suffering — and help others with the disease — without even leaving your couch.
M3 Global Research is recruiting psoriasis patients to participate in paid online surveys. Surveys take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and pay $10 to $100. The company is also recruiting for surveys on several conditions, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Sign up with a valid email address. After you complete your profile, you’ll receive survey invitations tailored to your information. (Don’t worry — you won’t be spammed with irrelevant surveys.)
Just select that you have psoriasis, and you’ll receive market research surveys relevant to living with and treating the condition.
11. Trade Your Grocery Receipts for Cash
We all want to save money on our groceries. What we don’t want to do is put a ton of work into it.
If this sounds like you — someone who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend.
It’s called Ibotta, and it gives you cash back for buying certain items at the grocery store.
Before you shop, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus. Here’s how to get it: Create an account, shop like you normally do and snap a photo of you receipt. If you redeem 10 offers within 14 days, you’ll get that $20 bonus.
12. Get Paid to Lose Weight
Bottom line: A company called HealthyWage will literally pay you for losing weight.
Not only are you getting more healthy, you’re also making some money. How’s that for motivation?
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for HealthyWage.
- Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
- Place a bet on yourself ranging from $20 to $500 a month.
Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $10,000!
Wondering if it can really work? We talked to one woman, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds — and made over $2,400.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Start a Blog
The startup costs for blogs are minimal: Just secure your domain name and hosting — only $2.95 a 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 social media. Once you feel comfortable, you can monetize your blog through Google AdSense and affiliate programs for some nice passive income.
Sound appealing? Follow our seven-step guide to starting a blog.
16. 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.
17. 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.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt — you’ll be well on your way to your first gift card.
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. Sell Your Old Books for Amazon Gift Cards
Have old college textbooks taking up valuable shelf 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 textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
Happy working from home!