IF YOU’RE ANXIOUS ABOUT the amount of money set aside in your bank account, you’re not alone. According to the 2019 Modern Wealth Survey from Charles Schwab, 59% of participants reported living paycheck to paycheck, nearly half admitted to carrying credit card debt and only 38% had a well-stocked emergency fund.
Alleviating these financial struggles often comes down to one thing: making more money. While asking for a raise, applying for a better-paying job or starting a side hustle are several ways to boost your income, there are other creative ways to supplement your earnings without spending much time or effort – all you need is a laptop or mobile device and a Wi-Fi connection.
Here are seven legitimate ways to get free money:
Join a Focus Group
Focus groups help companies understand what consumers in a targeted group think about certain products, services or concepts. Participants are paid for their thoughts and feedback. Though many focus groups are held in person, you can find opportunities to share your opinion online. For instance, 20|20 Panel uses online forums, chats and other digital platforms to host focus groups online and pay participants anywhere from $50 to $250 for their opinions.
Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, recommends women and beauty enthusiasts sign up for The Pink Panel. “The site allows you to provide feedback on products that they’ve sent you in exchange for a gift card,” she says. Though you can only participate in one panel every six months, it’s a fun way to earn a little extra money, she adds.
Surf the Internet
Whether you’re researching a new product online before buying it or planning out your travel itinerary, you can make money while you surf the web. Sites like InboxDollars.com pay you for completing a range of online activities, including browsing the internet, and even gift new users with a $5 gift card for signing up.
In addition to browsing websites, you can also get paid while you shop online. “Free browser extensions like the Swagbucks SwagButton and CouponCabin’s Sidekick alert you to cash back opportunities and coupons as you shop,” Bodge says. “Just click to activate and shop as you normally would.” Bodge recently earned a $30 Amazon gift card for using these browser tools.
If you don’t have the time needed to join a focus group, you can still make money sharing your opinions through online surveys. SurveyJunkie.com as well as online survey platforms like LifePoints and the Surveys On The Go tool, which is free and compatible with Android and iOS devices, pay per survey completed with points that can be redeemed for cash or gift cards. Surveys can vary in length and payment, depending on how detailed the survey is. Best of all, you can easily complete surveys on your phone during your lunch break or while commuting to and from work.
Don’t waste another minute watching a video online without getting paid. Sites like Swagbucks.com and InboxDollars.com provide points to users for watching videos and sponsored content through their site. You can choose to watch movie previews, TV shows, news, commercials and more on your phone or laptop. Then, you can choose to redeem the points earned for cash via PayPal or free retail gift cards, depending on your preference.
If you enjoy listening to music, you can get paid to rate songs via Slicethepie.com, a music review site. You will receive a payment per review, which is variable based on your Star Rating that indicates the quality of your review. This means you can earn more by submitting detailed, varied and constructive reviews. Payments can be redeemed through Paypal.
You can also earn cash playing games online. Alice Gerwat, a web content editor at magicfreebies.co.uk, a freebie-focused site in the U.K., recommends using Coin Pop. “You earn coins in the app and these can be exchanged for cash through PayPal or gift cards,” Gerwat says.
Businesses know that there’s no marketing tactic more effective than the power of word of mouth. That’s why many companies offer to pay their customers for promoting their services to family and friends. Credit card companies, banks, retailers, travel sites and various apps offer free money through a referral reward to customers who recommend their services to their social circles. Typically, you will receive a custom link to share with others. Once someone signs up or tests a company’s products or services through your personal link, you will earn the referral bonus. For instance, Acorns, a micro-investing app, recently offered $150 for three referrals to their financial app and release new referral bonuses periodically.
You can earn referral bonuses from a range of companies, retailers and service providers. The DNA service 23andMe, for example, offers a gift card of up to $20 for referring a friend along with a 10% discount off their order. And Grove Collaborative, an environmentally conscious home goods site, offers $10 for referrals as long as the person makes a purchase, Bodge says.
Snag a Price Adjustment
Comparing prices when shopping is key to saving money on purchases, but you could be missing out on further discounts with product price adjustments, when a product you buy goes on sale shortly afterward. Though monitoring prices on recent purchases is a daunting task, there are a few apps that will do the work for you. For example, Paribus, free for iOS and Android, tracks prices of purchases linked to your email and will notify you when something you bought goes on sale. Meanwhile, Edison Mail, an artificial intelligence-based app offering private and secure mailbox management, offers a price alert feature for users who opt in to use it that automatically monitors the stores you shop by reviewing digital receipts through your email account and notifies you of any price changes of more than $1. You will receive a prefilled email template to help you request a refund.
Review a Mock Trial
Attorneys may use panels of online mock jurors to gather feedback on cases before they go to trial. As an online juror, you may spend up to 20 minutes reviewing cases and can make up to $60 based on the case and site you use. For example, EJury.com pays $5 to $10 per case and pays participants via Paypal. Meanwhile OnlineVerdict.com offers $20 to $60, paid by check.