So you need a way to make money from home. Hey, join the crowd. Nearly 4 million Americans are working from home these days. That’s more than the population of Oregon, Utah or Iowa.
In other words, there’s an invisible army of us clocking in and sitting down at our keyboards at home. A 2015 Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans have telecommuted in their careers — four times as many as in 1995.
Problem is, we all know the internet is chock full of work-from-home scams. So many ripoffs! Seriously, it’s like the Wild West out there, except there’s no Lone Ranger to put things right.
When you’re working from home, you’re truly on your own. You’ve got to look out for yourself, ’cause no one else will.
How to Make Money From Home
With that in mind, we’re trying to do you a solid.
We’ve scoured through thousands of different ideas to find you 32 unique ways to make money from home. I guarantee there are some in here you’ve never heard of.
The important thing is: These methods are all road-tested. These are all ideas we’ve tried before, so we know they’re real and that you’ll really get paid.
Here are 32 legitimate ways to make money from home:
1. Invest in Real Estate (You Don’t Have to Be Rich)
Not everyone has “buy a house” kind of money.
You don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started with Fundrise. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500, and Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.
Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.
This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).
(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)
You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.
2. Get $5 to Start Saving
It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.
Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.
Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money.
But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus to get started.
3. Get Paid to Watch TV
InboxDollars lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows.
The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.
4. Get Paid to Give Your Opinion
Surveys aren’t the best way to make money fast. But there’s a certain appeal to clicking a few buttons and earning money when you’d otherwise be doing nothing. Here’s our recommendation: Sign up for these legitimate survey sites all at once. Chances are, you’ll qualify for at least one or two surveys on each site a month, and the rewards will add up.
Here are some of our favorite paid survey sites:
- What sets Opinion Outpost apart from other survey sites is it gives away $40,000 every year.It has a quarterly drawing for a $10,000 cash prize — and for every survey you complete, you’ll get one entry into the sweepstakes!
- Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get $5 just for signing up and taking your first survey.
5. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you serious money. Intrigued?
One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund anytime there’s a price drop.
6. Play the Slots — and Build Your Savings
There’s something so titillating about playing digital slot machines. You watch the columns go ’round and ’round as you hold out hope that you’ll hit the money bags and win big.
Of course, you never do win, and you end up spending way more than you’d planned.
There’s a new app on the market, though, that combines playing slots and saving money. Right — it seems 100% counterintuitive, but it’s really cool.
We’re talking about Long Game Savings. Download it for free for iOS or Android.
You’ll create an account, verify your identity and connect your bank account. Set how much you’d like to automatically save each pay day, as little as $5. Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.
You’ve got tons of options — from slot machines to scratch-offs to spin-to-win wheels. Your deposits earn you coins you’ll use to play and hopefully win more coins to play more games or even cash prizes, which will automatically go into your Long Game Savings account.
If you run out of coins to play with, you can opt to deposit more money into your savings or you can wait until next pay day when your auto-savings will kick in.
7. Earn Up to $60/Hour as a Part-Time Bookkeeper
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.
And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
8. Download this on Your Phone (that’s it!)
A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone or computer — this is a great way to boost your passive income!
One we love is called MobileXpression. It’s available for iPhone or Android.
After you’ve installed this app on your smartphone for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). We’ve seen users win a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.
The app collects data and helps companies better understand web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).
9. Get $5 to Set Your Savings on Autopilot
Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change.
You can start small — with $5 — and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets set aside for your Acorns account.
Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up and make your first investment!
Contributor CJ Reid started by accepting roundups of less than $0.50, such as her $3.60 cup of coffee.
“Rounding up 40 cents here and 25 cents there moves me swiftly enough to $5 so that I can begin investing without putting myself into the red,” she says.
Once your roundups reach $5, that amount will be transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio.
“Acorns makes it easy to invest by removing the responsibility of choosing individual investments or worrying about trades,” Reid explains. “You don’t need any previous investment knowledge or history.”
And once you get the process automated, Acorns investments make your digital change work for you.
“With a conservative portfolio,” Reid says, “I turned $15 into $19 within a few weeks.”
10. Earn Cash Back on Groceries, Beauty and More
Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.
Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.
When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:
- 25 cents back for any item.
- 25 cents back on strawberries
- $1.50 back on Energizer batteries.
- $2 back on L’Oreal hair color.
- $3 back on Pampers pull-ups.
- $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer.
Notice some of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!