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25 Legitimate Ways to Make Money While Social Distancing

The Penny Hoarder Staff  |  April 3, 2020

Being stuck at home isn’t always fun. But if you have some spare time and need a bank account boost, here are 25 ways you can make money online.

We get it: Being stuck at home isn’t always fun.

But if you have some spare time and need to give your bank account a boost this month, we rounded up 25 ways you can make money online.

None of these require face-to-face human interaction — or leaving your couch for that matter. And most of them you can start doing today.

Without further ado, here are 25 ways to make money online while you’re social distancing:

1. Earn Cash While Watching Cooking Videos Online

When you’re stuck at home, chances are you spend a lot of time in front of a screen — either your phone, computer or TV. Don’t we all?

But why not get paid for your screen time? Seriously.

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, this won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already posted up on the couch.

And unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — so you can use your earnings for essentials, like rent and groceries. 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.

2. Play Free Scratch-off Tickets

This isn’t a guaranteed way to make money, but we’re including it because it’s fun and mindless and why not do it if you’re just sitting around, binging Netflix documentaries?

With an Android app called Lucktastic, you can play free scratch-off tickets. (It’s called Lucktastic Match for iOS.)

Yup — we love those gas station scratchers, too, but they’re not the best use of your money. These are better because they’re totally free.

Each day, Lucktastic releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. It says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It takes minutes to download the app and start scratching!

3. 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.

4. Make an Extra $1,200 This Year From Your Couch

All you need for this money-making opportunity is your phone or computer. (A beverage of your choice is optional.)

A free rewards website called Swagbucks will pay you to take surveys. Just answer some questions about yourself and your opinions, and you can get paid.

This might sound too good to be true, but we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year. Not bad for something you can do from your couch.

It takes seconds to sign up, and you can even earn a $5 bonus.

5. Turn Your Crumpled Grocery Receipts Into Free Prepaid Visa Cards

One of the only things most of us are still doing these days is venturing out to stock up on groceries, so why not turn those grocery receipts into a free prepaid Visa card? One you can use the next time you go to stock up?

It sounds strange, but a free app called Fetch Rewards will give you these prepaid cards in exchange for your receipts.

All you have to do is upload a photo of your receipt to the Fetch app, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use receipts from any grocery store.

When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn bonus points when you scan your first receipt — then start snapping photos of your recent receipts (up to 14 days old). It’s fun to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store.

6. Find Out If You’re Overpaying

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?

That’s exactly what this free service does.

Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.

In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.

You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.

Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.

7. Flex Your Organizational 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, go to your favorite job board and search remote assistant positions.

8. Earn up to $450 This Year By Sharing Your Opinion

Got opinions? Don’t we all these days?

There’s a company that wants to hear ’em (more than your Facebook friends do). It’s called Bread.

Bread is new to the world of surveys, but it’s easy to use and you can earn up to $450 a year on the site. Heck, you’ll earn your first $1 just for filling out a profile questionnaire.

Once you earn $5, cash out your earnings through PayPal. It takes minutes to get signed up.

9. Copy This Strategy to Get Checks in the Mail Totaling $526

Doing more and more shopping online these days? Why not get a check in the mail for it?

A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy. 

In fact, since Denver resident Colleen Rice started using Rakuten, it’s sent her checks in the mail totaling $526.44. Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights.

It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. 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.

10. Have Psoriasis? Make up to $100

Living with psoriasis … psucks.

If you suffer from the uncomfortable autoimmune disease, you no doubt split your time trying to get rid of it and trying to hide it. But we found a way you can get a little payback for your suffering — and help others with the disease — without even leaving your couch.

M3 Global Research is recruiting psoriasis patients to participate in paid online surveys. Surveys take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and pay $10 to $100. The company is also recruiting for surveys on several other conditions, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

To get started, sign up with a valid email address. After you complete your profile, you’ll receive survey invitations tailored to your information.

