Does free money exist? It depends on who you ask.
You may have heard some grumpy old person declare, “Nothing is free!” at some point in your life.
And they are correct because money is always in exchange for something.
That “something” includes your business, time, attention, and many other precious commodities.
There are companies out there that value these things so much that they will pay you for them.
So, is money ever truly free?
I don’t think so.
Regardless, there are PLENTY of opportunities to capture extra cash with little to no effort on your part.
These activities will not make you rich, but they certainly add up over time.
Here is how you can get your [almost] free money today:
1. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards
There are over 350 million credit card accounts in America.
Do the math…
…that number is more than the entire United States population!
This fun statistic means that most U.S. adults own a credit card.
And I will bet that many of you readers have at least one credit card.
So, why not get paid for using something you use daily?
You can, and should, be taking advantage of the following programs:
Example: If you spend $500 in the first 3-months, you will receive $150 cash back.
Example: Earn 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases.
Example: Earn 5% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores. Plus, earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Credit cards are at the top of our list because they are powerful FREE MONEY tools when used correctly.
But how do you use a credit card “properly?”
Here are a few tips for pulling in your free money responsibly:
- Find a credit card that best suits your needs.
- Pay the entirety of your balance each month to avoid high-interest.
- Track your spending carefully to avoid taking on too much debt.
Bonus Tip: Having a good credit score gives you easy access to credit and lower interest rates when borrowing. A credit card can help you achieve a strong credit score.
2. Get a Bank Bonus
Consider whether you could use a new checking or savings account.
If so, numerous banks offer cash bonuses in exchange for your business.
Banks use sign-up bonuses to attract new customers, and more importantly, new money to their business.
The best checking account bonuses (as of July 2019) are:
- $400 Bonus:Wells Fargo Bank
- $200 to $300 Bonus: Chase Bank
- $150 to $300 Bonus: TD Bank
- $225 Bonus: Santander Bank
- $200 Bonus: Elements Financial
Just be sure to read the fine print before opening your new account.
Bonus Tip: Pair your sign-up bonus with an online high-yield savings account to keep the money flowing.
3. Receive Free Shares of Stock
For years, companies have been giving away free stuff in exchange for your attention.
And investment apps are no exception when it comes to these generous handouts.
These companies include Robinhood and Webull.
Since these are investment apps, they do not give out cash directly.
Instead, you can get free shares of stock with Robinhood and Webull.
The best part?
There are no strings attached to these offers (other than downloading the app).
Robinhood and Webull distribute share at-random, but these shares can include Apple, Microsoft, and Berkshire Hathaway.
Bonus Tip: Robinhood and Webull offer accounts with no minimum balance requirement and commission-free trades. Go for the free stock, stay for the great deal.
4. Score Free Money to Invest
But if it isn’t free stock that you are after…
…you can get free money to put toward your investments.
Companies like Stash Invest, Stockpile, and Acorns will pay you $5 for merely signing up.
You can take that money and purchase fractional stock shares of companies like Apple and Netflix, among other investment options.
Take a few minutes to sign-up for these three apps, and you will earn $15 in no time!
Bonus Tip: Free money to invest is an excellent way for newcomers to get acclimated to investing.
5. Get Paid for Your Opinion
Did you know that other people will pay for your opinion?
That is right…
…online surveys are an easy way to pocket extra $$$ in your spare time.
You can earn money in the comfort of your home by filling out simple online surveys.
There are tons of options to choose from, but here are some of the most reputable sites:
- Inbox Dollars – Get a $5 bonus for signing up.
- Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 per survey and $10 for signing up.
- Vindale Research – Get a $1 bonus for signing up.
People often take their survey money and turn it into holiday cash, home improvements, wardrobes – you name it!
The payouts can vary, but every bit counts, so be consistent with your efforts!
Bonus Tip: These surveys are so simple that they can be done while watching TV!
6. Get Paid for Shopping
Many cashback websites on the Internet literally pay you to shop.
Here are some of our favorites:
Do you shop online? If so, you must sign-up for Ebates.
Once you have your account set-up, you can visit websites like Amazon.com, eBay.com, and Kohls.com.
You can even get cash back on travel websites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Booking.com.
The most impressive thing about Ebates is that they offer cash back at places where you actually shop.
The standard cashback offer is 5%, which is huge savings over time, especially since it requires no additional work.
Payouts are done through PayPal or mailed check.
