32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home
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So you need a way to make money from home. Hey, join the crowd. Nearly 4 million Americans are working from home these days. That’s more than the population of Oregon, Utah or Iowa.
In other words, there’s an invisible army of us clocking in and sitting down at our keyboards at home. A 2015 Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans have telecommuted in their careers — four times as many as in 1995.
Problem is, we all know the internet is chock full of work-from-home scams. So many ripoffs! Seriously, it’s like the Wild West out there, except there’s no Lone Ranger to put things right.
When you’re working from home, you’re truly on your own. You’ve got to look out for yourself, ’cause no one else will.
How to Make Money From Home
With that in mind, we’re trying to do you a solid.
We’ve scoured through thousands of different ideas to find you 32 unique ways to make money from home. I guarantee there are some in here you’ve never heard of.
The important thing is: These methods are all road-tested. These are all ideas we’ve tried before, so we know they’re real and that you’ll really get paid.
Here are 32 legitimate ways to make money from home:
1. Play the Slots — and Build Your Savings
There’s something so titillating about playing digital slot machines. You watch the columns go ’round and ’round as you hold out hope that you’ll hit the money bags and win big.
Of course, you never do win, and you end up spending way more than you’d planned.
There’s a new app on the market, though, that combines playing slots and saving money. Right — it seems 100% counterintuitive, but it’s really cool.
We’re talking about Long Game Savings. Download it for free for iOS or Android.
You’ll create an account, verify your identity and connect your bank account. Set how much you’d like to automatically save each pay day, as little as $5. Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.
You’ve got tons of options — from slot machines to scratch-offs to spin-to-win wheels. Your deposits earn you coins you’ll use to play and hopefully win more coins to play more games or even cash prizes, which will automatically go into your Long Game Savings account.
If you run out of coins to play with, you can opt to deposit more money into your savings or you can wait until next pay day when your auto-savings will kick in.
2. Get Paid to Give Your Opinion
Surveys aren’t the best way to make money fast. But there’s a certain appeal to clicking a few buttons and earning money when you’d otherwise be doing nothing. Here’s our recommendation: Sign up for these legitimate survey sites all at once. Chances are, you’ll qualify for at least one or two surveys on each site a month, and the rewards will add up.
Here are some of our favorite paid survey sites:
- What sets Opinion Outpost apart from other survey sites is it gives away $40,000 every year. It has a quarterly drawing for a $10,000 cash prize — and for every survey you complete, you’ll get one entry into the sweepstakes!
- InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys you can take. If you take all of them each day, you could earn an extra $730 a year — not too bad.
- Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get $5 just for signing up and taking your first survey
3. Invest in Real Estate (You Don't Have to Be Rich)
Not everyone has “buy a house” kind of money.
You don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started with Fundrise. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500, and Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.
Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.
This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).
(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)
You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.
4. Get $5 to Start Saving
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 fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus to get started.
5. Get Paid to Watch TV
InboxDollars lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows.
The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.
6. 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.
7. Earn Up to $60/Hour as a Part-Time Bookkeeper
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.
And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.
8. Download This on Your Phone (That's It!)
A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone or computer — this is a great way to boost your passive income!
After you’ve installed this app on your smartphone 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.
The app collects data and helps 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).
9. Get $5 to Set Your Savings on Autopilot
Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change.
You can start small — with $5 — and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets set aside for your Acorns account.
Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up and make your first investment!
Contributor CJ Reid started by accepting roundups of less than $0.50, such as her $3.60 cup of coffee.
“Rounding up 40 cents here and 25 cents there moves me swiftly enough to $5 so that I can begin investing without putting myself into the red,” she says.
Once your roundups reach $5, that amount will be transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio.
“Acorns makes it easy to invest by removing the responsibility of choosing individual investments or worrying about trades,” Reid explains. “You don’t need any previous investment knowledge or history.”
And once you get the process automated, Acorns investments make your digital change work for you.
“With a conservative portfolio,” Reid says, “I turned $15 into $19 within a few weeks.”
Interested in investing your own spare change? Check out our full Acorns guide for the details.
10. Earn Cash Back on Groceries, Beauty and More
Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.
Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.
When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:
- 25 cents back for any item.
- 25 cents back on strawberries
- $1.50 back on Energizer batteries.
- $2 back on L’Oreal hair color.
- $3 back on Pampers pull-ups.
- $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer.
Notice some of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
11. Play Virtual Pinball to Bump(er) Your Savings
For most, saving money is the furthest thing from fun. After all, it means you’re taking money away from cool stuff you want to do today and putting it toward adult things, like an emergency fund.
But we found an app that makes the saving process actually kind of, sort of fun. It’s called WinWin. Let us explain…
First, download the app (for iOS only), and WinWin will walk you through how it all works, but here’s the gist: You’ll automate your savings, plus play games for chances to win more money to boost your savings.
You can earn instant prizes by playing the daily games (think: classics like pinball and breakout). The more often you play, the more chances you have to win daily prizes — which include free plays (i.e. another chance to win) and cash prizes between 10 cents and $5 that go into your WinWin savings account.