11. Swap Your Receipts For Cash

We all want to save money on our groceries. What we don’t want to do is put a ton of work into it.

If this sounds like you — someone who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend.

It’s called Ibotta, and it gives you cash back for buying certain items at the grocery store. 

Before you shop, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus if you redeem 10 offers within 14 days of downloading.

12. Get Paid to Lose Weight

When you’re not able to get out and about, it can become difficult to get exercise in. But would money motivate you?

A company called HealthyWage will literally pay you to hit your weight-loss goal.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for HealthyWage.
  2. Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
  3. Place a bet on yourself ranging from $20 to $500 a month.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $10,000.

Wondering if it can really work? We talked to one woman, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds — and made over $2,400.

Curious to see how much you could make? Use HealthyWage’s calculator to find out.

13. Create an Online Course

You don’t need experience or a degree to make money as a teacher. Anyone can make an online course!

If you’re a subject-matter expert in any area, you can create a potentially profitable video course from home. Curious? Check out websites like Udemy, Thinkific or Teachable. This can be a great form of passive income.

14. Sell Your Crafts and Project Supplies

If you’re creative, you might be able to make some decent money selling your work through Etsy. Although there are some fees, the marketplace connects you with more than 33 million buyers globally.

That’s a lot of potential customers.

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, CPA and freelance writer Janet Berry-Johnson made about $200 a month selling needlecraft kits and patterns.

15. Trade Your Junk Mail for 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 into your mailbox. Join its consumer panel, and shovel 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. Not bad for something you’d toss into recycling. 

16. 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.

17. Set Your Own Hours as a Data Entry Clerk

Data entry isn’t necessarily 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.

Pay ranges on a per-hour or per-project basis. Typically, you can pick up jobs as frequently as you’d like through freelance broker sites like Smart Crowd and Clickworker.

18. Finally Launch Your Blog

Now that you finally have some free time, it could be the perfect time to launch that blog you’ve been dreaming up for the past 10 years.

This will take some time and dedication, but it could really pay off.

Take, for example, Helene Sula, a professional travel blogger who visited more than 85 cities in one year and earned $200,000, in part through her blog, “Helene in Between.”

We recommend you start by building up high-quality content. Then you can look into advertising platforms like Google AdSense, a tool that automatically serves your readers display ads. The price advertisers pay varies, so there’s no way to say how much you can make using Google AdSense, but you’ll get paid when a reader interacts with the ad.

If you want all the details, check out this guide to starting a blog, gaining page views and monetizing it.

19. Monetize Your Video Game Habit

Your mom was wrong. Playing video games might not be a waste of your time after all.

Cory Michael started streaming his gaming sessions on Twitch and, over the course of four years, attracted 29 million people to watch him tackle “Destiny” and other multiplayer online games. As a result, Twitch accepted his partnership application and agreed to pay him to play.

Michael explained that there are three ways to make money streaming on Twitch: tipping, ad revenue and subscriptions. Top Twitch streamers can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.

20. Make Money Doing Voiceovers

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 heard about voice-acting platform Voices.com. The international marketplace helps vocal talent — professional and amateur — find clients who need them.

“I often walk away from my computer thinking, I can’t believe I just made money from that!” she said.

21. 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 in passive income. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.

22. See if the Government Has Your Unclaimed Money

State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.

Want to see if you have any unclaimed money? Check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search, and found $56 in her husband’s name.

Sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right? We’ll take it!

23. Tutor Kids Online

Love teaching kids? Even if you’re not a certified teacher, you can still make money tutoring kids online. Yup — no classroom required.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of companies hiring online tutors.

24. Earn up to $25 an Hour as a Transcriptionist

Are you a good listener — and a good typist? You can make up 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!

To get started, search gigs on sites like Rev, Speechpad, TranscribeMe and TigerFish.

25. Show off Your Fancy Handwriting Skills

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.

This story originally ran on The Penny Hoarder.

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. This post contains references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.
Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

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