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Everybody: There’s no such thing as free money. Me: Uhm, yes, there is! Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, there are a ton of ways to get cash easily – especially in our digital age. If you’re scratching your head wondering how to get free money, sit tight and drop everything you’re doing.
You won’t want to miss this. But first...
Is free money really free?
You’re understandably skeptical. To clear any open questions you have, we’ll first clarify what we mean by free money. Free refers to any cash bonus or rewards you receive for signing up for and using a service.
It’s as simple as receiving a welcome bonus of $10 when you sign up for a new savings account.
Or it’s the redeemable points you accumulate for sharing your opinion with a company. So this money is absolutely free in the sense that you’re not trading hours of hard labor in exchange for it, but instead, you’re receiving additional benefits while you perform your day-to-day activities.
Now that we covered the meaning, let's get into ways to get real money fast!
How to get free money now: 17 ideas
It may surprise you just how many different ways to get free money there are. Also, every dollar adds up! Even if you earn $10 a week, that's $520 in a year!
So, here are 17 ideas on how to get extra money!
1. Take advantage of your employer's 401(k) match at work
Some jobs come with amazing perks. One of these is matching your 401(k) contributions that you make towards your retirement savings.
Which is where your employer contributes a certain amount towards your retirement account based on what you are already contributing each month.
Oftentimes, the employer matches a percentage of the employee’s contributions. However, employers will only do so up to a certain limit.
It’s a great deal and if your employer offers the option, be sure you fully sign up for it. Getting your 401k contributions matched is a great idea for how to get free money!
2. Get paid interest on your savings
Looking for one of the most effortless ways to get free money? Look no further than your bank. One of the advantages of having a savings account or more liquid forms of money (such as certificates of deposit or money market accounts) is that they earn interest for you while you sleep.
Try opening a new account, too - a high-yield savings account - to earn even more.
The key is to compare options to ensure you’re getting the best interest rates out there. A quick trick will be to focus on online savings banks that tend to offer higher interest rates than traditional banks.
Because online banks have lower overhead costs and can truly focus on maximizing returns for their customers.
3. Get government assistance if needed
If you're in a desperate financial situation, there are government assistance options available that can help you get back on your feet.
There are many reasons that you may be in need of cash and unable to pay bills. Check out benefits.gov to see if you qualify for government assistance to help you get through difficult times.
4. How to get free money when you watch TV or use the internet
Getting paid to watch tv and use the internet can be fun and easy to do! Figure out how much you can earn with these options.
Nielsen, a market research company, is one of the leading providers of media and marketing information, including TV ratings. So, naturally, they have to keep their ears to the ground on what viewers and consumers of media and content are into.
To do this, they offer paid panels where you can share your TV and internet usage as well as your opinions on the different media you consume.
Similar to other apps you'll learn about below, Nielsen asks you to provide your basic information and then download and install their app to your devices. And that’s it. You won’t hear a peep from their software except for “ka-ching” as you earn more money!
Making money from home is the 21st-century dream. And it’s not out of reach for you as long as you have a computer and a working internet connection.
Inbox Dollars is a fun rewards program that will pay you cash for your everyday online activities such as searching the web, taking surveys, or you can even play games or watch trending content.
Like other sites, you accumulate cash as you go, and when you’re ready, you’re able to request payment in the form of a gift card, check, or PayPal. Inbox Dollars has been around since 2000, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon!
5. Earn cash while you shop online and in-store
Do you like shopping bonuses and promotions? Be a savvy shopper and earn money at the same time with these cashback apps:
Known previously as Ebates, Rakuten is another go-to source for great cashback deals. Sign up for a possible 40% cash back at over 2,500 stores (in-store and online).
The best part about Rakuten is, unlike other sites, there are no forms, fees, or points.
How to get started:
- Go to the Rakuten site
- Shop at your favorite store using their browser plugin, on their site, or via their app
- Earn cashback when you buy things. Cashback will be added to your account.
- Get paid by check or through PayPal
You’re not one to turn down a free gift card, are you? I didn’t think so!
