29 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 2021
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 32 legitimate ways to earn extra cash from home.
1. 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 browser extension and 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 Walmart or Target’s websites — 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 download the free extension, create a free 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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 will pay you 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 their website for a full list to see if 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. 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.
6. Search for Unclaimed Money
State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.
To take matters into your own hands and see if you have any unclaimed money floating around, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. He was entitled to $56 from a “matured insurance policy.”
Sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right? We’ll take it!
7. Find Out if You’re Overpaying
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
That’s exactly what Capital One Shopping does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension 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. Get Paid for Your Screen Time
We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?
But there are companies that will pay you for all that screen time, like Bread. Bread is new on the block, but we like that you can earn up to $450 a year on the site.
You earn your first $1 just for filling out a profile questionnaire, and then you can easily cash out to PayPal once you’ve earned $5.
10. Turn Your Junk Mail Into Cash
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 cash.
The “Small Business Knowledge (SBK) Center” is a market research company that wants to get a peep insight 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 extra cash, but you can earn up to $20 every six to 10 weeks.
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 $5 sign-up bonus. Here’s how to get it: Create an account, shop like you normally do and snap a photo of you receipt. Once you upload your first receipt, you’ll get that $5 bonus.
12. 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.
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.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.
14. 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.
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 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.
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 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
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.
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.
21. 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.
22. 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 ryour 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.
23. 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.
24. 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).
25. 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.
26. Get Paid up to $25/Hour as a Transcriptionist
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 get 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.
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 online 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 wears 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 online 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 online claim form, you may have to wait a few weeks or months before receiving your payment.
Psst — we regularly post new class-action settlement information, so check in often to make sure you’re not missing a chance to get paid!
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!