Listen – we all know the internet is full of “make money at home” scams, so we’ve scoured through thousands of different ideas to find you 32 legitimate ones.
These are all ideas that we’ve done before, so we know that they’re real and that you’ll get paid. Plus, I guarantee there are some in here that you’ve never heard of…
1. Give Your Opinion to Make $100+/Month
Most of you know surveys aren’t our favorite way to make extra money, but we make an exception when we’re just vegging out on the couch. We figure as long as we’re just watching TV, there’s no reason we can’t click a few buttons at the same time.
Swagbucks is one of the only legitimate paid survey companies out there (they’re rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau). Plus we like that they give you $5 just for joining their panel.
I’ve heard some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10-15 minutes, making it pretty easy to earn $100 or more per month.
2. Grab A Free $10 Gift Card from Wal-Mart
MyPoints is now offering a special deal for The Penny Hoarder readers – a free $10 gift card to Wal-Mart!
If you haven’t heard of MyPoints before, they are a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online and printing coupons. We use them all the time at our house, because it’s instant way to save on everything you buy. But, enough about that, here’s how to get the free gift card:
- Sign up for MyPoints here using your email or Facebook account.
- Buy your next $20 in groceries on Walmart.com (using the Mypoints portal). Choose in-store pickup for free shipping.
- Mypoints will reward you with 1,750 bonus bonus which you can redeem for a $10 Walmart gift card. Plus, even better, they give you eight points per dollar you spend at Walmart, which is equal to 5.4% cash back. Sweet!
3. Change Search Engines
I love this one, because you just set it and forget it.
Did you know that InboxDollars will pay you every time you make a search on your computer or phone? It’s powered by Yahoo Search so it’s the same results you normally see, plus you get $5 just for signing up!
It’s not a lot of money, but I usually earn about $100-$200/ year in passive income doing this. Easy work though — can’t complain.
4. Rate Your Local Pizza Place
Awww…yeah! Who wouldn’t want $5 and a free large pizza? 🙂
As many of you know I was a professional mystery shopper for many years (I got my start conducting liquor audits all over the Southeast).
One of the most popular types of mystery shops is for pizza companies (both Papa Johns & Pizza Hut regularly conduct mystery shops at all of their locations). As part of the assignment you’re required to time their delivery service, quality of pizza, etc.
It’s pretty easy to do and you can do it several times a year. If you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a list of my favorite mystery shopping companies.
5. Sell Your Junk Mail
I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of junk mail. My email inbox and my mailbox are both full of crap from different cable providers, credit card offers, car insurance, etc.
If you’ve ever wondered what you could do with all of that junk mail besides recycling it or sending it to your email’s trash folder, SBK Center has the answer. This market research company will happily accept your junk mail and email and, in return, give you Visa prepaid cards, which work just like debit cards.
(The SBK website states that they pay you in gift cards, but I contacted SBK directly and they confirmed that they have switched to Visa prepaid cards. It’s a great move because it means you can spend your hard-earned cash anywhere that accepts debit cards.)
Here’s more information on them.
6. Download These Apps
There are a number of companies, including Google, that will pay you to install their app on your cell phone. And they’ll pay you for every month you keep them installed.
The apps collect data from your cell phone and help companies better understand web and mobile usage better — 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).
Here are my favorites (install all of them and earn $400/year or more):
– Smart Panel: This can be downloaded for free on any smartphone. Once you’ve qualified and downloaded the app, they will give you $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you’ll earn another $10. And then for every month that you keep the Smart App installed, you’ll get another $5.
– Smart Panel – Once you’ve qualified and downloaded the app, they will give you $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you’ll earn another $10. And then for every month that you keep the Smart App installed, you’ll get another $5. All total, you can earn up to $75 for the 1st year!
– Media Insiders Panel – If you’re male or 44 years of age or older, this company will pay you $5 a month to keep their app on your phone. Plus, you can install it on up to 3 devices, making your total possible earnings up to $200 a year.
– MobileExpressions for iPhones: This one can only be downloaded on iPhones. After you’ve installed it for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). I won a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads & Samsung TVs.
– Nielsen Mobile for iPhone Users – if you have an iPhone, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone.
– Nielsen Mobile Panel for Ages 45+ – if you have a smartphone and your 45 years of age or older, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep this app on your cell phone.
7. Earn $250 By Opening a 2nd Bank Account
We’ve put together a huge list of banks that will pay you just to open a bank account! Some of them will pay you up to $250 just for opening a savings account!
There’s no harm in having multiple bank accounts. In fact, I often find it’s helpful to have multiple places to save (I’m less likely to touch the money), so I have savings accounts for my Christmas fund & my vacation fund.
