I was always taught that money doesn’t grow on trees, and while that’s mostly true it’s also a fact that technology and online shopping can be your best friend in getting you some free money for doing the things you already do.
The apps and sites I mention below are ones I currently use and recommend. There are others (e.g. Wikibuy) that I haven’t used extensively and so I’m not going to give you a full write-up. These sites won’t make you a millionaire, but they will keep you in Starbucks…or beer…or whatever your vice may be. And, hey, it’s just nice to earn a little cash back from the purchases you already make.
Step 3: Get Free Money
- Ebates – if you use Chrome as your web browser I recommend signing up for Ebates and installing the Chrome extension. Every time you shop online you can activate a cash back deal on your purchase. Every 3 months they will send you a “Big Fat Check” for that amount. I just installed the extension 4 days ago and already have $14 cash back. I’m not sure what that says about my shopping habits, but I buy most of my essentials on Amazon (free shipping to my door with Prime!) and get 3% cash back on my Amazon credit card AND cash back from Ebates as well. If you sign up using my referral link we both get a cash bonus.
- Honey – another Chrome extension I use is Honey. It works similar to Ebates with a cash back bonus for every purchase, but there’s an additional coupon code search function. Whenever you shop online Honey will search for known coupon codes and try to apply them to your purchase. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve gotten discounts on a ton of stuff I was going to buy anyway. The Honey Gold (cash bonus) you earn can be redeemed for gift cards to the store of your choice.
- Cashback Credit Cards – as I mentioned earlier I have an Amazon credit card, which gives me 3% cash back on all Amazon purchases and 1% everywhere else. I mostly use it to buy stuff on Amazon and then immediately pay it off with my debit card. I also use a cash back credit card from my bank. I get 1-2% cash back on all purchases, which isn’t a ton, but it adds up. I tend to use this one for travel (booking with Expedia to rack up rewards points and then miles on airlines). Right now my bank is giving me 10% cash back on everything for 6 months because they switched from Mastercard to Visa. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m not asking any questions. For the next six months anyway, I’ll be paying everything with this card and using my debit to pay it off right away.
- Follow /r/beermoney on Reddit for more ideas – if you’re on Reddit a great subreddit to follow is /r/beermoney. They have a lot of tips and tricks to save or earn a few extra bucks each month. One of them is an easy, no cost solution if you have an unlimited data plan on your phone (or even if you don’t, and if you don’t sign up for TMobile, they’re amazing). Mobile Performance Meter is an app owned by one of the largest market research companies in the U.S. The app tracks your data usage – and only your data usage. They do not collect personal information or interfere with your phone in any other way (read their TOC and FAQs for more info). People average about 10-20 points per day with options for bonuses by taking surveys or making referrals. They’ll send you a gift card to the store of your choice when you rack up enough points (starting at 500).
None of these methods are going to make you independently wealthy, but they are easy ways to make a few extra bucks without having to change your behavior. If you’ve come across any other opportunities please let me know in the comments!