32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home
1. Get $5 From Stash 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. (The first month is free.)
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 an extra $5 bonus to get started.
2. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out that deleting your emails could be costing you serious money. Intrigued?
Our new secret weapon is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up. Once you do, it will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Target or one of the other retailers listed on its website, it will track the item’s price. Once a price drop is detected, Paribus engages with the retailer on your behalf, requesting a refund – automatically!
You don’t have to do anything!
If something shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping — up to a full shipping refund.
3. Give Your Opinion to Make $730 This Year
Surveys aren’t the quickest way to make money, but they’re a great way to cash in on your down time. Fill them out while you’re watching TV, riding the bus or waiting in line.
One survey site we love is called InboxDollars. It 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
You can sign up right here.
6. Help a Lawyer Perfect Their Case
Fascinated by courtroom drama, but hate wasting the day in jury duty for a measly $40 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 evidence, including documents, videos and photos, at your computer.
7. Invest in Real Estate (You Don’t Have to Be Rich)
Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.
Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called 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.
Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.
8. Download These Apps
Don’t forget apps when you’re considering online money-making opportunities. 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).
- QuickThoughts Missions relies on your input — and sneakily-taken cellphone photography — to give businesses important feedback. And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork.
- MobileXpression for Android: After you’ve installed this app for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize. (Everyone wins something.) We won a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.
- MobileXpression iPhone: This is the same as above, but for iOS.
- SavvyConnect — You can earn $5 per device (phone, tablet or computer) for each month SavvyConnect is installed. That’s a total of up to $180 per year for letting this app collect data that helps companies better understand web and mobile usage. Some of the things that they’re interested in learning: 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 Paid to Be on a Daily Game Show
If you’re one of those people who can pull useless pieces of knowledge from out of nowhere, you’ll want to download this app.
It’s called HQ Trivia. With, at times, more than 1 million players logging on at 3 and 9 p.m. EST each day to play, you might’ve heard of it.
“Quiz Daddy” Scott Rogowski is the game’s main host. He asks 12 questions. You’ve got three multiple-choice options and 10 seconds to answer. If you get all 12 questions correct, you’ll split the grand prize (around $2,500 lately, though it’s gotten up to as high $15,000 on randomly chosen special occasions) amongst the other winners.
At the time we wrote this, the all-time leader had banked $6,000. And hey, even Dan Rather is playing — and winning.
Pro tip: Share your personalized referral code with friends and family to get an extra life. Trust us, you’ll want it.
10. 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!
11. 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:
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.)
12. Flex Your Mental Muscles
Michael Krinke/ Getty Images
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 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?
You can cash out via PayPal.
Itching to show off the history lessons you’ve learned watching “The Crown?” We thought so. Download the QuizXT app here to start flaunting your knowledge.
13. Sell Your Old Clothes
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 can literally list your clothes in less than a minute.
14. Scan Your Groceries When You Get Home
Did you know the Nielsen company will pay you to scan your groceries each week? Crazy, right?
Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Consumer Panel family, you’ll be asked to simply scan the barcodes on your groceries and send your data off to Nielsen each week. Pretty easy, huh?
15. Make a Bet 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 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.
16. Earn a $100+ Bonus by Opening a New Credit Card
As long as you pay down your credit balance in full each month, rewards cards are a great way to make some extra money.
We’re not advocating that you open 1,497 credit cards like this guy, but taking advantage of a sign-up bonus here or there can definitely help your bank account.
Check out this list of seven credit cards with no annual fees that each offer a $100 bonus or more when you open a new account.
17. Earn $250 By Opening a Second Bank Account
We’ve put together a huge list of banks that will pay you just to open an 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 and 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.
18. Start Kickin’
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 the app here.
19. Drive Folks Around Town
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JAN 13, 2017: Lyft driver Paul Pruce in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 13, 2017. (Jessica Kourkounis)
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?
Try driving with Lyft!
Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 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.
Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!
Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.
As a driver partner with Uber, you are an independent contractor. You create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
If you want to give it a try, here are a few of the things to keep in mind: 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 are under 23 years old), have a valid US 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.
20. Get a $10 Gift Card to Walmart
Believe it or not, some sites will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.
One of our favorites is Ebates, a cash back shopping site. It’s 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 for Walmart or $10 in Ebates cash for your next shopping trip on the site.
To earn your gift card:
- Sign up for Ebates here with your email or Facebook account.
- Make your first purchase through the site within 90 days, and spend at least $25.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points you cash in for your $10 gift card.
21. Earn up to $700/Month Fixing Search Results
You could make about $700 this month for evaluating search-engine results.
And the best part? Most of it can done while working from home — in pajamas. Let us explain…
Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. For example, if you type the name of one of our writers, 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 his smiling face.
You’ll also see links to his personal website, his blog on the Huffington Post and LinkedIn profiles for a bunch of guys who share his 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, relevance and usefulness. If you’re interested in this type of work, head over to our search-engine-evaluator article to get more info on how to apply.
22. 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.
How much you’ll earn per day will vary based on your location and the type of vehicle you have. We ran a quick hypothetical and found that Class A models made in the past 15 years range $185 to $375 a night here in St. Petersburg, Florida!
That’s a smart way to make your pricy RV pay for itself — or to bank some cash for your next big road trip.
To see how much you could earn renting out your RV, enter the specs here.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. Sell Your Skills for $5 on Fiverr
Earning $5 at a time might 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 5,600 new listings, or “gigs,” every day.
Gigs range from the standard data entry and research tasks to the truly out-there. For example, at the time this was written, sellers in the Fun and Lifestyle section were 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”
A video of a woman pretending to be “crazy in love with you” — which has 253 buyers and a 98% positive rating so far
You can seriously sell almost anything on Fiverr. Here are some more ideas.
26. 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:
27. Become an Online Tutor
Education is one of the world’s leading industries, and the private tutoring market alone is expected to top $102 billion by this year.
Have you ever considered becoming an online tutor to make extra money at home? Well, if you haven’t, you most certainly should. You can make some serious coin by answering students’ 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 Tutor.com, where instructors earn $9 to $13 per hour, plus $5.50 per hour just for being logged in waiting for students.
28. 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.
29. Sell Board Game Pieces
Diane Macdonald/Getty Images
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.
30. 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.
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 its small admin fee).
Get a Slogan is a crowdsourcing 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’re upgraded to “qualified,” 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.”
31. Watch More Television
Do you like to stay up-to-date on the latest popular — and not-so-popular — TV shows? Get paid for the TV you’re watching in your spare time by writing reviews.
Writing about TV comes in a lot of forms, according to NPR television reporter Linda Holmes. Lots of sites pay writers to review or recap shows, but different types of write-ups require different tones.
You could do a straightforward review of the craft of the show, search for symbolism in the story or start a conversation with readers about the lives of the characters.
If you prefer a bit of snark, you might write for a site that prefers to riff on TV shows. These turn your review into an opportunity for biting punchlines.
A few places to get you started:
Pitch Previously.TV editors your ideas here.
If superheros are more your speed, check out this recapper job with HollywoodLife.
Get your foot in the door at Mic writing TV show recaps.
32. Get $10 to Invest With Acorns
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder
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 connect the app to your credit or debit card and let it automatically round up all your transactions, or manually round up only the ones you choose.
Contributor CJ Reid does the latter, accepting roundups of less than $0.50, such as his $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 round ups 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.”
You can sign up and download the app here.