The 5 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2014

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.

Welcome to 2014!! Like every year, the holidays did quite the number on both my bank account and waistline. Bah.

I definitely can’t help you with the waistline (and it’s -4 today in Maine, so there’s no chance I’m going to start working on mine today).

But, I can help you make a little extra cash this month.

So for all of us that need a little help paying off that Christmas debt or getting a jump on the 2014 budget, I’ve put together a list of some of favorite tips from the last few months. Without further ado…

The 5 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2014


1. Get Paid to Scan Your Groceries

homescanThis one is also through the Nielsen company and this division will pay you to report the purchases you make at the grocery store each week. Crazy, right?

Once you sign up to become a Homescan family, the company will send you a free scanner (like the one pictured to the left). Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen. Pretty easy, huh?

If you want to give it a try, you can fill out the application here: Nielsen Homescan Application

As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise.  You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items, and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points towards prizes.

You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes.  Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles.  This is a great way to make your consumer voice count and be rewarded handsomely for recording your purchases.  You’re already going to the grocery store anyway, right? 

2. Earn Extra Money by Taking Surveys, Listening to the Radio, Reading Emails, etc.

Listening to music on iPod

One of my favorite ways to make some extra money is with There are a number of websites that will pay you to read advertiser’s emails, sign up for offers, and take surveys. I’ve tried about a million of them, but there are only a few of them that I would recommend. Inbox Dollars is one of those companies.

It’s free to join Inbox Dollars and best of all, they give you $5 just for signing up. They’ll even pay you up to $120/year just to listen to their radio station.

Inbox Dollars just requires that you accumulate $30 in earnings before you can “cash-out” and they pay you by sending a check.

Some sample offers include one that asks you to sign up for a email newsletter from AMF Bowling. That pays 50 cents and takes about 15 seconds. Another offer asks you to sign up for a free account at to earn $3.50. These are simple and there are nearly a hundred of them to choose from. If you are interested in giving Inbox dollars a try, visit the sign-up page here to get started (open to every country). 

survey3. Take a Survey with MySurvey

Most of you know that I hate survey companies. 🙂

There are so many scammy sites out there and often times taking a survey is little pay for a lot of work. However, one of the exceptions I make is with MySurvey.

They’re one of the oldest online survey companies and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

The reason I like MySurvey so much is that they pay you for even the surveys you don’t qualify for. You see, most survey companies make you take a “qualifying survey” before you are given access to the paid survey. And if you don’t meet the qualifications for that particular survey, you earn nothing (despite the fact that you spent 5 annoying minutes answering questions).

MySurvey is different – even if you aren’t given access to the full survey, they will stay pay you for answering the questions in the qualifying survey. Pretty cool, huh? Now, you’re not going to get rich answering surveys, but it can be a fun way to make an extra couple hundred dollars a year. Heck, I do them as I’m watching TV. 🙂

Signup for here(USA only)

Update 3/23: Several readers have written me to suggest Ipsos Panel as well. In addition to surveys, they occasionally send you free products to test as well. Sounds promising…

4. Try Banking at Nationwide 

Update July 2015: This offer has now expired.

The fine folks over at Nationwide bank are giving every reader of The Penny Hoarder a free $200 in cash if you open a checking account with them today!

I love taking advantage of checking account bonuses, because not only are they an easy way to make a little extra cash, but they give me a separate place to save for things like Christmas presents, vacations, and new cars.

And the Nationwide checking account is pretty awesome. They’re interest rate is 3x higher than what most banks will give you, plus you can use any ATM in the world for free (6x a month). Here’s the link.

You’ll need to deposit $50 to get started and use the offer code 03110470 (you can withdraw your fifty bucks later)

To get the $200 bonus, you’ll need to set up an automatic monthly direct deposit of at least $200 into your E-Checking account. Your monthly direct deposit of $200 must be received within 60 days of opening the account. The account must remain open for at least 90 days to receive the $200 bonus. The $200 bonus will be deposited into your new account within 2 weeks following the 90 day minimum requirement! You must open your account by December 31, 2014 in order to get the $200 bonus.

5. Make Money by Hunting for Used Books

Most people know that you can sell your used college textbooks on buyback sites like Amazon. But did you know that there are a growing number of people who are hunt for novels at garage sales, estates sales, and library sales and then resell them to the online retailers for a higher price?

Here’s how it works:
First, de-clutter your own house with unwanted books to get the feel of how this works. Now, not every book holds value and therefore some books you may end up having to send to the Goodwill. You should also know that there are several sites which purchase books so I recommend that you check a few so can find out who has the best offer. My favorite site has always been

Once you get started on one of the websites you’ll notice that they ask you to enter in a the 10-digit ISBN number. It’s located right above the book’s UPC number and it acts as a unique serial number for books. Each site will then spit out a cash offer for your book. You’ll need to pick the book with the highest offer and then ship the book to them. They will pay for the shipping – you simply print out a prepaid shipping label from their site and within a couple of weeks you will receive a check back in the mail or a deposit in your Paypal account. Pretty easy, huh?

Now for the hunting…
Your job is to head to the local garage sales, flea markets, library sales, etc. and look for books that are cheap enough that they can be resold for a profit. It used to be that you needed to be a bit of a used book expert to know which books to buy. Certainly you don’t want to start buying books that you can’t easily resale. However, it has now gotten so easy that you can use your smartphone to look up the value of a book before purchasing it. A few of the sites like BookScouter even have a mobile app that allows you to enter the ISBN number and get a cash offer on the spot. You can use it as you shop.

Just think of the earnings potential. If you are at a garage sale that is selling books for .25 a piece and you  find a dozen that are worth $3-$5 you will make upwards of $50 just for visiting that one garage sale. It’s awesome and it’s no wonder why a few people are starting to make a living out of used book hunting.


Nothing on this page is going to get you rich, but sometimes it’s just about making a few extra hundred dollars each month, right?  So get to work and have an awesome 2014!

Good luck Penny Hoarders!