So you’re saving money — and playing for a chance to win even more. Fun, right?
The app is free to download. You could score your first month free (depending on the outcome of your first game: pinball, word search, whack-a-mole or brick-breaker), then it costs $2 per month after that. Note: You can withdraw your money or cancel your account at any time.
Pro tip: If you’re having trouble getting the pinball into the right hole, tap the pause button at the top-left side of your screen. Turn on easy mode.
12. Let Someone Borrow Your Place for the Night
Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are a few tips:
- Airbnb covers you with a $1,000,000 host guarantee as well as penalty-free cancellations if you’re uncomfortable with a reservation.
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
- Be a good host and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
13. Sell Your Old Clothes, Accessories and More
Do you still have a prom outfit from, like, 10 years ago?
It’s never going to fit — or come into style — again, but something just keeps holding you back from sending it to Goodwill.
Maybe money could change your mind. Instead of storing clothes indefinitely, try selling them.
One app we especially like is Letgo.
You know all those unused frocks, jumpers, peasant tops and jean jackets that are currently raising an army of dust bunnies in your closet? You can literally list them in less than a minute.
14. Earn Money for Shopping on Amazon
Calling all Amazon shoppers!
This is such an easy, passive way to rake in an extra $36 a year. ShopTracker, one of the leading public opinion research companies, wants you to share your Amazon purchase history. And you’ll be paid for every month you share!
When you sign up for ShopTracker, it keeps your private information, well, private. All it wants to see is your order information.
To earn your first gift card today:
- Sign up, and download the ShopTracker app on your Windows computer and Apple or Android phone. It takes about two minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your Amazon use to qualify.
- Open the app and log in to your Amazon account to automatically share your purchase history. You’ll receive your Visa e-gift card code for $3 via email within 48 hours.
- Take a couple of minutes to share your purchase history to earn another $3 each month.
15. Earn up to $350 Opening a Second Bank Account
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 July 16, 2018, so you’ll need to complete the application at a brick-and-mortar location before then.
- Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit.
- Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings(SM) account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 10 days, and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. You’re not required to open the savings account to earn the $200 Chase checking bonus.
Check out our list of the best bank promotions to find more banks in your area that are offering free cash.
16. Find Hourly Gigs
If you’re looking for hourly gigs, try signing up for ShiftGig. The platform connects workers to gigs in a number of industries, including food service, hospitality, retail and customer service.
Here’s how it works:
- Download the app and apply. You’ll talk about yourself, your interests and your experience.
- The Shiftgig team will review your application, and, if you pass, you’ll be onboarded. (It’ll also perform a background check on you.)
- If you’re approved, you can start searching through available shifts in your area.
17. Sell Your CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Video Games and Electronics
Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them! Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods.
One user, Gil Flores, sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs and made $275 — an average of $1.57 each.
Just download the app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use; there are no listing or seller fees; payment is super fast and there's even free shipping.
Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-ins!
18. Flex Your Mental Muscles
Have you added a ton of random knowledge to your repertoire over the years? Use it to earn some cash.
With the QuizXT app, you can test your smarts on topics like sports, history, music and more. You’ll earn rewards points that you can cash out via PayPal for every answer you get right — so study up, Poindexter!
The app also pays you for taking surveys and playing other games. We know you’re hanging out on your phone, anyway — why not get paid to do it?
Itching to show off the history lessons you’ve learned watching “The Crown?” We thought so.
19. Get Paid to Lose 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 goals. The idea is that if nothing else, maybe, just maybe, a cash prize will motivate you.
It's 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 winning $1,200.
Then there’s Katelyn Pincock and her husband, Cort, who each bet $75 per month for six months. They ended up winning $3,000.
Unfortunately, the program doesn’t come with a magical diet or sweatless workout regimen. But hopefully the potential to win some cash will help you keep your eyes on the prize.
20. Get Paid for Window Shopping
No extreme physical activity or pulled muscles required for this money-making trick. All you need to do is download the Shopkick app.
Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.
It pays you even more “kicks” for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. Bonus: You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.
We’ve got an ultimate guide to using Shopkick here.
21. Drive Folks Around Town
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?
Try driving with Uber! Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
As a driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you’re under 23 years old), have a valid driver’s license and pass a background check. Also, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.
Because it's simple to switch between apps, many drivers also sign up with Lyft.
We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.
Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!
To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.
22. 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!
Make 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.
23. Get Paid to Rent Out Your Car
Want to make money with your car… but not keen on playing taxi? Let folks rent your car when you’re not using it.
OK, that sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.
That’s more assurance than you get when your teenager gets behind the wheel…
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up with your Facebook account to rent out your car here.
- Set your own rates and availability.
- You’ll get a notification when someone books your car.
- Your car will be equipped with a Getaround Connect™, so renters will be able to locate, unlock and lock your car from their mobile phone during the trip period. No need to meet in person to exchange keys.
