4 Bizarre Ways These People Earned a Collective $8K+ — Without Leaving Home

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Most people make money by doing their jobs. Some earn income through investments. Others sell blood. A select few make their living robbing banks, but we don’t recommend that.

And then there are the people who find bizarre, outside-the-box ideas to make money — ways you might not have heard of. Today we’re going to look at four people who collectively earned about $8,000 that way.

Here’s the kicker: They did it without even leaving home.

All She Did Was Keep Her Emails to Bank $22

Susan Shain explores Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla
Susan Shain in Tampa, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Writer Susan Shain is a notorious email saver. She never deletes anything.

That came in handy when she tried out Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases.

It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it scans your email 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 when there’s a price drop.

When Shain tried it out, she earned $22 in refunds in just a few months. All she did was shop online like she normally would.

That’s all she did — shop online.

Turns out there’s lots of weird ways to make money.

She’s Earned $600 From Surveys

The first time Sarah Houston tried an online survey site called InboxDollars, it didn’t do much for her. For whatever reason, she didn’t really take to it.

“I didn’t get in the habit,” she says. “I wasn’t logging on, so I never got a check from them.”

A few years later, she tried it again while looking for side gigs to make extra cash. Since then, Houston has turned herself into an InboxDollars whiz. She’s earned $600 on the site in three years, and she has the screenshots to prove it.

The 26-year-old nanny and business student at Virginia Commonwealth University has gotten into the habit of logging on to take surveys in the morning, then doing it again when she’s watching TV at night. Persistence is how she makes it pay off.

“I get the majority of my earnings from surveys,” she says. “They run the gamut from financial services to radio music to food to restaurants to shopping.”

This Dad Won $5,000 Playing Monopoly

Oneil Campbell shows his 5-year old daughter Anikka how to play the Lucktastic app on his cell phone.
Oneil Campbell shows his 5-year old daughter Annika how to play the Lucktastic app on his cell phone. Katherine Taylor for The Penny Hoarder

When he got a phone call saying he’d won $5,000, Oneil Campbell immediately assumed it was a scam.

“At first, I was going to do what I usually do — hang up the phone,” Campbell says. “You always get these calls saying, ‘Oh, you’ve won a $5 million lotto, but you’ve got to send us a check for $1,000 first.’”

But he stayed on the phone just long enough to hear the caller mention an important word: “Lucktastic.”

Campbell stayed on the line. He frequently plays Lucktastic, a free app that generates virtual scratch-off tickets with real prizes. You can also play games and enter contests on the app.

Campbell had entered a Monopoly Boardwalk contest on the app — the $5,000 he won was no scam, after all.

Of course, with anything that has to do with luck, remain realistic about the odds. Several of us here at The Penny Hoarder have played Lucktastic and have walked away with $1.

But Lucktastic says you can win up to $10,000, and it boasts 1 million winners who have taken home a collective $3 million to date.

She Made $2,415 Losing Weight

In December 2015, Teresa Suarez’s weight hit 266 pounds. It was time to make a change.

“I knew I could be at 300 pounds within months,” she recalled. “I was depressed and constantly getting hurt.”

She had joined a gym, but she never went. Looking for ways to boost her motivation, she came across an article about getting paid for losing weight. That’s how she found HealthyWage.

Six months later, she had lost 68 pounds. She bet $125 per month that she’d lose 60 pounds in six months. When that final weigh-in confirmed her success, Teresa won $2,415.

Here’s how it works:

  • Start at the HealthyWage Prize Calculator. Enter how much weight you want to lose, how long you’ll take, and how much you want to bet.
  • Lay down your bet. You agree to pay the monthly amount ($20 to $150) for the duration of the challenge (six to 18 months).
  • Start and end your challenge with a video-recorded weigh-in. Achieve your goal, and win your prize!

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes to make money.

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