10 ways to make money just by living your best life — literally
Snagging a side gig is a typical way to earn extra cash, but let’s be honest: A second job can be so time-consuming it could mean the demise of your social life. In some instances, its not FOMO but your busy schedule — like caring for family or being a full-time student — that stops you from taking on more work. But never fear: There's a way to make money without a big-time commitment.
You can thank technology, which has made it possible for just about anyone to make cash without working many extra hours. But there are other secrets to earning side money: You can actually get paid for doing things you normally do, like shopping, eating out, watching videos, working out or even sleeping.
Yup, you heard that right.
The typical time commitment might include completing a survey, shopping or downloading an app, but most of these cash-generating gigs can be done on the go or while you catch some Zs. Check out these 10 ways to make a few extra bucks without disrupting your daily life.
10. Get cash back on stuff you've already bought
Even if you love shopping, trying to keep up with retail sales can become a full-time job, which means you probably miss many price reductions and drops. But if you download a free app like Paribus, you won’t lose out on any deals and can get cash back after an item you’ve purchased goes on sale. The app automatically scans your email offers from 16 of its participating retailers and identifies which stores owe you a refund on a purchase you’ve made if the price drops.
Of course, you can also save money with a quick move before you shop: Download apps like Ibotta and Ebates to find the best deals and earn cash back. Ibotta identifies where you can find deals within its network before you shop, either in-store or online, and provides three different ways to get cash back. Ebates offers cash back for online shopping, plus coupons and deals.
9. Share your habits — for money
Market research companies offer cash to find out where and how consumers are shopping and use a number of apps to gather this data — all you have to do is download them and go about your day.
Some apps pay cash, while others offer rewards. With SavvyConnect, you can earn about $5 per device per month (up to $180 a year) and Nielson Computer and Mobile Panel pays around $50 a year, the Penny Hoarder reported.
8. Become a "mystery shopper"
Retailers depend on high-quality customer service to get repeat business, which means many will pay for covert customer evaluations. Sign up with companies like Rewardable, Gigwalk, iPoll or QuickThoughts to earn cash and rewards for completing surveys and tasks at specific stores. Stores typically pay from $5 to $20 per shop for tasks like answering a questionnaire on customer service and shopping experience, Forbes reported.
While that may sound like chump change, one shopper reportedly made $14,000 in a year this way. But be wary of companies that say they will pay you a large sum up-front and of unsolicited mystery shopping offers, a sign of a scam, Time reported.
7. Go to the bar for extra bucks
One covert evaluation app might actually help your social life: The Bar Integrity Mystery Shop app pays you to review the conditions and customer service experience at your local watering hole. You might be asked about how long you had to wait for a seat, how your bartender behaved, and more.
Bar life isn’t for you? Consider becoming a reviewer at Restaurant Cops, where your passion for dining can be put to work. Mystery shoppers at Restaurant Cops can make from $5 to $15 per assignment, plus are reimbursed for any purchased food.
6. Earn cash by working out
Does cold hard cash motivate you to get in shape? HealthyWage wants to bet it will, as you set goals and place bets on reaching those goals. People who have used the app to lose weight and get healthy said it works because you are betting your own money on your success.
"I knew that if I put money on the line, it [would be] a double-motivating thing," Ben Carnes, HealthyWage participant who lost 100 pounds, told NPR. Cash amounts vary based on how much you bet, but some participants have reportedly made more than $2,000 just by meeting their goals.
5. Make money in your sleep
With researchers trying to get a handle on what helps you sleep, organizations are paying sleep-study participants good money for simply heading off to dreamland. Literally.
While it's not as simple as cashing a check for your sleep every morning, if you don’t mind a little prodding and poking before researchers track your sleep, you can make almost $12,000 a year for two studies, a writer from the Penny Hoarder found.
Love this idea? Maybe you should look into becoming a full-time bed tester.
4. Turn up cash from thin air
Another surprisingly lucrative move? If you keep throwing loose change into a junk drawer or letting coins marinate under seat cushions, you could be missing out on a lot of cash. Collect your coins and dump them into a coin-counting machine at your local grocery store, bank or credit union.
While coin-counter machines like CoinStar charge a small fee, you may be surprised by how much money is lurking around your house: One person turned coins into cash and unexpectedly had more than $300 dollars!
3. Get paid to make new friends
Like to meet new people and make connections? Believe it not, you can get paid to make a new friend through RentAFriend.
This company pays people to make platonic, friendly connections with others to perhaps help someone warm up to a new city or to meet for dinner. "Friends" earn up to $50 an hour, depending on how many hours you work, and there is no specific schedule or minimum amount of time you need to commit.
2. Purge clutter for money
Selling your clutter can possibly result in a windfall, especially if you’ve been paying for a storage space to contain all of it. Of course wading through your closet or storage space might take time, but if you planned to make 2017 the year you finally Kondo your life, why not get paid to do it?
Although you can sell your stuff on places like Craigslist, check out apps such as LetGo and DeCluttr or BookScouter, which is great for students and readers who want to sell their books. One money blogger made well over $1,000 selling various stuff on Craigslist.
1. Make coin surfing the web
If you already waste time online and like funny videos or websites, you should be getting paid for your pastime. For instance, Inbox Dollars and FusionCash reward you for watching videos or interacting with certain websites, and UserTesting pays people to test websites. You can also earn money for your photos by contributing images to Shutterstock.
Love a particular brand or type of food? Here's a guide to getting companies to give you free stuff for a year — or for life.
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