Are you struggling to keep up with the high living costs despite working full-time? Or, are you looking for additional side income to pay off your student loans? Alternatively, maybe you are just broke and need money to make ends meet? Wouldn’t it be great if you just get free money in your bank account?
Everyone aspires to earn a little extra money on the side. It gets even better if you can get paid without having to slog throughout the day. What if someone told you that this is not a distant dream? All you need is a stable internet connection, a smartphone, and in some cases, a computer.
The internet has enabled so many new avenues using which you can get paid today for free. From taking online surveys and shopping for groceries to testing websites and installing apps – there are various ways to earn online.
In this article, we will discuss both quick-fix hacks and long-term solutions to make money online.
1. Take Online Surveys
Many market research companies and brands are willing to pay you in exchange for your opinion on various topics. Some companies may even send you free samples of new products and ask for your feedback. Others may want to pick your brain on their latest advertising campaigns.
All you have to do is sign-up for free on an online survey platform. Fill up a few questionnaires in your free time and earn some extra cash. The best part is that it requires negligible investment in terms of time and resources.
It allows you to utilize your free time strategically. You can even take a survey while you are stuck in traffic on your way to work. Taking surveys is also ideal for office-goers who are stuck with a hectic yet low-paying job. It is equally suitable for college students who are broke and need money to pay their bills.
There are several online survey websites on the internet. Some of the reputable and trustworthy websites include Survey Junkie, iSurveyWorld, and Pinecone Research. Most of them reward you with points that you can redeem for cash through PayPal. Some even add extra money in your account just for signing up.
2. Get Paid for Taking Selfies
If you have a smartphone, you probably take selfies, even if it’s just once in awhile. Be it a fun day out or just a lazy night-in – selfies are a way to commemorate the most special as well as banal moments. It won’t be wrong to say that the habit of taking selfies has gotten ingrained into our psyche. This selfie phenomenon is especially true for the social media-savvy millennials and Gen Z population.
If you enjoy clicking selfies, you will like them, even more, when you can get paid for them. Pay Your Selfie is a company that pays you to take selfies in different locations. You can get started by installing the app and participating in simple selfie tasks. If you are struggling to pay off college debts, this is one of the easiest ways to make a few extra bucks.
3. Claim Your Refund
Isn’t it unfortunate when you buy a product only to find its price drop unexpectedly a few days later? What if there was a price-tracking app that could help you get your money back? Helping you do this is what Paribus does.
Paribus works by syncing with your email and monitoring receipts and confirmation emails from your recent purchases. When it detects a price drop soon after your purchase, the app negotiates with the retailer/seller to get your refund. It even helps you get compensation from online retailers in case of late deliveries. Moreover, it keeps track of the return windows on all your orders.
Paribus tracks purchases from most popular retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, and Target, you get the drift. Additionally, it can monitor your hotel bookings on platforms such as Expedia, Booking.com, etc.
4. Get Paid in Exchange for Your Junk Mail
Did you know there is a way to monetize all those spam emails sitting in your junk folder? What if someone is willing to put free money in your bank account for those emails?
There are companies such as The Hauser Group that will pay you to forward your junk mail. They usually reward you with points that you can use to redeem cash (PayPal) or gift cards from popular retailers.
Are you wondering why spam emails are so valuable that companies are willing to pay you in exchange for them? Data from these emails are used by these companies to improve the deliverability of their clients’ email marketing campaigns. The next time you are about to clear your junk folder, trade it in exchange for some extra cash. It is a relatively simple and hassle-free way of getting money out of something you were going to delete regardless.
5. Earn Money by Installing Apps
Certain companies will pay you to install their apps and keep them on your phone. These apps work in the background to collect data on your online behavior and device usage. In exchange, you get to earn free money in your bank account every month. Downloading these apps is unarguably one of the simplest ways to get paid for free.
For instance, Nielsen, the British data firm, pays you $50 every year to keep their app on your smartphone or computer. The app runs out-of sight in the background and collects information about your internet usage anonymously. You also get rewarded with additional incentive every month.
Likewise, Smart Panel, a market research app, gathers insights and statistics from people who use their smartphones. However, to make money using Smart Panel, you need to fill out a questionnaire and check if you qualify. Once you are eligible, you can earn your first $5 just by installing the app on your phone. You can make an additional $5 every month as long as you keep the app installed.
6. Use a Budgeting App
Do you often get swayed by seasonal discounts and end up making impulse purchases? You’d be surprised at all the money you could saved if you didn’t indulge in such shopping sprees. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that could monitor your spending and help you save money? This is what budgeting apps like Trim help you accomplish.
