8 Creative Ways to Pay Rent When You Think You’re out of Money

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Have you ever had to move back in with your parents as a (mostly) fully functioning human adult?

Yeah, we’re telling you from experience: You’re not going to want to.

Even if you consider your parents life’s built-in best friends, it’s not the most pleasant experience. They barge into your room while you’re changing. Nope, no knocking — just want to see what’s up.

They hint at curfews and frown upon hangovers. They let you know when you’ve disappointed them… All that high school angst bubbles up and — sometimes, in an ugly way — over.

Sound like fun? Didn’t think so. Most adult children don’t move back home by choice. It’s usually because money’s tight.

Creative Ways to Make Your Rent Payment on Time

Here are some of our most creative tricks to help you make rent on time — so you never have to experience that teenage angst again.

1. Trade Your Skills for Reduced Rent

If you can paint or fix things or are willing to learn, you might talk your landlord into giving you cheaper rent in exchange for working on their place.

Offer to maintain the yard and landscaping, or to keep up with painting the property. When other residents move out, roll up your sleeves and help clean the apartment so it’s ready for the next person.

These odd jobs take just a couple of hours each week and may save you a decent percentage on your monthly rent.

Why should the landlord outsource this work to other businesses when you live right there? Trading your skills or time for reduced rent could help make that monthly payment just a little less painful.

2. Get Paid Every Time You Swipe Your Debit Card

Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Shoes? Cash back. Wine? Cash back. Groceries? Cash. Back. Just for swiping your debit card.

With Aspiration, you’ll get access to its spend and save account — plus its perks, including 0.5% cash back on all your purchases when you use your Aspiration debit card.

And the perks don’t stop there. You’ll also earn up to 2.00% APY on your savings, get reimbursed for any ATM fees and only pay what you think is fair, as little as $0 a month.

3. Play the Lotto (for Free)

scratch-off tickets
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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 app called Lucktastic. 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, enter contests and play games.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. 

4. Watch Movie Previews

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Most of you already know about InboxDollars, but did you know that it will pay you to watch movie previews, celebrity videos, the latest news and dozens of other videos? Plus, you’ll get a bonus $5 just for signing up.

You need to watch all of the shows in a specific playlist to earn your bucks, so be prepared. InboxDollars lets you know how long the playlist runs before you start watching, and playlists range from a few minutes to about a half hour.

The availability is subject to change, but it’s possible to earn up to $225 a month watching these videos!

5. Ask for Help

The arms of two people are shown extending toward one another beneath a shining sun and palm trees.
Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

For starters, if you’ve really exhausted all your options, try calling a local resource line for help. Seriously, there’s no shame in it.

Start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way that’ll help you find the resources you need to find affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities. It’s there for people like you.

To use the service, head to 211.org and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call. It’s a clearinghouse for help with food, housing, utilities and employment. If you’ve never asked for help before, that means you don’t know what kind of help is out there.

You can also look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants, which are designed for workers just about the poverty line who are ineligible for most other forms of social assistance.

6. Share Your Opinions for Extra Cash

Young woman lying down on a hammock, using her smartphone and relaxing.
SolStock/Getty Images

Online surveys won’t make you rich, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or rewatching your favorite “Star Wars” movie for the 113th time — why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks?

One option? MyPoints.

You can earn gift cards for taking polls and filling out surveys. Once you complete your first five surveys, you’ll earn a $5 bonus.

7. Earn up to $1,000 Hanging out With Dogs

A dog sits on his heels and stares into the camera, smiling
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — pet sitting through Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover says sitters can earn as much as $1,000 a month.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

8. Score a $200 Bonus When You Open This Account

A woman holding a fanned out pile of large bills.
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Visit this Chase Total Checking® page** to apply online, or enter your email address to get a unique coupon to take with you to open your account at any Chase branch.

This coupon expires on Oct. 15, 2019, so you’ll need to complete the application before then.

  • Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit.
  • This offer is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Editorial Disclosure

This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Pro.

**Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance. To receive the $200 checking bonus: 1) Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval; 2) Deposit $25 or more at account opening; AND 3) Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening.  Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above requirements, we’ll deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. You can only receive one new checking account-related bonus per calendar year. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.

Account Closing: If your checking account is closed within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.