Like many side gigs that involve your car, some car owners worry about the costs for things like gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. With Getaround, renters are responsible for refilling the fuel used on the trip.
We also checked in with the company to see what it’s doing to address car owners’ concerns, and the CEO Sam Zaid told us, “Fortunately, customer feedback is one of the best ways we can learn and grow. We take feedback seriously and prioritize product updates based on our conversations with owners and renters.”
So don’t be afraid to share your experience to make this an even better platform for car owners and renters.
Plus, fewer cars on the road means less traffic and less pollution, so kudos!
24. Rent out Your RV
How many people do you know who bought an RV for one awesome camping trip or music festival… only to look back a few years later and realize they don’t use it as much as they thought they would?
If you’re in that boat (er, camper), you can turn your unused RV into cash.
You can rent your RV to other travelers through RVshare, a peer-to-peer rental marketplace.
Those who’ve listed their motorhome — everything from a class-A to a travel-trailer — have made an extra $5,000 to $30,000 each year, according to RVshare. Some have even pocketed an extra $365 in one day.
In addition to the nice stream of passive income, other perks to renting your camper out through the marketplace include:
- Free 24/7 roadside assistance, so you don’t have to worry about a renter calling you up for a tow.
- Flexible scheduling, so you can set the rental schedule and pricing.
- Rental insurance, so you don’t have to worry about any liabilities.
To see how much you could earn by renting your RV out, snag a free estimate in just a few minutes. Then, snap photos of your RV, upload your insurance, and boom — you could be making money.
25. Hang out at Bars
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And pays you. To drink beer.
Sound too good to be true?
Secret Hopper is a relatively new company that invites beer lovers to secret shop at breweries and rate their experience. Were you greeted when you came in? Did they offer a sampler? Did the bartender engage you in conversation?
There's a rather extensive questionnaire you fill out after visiting the brewery, so it helps to review it beforehand. The Penny Hoarder's own Tyler Omoth tried it out for himself. Read more about his experience here.
To signing up, just go to the web page and fill out the simple form with your age, gender and general beer knowledge.
There are plenty of other types of mystery shops, as well. Choose what fits your schedule so you can pick up retail shopping and restaurants, too, if you want to round out your day.
26. Sell Your Trash
Americans throw away approximately 266 million tons of trash every year, and it turns out we might as well be throwing away cash.
There’s a reason dumpster diving has become so popular in recent years, and it’s because things you think are worth nothing often do have value.
Anything from your empty wine bottles to old magazines can be sold online. Here's a full list of the things in your trash that might be worth cash.
27. Protect Your Free Time by Working From Home
For some people, working from home offers the most perfect scenario. Maybe it cuts your one-hour commute down to, well, nothing. Maybe it allows you to see your kids more often.
Whatever it is (even if it’s that you get to spend more time with your cat — valid reasoning), the most difficult part can be landing that perfect work-from-home job.
We recommend starting your search with ZipRecruiter.
28. Make Your Own Schedule as a Data-Entry Clerk
Data entry isn’t the best-paying online job, but it is one you can do with few skills or previous experience.
Typically, all you need is a computer and internet connection. Fire up a pot of coffee and find online data-entry jobs through these freelancing sites:
29. Become a Dog Masseuse
We’ve talked before about ways to get paid to spend time with cats and dogs, but this is a new one: pet massage.
That’s right — some people earn money for massaging animals. It might sound a little strange, but apparently many cats and dogs enjoy a good massage as much as humans do.
If you like petting your furry friends, why not explore this option? With a bit of training, you can make $50 per hour as a pet massage therapist. Here's how to get started.
30. Sell Board Game Pieces
Ever seen a board game in the thrift store but noticed with great sadness it was missing half the pieces?
You might want to put the game in your shopping cart anyway. One Penny Hoarder made $250 in six months selling spare board game pieces online. You can even sell “mystery bags” of pieces for $12 a pop!
It might take some time for your listings to sell, but if you follow Laura’s guide, you can probably make $100 in about three months.
31. Write Slogans for Major Companies
Can you sum up a product in a sentence? Think of something funny — and not another joke about too many candles — to put on a birthday card? Make a point in few concise words?
If so, you might be able to make money writing slogans.
Companies sometimes need new corporate taglines, advertising slogans and jingles. Bumper sticker and greeting card makers want cute, endearing or funny thoughts to put on their products.
When these businesses need help, they sometimes collect submissions from freelance writers or run contests anyone can enter — including you.
32. Collect Points for Gift Cards Through Drop
Pssstt… we’ve got a secret.
There’s a new rewards platform on the market. Drop is a financial-tech company that automatically rewards you for your purchases.
As an exclusive Drop user, all you have to do is link your credit and debit cards. When you make a Drop-qualified purchase, you’ll automatically earn points, whether you’re grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, hailing an Uber or ordering a pizza
The points will add up, and you can then exchange them for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon and Starbucks. It’s the ultimate loyalty card — without the card.
*Fine print from Chase:
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.
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