10 ways to make money in less than 30 minutes

ByJames Dennin
Originally Published: 

Want $70? If you've purchased milk in the years since 2003, you might have that cash coming to you — and you've got about two weeks left to claim it.

That's the result of a recent settlement in a class-action lawsuit accusing dairy farmers of colluding to fix milk prices. Anyone who bought milk in 15 states and the District of Columbia may be entitled to a rebate between $45 and $70; the deadline to file is Jan. 31.

Milk products like sour cream or cottage cheese count, too, making this one of the easiest ways to get yourself a decent chunk of cash in less than 30 minutes — or 30 seconds, really.

Maybe you're lucky enough to live in one of the affected states: Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If not, there are still other relatively effortless ways to make a quick buck. Consider these 10 options:

1. Sell your old tech — even the broken stuff 

If you're trying to earn some extra cash fast, your options generally boil down to either selling your stuff or selling your time. 

Unless you're sitting on a stash of collectibles or designer clothes, it's likely your most valuable items for resale are going to be your old technology. Even broken Apple products — like a Macbook Air — can yield a quick $50 on sites like Gazelle, with higher-end or less-damaged products netting even more. 


2. Get paid to take easy surveys

You've got opinions, and marketers want them — bad. 

It's no get-rich-quick scheme, but there are tons of ways to earn small payments for helping brands figure out what makes you tick. 

Some companies like Inbox Dollars send daily offers straight to your email, while others like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie reward you with small payouts and gift cards in exchange for completing surveys and other online tasks. 

The payouts on such sites can vary wildly, but experts over at The Penny Hoarder suggest focusing on the trial offers, which can net you up to $25 for just a few minutes of work. 

3. Sell your information (it's getting sold anyway)

Speaking of thirsty brands, if filling out surveys seems like too much effort, there's a new class of apps and services you can sign up for that monitor your online activity automatically. 

ShopTracker, for instance, will pay you to track your spending on Amazon, and SurveySavvy will pay you $5 a month to keep an eye on your browsing habits. 

4. Coupon the lazy way 

For online shopping, there's really no excuse to not be using one of the many price-scanning tools that can keep you from overpaying. For example, sites like PriceBlink offer extensions you can easily embed into your browser. 

But let's face it — sometimes you need to hit the grocery store on the way home, which can make it harder to get the price transparency we're used to. 

For grocery shopping, Consumer Reports recommends apps like CellFire, Grocery IQ or SavingStar as a way to keep track of in-store offers that can save you big in the supermarket. 


5. Test out websites for cash 

Testing out other people's websites can pay up to $10 for every 30-minute test you complete. 

Some businesses that connect you to sites to test, like UserTesting and Userlytics, have certain requirements — like owning a microphone or webcam, for example — but many will pay you directly via PayPal. 

6. Sell hair, semen or blood plasma

Before you get grossed out, check this: One way it really pays to be a ginger? If you've got long, red locks, you might be able to earn up to $1,500 selling your hair, according to Bankrate

Sites like HairSellon.com and BuyandSellHair.com will help you track down a potential buyer, but you'll need to be willing to part with at least 15 to 35 inches of hair to qualify for the big bucks. 

A far less lucrative option is selling your blood plasma. DonatingPlasma.org can help you find a donor site in your area; you can make up to $300 a month if you hit the maximum number of donations. 

Lastly, if you're tall, intelligent and have a clean medical history, you might be able to make some pretty serious cash by donating your unused eggs or semen to help others start a family. Sperm donors can make up to $1,500 a month and egg donors can make even more, although the requirements can be pretty rigorous. 


7. Babysit some tykes or tutor some teens 

Not everyone can handle taking care of kids, but it's hard to beat babysitting if you're looking for an easy way to make some money — especially if you've got some free time on the weekends. 

Sites like Care.com, UrbanSitter and Sitter help match available caregivers with nearby parents in need.

If you've managed to retain your high-school math skills, you can make even more money as a tutor through sites like UniversityTutoring.

8. Sell that gift card you'll never use

Got some unwanted holiday gifts — that can only be returned for store credit — as opposed to infinitely more useful cash?

There's actually a pretty huge market for unwanted gift cards, and sites like Raise and CardPool will pay up to 92% of a gift card's face value, though offers may vary.

9. Monetize your ride — without becoming an Uber driver

If you're not enough of a people person to pull the trigger on ridesharing through a provider such as Uber or Lyft, there are still ways to make money off your ride. 

FreeCarMedia pays drivers up to $400 a month in exchange for emblazoning your car with the logo of one of their partner advertisers. 

David Zalubowski/AP

10. Make money with your tongue(s)

If you speak more than one language, there are plenty of relatively easy ways to sell your services online. 

In addition to general marketplaces that source translators — think sites like Fiverr and Amazon Mechanical Turk — there are also translation-specific destinations like Gengo

All of these gigs can be completed in a half hour or less depending on paperwork.

If none of the above options suit your fancy, it may be time to line up a more permanent side job — or dust off your resume.

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