When we decided that I was going to leave my job (and salary!) as a teacher to be a SAHM, I thought about ways I could contribute financially. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time on my phone while I was on maternity leave, especially in those early weeks. While Lincoln was nursing, or when he would fall asleep on my shoulder I would either be on my phone trying to feel somewhat connected to the outside world or I’d be binge watching How I Met Your Mother. I started looking into money making apps and websites that will pay you to do surveys, submit your receipts, or apps you can make money on by literally doing nothing.
Let me start by saying I am usually very skeptical of any easy way to make money. But believe it or not, you can make a little bit of extra cash by using these apps. Some of them require a small amount of effort on your part, but not much. I’ve separated them into 3 categories: rebate apps, surveys, and “do nothing” apps. I’ll write another post with a more complete list, but for now I’ll just start with my favorites.
Rebate Money Making Apps
1.Ibotta: If you’re into saving money on groceries, chances are you’ve heard of or are using this app. Basically, Ibotta features different name-brand grocery items each week from certain stores (they have other stores too, but I only use Ibotta for groceries). After you purchase one of Ibotta’s featured items from your local grocery store, Ibotta will give you a rebate. You just have to scan the barcode and snap a photo of your receipt. Here are the pros and cons:
- Some items offer a pretty high rebate. And if you’re into couponing (but you don’t have to be), you can get stuff for really cheap or free (once your rebate is credited) by matching up the rebates with store offers or other coupons. Last week I had BBQ sauce on my grocery list, and Ibotta had a rebate for $1 back on Stubbs BBQ…which was already an awesome deal. To make it better, HEB just happened to have Stubbs BBQ sauce for $1 off that week, so I scooped up a bottle for 88 cents after I used the HEB sale price and submitted for the $1 rebate on Ibotta.
- You receive your credit pretty quickly. I usually snap my receipts on Monday, and am almost always credited by Tuesday.
- Most of the rebate items are name brand. I mainly buy off brand, but if Ibotta gives me a better deal on something name brand I’ll go that route.
- You can’t submit a receipt from just any grocery store. I do 80% of my shopping at Aldi, and it isn’t one of the stores that Ibotta supports.
- It can take a while before you are able to “cash out”. You have to earn $20 before you can cash out. If you’re into buying name brand, you can do this pretty quickly. If you buy mainly off brand, but use Ibotta occasionally for name brand items, it can take longer.
Take away: It may take a while to earn enough money to cash out (I’ve made about $40 over the last year), but if it’s free money who cares!
2. Checkout 51: This app is very similar to Ibotta, but the rebates are smaller. In addition to name brand items, Checkout 51 usually features a 25 cent rebate on various produce items, which is what I mainly use it for since I buy a lot of produce. And they accept receipts from Aldi! Like Ibotta, it can take a long time if you don’t buy name brand; you also have to earn $20 to cash out. Over the last year and a half I’ve made about $20.
3. Receipt Hog: This is a money making app that uses your receipts for market research reports and will give you points for receipts you submit. Basically, start saving your receipts: grocery, gas, convenient stores, clothing stores, etc. You snap a picture of your receipt, and they will give you “coins” based on how much you spent at that store. Once you have 1,000 coins, that’s equivalent to $5. You can either get that transferred to your PayPal account or buy a gift card. I usually get a $5 Amazon gift card. I’ve gotten about 3 gift cards over the last year.
Survey Money Making Apps
There are a lot of survey websites and apps out there. I’m naturally prone to be suspicious of most of these sites, but there are some that are legit. Most survey sites/apps require you to take a survey that can be anywhere from 5-30 minutes long, and you will get some sort of reimbursement. Most of them require you to accumulate a certain amount of points before you can cash out. The surveys are all pretty easy and can be done while you’re watching TV. Later in another post I’ll talk about more survey sites I use, but I’ll just talk about my favorite here.
4. Pinecone Research is by far my favorite survey site…and it’s legit. You sign up with a special link to their website and enter basic demographic information. They are looking for specific people to fill, and fortunately for me they needed a white 31 year old female! Once you fill out your demographic info, they will send you an email to let you know if you’re selected. If you are, they will email you each time there is a survey available and you get paid $3 per survey! I signed up mid-March, and I’ve already made $27. The surveys are over new products that companies are trying to get out there, and they want consumer feedback. Bonus: sometimes they will send you products in the mail so you can test them and leave your honest feedback. I got a container of Tide laundry detergent and a pretty disgusting protein bar to test…. for freeeee. They also have an app. If you want to see if you qualify, go to their website and fill out this form. If you get an email that you’re selected, then you can download the app to make taking the surveys a little easier.
“Do Nothing” Money Making Apps
Let me give this disclaimer by saying if you’re someone who is paranoid and feels like the “government is always watching”, then these are probably not the apps for you. If you feel uncomfortable installing these types of apps, don’t do it. There are plenty of other apps you can earn money from.
5. Screenwise Cross Media Panel by Google Chrome. This is a market research panel that “helps Google better understand how consumers use technology and digital media”. They pay you just for letting them “meter” your phone. I’m not going to get into all the details, but if it interests you then you can look into it more. I’ve made about $40 over the last year for literally doing nothing. If you’re interested, you can sign up on their website, and they will walk you through how to download and connect the app to your phone.
6. Panel App is another market research panel app that uses your GPS location to understand it’s users, which in turn determines the kind of marketing companies will do in certain areas to certain demographics. This one takes a while to earn money on. I’ve had it for about a year, and have only made about $5.
I will detail other money making apps I use in a later post. I think this goes without saying, but use common sense anytime you’re using any money making apps. Your demographic information should be the only personal information these companies ask you. If you’re signing up for something that asks for credit or bank information, or your social security number, it’s probably a scam.
My goal this year is to use the money I’ve earned to pay for a big chunk of Christmas gifts. I plan on handmaking most of my gifts this year, but there are always some that need to be purchased!
Do you have any favorite money making apps that you can earn money from? I’d love to hear!