Back in 2017, I wrote about my favorite apps and websites for making a little extra money. Now that it’s been a few years, it’s time for a money making app update! Which apps and sites do I still like, which ones are not longer working for me, and what new ones have I found? Read on to find out!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.
My Favorite money making apps and websites
Swagbucks is still far and away my favorite way to make money online. Through this money making app and website, users complete activities to earn points, which can be redeemed for gift cards.
There are many ways to earn points through the app and the website, including taking surveys, watching videos, clicking links from the Swagbucks website to retailer websites before making a purchase, and more. I use the app on my phone and have it play videos when I’m not using my phone. When on my computer I play videos in the background or click through other activities.
Every day there is a “Daily Goal” of points to earn, and users get a bonus if you complete that goal. Swagbucks users get additional bonus points for meeting the daily goal for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days, or all days in a month. Examples of gift cards available are Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, Marshalls; some grocery stores; various restaurants; airlines; cruise lines; gas stations; retail stores including clothing, drug, pet, and electronics stores; and more.
Similar to Receipt Hog, Fetch Rewards, and Receipt Pal (below), Swagbucks, through their Swagbucks Answer app, as a simple way to earn points by taking a photo of receipts. It earns 2 points (equivalent to 2 cents) per receipt uploaded.
Using this money making app and website I am still consistently making about $75/ month in gift cards. I have earned $3,930 through Swagbucks in the 4.5 years that I have been using the website/app. If you sign up for Swagbucks using my referral link, we both get 300 bonus Swagbucks (equivalent to $3) if you earn 300 SB within your first 30 days as a member.
Rakuten, formerly called Ebates, is a money making app and website that allows users to earn cash back by shopping at online retailers when users navigate to the retailer website through the Rakuten website or app. Earnings are paid every 3 months, as long as the user has earned over $5 during the previous quarter.
My first year using this site I earned over $70. More recently I have earned slightly less, as I shop around to determine which website provides the most cash back from my purchase (see items 1 and 7 in this list). I have earned $250 in 5.5 years using Rakuten. I could have earned more, but due to overlap between Rakuten and Swagbucks and my preference for Swagbucks, I have more earnings from Swagbucks and less from Rakuten.
Overall, Rakuten is still a great money making app/website. If you would like a referral link, send me a message from my About Me page. If you sign up from my referral link, we both get $25 after you make your first purchase of $25 or more.
3. Receipt Hog
Receipt Hog is a money making app for Android and iOS smartphones. With this app, users just take pictures of all their store receipts. Almost all receipts, except gas and restaurant (and maybe a few others), are worth points; receipts not eligible for points are eligible for “spins” which may results in points. When users earn enough points they can cash it in for Amazon gift cards, money to their Pay Pal account, or Visa gift cards.
Earning is not super fast, but it is quick and easy to snap a picture of each receipt, and free money is free money! Being frugal, I am not a big shopper. It takes me about a year and a half to earn a $40 gift card. There are options to cash out $5, $15, $25, and $40. Saving up for the $40 gift card gives the most bang for the buck (fewest points per dollar), so I always choose to wait and save for those. There is currently no referral program for Receipt Hog.
Ibotta is a money making app has rebates for specific retailers. There are many grocery and drug stores as well as other retailers such as home improvement, clothing, and electronics. After making a purchase, users scan the barcode of the eligible product then take a picture of their receipt.
This app mostly has rebates for brand name products, but most weeks there are one or more “any brand” item, plus an “any item” item which just requires any purchase to have been made at a participating retailer. This is where I make most of my money with this app. Some stores allow linking of loyalty cards, which eliminates the need to scan barcodes and photograph receipts. As with Receipt Hog, I earn fairly slowly, but again, every little bit counts. I have earned $113 in 5 years.
Fetch Rewards is a money making app that awards points to users for taking a photo of grocery, pharmacy, and some other stores’ receipts. Each eligible receipt is worth at least 25 points. Some receipts are worth additional points, if certain specific products were purchased. Once a minimum of 3,000 points are earned, the points can be redeemed for gift cards for a wide variety of places, including Visa gift cards, restaurants, travel, electronics stores, art stores, home goods stores, and more.
1,000 points = $1, so each 25 point receipt is only worth 2.5 cents. Put another way, it will take 120 receipts earning the minimum number of points to earn enough to purchase the smallest gift card. This app will certainly be a slow earner, but similar to Receipt Hog, it is very quick to scan receipts.
