Let’s face it: You already live inside your cell phone. In fact, according to one tech company’s study, the average American checks their phone 80 times per day. Per day!
That breaks down five times per hour, or once every 12 minutes… and an untold amount of attention and psychic energy, all aimed toward that tiny, glowing screen.
If you’re going to give so much of yourself to your smartphone, it darn well better give you something in return — and we’re not talking about an endless Instagram feed to scroll through or an annoying rash of pinging notifications.
We’re talking apps that can earn you money no matter where in the world you find yourself swiping away.
Money-Making Survey Apps
Want to earn cash to sound off? These companies dish out valuable rewards to users who fill out polls and surveys (which help brands tweak their products, update their marketing strategies and more).
Don’t get us wrong: Filling out paid surveys isn’t going to make anyone a millionaire. You can usually only churn out a few dollars per day with these programs. But hey, a few dollars is a few dollars, and this is a mindless activity you can easily do in front of the TV. And in a few months’ time, you’ll have extra cash or a gift card you can actually do stuff with!
Aside from its quick and simple surveys, InboxDollars also offers rewards for watching videos and playing games. The app is available for both macOS and Android. Learn all the in’s and out’s with our InboxDollars review.
If you’re wondering whether survey apps are legit, check out this figure: Swagbucks has paid out almost $300,000,000 in rewards to date. That’s freaking bananas, definitely worth the free download!
This survey site offers its rewards in the form of PayPal, Amazon or Visa gift cards — so you can use the funds on whatever you want. The surveys are super quick and easy too.
While you can fill out optional surveys with MobileXPression, you can also earn money simply by installing the app, which passively monitors your browsing activity to help brands retool their web strategies.
The points you earn by filling out surveys for Pinecone Research can either be redeemed for cash or used to purchase merchandise out of its extensive online rewards store. The company also offers an annual sweepstakes, which gives you a chance at additional prizes.
With over 3 million members, I-Say is available for both macOS and Android. Rewards can be withdrawn as PayPal funds, Amazon gift cards, Walmart gift cards and more — or you can donate the cash directly to charity.
Whether you’re an Apple user or an Android fan, you can reap rewards on the go by taking surveys with The Panel Station. You’ll earn between 100 and 5,000 points per survey, depending on length and complexity — and you only need 3,000 points to start redeeming.
Not only can you earn cash by completing polls at MySurvey, but you’ll also get the insider scoop on the data those surveys actually generate! For instance, you can get advice (or at least validation) on which kind of flowers to gift mom for Mother’s Day — or where to take your next summer vacation.
9. Harris Poll
With a time-tested 45-year history, Harris Poll is one of the most trusted voices in marketing research — and you can rest assured your input will be totally confidential. Redeem your rewards as Amazon, iTunes or Starbucks gift cards.
Cash-Back Rewards and Shopping Apps
From groceries to getaways, we all have to spend money — both to survive and to enjoy life.
But you might as well earn back a percentage of every dollar you spend if you can. These apps help make it possible!
Ibotta offers straightforward, cash-back rebates on everything from fresh produce to HomeAway stays. Just browse the app for available offers, then snap a quick photo of your receipt — and withdraw the funds to your PayPal account once you hit $20. As soon as I get home from the grocery store, I upload my receipt to earn cashback immediately so I don’t forget or lose the receipt. Read to see how Ibotta can pay you to grocery shop!
Dosh is one of the simplest cash-back programs out there: All you have to do is connect your credit card and use it, and the app does all the rest. You’ll automatically earn up to 10% back, depending on your specific purchase habits.
If you’re shopping online at brand-name and department stores like Old Navy, Banana Republic, Kohl’s or Macy’s, you can earn back a sizable chunk of your purchase just by clicking through Ebates first. The site also offers a rotating selection of special daily deals, as well as a valuable $25 refer-a-friend program.
Do you have clothes sitting in your closet that you don’t where any longer? Are you looking to get a new purse and want to sell some of your personal items in order to purchase a new purse? Poshmark is the number 1 place to buy and sell fashion. Snap a picture of your items and upload them to your store. Interested buyers will love, comment, or purchase your item. Many people on Poshmark use the comment feature to negotiate prices.
Apps That Help You Sell Stuff
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But as it turns out, it can be your treasure, too! These apps will help you clean out your closet or rent out your spare bedroom, all while fattening your bank account.
Got an outdated CD or DVD collection? Is last year’s iPhone gathering dust in a drawer? Decluttr is the place to sell used tech, as well as media and games. It assesses no costly auction fees, and you’ll receive an expedient next-day payment.