If you’re looking for a legit way to earn free gift cards, look no further than Swagbucks. Plus, earn more from referrals.
In just 3 easy steps done from the comfort of your home, you’ll be well on your way to snagging some cool gift cards. All you have to do is:
- Sign up for free for Swagbucks
- Earn points by shopping online, answering surveys, or watching cool videos
- Once you’ve accumulated some points, redeem them for free gift cards at your favorite retailers like Amazon or get cashback through PayPal
As a partner site to Swagbucks, My Points lets you earn points from shopping online, watching videos, and taking surveys.
As you do, you get more points that you can exchange for miles, gift cards, or cash from PayPal. It's a pretty great payout system.
If you want to maximize both your in-store and online purchases (especially grocery shopping), you’ll definitely want to download the Ibotta app.
To earn in-store, all you need to do is:
- Open the app and choose “Find offers” which lets you select offers by store type e.g. grocery, pharmacy, or restaurants and bars among others
- Choose the offers you’re looking to redeem and hit the “Add” button
- Go to that store and buy items
- Upload your receipt
- Earn cash back on your purchases
As you can see, it's simple and takes a few quick minutes.
Want even more cashback? Be Frugal offers even more opportunities to earn some dollars back in your pocket.
Offering up to 40% cash back at 5,000+ stores, the site guarantees that it offers the highest cashback rates in the market, and it has reviews to support it!
There’s nothing quite like accumulating freebies while shopping from your phone. And that’s precisely what Drop does for you. With over 3 million users, Drop is an app that lets you shop at your favorite brands and gives you rewards for it.
Intrigued? It’s not just your favorite clothing brands like Asos, Nike, or Adidas that are on there; you’ll also find your favorite food sites such as GrubHub and Starbucks as well as services such as Uber or Lyft. All at the tips of your fingers.
For every purchase you make through the Drop app, you earn points that you can redeem on the most popular sites out there, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Starbucks. Totally worth it if you ask me.
6. Use refunds from Paribus
So, you think the IRS is the only one that can send you a cool refund, huh? If you answered yes, you clearly haven’t heard of Paribus.
Developed by Capital One Bank, their amazing software tracks your purchases and figures out if a store owes you a refund.
How does it work?
- You shop for your favorite items online.
- Paribus tracks the purchase and monitors pricing after you’ve bought the item.
- If the price goes down, Paribus gets right to work, notifies you, and helps you to get the difference in price back.
Using Paribus to get refunds is an easy and savvy approach when it comes to how to get free money now.
7. Use apps to track and save your money
The internet is amazing because you have so many options available to you. And while that is great in theory - in practice, it can be paralyzing.
Let’s face it; you can quickly suffer from decision fatigue, making it so easy to leave money on the table. These apps can make sure you don't miss out on any money.
Fiona is a fast way to search for a range of financial services from providers without going through each option one by one. If you’re looking for the best savings accounts, best credit card offers, or most affordable loans,
Fiona will aggregate the data for you and show you your options in a few easy steps. The best part? Fiona doesn’t ask for any of your personal details!
Trim helps you get to the bottom of where your money is really going. This financial app may be just what you need to get free money fast by managing your subscriptions and lowering your bills. All you need to do is to download the app and connect your accounts to start saving.
Savings accounts, checking accounts, 401(K), mortgages, car loans, online savings accounts, credit cards; it’s a lot to keep track of, isn’t it? If you’re diligent about tracking each penny in each account, then great – you can stop here.
But, if you’re like the rest of us, a little help with managing multiple accounts can go a really long way. That’s where Personal Capital comes in. The site lets you link all of your accounts to their platform, allowing you to see your finances in one place.
You’ll be able to see all your investments, and your net worth, plus set your spending and savings goals. You’ll also be able to quickly see sneaky hidden fees such as expensive mutual fund fees that you might not need to be paying.
8. Get paid to share your opinions
Sharing your opinion and taking surveys is a great idea when it comes to how to get free money now. It's also fast and easy! You just need internet service.