Dosh is an app that pays you (via cashback) to make purchases at retailers and restaurants.
Simply download the app, link your card, and start spending.
Dosh covers many large retailers and restaurants but also has plenty of local places.
Additionally, you earn $5 for every card you link to the app and $10 per referral.
The cashback ranges from 2.5% to 10%. Payments can be transferred directly to your bank account or PayPal.
Do you eat? If so, you need to give Ibotta a try.
Ibotta is a free grocery savings app that pays you for what you already do.
You can use the app to find offers and redeem them by sending a photo of your receipt.
Cash-out your earnings once you reach the $20 minimum.
The app pays through PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards.
Take a photo of your grocery receipts and receive gift cards.
Scan your shopping receipts for price drops. If they find any, the app will work hard to get you a refund.
Use this app for up $0.25 refund on gas at 5,000+ gas stations across various states.
Receive cashback of up to 30% on dining out.
Sign-up, link your card and earn cash back on everyday shopping.
Bonus Tip: Review your options before purchasing. For instance, Ebates may offer 7% back while Dosh offers 6%.
7. Lower Your Expenses
We are not here to tell you to “spend less” to save money. Spending less is work.
Instead, you can leverage the talents of companies like Trim and Billshark to save money for you.
Here is how you can save money on bills with minimal effort:
Trim seeks out areas of your budget where you can save on spending.
The app does this by analyzing your spending and recommending ways to save.
These savings include lowering bills like cable, Internet, insurance, and electricity.
Trim can also help you discover forgotten subscriptions and recurring charges that you no longer use.
If the company finds you savings, they keep 25% as their fee.
Be sure to check out Trim’s website to learn more.
Similar to Trim, Billshark negotiates lower bills on expenses like cable, Internet, cell phone, insurance, home security, and much more.
Billshark uses real human negotiators to work on your behalf.
If they save you money, the company takes 40% of the savings.
The fee me sound hefty, but you continue saving on your monthly bills.
There is no fee if Billshark cannot negotiate any lower fees.
Try the Billshark savings calculator to see what you may be entitled to receive.
Bonus Tip: Review your bank accounts monthly to identify areas where you can easily cut back on spending.
8. Get Paid for Exercising
Have you been thinking about losing weight? Why not lose weight AND make money at the same time?
You can use HealthyWage to participate in individual, team, and corporate challenges.
Here is how it works:
- Commit (or “bet”) to lose a minimum amount of weight within a specified period.
- Get paid when you achieve your goal!
Here is how to participate:
- Place your wager
- Get your weight verified by your health club, doctor’s office, or Weight Watchers.
- Track your progress on HealthyWage
You recover your initial wager IF you accomplish your goals.
HealthyWage pays via PayPal or a mailed check.
By using your smartphone accelerometer and GPS…
…this app tracks the number of steps you take each day and turns it into “Sweatcoin.”
What is a Sweatcoin, you ask?
Sweatcoin is a virtual currency (unofficial) that you can use to buy merchandise, including:
- Fitness Classes
- And more!
So, if you are a big-time walker, you will cash-in on this app.
Achievement pays you for the following activities: tracking steps, sleep, meals, and tweets.
You can use Achievement with apps like Apple Health, Samsung Health, and Fitbit.
Payments are made through PayPal or via direct deposit to your bank account.
Bonus Tip: In addition to earning money, good health habits will reduce health care costs.
9. Become a Human “Guinea Pig”
Did you know…
…you can earn spare cash on weekends and around your work schedule?
That is right – you can find paid clinical and research trials in your area.
These trials can relate to new drugs, devices, and medical interventions.
Companies run these trials on human “guinea pigs” to determine the safety and efficacy of their products.
In exchange for your cooperation, you will be compensated with cold, hard cash.
Check out the following websites to find clinical trial opportunities:
Be sure to review the requirements before applying. Most clinical trials are divided into Phase I, II, and III studies.
Here is what you need to know about each Phase:
- I: Assess the safety of the treatment
- II: Assess the efficacy of the treatment
- III: Expansion of Phase II, usually with more test subjects
Bonus Tip: If you are concerned about safety, go for Phase II and III studies only. These studies test the effectiveness instead of the safety of a treatment.
10. Donate Plasma
Selling plasma is one of my favorite options (and I have the track marks to prove it) for free money.
Plasma is always in high-demand. And you can make up to $300 per month selling your plasma.
