32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home
So you’re looking for ways to make money from home… Join the crowd!
Thanks to a genius invention called the internet, Americans are discovering more and more creative ways to cushion their bank accounts from the comforts of home.
Not sure where to start? Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), and keep reading.
How to Make Money From Home in 2020
If you’re looking to make money online, you’ll need to exercise caution. There are a lot of scams out there, but don’t fret: We’ve tested dozens, if not hundreds, of different money-making strategies and included only our favorites.
Yup — none of them involve Nigerian princes, and you really will get paid.
Without further ado, here are 32 legitimate ways to earn extra cash from home.
1. Earn $225/Month By Watching Cooking Videos
If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
2. See if You Can Get Free Money From This Company
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash?
Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% back every time you swipe.
Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.
Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.
You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
3. Get Paid for Taking Polls
What did you think of the new Spiderman movie? Is a hot dog a sandwich? Who’s your favorite Real Housewife?
The research company, MyPoints, has paid people over $236 million to answer poll questions like that over the past 23 years.
And they’re currently recruiting new panelists. You can do it right on your phone, and you’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and complete your first five polls.
Any extra money you can put toward your credit cards is good in our book — but in this editor’s opinion, no, a hot dog is not a sandwich.
4. Get Free Lottery Tickets
Hitting a big jackpot could solve a lot of your problems right now. It’s tempting to buy those scratch-off tickets from the gas station. But that’s not the best use of your money when you’re in a bind.
Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free.
It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.
Take single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston. He was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize.
“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell says with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”
5. Search Your Wallet and Cash in on Your Dollar Bills
Specifically, dollar bills with strange serial numbers — ones that aren’t easy to come by. The collectors at CoolSerialNumbers.com will pay you big bucks if you have a bill with a rare sequence in your wallet.
Turns out antique coins aren’t the only currency worth cash to collectors.
Check out their website for a full list to see if you’ve got any of these rare bills, but here’s a rundown of the sort of serial numbers these collectors are looking for:
- 7 repeating digits in a row on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 09999999, 77777776)
- 7 of a kind on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00010000, 99999099)
- Super repeaters on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 67676767)
- Double quads on $1 Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. 00009999)
- and more!
6. Get $5 to Invest in the Stock Market
It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.
Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000*.
Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money. But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $5 after your first investment**.
7. Earn up to $69/Hour Working From Home
We get it. There are kids to drop off to school, errands to run and dinner to cook, so the idea of getting a full-time job without any flexibility just doesn’t work for a lot of people.
Truth be told, life would be a lot easier if you could just make money without leaving the house. But that’s not something most employers offer. But have you considered bookkeeping? It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc Magazine.
And you could earn up to $69 an hour by starting your own bookkeeping business, according to Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks.
You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it even gives you the first three classes for free.
It’s helped thousands of people launch their own businesses, including Daniel Honan, a military veteran and former painter. He never considered starting his own company, but he signed up for Bookkeepers.com, and now he’s making $50,000 a year.
It only took him three months to get started, taking one class a week. Oh, and he makes his own schedule, earns up to $69 an hour and is able to spend more time with his wife than ever.
If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free class. If you stick with it, you could be running your own business in just a few months.
8. Get Paid For Having Opinions on Current News Events
You could waste hours arguing in comments sections about politics with your mom’s twice-removed uncle. (How are you even connected on Facebook?). Or you could share your opinions with news outlets and get paid for them.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
A website called YouGov America will pay you for taking surveys and sharing your thoughts on the hottest topics, including politics, the economy and reality TV.
YouGov collects data from millions of people about news, brands and celebrities and shares it with news outlets and companies. For example, Yahoo! News recently published an article featuring results from a YouGov America survey revealing only 42% of Americans plan to get vaccinated against the coronavirus when the vaccine is available.
When you take a quick survey (some are less than three minutes), you’ll earn points you can exchange for cash or gift cards to places like Visa, Walmart or Amazon. Plus, The Penny Hoarder readers get a 3,000-point boost when they complete their first two surveys.
It takes just a few minutes to sign up and get your first survey (and points!) immediately.
9. Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper
Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle. Fighting crowds; keeping six feet of space — just buying toilet paper is a feat. Shouldn’t you have something to show for it?
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for sharing your grocery receipts. Yep, that includes toilet paper brands like Cottonelle and Scott, too.
Just upload the photos of your receipts to the app and Fetch will reward you with gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt. Then start snapping photos of your recent receipts to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store!
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
10. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?
One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.
Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.
11. Copy This Strategy to Get Checks in the Mail Totaling $526
Remember when getting the mail was fun? Now it’s just bills. And Valpak envelopes.
But for Colleen Rice, checking the mail meant finding checks. For doing nothing. Seriously. Since she started using a free website called Rakuten, she’s received $526.44.
Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy toilet paper on Amazon — even book that flight home for Thanksgiving.
Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights. She even used the money she earned to help her pay for her recent cross-country move.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping your go-to stores through the site.
Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 on the first check it sends you.