Here are a few sites to get you started:
Who said making money has to be boring? With Survey Junkie, you can have a say in the direction your favorite brands take by sharing your opinion with them and getting paid to do so.
Not only will you challenge your favorite brands to improve their products and services, but you also make some extra cash.
To get started, sign up and create a profile. Your profile information will determine what types of surveys are sent your way.
Once your account is up and running, you can begin taking surveys and earning virtual points. Points can be redeemed in two ways – either as cash through PayPal or as an e-gift card.
It’s no secret that the world runs on data. And companies get it from no one else but you, so why not get paid for it?
SurveySavvy is another survey site that links you to companies looking for user feedback in exchange for cash. They have a few ways to do this:
- Once you’ve completed your profile, Survey Savvy matches your information to criteria determined by the company.
- You will then receive an email invitation prompting you to participate in a survey.
- A screening test will be required before you can start taking the survey so once you’ve answered all the questions and submitted your information, you’ll then be able to take the survey.
- At the end of the survey, you’ll be credited with the amount promised.
Behavioral science is a huge deal in the e-commerce and tech space. Companies like SavvyConnect (owned by SurveySavvy) pay big bucks to know exactly what people are doing on their computers. Their spending habits, their favorite sites, and what draws people to those sites.
While it sounds creepy, you can totally make some money from this without sharing too much personal information.
If privacy is a concern, you can switch to your browser's Incognito mode, and Savvy will not be able to access information on your screen.
SavvyConnect lets you download a desktop application that works silently in the background while you browse the internet.
Opinion Outpost lets you earn gift cards and cash by taking surveys. There's a variety of unique options including watching advertisements and even real-life surveys.
It uses a point system, and you can redeem your points for gift cards, plus cash or vouchers. To begin:
- Sign up for Opinion Outpost
- Take surveys and earn points
- Get paid in cash, gift cards, and vouchers
9. Get the best shopping deals with Dosh Cash
It’s no secret that millions, if not billions of dollars, are wasted on purchases every year. Whether it’s from buying seriously overpriced items when you could have gotten them cheaper a few blocks over or unclaimed rewards when making purchases.
Dosh is another great way to get cash! It helps to make sure you don’t leave any money on the table. Dosh lets you connect your credit or debit card securely to their platform. You can then shop at thousands of shops and restaurants and get up to 10% cashback.
Once the cash shows up in your app, you’re free to do as you will with it – you can transfer it to your bank accounts, send it to your PayPal or even donate to charity.
10. Ditch gifts for gift cards
A gift is such a precious gesture and can be such a treat to receive. However, sometimes someone can go out of their way to get you an expensive gift when you’d much rather have cash instead.
If you’re comfortable with doing so, don’t hesitate to vocalize your preference. After all, you’ll be saving someone the trouble of gift shopping, and you’ll be able to get something like an Amazon gift card instead that will give you more flexibility.
11. Make money from your old items
As you declutter your life, you are bound to find old stuff you don't use anymore. Selling your unwanted items is one of the quickest ways to get free money.
It’s not uncommon to retire electronics after a few years, even if they’re still functional. Often, they’re outdated and are so far behind all the latest technology that seems to change at a moment’s notice.
But what do you do with your old devices? You could just keep them till who knows when.
Instead, Decluttr is a fantastic site where you can sell your old tech gadgets hassle-free. And you know what’s really great? You'll get a completely free instant evaluation upfront for the goods you're selling.
Then you know exactly how much you’ll earn, without having to stress about hidden fees.
Once you decide to move forward with the purchase, simply pack your goods into a box and print a free shipping label.
When your items arrive at the warehouse and get screened for approval, expect to receive next-day payment either as a check, PayPal, direct deposit, or as a donation to charity.
As you go through your unused wardrobe, pack up all that clothing and send it to ThredUp for cash! Simply go to their site and request a cleanout kit, ship your clothes, and they do the rest. You can get cash or credit to shop instead.
12. Make free money renting rooms in your home with Airbnb
Airbnb can be a great way to cash in if you have extra unused rooms in your home. You’ll get to welcome guests from all over the world into your home, and you can be as present or as absent as you want to be during their stay.
