According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, 57% of Americans are struggling financially, but between work, school, and other life obligations, it can be hard to find the time to supplement our existing incomes. Many of us are looking for smart but easy ways to relieve our financial burdens.
Maybe you’re looking to expedite the saving process for a big investment like college tuition, a home mortgage, or a wedding. It could also be nice to treat yourself to a concert, wardrobe upgrade, or fancy dinner without feeling guilty.
However you plan to save or spend it, we can all agree that extra money in your bank account is never a bad idea. Whether with physical goods or non-tangible skills, you likely have something to offer that you can in turn be compensated for.
Sell your books, DVDs, and tech on Decluttr
Decluttr is a free and easy way to sell your unwanted CDs, DVDs, games, Blu-Rays, books, LEGO, and tech. Its app turns your phone into a barcode scanner to make seeing the value of your items even more convenient. Shipping your box of unwanted stuff is free, and you’ll receive your payment quickly, on the next business day.
Trade in your old electronics for cash and gift cards
The following sites and retailers will buy back your old phones, tablets, laptops, game consoles and smart watches and give you either cash or a store gift card.
- Gazelle: Check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card
- Best Trade-in Program: Gift card
- HP Consumer Buyback Program: Check, gift card, or donation
- Target Trade-in Program: Gift card
- Walmart Gadgets to Gift Cards Program: Gift card
- Amazon Trade-in Program (includes books): Gift card
- Apple Trade-in Program: Gift card
Find hidden refunds from your past shopping purchases
Paribus scans your email receipts and watches for price drops in those purchased items at stores with price adjustment policies, such as Amzon, Target, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. If you’re eligible for a refund, Paribus files price adjustment claims on your behalf and you keep all of the savings.
Open a new credit card
Learn all about the benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card here
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You can redeem that as staright cash, a statement credit, or as gift cards to many different merchants. Thanks to a 0% introductory APR, lack of annual fee, and sign-up bonus, Insider Picks reporter David Slotnick calls it a no-brainer and the “perfect card for just about everyone.”
See returns on your investment by starting with the same amount of money as your daily latte cost.
Get a free $5 from Stash to make your first investment here
Stash lets you start investing with as little as $5. Stash recommends a set of investments for you based on a profile you fill out when you sign up, as well as factors like low fees, managed risk, and historical performance. It’s free for the first month then only $1 a month moving forward.
Put your spare change to good use
Acorns rounds up your everyday credit card and debit transactions and automatically invests the spare change for you. It’s only $1 a month and free for college students with a .edu address for up to four years from the date of registration. You’ll barely notice the micro-investments of spare change, plus the Found Money feature invests money in your account when you shop with Acorns partners such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Walmart.
Invest in stocks, ETFs, and options for free
A standard Robinhood account gives you access to instant deposits and you don’t have to wait for your funds to process when selling stocks or making deposits up to $1,000. The app is well-designed and lets you easily stay on top of your investments and real-time market data, all from the comfort of your couch.
Babysit kids in your community
Earn money on your own time as a babysitter. UrbanSitter is free to join for sitters and you can set your own hourly rates. Average rates range from $11 to $16 an hour for one child and you get 100% of the rate you post. The platform is trusted and convenient to use, and you can get paid through direct deposit.
Clear out your closet and sell your clothes
ThredUP sends you a free Clean Out Kit to fill with all the gently used, on-trend clothes you no longer wear. They’ll take care of everything else, including professionally photographing your items and listing them on the site. You receive an upfront payout once the items are processed, or if it’s a unique item, you’ll be paid once it’s sold. Payouts are offered in the form of ThredUP store credit or donation to a cause, or you can transfer the cash to PayPal.
Refer your friends to your favorite clothing, shoe, and accessory brands
You’re already telling them about all of these brands, so why not earn money while you’re at it? If your friend purchases a product or signs up for a service through your special referral link, you’ll get free money. These companies, and plenty of others not in this list, offer rewards of $10 to $30.
- Stitch Fix: Give $20, get $25
- ThirdLove: Get $30
- True&Co: Give $15, get $15
- GREATS: Give $25, get $25
- Backcountry: Give $10, get $10
- Warp+Weft: Give $15, get $15
- AYR: Give $30, get $30
- Cotopaxi: Give $20, get $20
- EyeBuyDirect: Give $10, get $10
- MeUndies: Give 20% off, get $20
- Mahabis: Give 10% off, get 10% off
- Nisolo: Give $25, get $25
- Spring: Give $20, get $20
- BANDIER: Give $25, get $25
- Universal Standard: Get $25
Don’t stop at clothing brands, and refer them to these sites as well
- Leesa: Give $125, get $50
- The Bouqs Co.: Give $15, get $15
- Brooklinen: Give $25, get $25
- Snowe: Give $25, get $25
- Boxed: Give $15, get $15
- Jet: Get $10-$15
- Framebridge: Give $20, get $20
- Airbnb: Give $40, get $20 when they travel and $75 when they host
- Away: Give $20, get $20
- G-RO: Give $50, get $50
- Journy: Get one day fo travel planning
Food and drink
- Vinebox: Give $10, get $10
- Winc: Give $20, get up to $26
- Daily Harvest: Give 3 cups, get 3 cups
Health and beauty
- Vitamin Packs: Give $20, get $20
- Scentbird: Give one month, get one month
Personal finance and development
- Skillshare: Give two months, get one month
- Wealthfront: Give $5,000 managed free, get $5,000 managed free
- Betterment: Give three months, get 30 days free (and an extra free year when your first three friends fund)
Sell your artwork and crafts
We can’t say this tactic is necessarily “easy” since it requires some creative talent. However, if you are able to, selling your work on these sites will not only earn you some extra cash, but will also expose your art to huge customer bases.
- Etsy: Join 1.8 million sellers in selling to nearly 30 million buyers worldwide. Etsy has a low transaction fee of 3.5% and your sales are deposited directly into your bank account. Jewelry, art prints, stationary, home goods, and craft supplies – anything is up for sale as long as it’s handmade or vintage.
- Society6: Selling on Society6 is as easy as uploading a high-res file, then setting your retail price and your profit for each art print type and size. The site will produce, package, and ship the product for you. You can also add a large variety of other products, including phone cases, clothing, home decor, and bed and bath products, which have pre-set royalty payouts.
- Minted: Creatives with a competitve side will like the community voting-based system of Minted. Submit your artwork to different challenges, and if you win, your design will be sold on Minted (they handle all production and shipping), and you’ll alos earn a Store where you can launch and sell designs using the Minted fulfillment platform.
Teach an online class
Share your skills and passions to willing students all over the world without ever leaving your room. These online learning platforms reach millions of people and support you throughout the whole course creation process.
- Skillshare: This site’s creative classes are especially robust. If you’re already in the creative business, teaching a class is an effective form of content marketing. Each month, between 30% and 50% of Skillshare’s Premium Membership revenue goes to a royalty pool for teachers, with top teachers making up to $40,000 a year.
- Udemy: Udemy is the world’s largest online learning marketplace and boasts a 24/7 Instructor Support Team. You can teach anything from software programs to novel writing. As long as you have the skills, you can teach them, while keeping up to 97% of revenue generated from your class.