For years, there has been a common debate in the financial world: should you focus on making more or saving more? The obvious (and maybe a little bit annoying) answer is both. The key to a healthy financial present and future is to make more money, save/invest as much of your increased earnings as you can, and repeat.
Whether it’s financial independence or lavish vacations you’re after, making more money is a worthwhile pursuit. The most obvious methods are asking for a raise at your day job, seeking higher pay elsewhere, starting a business, or using your free time to a side hustle. But what do you do if you’ve made all of the big moves already? Or if these methods aren’t an option?
Apps can be a great tool for making extra money. From rewards and cashback to selling and investing, you can use them to pull in some extra cash in your free time or in no time at all. Here are the best money-making apps:
Earn With Rewards Apps
Ebates is probably the easiest app to use if you’re looking to earn a percentage of cashback on things that you’re already purchasing anyway. From gifts to toiletries and just about everything in-between, you’ll find products in tons of categories and from more than 2,000 retailers.
It’s incredibly easy to sign up for Ebates once you download the app. Then, you’ll choose the store you want to shop from and the app will bring you to their website. You’ll shop as usual from there and watch the cashback add up in your account. You can cash out through PayPal or by check three times per year (you can find the schedule in your account) as long as you’ve earned at least $5, and you’ll earn referral credit for each person you convince to sign up.
You can search directly for your favorites stores or look through categories like double cashback (they change periodically, so check back frequently), hot deals, in-store, and travel and vacations. From Amazon to Orbitz, you can use Ebates to earn cashback on just about all of your online purchases.
Ibotta is a unique cashback app because you can use it to shop both online and in stores. This one is great for a very wide variety of home goods from paper towels and vitamins to white bread and coffee pods. While Ebates offers a percentage of the purchase price as cashback, Ibotta offers a set amount. The amount ranges from $0.10 to several dollars, so it may outpace the percentage offered for the same product; it may be a good idea to download both so you can always do a quick reference and make sure you’re getting the best deal available.
If you’re shopping online, you’ll have to connect your debit or credit card to the app in order for them to see what you’ve purchased. If you’re shopping in-store, all you have to do is choose the store in the app, choose the products you’re purchasing, and take a picture of your receipt. Voila; instant money!
The search function is similar to Ebates: you can search for stores directly or browse through all of the different categories. Once you reach $20 in cashback, you can transfer it to your bank account or choose a gift card. There are over 300 stores currently available. Walmart, Target, and Kroger are the top three choices among Ibotta cashback earners.
Make Money by Selling Your Old Stuff
Selling unwanted clothes, furniture, and other goods is a fantastic way to earn a little extra income. It requires minimal effort and chances are good that you have at least half a closet full of things you don’t need anymore anyway. Before a big move and during the winter season are two great times to sort through the clutter, but apps like OfferUp make it easy to do this throughout the entire year, too.
You can post just about any item on OfferUp, making it the best option for selling your stuff online. It’s also very easy to use, all you have to do to start earning extra cash is:
- Set up an account and choose your location
- Use the “post” button to choose and post pictures of the item(s) you’re selling
- Give it a short title and a clear, accurate description
- Set your price and wait for buyers!
To widen your range and increase your chances of clearing out the closet, you can opt into shipping your items. If you choose to use OfferUp this way, your items will show up in searches across the country, rather than just local listings. You can list just about anything from cars, toys, and electronics to clothes, jewelry, and musical instruments, with very few exceptions. OfferUp will keep roughly 7.9 percent of each sale.
Poshmark is the perfect place to sell your clothes, shoes, and accessories that are still wearable but no longer wanted. If you have kids that are outgrowing their clothes at a rapid pace or you like to buy new outfits each season, you can make a decent chunk of extra change by selling them here.
Signing up for Poshmark is pretty similar to the process for OfferUp, with one notable exception: rather than choosing a location to sell in, you’ll be required to ship each item you sell. But don’t worry, you’ll receive a pre-paid shipping label from Poshmark each time you make a sale, so you’ll only need a box and tape to send your goodies out to their new homes.
Poshmark will keep $2.95 of each sale under $15 and 20 percent of each sale over $15. As far as commissions go, this isn’t too unreasonable. Clothing from popular and reputable companies like Nike and Lululemon often sell quickly and for a good price. You’ll also have better luck if what you’re selling is in good condition and you’re posting bright, clear pictures.
Best Investing Apps
Acorns is the best option for beginning investors because you can choose to let it do all of the work for you. With their handy round-up feature, you can link your regular bank account and cards so Acorns can monitor your purchases. They’ll round up each purchase you make to the nearest dollar and make a transfer from your bank account or card to their app once you hit $5.
For example, if you make a purchase of $9.10, Acorns will track in the app the round-up of $0.90. At $5 per transfer, it’s not enough to make a dent in your account, so you’re not likely to notice or miss it until you see how much has accumulated in your Acorns account. They take your round-ups and invest them for you, so all you have to do is sit back and watch your investments grow.
There are a lot of other helpful features that come with this app, too. For starters, you can choose your risk tolerance so that they can customize your investments based on what you’re comfortable with. You can earn “found money” through their partner companies; Kohl’s and Uber Eats are currently offering a percentage of your purchase price back as an investment in Acorns. You can also set recurring deposits, track your progress to retirement, and withdraw your money at any time. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.
Besides also being great for beginning investors, one of the best things about Robinhood is that they’ll start you out with one free share of a particular stock when you sign up. They’ll choose the company for you, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal.
The app is very user-friendly and feels a little more like playing a game than doing something as serious as investing. You can track stock market progress for investable companies over the years, read recent news and analyst ratings, get stock suggestions, and search by company name or through categories. Some of the categories include 100 most popular, technology, finance, and energy.
Robinhood follows a fee-free model, so it’s a great way to earn a little extra and learn about investing without paying hefty commissions. All you have to do is download the app, enter your information, fund your account, and start investing. It’s simple, easy to navigate, teaches you beginning investing, and will send you on your merry way to making extra money.