Some guests never meet their hosts, while other guests get to spend time with their hosts and learn one or two things about the city they’re in.
Whatever the case, the tone is 100% set by you as the host. You also have the freedom to choose which days you want to open your home for Airbnb hosting, and you can block out the days you prefer not to host. When it comes to how to get free money, renting out space can help pay the bills!
13. Sell photos
Reckon you’re a good photographer? You may want to consider expanding your horizons from being your family and friends' free photographer. In a matter of a few clicks, you can find perfect strangers who will be more than willing to drop their hard-earned money on your photos.
Many stock photography sites will gladly accept your images and sometimes pay you $100 per image or more. These sites include iStock Photo, and Shutterstock, among many others.
14. Revisit your tax return
In a dash to beat the annual April 15 tax filing deadline, you may have overlooked a thing or two on your taxes, such as a tax deduction that applied to you.
However, it's not the end of the road. If you overpaid, you can file an amendment to your original tax return and get your hard-earned money back in your pocket.
15. Look out for unclaimed money
Did you know that every state has unclaimed property programs that find owners of forgotten assets? Millions of dollars in unclaimed property exist! What’s really neat is that claims can be made into perpetuity, even by heirs.
So, if your great, great, great grandparents were cousins with the Rockefellers, you may just be in for a treat! You just never know, so check for any unclaimed funds.
The national association of unclaimed property administrators is also a good resource for finding an unclaimed property.
16. Get free money by getting healthy
One of the coolest ways to earn cash is to earn it for getting healthy. Not only will you reach your fitness goals, but you have extra cash in your pocket too! Check out these sites to start earning:
With HealthyWage, you place a bet on yourself and how much weight you can lose by a certain date.
So if you want to lose 20 pounds in six months, you can choose how much money you want to bet every month, and will be paid in cash prizes if you reach your goal. Simply use their prize calculator to see how much you will win.
DietBet is a program and also an app for your mobile device that allows you to place bets on your weight loss goals. You simply download the app, join a game to place a bet on yourself, and win back your bet plus more when you reach your goal.
It's super easy and makes losing weight fun. It's how to get money now while getting healthy!
17. Get free money by signing up for things
Grow your portfolio by signing up for an investment app. They sometimes offer free stocks. This will not only help you with your financial future, but you're also gaining money easily through these bonus offers.
Something else you could sign up for if you feel comfortable doing so is a new credit card.
You can get credit card sign-up bonuses, which can be great if you can meet the requirements without a problem and without going into debt. Just be aware of anything that can affect you later like an annual fee, which you should avoid.
I have free money, now what?
You’ve done all you needed to do, and you managed to rake in some good free money – what should you do with it? Here are a few suggestions that may help you make the most of your additional income.
Fill the gaps in your budget
Some months, it can be tough to nail your budget with perfect accuracy, and a cash injection may be just what you want to help with any financial need.
If you’ve overspent in one category, causing you to fall short in another, you could use the cash you earned to fill in that hole in your budget. You’ll be well on your way to spending the rest of the month with peace of mind financially.
Buy the things you really need
A number of free money opportunities can be cashed in the form of credit on large retail sites such as Amazon. It may be a perfect opportunity for you to purchase items you need but have had to set aside for a while. Be mindful not to overspend.
If you get cash, pay down debt
Paying down debt is never a bad idea because every dollar that remains unpaid keeps accruing interest. A smart way to handle the extra free cash would be to direct it toward your debt or invest it.
So use that cash to pay credit card debt and avoid paying credit card companies even more money.
Alternatively, you could add it to your emergency fund or sinking fund and save up for a rainy day.
Use these tips to learn how to get free money now!
As you can see, there are a ton of things you can do when wondering how to get free money that requires little to no effort on your part. But it could make a world of difference to your finances. Many of these require you to simply sign up and do the bare minimum.
You just have to pick and choose which one suits you best. And remember that getting cash for free is great, but financial knowledge matters, too. There are many things involved with managing money, including being debt-free and budgeting well.