I’m always looking for easy ways to make extra money for my travel fund. By easy, I mean you should only have to take a few minutes a day to do these tasks.
In my post How To Plan (and Budget) Your Perfect U.S. Road Trip, I talked about a separate fund that I like to accumulate just to pay for frivolous expenses like souvenirs, snacks on the road, coffee, and things like that. Well, in this post I’ll show you all of the methods I use to make an extra $500 in a year.
This post will include partner/affiliate links which means I’ll be compensated for referring you. In some cases, you’ll earn a little extra, too. I use ALL of these regularly and will give my honest opinions. You can read more about that here.
Make extra money just from shopping online!
Seriously, it doesn’t get easier than this. All it takes is three easy steps:
- Sign up for Ebates and Swagbucks. These are both referral links. For Ebates, if you sign up through my link, you’ll earn an extra $10 after your first $25 dollar purchase.
- Install their browser extensions. Yes, both.
- Shop online. The Ebates and Swagbucks extensions will alert you when you’re on a website that’s eligible for cash back. I usually select whichever is offering me a higher percentage.
A few things to keep in mind:
Earning cash back
Ebates is really the only company that will cut you a check every month for the cash back that you earned. They usually offer higher rates and have a lot of promotions that run like ‘double cash back’ for certain periods.
Also, they’ll alert you when the site you’re on has available coupon codes for your purchase- saving you even more.
Swagbucks may not cut you a check, but they have a lot more ways for you to earn money. You can answer surveys, watch videos, play games, and more to accumulate points.
100 points = $1. You can then redeem those points for gift cards – Paypal (the closest you get to cash as you can transfer to your bank account through your Paypal account), Visa, Amazon, and so much more.
They’re always offering awesome deals for different online retailers.
Spend a few minutes a night to answer questions for extra cash.
If you don’t mind taking a few minutes to answer some questions, then this is an easy way to make some extra money. It’s important to answer honestly when taking surveys. This isn’t a job interview where you just tell them what you think they want to hear.
- Inbox Dollars – Take surveys, watch videos, play games, and more to earn cash with InboxDollars.
Like Ebates and Swagbucks, they also offer cashback incentives for online retailers. It does take a little longer to make money – their surveys don’t pay out as much as some others. And keep in mind that you can’t request a payment until you reach their $30 threshold.
- Prolific – Prolific has been my biggest earner. They only show you surveys that you’re prescreened and qualified for. For that reason, you won’t see as many available all the time. So make sure you check back every day.
They’ll show you how long the survey should take and how much you’ll be paid right up front. Their surveys are academic surveys and are some of the most interesting I’ve ever taken.
These surveys pay out to your PayPal account with a minimum of $5.
- Be Forthright – Forthright conducts consumer research surveys for a list of retailers. Basically, give your honest opinion and be rewarded. They make a payment right to the account of your choosing, no minimums required.
Sample new products
Crowdtap is super simple. Take a few moments at the end of each day to answer some super simple questions and earn points.
1000 points = $5 gift card.
You can also apply to sample certain products in exchange for a review or social media mention.
I got to sample some great shampoo and conditioner and, after a few days, have already earned my first gift card.
Earn cashback on groceries
With Ibotta, you can earn cashback on grocery items that you’re buying every week anyway! Here’s how:
- Download the Ibotta app.
- Select the offers you’re eligible for from the items you normally shop for. Search by item or by store.
- Scan your receipt and earn cash back!
Trade unwanted items for cash
If you’ve got an attic full of crap that’s collecting dust, get rid of it. Especially if it doesn’t have some sort of extreme sentimental value.
List the items on the Letgo app or Craigslist and kiss it goodbye.
Save every penny
Start a change jar. Every time you come home, dump your spare change into that jar.
In about a year, I usually accumulate more than $100. It’s the easiest way to make some extra spending cash.
I usually cash it out (at the bank to avoid Coinstar fees) right before a trip and cushion my fun budget.
It’s not too hard to make a few extra bucks in just a few minutes.
I usually take about 30 minutes – two or three days a week – to complete these tasks. Some months have been better than others (depends on what’s available), BUT if you’re just doing this for some extra spending money, then it’s easy to save and let it roll over until you need it.
Using all of these strategies (not including my change jar), my January fun money account addition totaled $46. Update: February fun money = $93.
$46 isn’t much, but if you’re saving this up for a reason – a travel fund, holiday shopping, new wardrobe, etc. – that’s at least $552 extra after a year.
Have an easy way to make a few extra bucks that I missed? Let me know in the comments!