These 40 People Told Us How They Make Money Without Getting a Real Job

Woman spends time with her dog while earning money without a traditional job.
Eva Katalin Kondors / Getty Images
Honest Abe


Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

If you’re looking for a variety of ways to work from home, know you’re not the only one.

It’s a cutthroat work-from-home world out there. You’ve got to dodge the scams and take your time into consideration. Is one cent for an hour-long survey worth it? Probably not.

Warning: This post is a bit lengthy, so we suggest you slap a bookmark on it and make your way through it bit by bit — and watch your money add up in the process.

But we’re going to make the process a bit easier for you. Here are 40 ways real people have made money without a job.

  1. 1. Share Your Opinions (Not on Facebook, Please)

    These days, too many people resort to social media to share their opinion — wanted or not. But there are companies out there that do want to hear what you have to say. And they’ll pay you. Check these out:

    MyPoints: This platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.

    VIP Voice surveys are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Plan to login a few times each week. You’ll have no trouble earning an extra $30 a month with almost no work.

    Think of it as the perfect way to pass time during commercial breaks.

    Another option we like is Harris PollSign up for this online market research site and earn some cash for sharing your opinion on a variety of products.

    Most surveys pay between $3 and $4 each for 20 minutes of your time. Heck, you can even fill them out while you watch TV — nice way to earn money in your down time!

    Larger panels are hosted locally. These usually require two to four hours of your time — and you don’t get to watch Netflix while you’re at it — but they pay up to $75.

    To get started, you can sign up for Harris Poll here.

  2. 2. Slide into the Driver’s Seat

    Technically you’re going to have to leave your home to drive for a ride-sharing service.

    But that’s all right seeing as you can just plop into the driver’s seat — and you can make some pretty solid money…

    In fact, this guy makes $750 a week driving for Lyft.

    The perks are similar to a work-from-home job: You can set your own schedule and dictate just how much you work.

    Use Lyft’s calculator to find out how much you could make.

  3. 3. Stop Deleting Your Emails

    It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you serious money. Intrigued?

    One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — 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 archives 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 anytime there’s a price drop.

    Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping.

  4. 4. Monetize Your Love for Disney

    We’re from Florida, so we’ve seen firsthand that Disney fans are, well, fanatical.

    Don’t let all that love, passion or random trivia go to waste. There are several ways you can capitalize on it.


    • Apply to work from home for the Disney Store, a childhood — and maybe adulthood — mall favorite. The listing is currently open, but we don’t suspect it’ll stay that way long; Mufasa. (Get it? Move faster…?)
    • Keep an eye on open calls for Disney movies and commercials. These happen more frequently than you might suspect, and the perks are magical. (Like this one, which was casually located in Iceland.) Follow these sites for more: Auditions Free, Project Casting and Backstage.

    Keep up with any notable Disney happenings we find on our Facebook jobs page. (That’s where we share our favorites.)


  5. 5. Look for a Flexible Work-From-Home Job

    This post is all about branching out from that 9-to-5 grind, so one easy way is to find a flexible work-from-home job — one that allows you to set your own hours.

    Easier said than done.

    But we know a site where a stash of these jobs hide: Lionbridge.

    Now, you’ll have to act fast because these jobs are in high demand, but when you land one, it’ll be worth it.

    It hires for a number of work-from-home positions throughout the year, including, recently, data validators.

    Keep an eye on our Facebook jobs page for the latest opportunities.

    Keep tabs on what’s available, or simply submit your application. It’ll get in touch with you when it needs you!

  6. 6.Stop Doing Favors, and Rent Your Truck out Instead

    Remember how proud you felt when you bought that truck? You were on top of the world — until your family and friends started asking for favors: Can you help me move this weekend? Make a Home Depot haul for me? Tow that trailer full of trash to the dump?

    That big, empowering truck you bought has backfired. (Not literally, we hope.)

    Instead of feeling committed to all these favors for family, friends and friends of friends of friends, why not let someone rent your truck — and pay you per hour?

    Through the online peer-to-peer truck share marketplace Fluid Market, you can lend your truck to community members. Fluid Market reports earnings on longbed pickup trucks and cargo vans up to $12,000 a year.