From used furniture to used cars, you can sell just about anything on OfferUp — and since they’re all local transactions, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of shipping. Just meet up and exchange the item in person. Easy peasy!
Letgo is another easy-to-use app that helps you sell gently used gear in a variety of categories, from home decor to fashion. You can even use it to list housing for rent. It’s available for free download on both macOS and Android.
Chances are you’ve used Airbnb to find affordable vacation housing — so why not use it to turn your own space into an earning opportunity? Along with pocketing up to four extra digits per month, you’ll also likely meet some cool people.
Side-Hustle Apps That Make You Money
Even if you work full time, the mobile-friendly gig economy has made it easier than ever to pick up a side hustle (or three). Here are some apps that’ll help you earn a little extra in your off time — and maybe even have fun doing it.
18. Uber Eats
Even if your thrifty beater doesn’t meet the exacting standards for ridesharing, you can still earn cash by driving it around — you’ll just be delivering delicious dishes instead of passengers. Plus, you can get same-day payouts up to five times per day.
Want to get paid to play with pets? No need to pay for vet school. All you have to do is download Rover and list yourself as a sitter. You can earn up to $1,000 per month by offering boarding, walking or doggy daycare services. Did we mention you also get to play with a plethora of pups… for cash? Yes, really.
Sign up now and earn your first $25 for free!
Not only will you earn good money by helping people get where they’re going safely and efficiently — but chances are, you’ll also pick up some excellent stories to tell.
21. Amazon Flex
There’s a reason all those Amazon Prime packages make their deliveries timely. If you want to become part of the workforce that makes it happen, you could earn $18-$25 per hour. You’ll set your own hours and build your own schedule, all while delivering smiles. It was so strange seeing our Amazon package being dropped off at 7:30 pm in a regular town car. But after some researched we learned about Amazon Flex and how great of a side hustle it is.
If you’re a grocery-shopping guru, you could get paid for your services by becoming an Instacart shopper. You can choose between full-service shopping (where you provide personal delivery) or in-store services only. We used Instacart for our grocery shopping and had an amazing experience with our Instacart shopper. We tipped our shopper over $3.00 for her service. You get paid in multiple ways as a shopper, check it out today.
Passive Income and Investment Apps
The very best way to earn money? Put your existing money to work for you using the power of compound interest. These apps make it super-simple to get started with investing, even if you’re a total beginner to the stock market.
Not exactly swimming in start-up capital for your investment portfolio? Acorns automatically rounds up the spare change from your everyday purchases and invest it in diverse ETFs, even rebalancing your portfolio for you when the market moves.
If you’ve got a spare $5, you’ve got the beginnings of an investment portfolio when you sign up for Stash, which is available for both macOS and Android. Plus, the app makes it easy to make informed choices about what, exactly, your money is supporting — and to learn more about how to invest in ways that align with your personal values and goals.
If you ask us, the best income is passive income: money that generates itself without any conscious thought or effort. When you download the Nielsen computer and mobile panel, you’ll earn rewards just by using your devices as per usual. You’ll also be automatically entered into the company’s high-prize sweepstakes.
BONUS ROUND: Money Management Apps
Now that your phone is helping you generate more income, it can also become your go-to tool to organize and manage those stacks. After all, extra cash is of no help at all unless you’ve got a plan for it!
Along with tracking your finances and showing you a (sometimes-scary) pie chart of exactly where your hard-earned dollars are going each month, Mint also provides useful spending insights and product suggestions that can help you save more in the long term.
Keep tabs on your net worth, cash flow, and portfolio balances all in one easy, user-friendly space with Personal Capital. You’ll also get a free portfolio review with a financial advisor.
If the idea of creating a monthly budget feels overwhelming, start with EveryDollar — which will help you set up a solid basic financial plan in as little as 10 minutes.
Looking for Even More Ways to Earn Extra Cash Fast?
They say time is money, and we all only have 24 hours in the day. But if you can find easy ways to earn a little bit of extra cash here and there, you can maximize your income without compromising your leisure time. The best part? You’ll be making money from the comfort of your own home!
And, hey, even if it’s helping you rake it in, don’t forget to put that cell phone down every once in a while. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you… and who knows? You might just stumble into an even better-earning opportunity.
Jamie Cattanach is a writer whose work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Motley Fool, Roads & Kingdoms and other outlets. She’s covered personal finance for over three years, and her advice has been mentioned in Student Loan Hero, NBC News and elsewhere.
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