6. Receipt Pal
Receipt Pal is similar to Receipt Hog and Fetch Rewards in that points are awarded for taking a photo of grocery (and some other) store receipts in the app. This app requires 4 receipts be uploaded to complete one “card” which is worth 100 points, and there are timeframes in which the receipts need to be uploaded. Essentially, each receipt is worth 25 points, but if not enough receipts are uploaded in a given timeframe, none of the receipts have value. There are sweepstakes bonuses available after “cards” are completed and verified.
The point structure is variable like in Receipt Hog: if a user saves up more points, the value of each point is higher. For example, a $5 Amazon gift card costs 2,200 points making points worth $5/2,200=$0.00227 (so 1 receipt = 25 points = 5.68 cents). A $25 Amazon gift card costs 9,250 points, making those points worth $25/9,250=$0.00270 (so 1 receipt = 25 points = 6.56 cents). Each receipt is worth a bit more in Receipt Pal than in Receipt Hog, Fetch Rewards, or Swagbucks, but earning is still pretty slow on this app. Just like Receipt Hog and Fetch Rewards, it is so quick to scan my receipts that it is worth it for the few dollars per year that I expect to earn by using this money making app.
7. Bank and Credit Card Reward Websites
Bank and credit card reward websites. Many credit card companies have websites that will give users cash back on purchases when users navigate to online retailer websites and make a purchase (like how users earn cash back with Rakuten, and one way to earn points with Swagbucks. Navy Federal Credit Union has a Member Deals for credit card customers. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards has a shopping page for credit card customers. Other credit card companies may have similar sites, so it might be worth checking out yours!
Retailmenot.com is my favorite website for finding coupon codes and printable and mobile coupons for online and brick-and-mortar stores. Almost everywhere I shop has a page on RetailMeNot, and I have never found a coupon that was NOT on the RetailMeNot page. This is my one stop shop for online coupons!
I joined National Consumer Panel (NCP) in January 2016. This is an invitation only panel that seeks to understand consumer purchasing. It is by far the most labor intensive money making app I use for shopping, but the payouts are a bit higher than the other apps.
To participate in NCP, a user shops as ususal, and after each shopping trip, scans the barcode of each individual item; indicates the price, if the item was in sale, if a coupon was used in the purchase of the item, and a few more details. Users are supposed to report all shopping trips each week. Points are awarded each week based on how many sequential weeks shopping trips have been reported. Additional points are awarded for participating in surveys.
I typically earn enough points for a $50 gift certificate every 8 months. Gift certificates are available at Amazon, iTunes, and Overstock.com, in increments of $5, $10, $25, or $50, depending on the store selected.
If you are interested in joining National Consumer Panel, send me a message from my About Me page and the next time they are accepting referrals, I will send one to you. NOTE: this is an invitation only panel and they only accept referrals periodically, so I can only send referral links during timeframes when NCP provides them to me. The last one was in April 2019.
Which money making apps and websites didn’t make the cut in 2019?
My previous list included Swagbucks, Ebates, Receipt Hog, Ibotta, Checkout 51, Bank and Credit CardReward Websites, and Retailmenot.com.
The money making app that did not make the cut in the 2019 article is Checkout 51. Over time, this app evolved to be exclusively brand name offers. As part of my frugal shopping, I mostly purchase store brand items. While I do sometimes purchase brand names (usually when there is not a store brand option), I went months, then years of never finding an item in Checkout 51 that I needed to purchase, so I stopped using this app. For those who do purchase a lot of brand name items, Checkout 51 still might be an app worth checking out.
Additionally, I did try SavingStar. I found that it had a LOT of the same coupons as Checkout 51, so there is great possibility for “double dipping” and getting to use the coupon twice – once from each app.
What money making apps and websites have I started using since 2017?
New money making apps that I use include Fetch Rewards and Receipt Pal. They are both quite similar to Receipt Hog in that they simply require taking a picture of a receipt in the app to earn points which can later be converted to gift cards. These apps are very quick to use, and earn money slowly but steadily.
I added National Consumer Panel to my list in 2019, though I was using it in 2017. Previously I excluded it because it was invitation only, it was labor intensive, and it was not very user friendly in the early days that I used it. I find the program a lot easier to use now – am am not sure how much NCP has improved or I have gotten used to it. Probably they have improved a lot, and I have learned a bit. I also wanted to let my readers know that this program exists, in case they want a referral next time that option comes around.
Do you have other apps or websites that you like to use to save or earn money? Please share with us in the comments below!