    Here’s how Fluid works:

    • List your truck. Be sure to have the VIN and some quality photos available. If you do, the process takes about 10 minutes tops.
    • Promote your listing. Use anything and everything — from Facebook community groups to Nextdoor. Fluid says earnings are “notably higher” when someone self-promotes.
    • Manage your listing. Opt into the “instabook” setting, where users can automatically book your truck without pending your approval. Set up a lockbox for the keys, and bam. Passive income.

    Let’s address some concerns real quick. When you list on Fluid Market, it covers all vehicles with $300,000 in car rental liability insurance as well as coverage against theft and physical damage. You can also feel at ease because each renter’s identity is verified with a DMV background check. Payments come weekly, via direct deposit.

    And, hey, no heavy lifting required. Now when everyone flocks to you — err, your truck — nudge them over to your listing on Fluid Market.

  7. 7. Declutter Your Closet

    Or go crazy and tackle your garage.

    If you have boxes of old CDs, DVDs or videogames, think: When was the last time I touched these?


    Consider selling them on a buyback site like Decluttr. Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-ins!

    Next, move to your clothes. When was the last time you put that on?! List your clothing items on Letgo and market to locals in your area.

    Finally, let’s take a look at those books. We value books, sure, but sometimes you just don’t need those boxes of them. Contribute to our greater society and see how much they run for on BookScouter. It’ll tell you where you can sell what for how much — so you get the most money.

  8. 8. Get Paid to Lose Some Weight

    So this is the part where you scratch your head and say, “No way.”


    HealthyWage is a program that allows you to place a bet on your weight loss. The idea is that maybe, just maybe, a cash prize will motivate you.

    It has worked for many others.

    Take, for example, Angie Richards who bet herself she’d lose 40 pounds in six months. She ended up losing 52 pounds and won $1,200.

    Then there’s Katelyn Pincock and her husband Cort who bet $75 per month for six months. They ended up winning $3,000.

    Here’s another one who’s on the way to her goal — and the money:

    Unfortunately, the program doesn’t come with a magical diet or sweatless workout regimen. But hopefully cash can motivate you.

    See how much you could win by entering your information into the HealthyWage Prize Calculator.

  9. 9. Sign Up for a Cash-Back Site and Score $10

    Believe it or not, there are sites that will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.

    One of my favorites is Ebates, the cash-back shopping site. They’re giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate. You can choose a $10 gift card from Target, Walmart, Macy’s or Kohl’s.

    You do have to wait 30 days, but it’s free money so can you really complain? 🙂

  10. 10. Rent Out Your Space Through Airbnb

    Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out to visitors of your town.

    If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account with Airbnb.

    And if you don’t have a spare room, be creative. We even found a guy who earns $1,380/month renting out a backyard tent!

    Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

    (Hosting laws vary from city to city, so make sure you understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing. How much you actually make may vary with your pricing, type, and location of your listing, season, demand, and other factors.)

  11. 11. Launch Your Own Work-From-Home Business

    If you’re having trouble finding that solid work-from-home job to support yourself and perhaps your family, consider launching your own business.

    It’s not as difficult as it might sound, either. There are tons of online programs out there that’ll teach you the tools of the trade and how to get started.

    Let us share three of our favorites with you:

    • Strike up an online proofreading business with Proofread Anywhere. You can take notes from stay-at-home mom Joanna Kelley, who makes up to $1,200 a month.

    • Finally, consider transcribing with Transcribe Anywhere. That’s what Alaina Roth did, and she makes about $2,000 a month.

    Feeling empowered? Now’s the time!

  12. 12. Find a Work-From-Home Job in Any Industry

    Work-from-home jobs come in all shapes and sizes these days.

    Don’t know where to start? Peruse some of these sites. Those are the ones we use here at The Penny Hoarder, and we love ’em.

    But, while you’re poking around, be careful. Be sure you’re not getting entangled in any scams. Before applying to anything, you’ll need to ask yourself four questions.

  13. 13. Sell Your Photos

    Those thought-out photos you take can get you more than just Instagram “likes.”

    Consider uploading your iPhone photos to stock photography sites.

    You likely won’t become a millionaire; sites like Foap pay about $5 per purchase.

    However, if you have a nice camera, you can step up your game like Eliza Snow, who quit her corporate job to sell photos full time.

  14. 14. Hang Out With Your Favorite Fur Babies

    Pet-sitting is easier than ever with apps out there like Rover and DogVacay, which is also for cats; it doesn’t discriminate.

    You can set your own rates and market yourself to others in your area. You can opt for simple dog-walking or go all in and stay the night. Either way, you’ll set your own schedule.