You can earn incentives for referring donors and bonuses for a series of donations over a specified period.
However, the typical payout if $25 – $50 per donation.
You can donate twice per week at most donation centers.
The donation takes about an hour
Check out DonatingPlasma to learn:
- Where you can sign-up to donate plasma for cash
- The requirements and steps involved in plasma donation
- The biology of blood
- How your plasma is used to treat life-threatening conditions
Bonus Tip: You can shorten your donation and save time by preparing for the donation (e.g., hydrating properly beforehand).
11. Get Free Stuff
Instead of wasting money, why not take what is given to you?
Be sure to check out the Craigslist “Free” section.
People are moving, cleaning, and de-cluttering their homes, and sometimes, they just need stuff gone.
These freebies are not always worn-down garbage, either.
You can pick-up free items like furniture, televisions, outdoor grills, and much more!
In college, I made money on the side by picking up free stuff on Craigslist and reselling those items.
So, whether for personal use or your newfound side-hustle, Craigslist is a goldmine of free stuff.
RebateKey will refund a portion of your payment for specific products.
Up to 100%!
The company gathers user feedback and e-mails to build “sales proof” for various products.
Check these guys out, and see if you could use anything on their website.
Bonus Tip: You can resell “free” items from Craigslist on other websites like eBay, LetGo, and Facebook.
12. Review Products
You can make money by reviewing products that you already use daily.
Here are our favorite review sites:
Slicethepie is the biggest review site on the web.
You can review things like music and clothing before they are released.
The money is distributed via PayPal with a $10 minimum.
Are you addicted to your phone?
It's okay – you can admit it. And now, you can get paid for it.
UserTesting will pay you for testing websites and apps.
The standard payout is $10 per 20-minute video, but you can make up to $60.
Just when you thought we were out of options…
…you can make even more money by reviewing websites and products of random companies.
Simply sign-up with your e-mail, and you will receive notifications when there is a test available.
Bonus Tip: You share your opinion, anyway. Why not get paid?
13. Get Paid for Your Car (without selling it!)
Let’s face it – your car is a depreciating money pit.
You pay your car loan, insurance, gas, and repairs for nothing in return.
So, why not put your car to work?
The company Wrapify will pay you to “wrap” your car with an advertisement.
The money you earn is based on your driving habits, and some drivers earn up to $100 per week.
Simply download the app, drive, and earn money!
Bonus Tip: Wrapify needs to track your driving habits before making you an offer. Get started as soon as possible!
- Get Paid for Your Lock Screen
There is a little-known company called Slidejoy.
Slidejoy is an app that will give companies the ability to advertise to you via your lock screen.
Your phone will function as normal.
Simply ignore the offer and swipe right to unlock your phone.
You can then cash-out with PayPal, gift cards, or donate to charity.
Bonus Tip: This app is for Android users only.
15. Get Free Money from the Government
There are several ways you can take advantage of money courtesy of Uncle Sam, including:
Here you can find “forgotten” money that you entitled to receive.
This website can return things like security deposits, insurance reimbursements, and unused account credits.
MissingMoney is like Unclaimed, and works to:
“Conduct your free search for bank accounts, safe deposit box contents, uncashed checks, insurance policies, CDs, trust funds, utility deposits, stocks and bonds, wages, and escrow accounts.”
The search will not cost you a dime, and you never know what you will find!
Federal Pell Grant
College is waaay too cheap, right? No?
Okay, if you are one of the few that could use some help…
…you can apply for the Federal Pell Grant through your FAFSA.
And unlike your student loans, these grants never need to be repaid.
You can receive up to $6,195 for the 2019 – 2020 award year.
Bonus Tip: There are many other ways to get money from the Government, including the Child Care and Development Fund and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
How to Avoid Free Money Scams
If you are on the hunt for “free money,” it is crucial to be aware of scams.
Scams are getting more sophisticated, especially when done to unsuspecting online and mobile phone users.
Here are a few rules to follow when finding your free money:
- NEVER pay upfront money in-return for free money (not even if the son of the deposed king of Nigeria e-mails you directly asking for help).
- NEVER provide your personal information unless you can 100% verify the legitimacy of an offer.
- ALWAYS verify that government websites end with .gov, .edu, or another trusted domain.
- ALWAYS do your homework. If an offer sounds too good to be true, that is likely the case.
Luckily, we have laid out the BEST free money offers in this article.
There is no need to go fishing for more free money until you have exhausted all the above options.