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11 Real People Told Us How They Make Money Without a Full-Time Job


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If you’ve recently lost your job due to COVID-19 — or if you’d simply like to pad your savings — now’s the time to find a flexible way to make money without interacting with other people.

The key words here? Without interacting with other people.

The coronavirus has us cooped up at home, feeling a bit stir-crazy and helpless. But that’s why we rounded up a few of our favorite ways to make extra money. Hopefully some of these ideas can help you pay the bills this month.

First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
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1. Earn Cash While Watching Cooking Videos Online

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh. 

It’s too good to be true, right? 

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies, and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. 

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re stuck at home.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

Success story: The Penny Hoarder spoke with Sarah Houston, who, at the time, was a 26-year-old nanny and business student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She used InboxDollars to make some extra money. In three years, she pocketed about $300.

2. Make up to $600 This Week Delivering Food

The people stuck at home are tired of cooking — so they turn to takeout. That’s where you enter the picture.

An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver food on your own schedule. All you need to get started is your preferred mode of transportation and your smartphone.

You’ll deliver things like coffee from Starbucks or food from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A or Five Guys. You set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.

If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week.

Success story: Jose Neri, from California, reported earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.

3. Start a Work-From-Home Business and Earn up to $64/Hour

Have you considered launching your own business? You’d get to be your own boss and set your own schedule.

Not sure where to start? Look into bookkeeping. It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc., and you can earn up to $64 an hour.

You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping, either. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeeper Launch will teach you everything you need to know. It’ll even give you the first three classes for free. 

It’s helped thousands of people launch their own mini-businesses. If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free classes.

Success story: Daniel Honan, a military veteran in his early 30s, had never considered starting his own company. But he signed up for Bookkeeper Launch, and now he’s making around $50,000 a year keeping track of business expenses for his clients.

It only took him three months to get started, taking one class a week. Oh, and he makes his own schedule and is able to spend more time with his wife.

4. Get Free Money From This Company 

You may be stuck at home, but it’s not like you’ve stopped spending money. If anything, you’ve been spending more at the grocery store. So why not make some money next time you spend it?

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on free money. And who doesn’t want free money? 

A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% kickback every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Free money.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Free money again. 

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get free money in the process?

It takes just five minutes to sign up for a new debit card and see how much free money you could earn with the Aspiration Spend and Save account.

Success story: Denisa Petricko, a financial planner who lives in California, realized how little her money was doing for her while sitting in a checking account at one of the big banks. So, she moved it over to Aspiration.

In addition to getting cash back, Aspiration also pays you up to 11 times the average interest on the money in your account. Petricko never looked back.

5. This Company Can Guarantee You a Job (Averaging $85K/Year in Salary)

A lot of us are looking for new jobs right now. But the fear of starting something new can be intimidating. 

Luckily, an education company called Springboard can help you land a new job. In fact, they guarantee it. The best part? Springboard says students who take these classes go on to get jobs with an average base salary of more than $85,000 a year.

Its most popular classes include the UI/UX Design and UX Design bootcamps. No experience? Springboard’s online self-paced bootcamps will teach you everything you need to know to succeed in a new role in just six months.

And if you’re not sure you want to commit just yet, you can take Springboard’s Introduction to Design course to test things out and see if this is the right career move for you. This course is just $349, and if you decide to move on to one of the full bootcamps, the cost can be applied to your tuition.

Springboard’s bootcamps cost less than a semester of college, but you can wait to make payments until after you complete your courses and get a new job. Even better, if you don’t get a job within six months of finishing an online course, you don’t pay.

Plus, Springboard is offering 20 scholarships worth $500 each when you enroll in the UI/UX Design or UX Design bootcamp  with the code SPRINGBOARDPENNY. It’s free to apply for the bootcamps, and it only takes 10 minutes. 

Success story: After one semester of college and six years of being a flight attendant, Maigen Thomas was ready for a change. She decided to take an online programming bootcamp in Portland, Oregon. When The Penny Hoarder spoke with her, she was working as a front-end developer/UX designer and earning three times what she did before.

6. Launch an Investing Portfolio With Only $1

It’s no secret the market has had its fair shares of ups and (mostly) downs these past few weeks, but you shouldn’t panic. If you’ve got money you’ve invested, consider riding it out.

Markets are unpredictable, and they will always be volatile, which means sometimes they’ll go up, and sometimes they’ll go down — but over time, they tend to go up. 

If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1 with an app called Stash.1

Stash lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel.

Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

If you sign up now, Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month2.

Success story: Freelance writer Farrah Daniel tried Stash. She admittedly didn’t have a lot of experience investing, but she liked that she could start with just $1, and she was able to automate the process.

7. Play Free Scratch-Off Tickets For a Shot at Winning Big

Hitting the jackpot would be pretty sweet right about now, but buying gas station scratchers isn’t the best use of your money.

Instead, try playing for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.

It’s not a guaranteed way to add extra money to your bank account, but if you’re sitting on the couch binging “Tiger King,” why not?

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.

Success story: The Penny Hoarder talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize. 

“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”

8. Sell Stuff on Etsy — Even if You’re Not Crafty

Countless people shop on Etsy to find the perfect birthday present, bachelorette party supplies or customized T-shirts. And now that everyone’s stuck inside and bored, they’re turning to Etsy for entertaining craft projects.

That’s where you could make some money.

Sure, traditionally items sold on Etsy must be handmade or vintage, but did you know you can also sell craft supplies and tools?

This alleviates the hours you put into your work and simply allows you sell the supplies to folks who want to tap into their creative sides.

Success story: Janet Berry-Johnson, a CPA and freelance writer, earns an extra $200 a month on Etsy — without crafting a single thing.

She loves cross-stitching but knows selling her own designs isn’t a moneymaker. Instead, she buys kits and patterns at local thrift stores for a few bucks each and marks them up anywhere from 400% to 1,200% for Etsy buyers.

9. Find Out if the Government Owes You Money

If you haven’t already, you’ll probably be getting a federal stimulus soon, but the government could owe you more money than that. Did you know state treasuries throughout the U.S. have had more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds at one time, according to The New York Times?

To see if you have any unclaimed money, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

Success story: Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. Sure, it was only $56 in an old insurance claim, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right?

10. Try Your Hand at Voice Over Work

OK, you might not be on Kristen Bell’s level in Frozen, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. Voice over work is a flexible way to make some extra money on the side — and from home.

Not sure where to start? Look into, an international online voice-over acting marketplace that helps vocal talent — both professional and amateur — find clients who need them.

Success story: Janna Polzin, a stay-at-home mom in Toronto, earns money as a voiceover artist. She finds gigs through “I often walk away from my computer thinking, I can’t believe I just made money from that!” she said.

11. Create an Online Course

Are you an expert in something? Anything? You might not think so, but consider what you studied in school, your hobbies, your passions — even those thousands of YouTube tutorials you’ve watched on random subjects.

Now, take that knowledge, and share it in an online course on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare. Once you create the course, all the hard work is done. Now it’s just passive income rolling in!

Success story: Former math teacher Rob Percival created four online courses covering various programming topics and made more than $1 million in nine months.

1For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

2You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. 

First for Women has partnered with The Penny Hoarder to bring you expert money saving tips like these.

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