You've probably seen a lot of posts about ways to earn free money. Sites like PennyHoarder or the Krazy Coupon Lady offer lists of "neat" apps and other ways to make easy money, or so they claim. I have been on a bit of a craze over the last year, looking into these apps and trying to figure out which ones are worth it.
A short biography about me: I'm extremely broke, extremely lazy, and have trouble getting myself to do things I need to do if they aren't simple, easy, or fun. But here I am putting together a list of nifty apps and websites that can actually earn you money. The fun part is that I'm going to be brutally honest about all of them, and their relative effectiveness/ineffectiveness, as well as other issues, bugs, or just other things I had trouble with that sites like PennyHoarder conveniently neglect to mention.
So. Here. We. Go.
Let's get these out of the way first. I hate doing surveys. I have yet to find any survey sites that dish out enough money to be worth the time. Spending 20 minutes to earn $0.50 is honestly the average payout time for almost all the survey companies I have joined. Don't even get me started on the number of times I've spent ten minutes answering questions only to suddenly be kicked off the survey because I don't "qualify," and thus I earn nothing. Swagbucks and Inboxdollar are both notorious for this. They offer you tiny amounts of money for 20-30 minutes of your time. And it's boring.
There are a couple survey sites that have been worth it, though.
Google Opinion Rewards offers extremely short surveys (between 1-5 questions max). They don't reward in cash, but rather in Google Play money, so you can use the payout to buy apps and music on Google. This has been by far the most worthwhile survey company I have joined. It doesn't give you fat paychecks, but it is finally a survey company that gives you only a little bit of money but corresponds by only taking a little bit of time. It is also convenient for your phone and will let you know when it has a survey up for you.
QuickThoughts is a new company for me, too. I have not yet cashed out on this one and some of the surveys do take longer. But I have qualified for more of their surveys than I have ever qualified for Inboxdollars or Swagbucks. And you can cash out with as low as $10, which is much nicer than Inboxdollar's $30 minimum. I've only spent a few days on QT and I already have $7 saved up. I think the best part is that they still give you $0.10 even if you don't qualify for the survey, so long as you tried.
Swagbucks & Inboxdollars — I'm not going to spend a lot of time on these two. They are just terrible survey sites, in my humble opinion. I suppose some people can make bank on them if they have exactly the right income and hobbies, health issues, or whatever it is that makes them qualify for more surveys. But most of the time it is a very low payout for a lot of your free time. There are better ways to make money out there than spending your time making $1 an hour answering boring questions about how bad your acne is (as an example). Feel free to ask me to go into an in-depth analysis of either of these. I am on both, and I have some words, but I want to focus on the good things.
- Artist's Note: Swagbucks is not terribly trans-friendly. They locked me out of doing surveys because I switched my gender a couple times, forgetting which one I had officially marked myself (birth gender vs. identified gender). And they never answered my request to reopen them. Soooo.
S'More is my favorite free money scheme. Like Google Opinion Rewards, it doesn't pay out a lot, but it's worth it for how little time you spend on it. S'More is an app that you download onto your phone. Once downloaded (and signed in), they will put an ad overlay on your phone. For each day you let the ad stay in place, you earn $0.10, which you can cash out at any time, no minimum amount required, for an Amazon gift card. It's so danged easy and takes literally no effort or time on my part. I use it to pay for the shipping on Amazon purchases. Literally free money; I can't recommend this one enough. Sure, there's an annoying little ad on your screen, but after a while, you forget it's even there, and it becomes "the norm."
Job Spotter is fun. It's another mobile app. Basically what you do is take pictures of businesses that are hiring, and post them on the app. And you earn points for each one you submit. Then you can cash out for (I think) Amazon gift cards, or something similar. I used to use it a lot, but they updated their point system and now it's not quite as lucrative. Still, I've gotten back into the habit of snapping a quick pic of wanted signs when I see them. It's easy, and it's free money, so why not?
You may have heard of this one. You like your Fitbit, or other fitness devices or apps, and they give you points for the healthy stuff that you do. I will be upfront: it takes a long time to get enough points to cash out. Like, forever; I have not yet built up enough points. But on the bright side, it's literally a "set it up and forget it" app. You don't have to do anything beyond continuing to use the fitness apps you've always used. And eventually, you'll have a $10 gift card waiting for you. You know, in a year or so. It's that slow. I really love the "no effort" money raisers though and this is definitely one of them. I have my Fitbit attached to it and earn money by drinking water, recording exercise, and the steps I take each day. I also get a couple points for meditating via a particular meditation app and there are other things you can do, too.
I haven't decided if this one is worth the time or not. I have never redeemed points from this one, as it's new. But in theory you answer short surveys and get points toward a future flight. I included this in my list of nice things because the surveys are short. It takes very little effort to answer them. And, if you can get others to sign up through your referral link, you can get points when they make points, too. Oh hey, speaking of, shameless plug: You can sign up for Frequent Flyer, here.
Sell Your Stuff Apps
LetGo, DeCluttr, and BookScouter are three apps that you can use to sell your things. I actually do like these, though they aren't "free money making apps" so I won't go in-depth here.
You knew I was going to get to this one. I almost forgot about it, as I don't have a car anymore and can't get to the stores that you can actually use Ibotta with, but it is a decent app. There are a lot of grocery rebate apps out there, but Ibotta is the one I have had the most success with. If you are as broke as me, though, its uses will be limited. By that I mean, if you are at the point where you only buy the store brand or "Great Value" brand from Walmart, then there won't be a lot you can redeem through Ibotta. It mostly asks for name brand items. But it does occasionally ask for "any item," or just vague things like "bananas" and those ones you can always do, regardless of brand.
Just make sure you aren't buying more expensive items just to get the rebate. Make sure it's worth it and is saving you money, ultimately.
WalMart Savings Catcher
If you shop at Walmart, it's silly not to have the Walmart app. Why, you ask? Because they have a savings catcher feature on it, where you can scan all your receipts in, and they will give you money back if they find a better deal on anything you bought, elsewhere. Yes, it's that easy! I've saved up to $30 two different times and redeemed it as a new Walmart gift card. Just remember to scan every Walmart receipt you get and you're set.
I have a few other free money schemes that I'm testing out now, but I don't want to review them before I even know if they're any good.
Peace and love, as my brother says! Hope everyone is staying safe (and frugal) out there.