With inflation still above average and murmurs of a looming recession on the horizon, you might be more than a little anxious about your bank account balances – especially if you already live paycheck to paycheck like a reported 60% of Americans.
To give your budget more wiggle room (and lower your financial stress), you have two basic options. You can look for ways to cut back on your expenses or you can make more money.
If you’re interested in upping your income without leaving home, here are 10 legitimate ways to make money online:
- Join a focus group.
- Take on freelance work.
- Review a mock trial.
- Earn while you shop.
- Sign up for surveys.
- Watch videos.
- Listen to music.
- Play games.
- Transcribe audio.
- Refer your friends.
1. Join a Focus Group
If you’re that person who always has an opinion on everything, why not get paid for it? Join a focus group and you’ll get paid for your thoughts and feedback about an array of products, services or concepts.
Keep in mind that many focus groups are held in person but you can find ones that meet online as well. Check out 20|20 Panel and User Interviews to get started. Focus groups are often more involved than other ways to get free money, but the payout can be worth it.
2. Take on Freelance Work
Even if you already have a 9-to-5 job, you may be able to pick up some freelance work in the evenings. Freelancing is great because you can use a variety of skillsets, whether that’s writing, tutoring, translating or programming, to make some side cash. Check out sites such as Upwork, Freelancer.com or Gengo to get started.
3. Review a Mock Trial
Do you love a good court procedural? Are John Grisham adaptations and “The Lincoln Lawyer” right up your alley? If so, reviewing a mock trial online might be a good fit for you. Websites such as Ejury.com pay you for watching a mock trial, answering a few questions and providing comments. The payout per case is typically $5 to $10.
4. Earn While You Shop
If you’re shopping for certain products and services, you can snag discounts and free money by activating some browser extensions like Swagbucks’ SwagButton and CouponCabin’s Sidekick. These extensions send you alerts about discounts, coupons and cash back opportunities while you shop online, which can put some dollars back in your pocket.
5. Sign Up for Surveys
If you sign up to take online surveys, you can make some extra money or receive gift cards for sharing your opinions. Check out online survey sites such as Survey Junkie, OneOpinion, InboxDollars and Opinion Outpost to get started. When it comes to compensation, some of the survey sites pay $2 (or less) per hour of work. It’s not a way to get rich quickly, but can give you some extra pocket money.
6. Watch Videos
Watching videos is another great way to earn a little extra cash. Sign up with Swagbucks or Inbox Dollars, and you can choose to watch movie previews, TV shows, news, commercials and more on your mobile device or laptop. In exchange, you’ll receive points, which you can redeem for cash via PayPal or gift cards from different retailers.
7. Listen to Music
Music lovers: There’s some money out there for you, too. You can register with music review sites Slicethepie, Playlist Push and HitPredictor to listen to songs and rate them. You’ll receive a payment for each review via PayPal, but the amounts vary since the sites reward quality reviews. This means the more detailed and constructive review you give, the better payout you should receive – though this is more an art than a science.
8. Play Games
Love to game? With apps such as Coin Pop, you can earn coins to exchange for gift cards or cash via PayPal. Keep in mind that the payout is pretty small and depends on how much time you spend playing games on the app, but can add up over time. Note you can also play games for money on sites such as Swagbucks.
9. Transcribe Audio
If you’re a good typist, you might want to try your hand at transcribing. Websites like Rev pay from 30 cents to $1.10 per audio/video minute for transcriptions of different audio recordings, including lectures, podcasts and interviews. Plus, Rev is good about paying its transcriptionists each week through PayPal.
10. Refer Your Friends
Some businesses – from credit card companies and banks to retailers and travel sites – will pay you for referring your friends to their products or services.
Typically, after you make a purchase or sign up, you’ll be directed to a web page asking you to share a personal referral link with friends that may also be interested. You’ll then receive a referral bonus for each friend that clicks the link and purchases the service or product. For example, T-Mobile is currently offering a $50 prepaid gift card for referrals and will pay you up to $500 per calendar year.