Trim is an AI-powered budgeting app that helps you minimize your expenses by tracking your recurring bills. It sends you an alert via SMS or Facebook Messenger notifying you of unwanted subscriptions. You can ask the app to get these subscriptions canceled on your behalf.
Moreover, you can connect Trim with your service providers by uploading your latest bills. It negotiates with the service providers to get you the best rates and offers available on the market. Trim applies to a wide range of services including cable TV, internet connections, and even insurance.
7. Get Paid to Surf the Web
Here’s the thing – you already use the internet daily for long hours. How about putting it to good use and making some money out of it? A market research company called Inbox Dollars pays you to use their search engine instead of the usual ones such as Google and Bing. The company gathers statistics and insights on users’ search behavior and patterns to help clients get a better understanding of their audience.
The best part is that you get an instant $5 bonus for signing up. After that, you earn money every time you run a search on Inbox Dollars. You can even take online surveys, play games, or print coupons to earn extra money. It is one of the easiest ways to get free money in your bank account for an activity you do for free already.
8. Watch Videos to Make Money
Who doesn’t like to watch a fun and engaging video? Some companies are willing to pay you to do just that. For instance, Swagbucks, a popular online survey site, lets you earn money by watching short, promotional videos. These videos are usually on a wide range of topics including but not limited to news, entertainment, and sports. These sites usually belong to leading content sites.
You earn your first $10 for just signing up with Swagbucks. After that, you can accumulate reward points, called Swagbucks, by watching videos and redeem them for gift cards or Paypal cash. If you’re strapped for time, this might the best option for you when you can’t find the time for a high-paying side hustle.
Companies such as Inbox Dollars and iRazoo also have plenty of entertaining videos that you can watch for some extra cash. Even if you don’t enjoy the videos, you can play them on mute while you run errands or finish your chores.
9. Get Paid to Workout
If you have been looking for an incentive to hit the gym and start working out, this is it. There are apps such as Sweatcoin that pay you to collect data on your physical activity. Google and Apple are already tracking this data for free; so, you might as well make some money out of it.
You can get started by installing the app. It automatically syncs with any existing fitness app on your phone or smartwatch. After that, you can collect points for any physical activity, including walking and running. You can redeem these points via PayPal and earn extra points via referrals.
If you’re looking for a push to reach your fitness goals, you can also rake in some moolah using HeathyWage. Select your target goals, specify a deadline, and place a bet. If you manage to accomplish your goal, you get paid via PayPal. The HealthyWage Prize Calculator determines your payout.
10. Make Money by Testing Websites
You will be amazed to find the number of ways you can get paid just by offering your valuable opinion of something. Companies are always on the lookout for people who can test their websites and give feedback on aspects such as design, usability, and responsiveness. You can make extra money by helping them improve their website and deliver a better user experience.
To get started, you can sign-up on websites such as TryMyUI, User Conversion, and UserTesting. Most of the tests are about 10 to 15 minutes long and can fetch you around $10 per test. This is a great way to get paid for free by showing off your analytical skills.
11. Make Money on Your Restaurant Reservations
Eating out with your friends and family is always fun. It can become even more enjoyable when you get a cashback on your meals. You can do this by installing a reservation app such as Seated. You can earn up to 30% back when you dine at one of Seated’s partner restaurants.
Every meal booked through the app fetches you reward points called “Seater dollars.” With Seater dollars, you can redeem these points for gift cards from online retailers and VIP experiences. You can use Seated to book reservations in various cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
12. Get Paid to Shop
Rakuten Rewards, formerly known as Ebates, lets you earn up to 40% cashback when you shop at your favorite online store. The company earns a commission from online stores every time you place an order. Then, you are rewarded with cashback that can you can redeem for a paper check or PayPal cash.
You can get started by signing up on Rakuten’s website and earning an instant $10 bonus. You can then check out the offers listed on their website and click on them to start shopping. Rakuten has partnered with over 2,500 online retailers on this reward program.
13. Save Money on Your Grocery Shopping
You probably spend a good chunk of your income buying groceries and household items every month, right? Don’t you wish there was a way to minimize these expenses? Apps such as Checkout51 and Ibotta give you a chance to earn cash back on your usual grocery shopping.
Checkout51 uploads over a hundred new offers every Thursday. You can check them out by installing the app on your smartphone. Once you have signed up, you can select coupons for items you have already bought. Next, you have to upload a picture of your receipt for those items to start earning cashback. You can use Checkout51 to shop from various local retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods.