Talk about money for nothing.
12.Turn Your Junk Mail Into Cash
You know all those flyers and advertisements you get in the mail each day? The ones you never wanted but have no idea how to opt out of?
Well, you can turn them into cash.
The “Small Business Knowledge (SBK) Center” is a market research company that wants to get a peep insight your mailbox. Join its consumer panel, and start shoveling that junk mail into a postage-paid envelope and, at the end of each week, send it over to the SBK Center.
No, you won’t be rolling in extra cash, but you can earn up to $20 every six to 10 weeks.
13. Spend $5 to Own a Piece of Amazon or Google
Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common: They own another company.
But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.
That’s why a lot of people use the Acorns app. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $5. And with the recent sell-off in stocks, you might be able to buy them for cheaper than earlier in the year.
That’s right — Acorns allows you to invest in a bundle of well-known companies, letting you own a little of each of them while spending as little as $5. The best part? When these companies profit and issue dividends, you can profit, too.
It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Acorns will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you make your first investment.
14. Create an Online Course
You don’t need experience or a degree to make money teaching on Udemy.
If people want to learn what you have to teach, you can create a potentially profitable video course at home. Curious? Learn more about how to create a Udemy course.
15. Get Paid for Drinking Wine and Beer
Listen, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so we’re going to cut you a little slack if you want to splurge on a glass of wine or bottle of beer.
But before you do so, make sure you download the app that pays you for drinking.
Yes, you heard that right. We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your beer, wine and liquor receipts.
Ibotta earns money from the liquor companies and over the past few years they’ve given back more $600M to Americans.
Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has earned $172 in just over a year’s time, thanks to the free app.
It takes about 30 seconds to download Ibotta on your smartphone — what could you do with an extra $172?
16. Sell Your Crafts, Vintage Finds and Even Project Supplies
If you’re creative, you can make some decent money selling your work through Etsy. Although there are some fees, including a 5% transaction charge, the marketplace connects you with more than 33 million buyers globally.
That’s a whole lot of potential customers.
Establish a strong brand and backstory. Connecting with customers makes them more likely to spend time on your shop.
Even if you aren’t creating masterpiece paintings or elegant jewelry or adorable baby clothes, you can still make money through the platform. For example, one Penny Hoarder contributor, Janet Berry-Johnson, made about $200 a month selling needlecraft kits and patterns.
Maybe you’re more of a vintage type? Adventure through flea markets and even eBay to find vintage items you can fix up and resell through the platform.
17. Start a Blog
The startup costs for blogs are minimal: Just secure your domain name and hosting — only $2.95 a month from Bluehost.
You’ll need to write some quality content to get into WordPress (or your blogging platform of choice) and start sharing it through social media. Once you feel comfortable, you can monetize your blog through Google AdSense and affiliate programs for some nice passive income.
Sound appealing? Follow our seven-step guide to starting a blog.
18. Make Your Own Schedule as a Data-Entry Clerk
Data entry isn’t the best-paying work-from-home job, but it is one you can do with few skills or previous experience — all you need is a solid internet connection and a computer, and you must be at least 18 years old.
19. Write and Sell an Ebook
If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.
You can self-publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Writer Steve Gillman wrote a book in a week. Yup, Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.
After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.
20. Get Your True Crime Fix by Joining a Mock Jury
Jury duty isn’t always fun, but what if you could do it from the comfort of home? Becoming an online mock juror can be an interesting way to make some extra money.
Here’s how it works: Attorneys present cases to online juries as a way to test it before trial — to find that’s working and what isn’t and craft the best arguments.
You can sign up as an online juror through a site like eJury. When a new case is submitted, you’ll be notified. Jump in to review the case and answer questions. You can earn $5 to $10 per case, depending on its length.
21. Do Calligraphy on the Side
Maybe you don’t want to be a content writer, but if you have excellent handwriting skills and a set of calligraphy tools, you can address envelopes. You could make $2 to $5 a pop just for being a talented calligraphy writer.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but book a wedding with 100 guests, and you could rake in $200 or more for handwritten invites.
Launch your own website to sell your services, or offer calligraphy through Etsy. For example, Margo Dittmer gets creative with her calligraphy services and sells custom wedding certificates for $175 each on Etsy.
22. Make Money Doing Voice-Overs
Janna Polzin, a stay-at-home mom in Toronto, earns money by talking to herself. In her closet.
After her son was born in 2013, the stage actress turned to the online acting community and kept hearing about one voice-acting platform again and again: Voices.com.
“I often walk away from my computer thinking, I can’t believe I just made money from that!” she says.
Voices.com is an international online voice-over acting marketplace that helps vocal talent — both professional and amateur — find clients who need them.
23. Use Your Type-A Skills as a Virtual Assistant
If you have a knack for organization and communication, you just might make the perfect virtual assistant.
These days, you don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or on TV. You can work right from your couch.
Folks will pay you to help schedule their days, answer emails, update their website, run social media accounts and book travel accommodations — all from the comfort of your couch.
