There are a lot of stories out there encouraging people to make extra money with a side hustle, doing consulting, gigs like Fiverr, etc. Those are great, and if you want an extra side job, definitely get that, but realize that you only really make significant more money by having exactly that, a job. If you only have a few minutes each day, though, you can still make enough over a year for some extra holiday spending money (or whatever else you want to spend it on). Here are the details for some of the ways to do exactly this, without a lot of effort and zero special talent or expertise:
Sign up for Microsoft rewards. Accumulate points by searching with Bing every day and clicking on their “Daily Set” activities. If you use this for awhile, you’ll quickly be at Level 2, which lets you earn at least 150 points/day searching on your laptop, 100 points/day searching on a mobile device, and 20 points/day using Microsoft Edge. That’s aside from the bonus points awarded for Daily Set activities and point offers that you just have to click on to be rewarded. You also get bonus points for completing the Daily Set activities several days in a row.
You can redeem 5,250 points for a $5 Amazon or Starbucks gift card. If you take a few minutes a day to earn the 270 points/day that are feasible just from searching, you can earn a gift card in just 20 days or faster. That’s an easy $90/year for less than 5 minutes of time each day.
If you have just a few minutes and do nothing else, do this. It’s the biggest return for your time and very reliable.
To apps like Receipt Hog and Ibotta.
With Receipt Hog, you can submit your receipts afterwards from about any kind of shopping trip. This takes less than a minute with each receipt. If you do this all year and nothing else in the app, you’ll probably earn enough for a $10 gift card or two.
With Ibotta, you need to click on the item before you buy it in the store, like a coupon, but if you connect your grocery rewards program and have a few minutes to select the items you’ll buy on your upcoming trip, this can be a small amount of time. The payoff still isn’t huge — you may earn about $10 over a year if you don’t have big shopping trips. Also, don’t get suckered into spending more time in Ibotta trying to find rewards and end up wasting time you could use to do other things. If you don’t buy much at the grocery store, go to the “Any Brand” rewards section and maybe don’t bother looking through the other sections.
If you have little patience and little time, stick with Receipt Hog. Ibotta can be more worthwhile if you buy more and have a bit more time to browse the options before shopping.
Sign up for an account with Swagbucks, and you’ll be able to earn points with daily polls, uploading shopping receipts, and taking surveys.
Also get the SB Live app, which lets you earn points into the same account with a trivia game, which is like the now-defunct HQ in that it’s live at a certain time/day so you play live for points against other people. It’s easier to win points, and the questions aren’t bizarrely hard. But, don’t expect the trivia winnings to be huge — play if you enjoy playing and just happening to earn a little as a side bonus.
If you participate in the app in the variety of ways to engage with it as a regular habit, it’s easy to earn a $25 every few months without it being a drag.
Sign up for an account with Inbox Dollars, and you can earn points in similar ways to Swagbucks, primarily by participating in surveys and watching videos. You can also search the web through Inbox Dollars and earn points.
I’ve found the survey earnings in Inbox Dollars to be better than Swagbucks, but the trivia game and interface of Swagbucks is more engaging.
I think there are a lot of online survey companies, so feel free to explore the variety out there and find something that works for you. I’ve found Pinecone Research to work really well, offer regular, highly rewarding surveys that don’t take a lot of my time to complete. Some companies also offer product testing, which is an added bonus to get a free item.
If you engage with some of these small apps and environments, you can easily get $100–200 each year in gift cards or cash.
Watch for limits on earning in each app though. You can only earn for a certain number of searches in Bing each day. You can only watch so many videos in Swagbucks each day that earn.
The biggest caution I offer though is that none of these should be mentally draining. When one of these side options starts to feel like work, stop. They aren’t worth that effort, and the exhaustion here may drain your ability to do your other work(s). If you have a few minutes, though, it can be better to earn even a few bucks than waste your time. So, happy earning!