Earning Extra (Easy) Money for Dummies

7th May 2015

earning extra money

Earning extra money while working a full-time job and maintaining my practice schedule is no joke, y’all.

In preparation to move 450 miles away to Kansas, I’ve been thinking of ways to save and earn extra money.

Since I’ve been home, I have been lucky enough to have reduced cost-of-living by staying with my mom (shouts to the Tixqueen!).  Let’s be clear, though, I totally have expenses right now, too–just not as many as I’m going to have in Kansas.

Maybe you thought that I had amassed quite a nest egg for my eventual move during my gap year from undergrad to grad. “Surely she has some savings,” you thought, stroking your beard!

I would have laughed and dissolved into a puddle of operatic tears, because it costs thousands of dollars to apply to graduate school and travel to those auditions. I’m still taking donations for frequent flyer miles [/shakes tin cup]. But I digress.

Being the resourceful Girl Scout that I am, I’ve been thinking of ways I could earn a little extra money while still maintaining my practice schedule and sanity.

Here are just a few of the ways I’m earning some FREE money by doing absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t otherwise do:

1. Cash Back Grocery Apps

You’ve gotta eat. This is non-negotiable. Why not get some cash back for the purchases you already make at the grocery store?

There are a host of totally free smartphone apps that can help you with saving money on food–sometimes, if you combine these promotion with coupons, store loyalty programs, and store-specific deals, you can even make a profit! Here are a few of my favorite grocery cash back apps:

1. Ibotta

ibotta logo

I use Ibotta the most out of all of my grocery cash-back apps. All you do is sign up/download the app, unlock rebates, and then head to the store.

Once you’ve gone shopping, you submit your receipt and verify your qualifying purchases. Then bingo–cash is deposited in your account!

You can redeem your rebates for either cash (via Paypal or Venmo) or gift cards. Easy peasy!

You might be worried you won’t be saving money because you’ll be buying things you wouldn’t otherwise buy in order to get the rebate. Do NOT do this–just use Ibotta for the purchases you’d already make! What I really like about this app is that they always have rebates that aren’t for brand name or packaged products.

For instance, right now they have a rebate for soda–any brand (including generic store brands). There are always produce rewards, too.

Join Ibotta here: join Ibotta.

2. Checkout 51

 checkout 51 logoJust like Ibotta, Checkout 51 pays you for the purchases you’re already making. Pick the offers you like on everything from apples to deodorant, go shopping, upload your receipts, and get paid!

For those of you not into gift cards or dealing with Paypal, Checkout 51 pays you with a check. Yup. It’s that simple!

I like Checkout 51 because they’ve got a “pick your own offer” option, where you can select from a few different things for a rebate. This week, I’ve gotta buy potatoes, so I’m saving on that!

3. BerryCart

berrycart logoMaybe you’re worried that saving money on groceries means having to sacrifice your healthy eating. Nope!

With BerryCart, you can earn cash back for eating healthy and by purchasing organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free products. That means all you Whole Foods and Sprouts junkies won’t have to give that up!

Once you’ve hit their cash-out threshold, BerryCart will pay you back in your Paypal account or you can select pay-out in the form of gift cards.

2. Swagbucks

swag-logoI’ve been using Swagbucks for years and couldn’t tell you how much money I have saved. There are SO many ways to earn Swagbucks–which you can redeem for gift cards to hundreds of stores (or Amazon, which is what I use mine for).

Watch videos, take surveys, enter sweepstakes, or just use their search engine and get paid for searching the web. Yes, really.

I get paid in Swagbucks to search for “cute cat videos” because I have their search engine installed.

If you do a lot of online shopping, many online retailers will give you Swagbucks for every dollar you spend (just use their online portal).

Join Swagbucks today!

3. Paid Surveys (via InboxDollars)


When I come home from a long day of rehearsal or work, I like to sit on the couch with my dog and do absolutely nothing.

Doing nothing is fun, but doing almost nothing and earning money for it is even better. That’s why I use InboxDollars.

It doesn’t take any energy–just a little patience–to complete surveys and free offers that earn me money. Also, by receiving a few emails, I earn cash, too!

Survey-taking is a little more irksome than other ways to earn cash, to be honest, but there’s always a trade-off. I recommend you get a dummy email account so you can avoid cluttering your mail email accounts.

4. Tasking Apps (via Receipt Hog and Shopkick)

1. Receipt Hog 

receipt hog logo
Go to a store. Buy whatever you want. Upload the receipt. Earn coins, which you can redeem for Paypal cash or Amazon gift cards. Easy!

Join Receipt Hog, use my referral code (jamp6282), and you’ll get extra spins to earn even more cash!

2. Shopkick


What I love about Shopkick is that I can walk into a store, not buy a single thing, and earn points toward cash back.

Shopkick shows you deals at stores near you, but you don’t even have to buy anything to earn.

The location-based app allows you to walk in and earn “kicks” just for being in the store. JUST FOR WALKING IN. You can earn extra kicks by scanning items, which I find super fun, because it’s like a scavenger hunt!

Cash your kicks out for gift cards. Join Shopkick and get money just for window shopping.

Super easy ways to save money!

What ways do you earn easy money? Have I missed anything? Let me know in a comment below!

(This post contains referral links, which allow me to save a few extra pennies at no extra cost to you! Help a diva out, y’all.)

  • Love this post.. NEED this post. I had no idea those grocery apps existed. I’ve been looking for ways to save at the grocery store and this is even better!

    • YES! I love all these apps, haha. Shopkick is a fun little game I play.

  • Sarah Brown

    Yes — Ebates! If you do any purchasing at all online, it’s crazy not to have an Ebates account. If you install their Chrome extension, you pretty much cannot forget to use it. If you sign up and use it even one time you get a $10 gift card, but they give you REAL CASH MONEY in the form of checks, so it’s gr8. You’re not going to get rich off of it, but hey it’s something, right? I’ve earned $78 from them, so I promise it’s not a scam. Use my link if you sign up 🙂 http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=OzNXbGbCH%2BOeasz0d3Sirw%3D%3D&eeid=28187

    • I’ve heard a lot about eBates, and I’ll probably end up checking it out at some point–I don’t do much shopping online, though!

  • Connie

    We use Walmart Savings Checker – in 5 months we earned $50.00 not a large amount but enough to pay for a couple of days of groceries.

    • I like Walmart Savings Checker, too! That’s awesome. Who cares how much it is? $50.00 is GREAT! I think I’ve only gotten like, .47 cents back!

  • Kayla Shown-Dean

    Wow! I had no idea there were so many of these apps! I have done ShopKick for quite awhile, but I didn’t know about all the others–and I even gave up eating organic when money got too tight. I’m going to have to check these out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by and checking them out. I was really surprised to see the deals for organic food, too. 🙂

  • Jamie

    Great list! I also make sure I use the Harps gas card and the Walmart Savings Catcher but it’s not much. Where are you moving to in Kansas? That’s my home state!

    • I’m moving to Wichita! 🙂

      • Jamie

        My home town! Where are you going to attend school?