To find open virtual assistant jobs, peruse some of these work-from-home job boards.
24. Sell Your Old Books for Amazon Gift Cards
Have old college textbooks taking up valuable shelf space? You could host a garage sale or sell them on eBay or Craigslist, but one of the easiest ways to get rid of them is through Amazon.
With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.
Just enter the item’s information on Amazon’s Trade-In page to see how much you could pocket. Shipping is free.
25. Help Make the Internet Better as a User-Tester
Basically, companies will pay regular folks like us to offer feedback on websites and apps. How’s the design? Can you find ryour way around? Have questions that aren’t answered?
You can make up to $60 per test through sites like UserTesting. The best part? You don’t need any user-testing experience — just a solid internet connection.
26. Become a Freelancer and Set Your Own Hours
Have you considered freelancing? You can operate as a freelancer in just about any industry — from freelance writing to accounting to design to web development.
If you’re just starting out, consider finding gigs through freelance platforms. This will help you gain experience and connect with clients — without having to put a whole lot of work into marketing your services.
27. Sell Your Photos (Even If You Took Them With Your Phone)
Fancy yourself a solid amateur photographer? Instead of posting all day, every day, to Instagram, why not turn your work into some extra cash?
Start with a stock photography marketplace like Foap.
Download the Foap app, then upload your photos — even if you took them with your phone. When your photo is purchased, you automatically profit. Because Foap does most of the legwork, you’ll split the profit 50-50.
Want to go even bigger? Upload high-quality images to Shutterstock, one of the more popular stock photography sites. Each time your photo (or video) is sold, you pocket up to 30% of the sale price (while retaining the copyright).
28. Earn $12/Hour Doing Random Google Searches
Search engines (think: Google, Yahoo and Bing) use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see — and they don’t always get it right.
Although these algorithms are “smart,” they’re also prone to errors. Imagine searching for photos of hummingbirds — only for a photo of a seagull to pop up. Or maybe you’re looking for some news on immigration — only to find you’re reading a tabloid site.
That’s where humans can intervene as search engine evaluators. It’s your job to analyze search results and judge them based on quality, relevance and usefulness. And you can earn around $12 an hour or doing so.
We suggest you start by looking at Lionbridge job openings. The tech company is often hiring, so even if you don’t see any openings now, keep checking back to The Penny Hoarder’s online job portal.
29. Get Paid up to $25/Hour as a Transcriptionist
Are you a good listener — and a good typist? You can make $15 to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.
You’ll need experience in the medical or legal fields to get transcription assignments in those areas, but plenty of researchers, reporters and Average Joes are willing to pay for someone to type up their recordings.
You get paid per audio hour, so this is a gig that’s perfect for people with great focus. If an hour-long recording takes you four hours to transcribe, you still only get paid for one hour. Listen closely!
30. Sell Someone Else’s Stuff
Selling Craigslist freebies is a great way to make a profit quickly, because you get the items for free. You could even have cash in hand today.
Go to the free section on Craigslist and look for things that are close to you and easy to sell immediately. They could be scraps from a job site or metal items you can sell, for example.
For a quick turnaround, avoid items like furniture or electronics. These can be good to sell, but they’ll take longer.
Cash in your treasures by reselling on Craigslist, including them in a rummage sale or selling to specialty buyers, like a pawn shop or a local business.
31. Rent out the Clothes That Make Your Friends Jealous
Are your friends always complimenting your great sense of style? Try making money off that killer taste!
You can rent out your clothing online through a site like Style Lend.
There are a ton of others on the market, but take sure to read the fine print on rental sites. Some don’t charge any fees to the buyers and sellers, but some charge a rental commission per order. You’ll need to price your wears accordingly to account for any commission handed over to the company.
32. See if You Qualify for a Class-Action Settlement
If you use a product that’s involved in a class-action lawsuit, a little online sleuthing could get you a cash payout.
The rules of each settlement are different, but in most cases you’ll have to provide proof of purchase or product use, like a serial number or a receipt. Once you fill out your online claim form, you may have to wait a few weeks or months before receiving your payment.
Psst — we regularly post new class-action settlement information, so check in often to make sure you’re not missing a chance to get paid!
Our Favorite Work-From-Home Advice
Making money from home sounds all glitz and glam — and it can be, in a sweatpants kind of way. But there are also things you need to know before fully diving in. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- If you’re looking for a full-time work-from-home job, we rounded up 15 of our favorite remote job boards.
- Listen: There are a lot of work-from-home scams out there, so be sure to use your best judgement. We shared exactly how we vet the work-from-home jobs we write about — so you can do it on your own, too.
- If you’re looking to settle into a full-time work-from-home job, you’ll want to stock your home office with the essentials. Trust us when we say: Working from a couch all day isn’t good for your posture!
- Oof. Taxes. You should know about these work-from-home tax deductions. Plus, how to handle your taxes when you have a side gig.
- Are you looking for a side gig? You can find those in our list of 45 legitimate ways to make money online.
Happy working from home!
*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.
**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.