Ibotta also lets you earn cashback on your purchases. The app also has an in-built payment feature using which you can earn additional cashback.
So far, we have been discussing various ways of making free money without any significant effort. Some of these hacks even offer instant gratification in the form of rewards and bonuses. However, most of them are all short-term fixes that can help you tackle some of your expenses.
If you are serious about finding a side hustle, you should look for something that has long-term durability. While these methods might be time-consuming and require you to work harder, they are beneficial in the long run. Moreover, they allow you to showcase and hone your skillset.
Here are a few other ways to make money online and sustain in the long run:
14. Start Blogging
If you are good at writing, don’t wait to start your blog. The best part is that you don’t need any fancy qualifications and degrees to become a blogger. You have to be passionate about your subject and continue blogging consistently. Additionally, you need to possess the technical know-how of working on a content management platform such as WordPress.
It would help if you also learned the basics of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to drive increased traffic to your blog. Once you garner significant traction, you can create a Google AdSense account to place relevant ads in your blog posts. You can even collaborate with suitable brands and get paid to promote them on your blog.
Blogging has a treasure trove of earning streams in-store waiting to be discovered. You have to ensure that your content is fresh, insightful, and cutting-edge. While this might seem like a lot of work, you can reap the benefits if you keep at it.
When you build a significant following and establish your authority, companies will start approaching you for partnerships. You can even get paid to publish guest posts on other websites. It is not surprising that some people have managed to make a living by becoming full-time bloggers.
15. Become a Proofreader or Transcriptionist
If you obsess over the slightest grammatical errors, it is time to put your skills to good use. You can rake in some extra money by signing up for Proofread Anywhere and becoming a freelance proofreader. Created by Caitlyn Pyle, the website also offers a few introductory workshops for beginners. Once you have finished the course, you can start proofreading from any part of the world.
Likewise, there is a massive demand for transcriptionists. It is a location-independent job that requires little prior experience. The payout is also relatively generous. You can enroll for an online course on Transcribe Anywhere to get started.
16. Become an Online Teacher
So what if writing or proofreading isn’t your cup of tea? That shouldn’t stop you from finding a side hustle and making more money. Online learning platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy are always on the lookout for good teachers/instructors. You don’t have to be a trained teacher to get started. All you have to do is find a subject you are passionate about and inspire students with your knowledge and insights.
You can get started by planning a class you would like to take. After that, you need to record it at home and upload it on the platform. The next step is to expand your reach and build your community. Most online learning platforms pay you every time a student watches your videos.
17. Leverage on dropshipping suppliers
Do you know how to create great websites? It is time you put that skill to use and develop a sustainable side hustle using dropshipping. Simply put, dropshipping is a business model in which a retailer doesn’t keep the products in stock. Instead, when a customer places an order, it buys the product from a third-party vendor and ships it directly to the customer.
Unlike traditional eCommerce businesses, you don’t need an infrastructure to produce or store the items you are selling. All you need to do is find a few vendors/suppliers, build an e-commerce website, and list all your products. Even if you don’t know hard-core web programming, you can create your website using platforms such as Shopify. You can also build a WordPress Website and install the WooCommerce plugin.
The term “free money” is often perceived as a shoddy scam or some illegal work. However, in today’s day and age, it is possible to get paid online for doing almost nothing. The internet has created new opportunities to make free money using legit ways.
Taking online surveys, watching promotional videos, surfing the internet – you can get paid for doing the banalest things. You can earn cashback on your purchases, hotel bookings, and restaurant reservations. You can even use budgeting assistant apps to track your expenses, negotiate your bills, and claim your refunds.
Additionally, you can leverage your education and talent to create a sustainable side hustle such as a blog or a dropshipping business. If you have a knack for teaching and inspiring others, create a course, and upload it on an online learning platform. These long-term solutions can bloom into a successful business and help get you more money.
Have you ever used any strategies to make free money on the internet? Share your views in the comments section below.
Also, here’s the complete side-hustle checklist to help you make even more money. This list has got something for everyone. From running errands to becoming an English tutor, or even testing mobile apps, this list has it all.
Richa describes herself as an avid dreamer and a curious soul! She is a certified Content & Search Marketing Specialist from Digital Marketer, USA. With an experience of 5+ years as a content marketer and researcher, she is in love with Digital Breakthroughs, Content Marketing, Startup Strategies and so much more.