    You could even take ’em to the local doggy bar, too, we suppose.

  15. 15. Sell Your Stuff Through Amazon Fulfillment

    We all knew those Beanie Babies and Furbies would be worth something one day, right?

    Well, maybe they’re not the cash cows we hoped, but if you have a stock of toys or other items like this, you could make some money selling them through Fulfillment by Amazon. You provide the goods, and FBA handles the rest, from storage and shipping to customer satisfaction.

    It’s one of the simplest ways to run an online business from home.

    Choose from Amazon’s categories to sell anything you want, ideally something you know well.

    The Penny Hoarder founder Kyle Taylor used to buy and resell toys, and he made $10,000 through FBA in November and December 2014!

    FBA offers a great opportunity to do a little bit of work around other daily tasks. It’s perfect if you want to make extra money around raising kids, doing housework or even a day job — or just clear your basement and clear out those old collections.

  16. 16. Start a Blog

    Just starting a blog isn’t as easy as it might sound. But it’s worth it if you’re willing to work for it.

    Do your research first.

    Just kidding. We already did it for you. Use this ultimate guide to understand what it takes to start a blog.

    Read more about affiliate marketing, which, fun fact, is how The Penny Hoarder got its start.

  17. 17. Review Images for Shutterstock

    Like looking at photos?

    Mountain landscapes? Cats? Food? Funky illustrations? Your own face?

    If you have some professional photography experience, but want a break from the field, a work-from-home job with Shutterstock could be perfect for you.

    Shutterstock offers millions of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos and has openings for work-from-home editorial image and illustration reviewers.

    As a reviewer, you’ll check images to be sure they meet Shutterstock’s guidelines before hitting the online stock image or illustration catalog. You’ll work from home on a freelance basis for about 25-30 hours per week.

    Interested? Apply here to review editorial images and here to review illustrations.

  18. 18. 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.

    In 2017, one South Carolina man hit the jackpot. He got a phone call from his state treasurer letting him know he was entitled to $763,000 in unclaimed money. That’s, like, 63 years of rent.

    We advise you to be careful of calls like this; they could be scams. But you can 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. Click your state on the map, and it’ll redirect you to your state’s appropriate search site. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

    Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search, and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name.

    “As I was scrolling through, I saw his name and his middle initial,” she says. She asked him to confirm his old Florida address; he grew up in Tampa. Sure enough, Mark Howell was entitled to $56 from a “matured insurance policy.”

    Kelli immediately searched her other family members’ names. Her husband was the only who had any money to claim. And, sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right? We’ll take it!

  19. 19. Walk Into (and Shop at) Stores

    Sick of shopping online and headed to a real, live store? Download the Shopkick app first.

    Once you sign up, the app pays you “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Target, Walmart, TJMaxx and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and more.

    It pays you even more “kicks” for scanning items in stores and purchasing them with a connected credit or debit card, as well as for scanning receipts and mobile shopping.

  20. 20. Hang Out in Someone Else’s House

    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. You can make big bucks by keeping someone’s house company. There are tons of websites out there that’ll help you find the perfect, gig, too.

    Check out a few of these.

  21. 21. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards

    Find an old gift card? Grandma get you another Starbucks gift card that you don’t need because you know that $10 can go a lot farther somewhere else?

    Consider selling it online.

    List your unused — or even partially-used — gift cards on a gift-card exchange site.

    Buyers use these sites to find a good deal on gift cards, and you get to turn that unwanted present into cash.

  22. 22. Grocery Shop for Someone Else

    Some people really enjoy grocery shopping. Like really.

    Perhaps they enjoy the methodical movements through the aisles or the sweet whiffs of cookies from the bakery.

    If you can relate, consider getting paid to do someone else’s grocery shopping through an app like Shipt.

    Last year, we chatted with Destiny Frith who’s delivered groceries through Shipt. She’s had an overall positive experience and says it’s an easy way to make extra money on her own schedule.

    She works about about 10 hours a week and says she’s earned up to $2,000 a week.

    Frith explains what it’s like to shop for Shipt and how to get started.

    Hey, you might even meet the love of your life.

  23. 23. Upload Videos to YouTube

    Is your cat hilarious? Or are you really good at impersonations? Maybe you like doing crazy stunts.

    Upload a video to Youtube.

