Money doesn’t grow on trees, and avocado toast isn’t free. If those two realities have left you strapped for cash, you’re not alone. 32% of Americans wouldn’t be able to handle a $400 emergency expense without borrowing money or selling items, according to The Fed.
Luckily, the internet provides opportunities to earn free cash with little time and effort. A few dollars here and there can add up to greater financial stability over time. So whether you’ve been hit with an unexpected expense or are just looking to boost your savings, we’ve got your back. Read on for our best money-making ideas, so you can get free access to the money you need fast.
How to Get Free Money Online
Earn Free Money Taking Surveys
You can earn cash or free gift cards for participating in market research through paid survey sites. Online surveys aren’t a way to get rich quick, but you can expect to earn a few dollars per day just for sharing your opinion. With Swagbucks, you’ll earn free cash bonuses for signing up and the minimum balance to redeem for cash is only $1. Plus, as a Swagbucks member, you’ll have new opportunities to get free money every day from a variety of fun and easy activities.
Win Money Playing Games
With Swagbucks, you can earn points (called SB) for playing free games online. You can also win cash prizes for playing Swagbucks LIVE, a trivia game show. It’s fun to play games each day, so you’ve got nothing to lose, and you could win big!
Get Free PayPal Money for Searching the Web
When you set Swagbucks as your default search engine, you’ll earn SB for searching the web. And you’ll still get the search results you’d expect, whether you’re looking for toys for your cat, activities for your kids, or information on how to get free money online. Once you rack up enough SB, you’ll be able to redeem them for money in your PayPal account.
Get Cash Back for Shopping Online
As long as you’re shopping online at retailers like Nike and Gap or booking travel at Expedia, why not earn a little cash back in your pocket? There are a couple of ways to earn free money from shopping online, and you can use both strategies at the same time — that’s double the free money!
- Cash Back Apps: Cash back apps like Swagbucks allow you to earn money from your purchases at popular online stores. You can also earn money from your receipts when you’re grocery shopping or get cash back when you fill your prescriptions. And you can find coupon codes that will earn you savings in addition to the SB you earn.
- Rewards Credit Cards: Using a cash rewards or travel rewards credit card is another way to earn money when you shop. It’s possible to get up to 5% back in credit card rewards in certain categories without paying an annual fee. Many credit card companies also offer a sign-up cash bonus that can be worth hundreds of dollars. Just make sure you choose a card that aligns with your spending, and don’t spend any more than you normally would to earn the bonus.
Get Rid of Your Credit Card Debt Faster
Paying off credit card debt faster means saving money on interest, which puts more cash back in your pocket. You can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR credit card and complete a balance transfer to save money on interest. Just make sure you can pay off your debt before the introductory period comes to an end.
If you have a lot of debt and need more than 12-18 months to pay it off, you can also use a personal loan to pay off your credit card bills, leaving you with just one monthly payment and a lower APR. You can even earn SB if you take out a personal loan from Credible.
Open a High-Yield Savings Account or Bank Account
Not only can you earn compound interest by keeping your money in a savings account, but you can also earn a bank bonus for opening a checking or savings account at many financial institutions. For example, you can currently earn $200 in SB for signing up with Chime. It’s a good idea to keep some money stashed away for the future anyway, so why not earn a little extra cash while you’re at it?
Find Unclaimed Money
Unclaimed money can come from a variety of sources, including unpaid wages from employers, insurance policy refunds, tax refunds, security deposits, and more. In fact, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed property out there, and about one in 10 Americans have unclaimed money owed to them.
Unclaimed money can range from cents to thousands of dollars, so it’s worth a free search to find out what’s available to you. You can find state-by-state information from the FDIC or get more details at USA.gov.
Download an Investment App and Invest Free Stock
There are several investment apps that allow you to get started investing with as little as $1, and many will even give you free stock just for signing up. You can also earn SB for signing up for investment apps like Robinhood or SoFi. And in the long run, investing in the stock market will allow you to earn far more in interest than you would with a bank account.
How Can I Make $300 Fast?
Getting free money can take time, but there are some strategies for making a few hundred dollars in a week or less. These include both online and in-person opportunities.
Sell Your Belongings Online
With apps like OfferUp, Poshmark, and Meta Marketplace, you can list your gently used clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items for sale without paying a listing fee. You can easily get up to $300, especially if you have items from popular brands that are in good condition.
Pick Up a Quick Side Hustle
There are some freelance gigs you can get started within days when you need money fast. For example, you can drive for Doordash or Uber, or offer your freelance skills on Fiverr. Right now, Swagbucks is offering SB for all three opportunities, so you can put money in your pocket right away.
Rent Out Your Car, House, or Garage
Not driving all the time? Consider renting out your car on Turo. A Ford Fiesta earns an average of $497 per month on the platform, while an Audi A3 rakes in an average of $738 monthly. If you’re driving constantly, on the other hand, you can get paid advertisements on your vehicle from a company like Wrapify.
If you have a vacation property, spare bedroom, or even space on your couch, you can also list for free on AirBnb. It’s possible to earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month as an Airbnb host. Or, if all you have is an extra parking spot or space in your attic, you can rent it out on Neighbor.
Sell Your Plasma
This one may not appeal if you don’t like needles, but it’s an easy way to make fast cash in a pinch, and you’ll be helping people who need plasma due to a medical emergency. Each plasma donation center compensates donors differently, but you can expect to earn about $50 to $75 per appointment. Some centers will pay you more for your first few visits. It only takes about an hour and you can typically go twice per week.
Ask for a Raise or Overtime
If your boss has been happy with your performance at work, you can ask to work additional hours or inquire about a promotion. It’s a good idea to prepare a presentation with concrete examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond to help your company succeed. If you’ve taken on a new initiative or are mentoring another employee, for example, that can be evidence that you’re working above your paygrade and help you justify asking for a raise.
Use a Cash Advance App
If you just need a few hundred dollars to tide you over until payday, a cash advance app may be able to help. Some cash advance apps are free with voluntary tipping, while others charge subscription or transaction fees. It’s possible to get up to $300 or more this way without a hard credit inquiry. Some of the apps you may consider are Dave, Earnin, Empower, PayActiv, Vola, and Albert.
The Bottom Line on Free Money
It’s comforting to know that you can earn a few hundred dollars quickly if you need to, but having a robust emergency fund is even more reassuring. Once you’re caught up on your bills, re-evaluate your budget and see if you can trim your expenses. At the same time, look for opportunities to regularly earn extra money online, like taking paid surveys with Swagbucks.
If you make earning SB a part of your routine, you might end up with an extra $100 in free money at the end of each month to put into savings. That way, when the next financial emergency arises, you can stay calm knowing you’re totally prepared.
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