The top bank bonus is $250 right now — head over to this list to see all of the banks in your area that are offering free cash.
8. Earn Up to $25/Hour Delivering Groceries
Are you 21 years older with reliable transportation? Sign up to be a delivery driver with Instacart!
This app and website lets people who don’t have the time or motivation to battle the crowds for a box of cereal skip the grocery store. As their personal shopper, you are in charge of picking up their groceries and delivering them within two hours.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, you can fill out the Instacart application here. They ask potential shoppers to take a short online quiz about common grocery store items. The quiz asks you to identify grocery items, like a lemon or an 18-pack of eggs, but you only have two minutes to answer the 21 questions.
After that, your city’s manager will call you to set up a time for a 15-minute phone interview to learn about your background and experience. They tend to look for people with past customer service experience and candidates who have experience doing plenty of shopping for either their roommates, families or themselves
9. Rent/Sell Your Clothes Online
For some reason my closet is still holding on to the suit I wore to prom nearly 10 years ago. It’s never going to fit again, but some combination of laziness and sentiment has thus far kept it from landing on a Goodwill rack.
If you’re like me and have a closet full of stuff you don’t wear, what would you think about renting or selling your clothes out to strangers?
There are a few sites that make this possible including Tradesy, SnapGoods.com, Loanables.com, and RentNotBuy.com.
10. Fix Google’s Search Results
I’ll make about $700 this month for cleaning up Google’s search engine. And Yahoo’s search engine. And Bing’s.
And the best part? Most of it is done while sitting at home in my pajamas. What am I doing? Let me explain…
Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. For example, if you type “Steve Gillman” into a Google search box a half-million possibly-relevant web pages will be narrowed down using various criteria until a second later you see my smiling face. You’ll also see links to my personal website, my blog on the Huffington Post, and LinkedIn profiles for a bunch of guys who share my name.
But the search engines don’t always get it right…
They are full of errors, so they need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, relevancy, and usefulness. If you’re interested in this type of work, head over to this article to get more info on how to apply.
11. Become a Test Knitter
The knitting scene has changed since the late 90s. It’s no longer a hobby dominated by grandmothers churning out Christmas sweaters for the whole family; knitting is cool again and many young people are picking up the needles.
Lee Meredith of Leethalknits says that she finds most of her test knitters in her group on Ravelry, a site for connecting with fellow knitters and crocheters. Knitters can sign up for her master list of testers and be contacted when she has a new project. She gives her knitters the exact project requirements: the pattern, the size of knitting needles, yarn weight and amount, and any embellishments. As the testers knit, they leave her feedback in a shared Google document.
Knitters who complete the project by the deadline and provide feedback and corrections on the pattern instructions get a finished copy of the pattern plus around $20 credit to her virtual store. Large or complex projects, or those with unusually tight deadlines, earn the knitter additional credit.
12. Turn Your Grocery Receipts in For Rebates
You don’t have to cut back at the grocery store if you know the right tricks. Have you heard of rebate apps?
My favorite is the Ibotta app which works by giving you a cash rebate on your grocery store purchases if you take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone.
Many of the rebates are for things like steak, ground beef, bread and eggs. Plus, you can shop at your normal grocery store. There’s no need to run clear across town to save money.
Some other good ones are SavingStar & Checkout51. Download them all and sometimes you can get three rebates on the same item. 🙂
13. Get Paid to Lose Weight
Let’s face – every year we all make the same New Year’s resolution to get in better shape. Well, this year you’ll have a little extra motivation if you’re getting paid for it. We’re fans of both HealthyWage and DietBet, two sites that will allow you to place a wager and earn cash when you successfully lose weight.
And if you’re already in great shape, another great idea is to start a boot camp at your local park a couple of nights week. Start with just a few friends – these camps tend to grow pretty organically once people see a group of people working out. Most boot camps trainers can earn $100/hour or more.
14. Sell Your Old Books
We’ve all got way too much extra junk just sitting around. Get rid of some of it and use the extra money for your Christmas shopping.
You could of course have a garage sale or sell some stuff on Craigslist, but one of my favorite ways to get rid of stuff is to use the Bookscouter app.
You scan your book’s barcode with your smartphone and Bookscouter will let you compare the payout of 20+ different buyback companies. Cool, right?
Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent and prepare the books to be shipped. Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.
15. Earn Up to $25/Hour as a Transcriptionist
Looking for a flexible job that allows you to work from home, requires little to no prior experience, and doesn’t involve making sales calls?
Yes, this kind of work exists: You could become a transcriptionist. This job gives you the freedom to set your own hours and, in many cases, work as much or as little as you want each week.
Here are a few companies that will hire you.