    Contributor Steven Gillman did just that. He monetized his YouTube videos with Google AdSense. For example, he shot 10 videos about ultralight backpacking. No, they didn’t become huge hits, but he’s made more than $1,000 since uploading them.

    He outlines how you can start a YouTube channel.

  24. 24. Deliver Delicious Food

    If you’re not so keen on driving people around, then consider signing up to deliver food with UberEats.

    It’s recruiting drivers across the country. You’ll pick up food and drop it off to hungry patrons. Just be sure to air out your car every now and then.

    And don’t eat the fries.

    But do eat up all the details about the delivery service here.

  25. 25. Test Drive Cars

    Yes, you can get paid to test drive cars.

    Try looking into a mystery-shopping company like BestMark, which will pay you to go out and test drive cars. I mean, you’ll also have to listen to sales pitch, which isn’t as cool, but still.

    The Penny Hoarder founder, Kyle Taylor, used to do automotive mystery shopping and reported earning $60 for each dealership he visited. Not too bad for less than an hour of work!

  26. 26. Download These Apps

    A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone — and you’ll get paid for every month you keep them installed.

    The apps collect data and help companies better understand web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).


    • Nielsen Panel: If you have a PC, laptop or smartphone, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50 a year to keep its software on your device and browse the web like you normally do.
    • MobileXpressions for iPhones – After you’ve installed this app for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). We’ve seen users win a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.
    • MobileXpressions for Android – This one is the same as above, but for Android devices.
  27. 27. Earn Money Back When You Shop Online

    Dosh is a new cash-back app that pays you for making purchases at more than 100,000 hotels, online stores, and restaurants — including Starwood Properties, Marriott, Cost Plus World Market, Nike, Target, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and many more.  

    Here’s all you have to do:

    In addition to cash back, you can also collect a $25 bonus for booking your first hotel through the app, as well bonuses for referring friends and local businesses.

  28. 28. Write Love Letters Greeting Cards

    Even in this digital age, greeting cards are still “a thing,” and you can contribute.

    Some greeting card companies will pay you for your words, art or photos. We put together a list of eight card companies that’ll pay you up to $300 for submissions.

    You don’t even have to leave your computer!

  29. 29. Get Paid to Search the Web

    Become a search engine evaluator through Lionbridge, a company notorious for its work-from-home positions.

    Similar positions have paid $12 to $15 an hour, and at Lionbridge you’ll work part time — 10 to 20 hours a week on your own schedule.

    Find out more about the contract gig here.

    If it’s full by the time you get to it, be sure to search other work-from-home opportunities at Lionbridge or keep tabs on our Facebook jobs page.

  30. 30. Monetize Your Phone Addiction

    We’re constantly told we have a smartphone addiction in this country, but it’s not always a problem. You can get paid for it.

    Instead of a picture of your dog or some flowers on your lock screen, the Slidejoy app presents ads for various products and services. Like what you see? Swipe left on the ad to go straight to the advertiser’s website, YouTube video or app download page.

    If the ad doesn’t resonate with you — or if you’re in a hurry — simply swipe right to go to your phone as normal.

    It’s like a dating app for ads, except instead of nonsensical pick-up lines, you get paid for your swipes. You can earn up to $60 a year just by using your phone as you normally would.

    Download the app for your Android phone. (Sorry Apple addicts.)

  31. 31. Channel Your Favorite “Law & Order” Episode

    Fascinated by courtroom drama, but hate wasting the day in jury duty for a measly payout?

    Serve as an online mock juror to help lawyers prepare for real cases.

    You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time. Instead of hearing arguments from both sides of the case, you review the evidence like documents, videos and photos — at your computer.

  32. 32. Deliver Packages for Amazon Same-Day

    Amazon Flex is that service you’re utilizing when you choose one-hour delivery.

    Flex needs drivers across the country. It’ll be your job to pick up packages from your local Amazon facility and deliver them to locals who use that one-hour delivery option.

    It’s like a pizza delivery job — but you never know what people are going to order from Amazon. Plus, your car won’t stink.

    You can read all about the requirements on Amazon Flex’s FAQ page. Then sign up. If Flex isn’t recruiting in your area, you can always join the waitlist.

    Take a look at some more information here.

  33. 33. Enter Writing Contests

    If you have a way with words, consider making money by submitting your fiction, nonfiction or poetry to writing contests.

    Nope, writing contests aren’t just for middle school students. There are tons of year-round competitions including a few of these from last year.