But, fair warning: the work is quite repetitive. You will have to listen to the same audio over and over again in order to be sure you have transcribed it perfectly. If repetition drives you insane, transcription might not be the line of work for you.
16. Test Websites
Like most of us, you’ve probably commented on how some websites are confusing and others excellent. Rather than complaining to your spouse or friend, how would you like to make those comments to the owners of the sites and get paid for playing critic?
I do just that, and you can, too. In fact, you can make $30 per hour as a website tester.
The company is called User Testing. Here’s what the process looks like: you’ll download some software and then when tasks are available, look over a website while your mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, and spoken comments are all recorded as a video. Afterward there might be a few questions to answer, but the whole process often takes 15 minutes or less. Cool, right?
17. Watch More Television
Alright, just hear me out on this one. It’s definitely possible to get paid to watch TV… There’s a new company called “RewardTV” that pays you to answer trivia questions about last night’s TV shows.
Do you know who they killed off on Game of Thrones last week? Tell them about it and they’ll pay you.
Did you know which contestant got kicked off “The Voice” this week? They’ll pay you.
You’re not going to get rich doing this, but it’s a fun way to make an extra $15-$20/month. Pretty cool, right?
18. Make an Extra $50/Week Working for Amazon
Have you heard of Amazon Mechanical Turk? Unlike other online sites that look for contract help, the Amazon Mechanical Turk service offers easy to accomplish tasks that can be completed by almost anyone with a computer.
From the articles and advice I’ve read from others completing tasks, the key seems to be just to jump in and quickly accept the next task you are qualified for. Don’t spend time hunting for the perfect task, just do them next, next, next, etc. While basic tasks may only pay $0.10 they are easy and quick to complete. It does not take long to complete a task in less than a minute so in an hour, with little experience, you can make $6 to $10 depending on how fast you are.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is not a get rich quick scam or one of those make massive income in your spare time ripoffs. But, realistically you can make an extra $50 or so each month.
19. Tell This Company What’s in Your Fridge
Believe it or not, this company wants to know what’s in your fridge…
Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, the company will send you a free scanner or you can use your smartphone. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to NCP.
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 vacations and brand new vehicles.
20. Get Paid $50+ to Write an Article for These Sites
If you like to write, we found a few blogs that will pay you to share your thoughts. And there’s no limit to the number of articles you can submit, so this really is a nice side gig…
TheKrazyCouponLady.com – $50
This site accepts articles on a broad range of topics including style/fashion, couponing, family/parenting, and personal finance. The ladies guarantee that you’ll hear back from them within 7 days and will receive $50 via Paypal if they choose to publish your article. You can read all the details here
Listverse.com – $100
Listverse publishes nothing but lists. Their posts are all long lists (usually beyond 1,500 words long) containing at least 10 items, with an explanation of why each item deserves its place on the list. Read more details here.
ThePennyHoarder.com – $75
Got a crazy way to make/save extra money? We also pay our readers to submit articles and would love to have you contribute. Read all of our guidelines here.
21. Sell Your SmartPhone Photos
If you have a smartphone and a photographic eye, making money may have just gotten a lot easier. Oh yeah – you’ll also need access to marketable scenery.
There’s a new app called Foap that allows you to turn your smartphone photos into cash.
Here’s how it works. You download the free app. You sign up for an account. You take a quality photo. You upload photo to Foap’s marketplace. Someone buys the license to your photo for $10. You make $5.
If your photo sells twenty times, you make $5 each time and end up with $100 in your pocket, all for about 5 minutes of work. Pretty cool, right?
22. Fix Apple iPhones from Your Couch
Dreaming of working from home during your terrible commute each day? Here’s a cool opportunity to work from home for a company you probably already love: Apple.
That’s right: You could be the next Apple At Home Advisor — an official Apple employee who offers virtual support for the company’s popular products, including iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, through the customer service program AppleCare. If you’re looking for more flexibility and the ability to work from home, this could be your chance to make that dream a reality!
You don’t need to live in a specific city to be considered for the job, though Apple is advertising through listings on job boards throughout the U.S. Instead, the company is looking for people with technical expertise who can work from home to get the job done to their standards.
Interested in applying? Check out the job listing here.
23. Sign Up for Free Gift Card Promotions
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 cashback rebate. You can choose either a $10 Target, Walmart, Macy’s, or Kohl’s gift card.
You do have to wait 30 days. But, it’s free money so can you really complain? 🙂
24. Become a Teacher on Udemy & Google Hangouts
When you think about getting paid to teach what you know, what comes to mind? Putting up a poster in a local coffee shop and hoping for the best? Posting an ad on Craigslist?
Lucky for us, we’re no longer limited to our local area when it comes to getting paid to teach our skills. Thanks to online learning platforms like Google Helpouts and Udemy, anyone, anywhere, can teach anything.
If you think you don’t have any skills to teach, think again. Most of us are experts at something, whether it’s putting on makeup, baking brownies, or even making balloon animals!
Drawing a blank on what you could teach or help others with? Here are some ideas:
- Music lessons
- Photography lessons
- Web programming lessons or services
- Computer repair lessons or services
- Social media consulting
- Cooking or baking lessons
- Fitness instruction
- Nutrition consultations
- Academic tutoring
- Life coaching
- Style consultations
- Beauty consultations
- Gardening help
You get to set the rate for your lessons (most go for between $25-$50). And some people have been really successful at this – we just found a guy that’s made $500,000 selling his courses on Udemy.
Update 3/24/15: Unfortunately, Google just announced that “Helpouts” will be closing down on April 20, 2015.
25. Sell Your Crafts on Etsy
Just because you don’t have a dedicated crafts room like Martha Stewart or Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t mean you can’t become a successful entrepreneur by selling your crafts online.
In the past crafters have had to slug it out at craft fairs and farmer’s markets, often meaning long hours and little profit. All of that has changed in the last few years as a number of online marketplaces, like Etsy, have opened that allow amateur crafters a forum to sell their goods.
In fact, we recently found a mom that’s earning $70,000/month on Etsy! Click here to read her story.
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 that’s because things that you think are worth nothing often 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. Sell Your Skills for $5 on Fiverr
Earning five bucks at a time may not sound like much, but those little sales can add up to thousands of dollars.
That’s the idea behind Fiverr.com, an online platform where users sell their products and services for $5 each. Fiverr says users create 4,000 new listings, or “gigs,” every day.
Gigs range from the standard data entry and research tasks to the truly out-there. For example, as I write this, sellers in the “Fun and Bizarre” section are offering:
- A piece of rare metal that will melt in your hand
- A prank phone call to anyone you choose
- Three balloons released into the sky with your message in them
- Your name written on two grains of rice
- A photo of you on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine
- A video of a woman pretending to be “crazy in love with you” — which has 253 buyers and a 98% positive ratingso far
You can seriously sell almost anything on Fiverr. Here are some more ideas.
28. Earn $100 By Helping a Company Name Themselves
Professional branders aren’t going anywhere, but for small businesses that can’t afford the million dollar price tag, there is a new trend called crowdsourcing that allows businesses to outsource the creative process to people like you and I through “naming contests.”
There are hundreds of naming contests on websites like NamingForce.com and SquadHelp.com. The way it works is that nameless businesses list a little information about their company and a prize amount for the person who can come up with the best name. The rewards are anywhere from $50-$500, with the average amount around $100.
For example, one company on SquadHelp lists that they are a company that buys used video games and that they will pay $80 to the person who can come up with the best name. A few of the submissions so far are “Cash 2 Gamers” and “Game Epix.” Think you can do better? Give it a try here.
29. Let Someone Borrow Your House/Apartment for the Night
I’ve used Airbnb to both rent out my apartment and stay in many others while traveling, and it’s a fantastic way to put your home to work for you. However, taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Whether you’re renting out a single room or your entire home, make the most of your Airbnb rental by following these tips. If you do it well, you could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your savings account.
30. Become an Online Tutor
Education is one of the world’s leading industries and by the year 2017 the private tutoring market alone is expected to top $100 billion.
Have you ever considered becoming an online tutor to make extra money? Well, if you haven’t, you most certainly should. You can make some serious coin by answering student’s questions, explaining your notes, and uploading tutorials. That’s right, by sharing your knowledge, you can be rewarded handsomely.
Try marketing your services on a site like AceYourCollegeClasses.com where some of the top tutors have earned more than $10,000.
31. 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.
32. 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 that anyone can enter — including you!
Try one or more of these platforms to get started:
- Slogan Slingers helps companies create slogan contests in which their registered writers compete. It’s free to sign up as a writer, and the company claims you can “make up to $999 per contest (minus our small admin fee).”
- Get a Slogan is a “crowd-sourcing platform that brings in custom, creative and catchy slogans from a variety of sloganeers.” Companies come to them for help, and writers submit their ideas. It’s free to sign up, but you initially have only “qualifying” status. Once you obtain “qualified” status, you’ll receive $50 for each of your winning slogans.
- Freelancer.com has a section devoted to slogan-writing projects, which are sometimes run as contests. For example, at the moment a personal injury law firm is offering $150 for the best “unique and memorable tagline/slogan.”
Your Turn: Would you try any of these methods to make extra money at home?
Disclosure: We appreciate you letting us include a couple of affiliate links in this post. It helps keep the beer fridge stocked in the Penny Hoarder break room.