    Learn the ups and downs of submitting your work to writing contests. Then start your own search on a site like Write Jobs.

  34. 34. Design Your Own Stamps

    Not like the mail kind — the rubber kind.

    If you love to draw, submit your work to Stamp Press, “a world of exciting craft stamps!”

    You don’t need to be a professional artist, either. It encourages those who simply love doodling or sketching to submit their art.

    “So if you’re always doodling after putting the kids to bed or you have a sketchpad of things you’ve drawn for art college then we’d be really interested in hearing from you,” it writes.

    Read more about how to submit your designs and get paid here.

  35. 35. Complete Random Tasks for Cash

    When we say random, we mean random…

    Fiverr is an online platform that allows people to sell their products and services for $5 each. How you make money online with this platform depends on your own unique skillset. More and more folks are using it as a way to leverage the internet to earn cash; Fiverr boasts 4,000 new listings (or gigs) each day.

    Tasks are broken down by categories. Here are a few examples of what you might find under “Fun & Lifestyle”:

    • A unique gift idea
    • To send you a telepathic message
    • To write your message on their chest while playing a kazoo
    • To prank call anyone
    • Balloon popping

    OK, so some are totally silly, but people have made some big bucks using the platform — like Charmaine Pocek, who quit her full-time job and banked $1 million.

    If you want to get started, take some tips from other freelancers on how to make the most money with Fiverr.

  36. 36. Squirrel Away Your Change

    In a world of credit cards, spare change is a little more rare; our piggy banks have been looking a little thin.

    But that’s OK because Acorns is an investment app that collects your spare change and dumps it into investments for you.

    You can connect your most-used debit or credit card, and Acorns rounds up your purchases and squirrels away the change.

    For example, if you go to the grocery store and pay $32.02 for groceries, 98 cents of that will go into Acorns.

    This adds up.

    When you sign up, you’ll get $5.

  37. 37. Earn Up to $30/Day With “In-Theater Checks”

    I actually got paid $30 to attend one of the Harry Potter movie premieres. And it’s the fifth movie premiere I’ve been paid to attend. Let me explain.

    Theaters and movie studios are interested in collecting data about the audience that attends their movie premieres. They want to know how many people buy tickets on opening day, what screening time is most popular and what previews are being shown. And they want independent data from third-party evaluators.

    They are known as “in-theater checks” and to apply, you’ll need to fill out an application with one of the largest mystery shopping companies, Certified Field Associates. The application is just a few questions long and nearly everyone in the United States and Canada is eligible to be hired.

    (Note: I get a lot of questions about how to know if a mystery shopping company is real. Here’s a hint: you should never have to pay a fee to join! That’s a big red flag!)

    Once you’ve been accepted as a new auditor with Certified Field Associates, you will want to keep a close eye on their online assignment list. As new assignments become available, they will be posted to that list. If you find a movie that you would like to attend, you have the ability to self-assign the project to yourself.

    “In-theater checks” don’t have huge paydays attached to them, but you can usually expect to make between $10-20 per hour.

  38. 38. Play Cupid

    Have you ever played matchmaker? It’s thrilling when you can smoosh two friends together, and it actually works out.

    You can get paid for this talent now, as a matchmaker with Tawkify. The matchmaking service is always open to hiring more matchmakers to join the team.

    Some matchmakers, it claims, make up to $100,000 a year.

  39. 39. Put Your Useless Knowledge to, Well, Use

    Are you the one who carries your trivia team to the end? (There’s always one of those in the group.)

    Rather than winning a free beer coupon from the local dive bar, start playing Perk Pop Quiz. It’s an app that allows you to play trivia for points. Those points can then be exchanged for gift cards to your favorite stores (like Amazon!).

    Unfortunately, you won’t get rich doing this (though one claims it’s saved her life), but you can make an extra $15 to $20 a month, which will cover your bar tab come next trivia night.

  40. 40. Strike Up a Micro-Investing Account

    The thought of investing might be intimidating, but micro-investing apps can make it easy. And you don’t need an exorbitant amount of money to start. Actually, some of these apps hand you a bonus to start.

    Take Stash as an example. It’s free to download, and you’ll bank a $5 bonus when you sign up.

    You can set your account to automatically deposit money. For example, set it to withdraw $5 from your checking account each week. It adds up. And the investing is done for you with “Auto-Stash.” Do note there is a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.

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