When you think of free money, it’s easy to believe there’s no such thing. You’d be surprised to learn that there’s actually a ton of ways to make free money — even from home! But before we cover some of our favorite methods in earning extra cash, let’s clarify what free money actually means.
Is Free Money Actually Free?
You’re probably thinking: free money sounds too good to be true, and for good reason. You won’t find money growing off trees (although we hope that was reality).
Free money refers to extra cash bonuses or rewards given for small tasks, like signing up for a service, sharing your opinion, or double checking places where money may have gone unclaimed.
So sure, you’ll be spending a little bit of your time, but it won’t nearly be hours on end. Instead of going about your usual activities without compensation, now you’ll start earning for things you’re probably already doing!
How to Get Free Money
1. Make money off your savings
If you’re like most people, you have a savings account, where you deposit money and hold off on spending it. If you don’t have a savings account, now’s the time to open one. Why? Because you can earn interest on the money already sitting in there without lifting a finger. Look into online savings banks, since they typically have lower costs than traditional banks and therefore offer higher interest rates to their customers.
2. Give your feedback to brands
Are you interested in influencing brands but you’re not quite interested in being an influencer on social media? Join the Survey Junkie family, where your voice goes noticed. Here, you’ll get paid for sharing feedback directly to brands searching for your opinion. We believe in fair representation and rewards, and always keep our sensitive information private. Learn more about how it works and how your insights are shared.
3. Do a 401K match at work
If you work at a company that offers a 401K, you can earn free money by opting into a match. Typically, employers will match a percent of your contribution up to a certain limit, which helps you get extra tax-free money added to your account to use later. Be sure to check enrollment options so you don’t miss the deadline to apply.
4. Get paid to watch TV
Do you love watching TV? Now you can get paid for it by sharing your TV and internet usage with Nielsen, a leader in media information including TV ratings. All you need to do is provide some basic information and install the app to your devices. You’ll start earning free money for your favorite hobby without any extra effort! Sounds like a win win.
5. Apply for COVID relief
2020 was a tough year for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer financially. The IRS is offering COVID-19 relief payments to taxpayers, businesses, and tax-exempt organizations affected by the pandemic. What does this mean for you? You can apply for free money from the government during these challenging times. Be wary that there are a lot of scams out there, so be sure to check the official IRS website for the latest information.
6. Tap into cash back deals
Earning cash back is a lot easier than you might think and Rakuten makes it super simple to get started. You won’t have to pay any hidden fees or fill out any forms. Plus, you can earn up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 stores — both in-store and online! With their browser plugin or via the Rakuten app, you can start getting free cash back credited to your account.
7. Get a robot to search for money
Remember that service you signed up for months ago and forgot to cancel? Chances are, you probably forgot what it even was. That’s where Trim can help you get more money in your wallet. It connects to your bank accounts and browses through your statements for subscription services, letting you cancel with just a swipe! You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save in your next bill.
8. Use a tracking app
Tracking your spending can be complicated and time-consuming, but it can help you stay on track. There’s a ton of apps available out there that help you track, budget, and cut spending so you can save more money. While some apps — like Fiona — will help you find the best financial services and offers, others — like Billshark — will negotiate prices for your internet, mobile phone, TV, satellite radio, and more. Either way, these are some great ways to get free money fast!
9. Double check your tax return
Did you know you can get free money from your tax return? That’s right — it may be worth reviewing your latest tax return to see if you missed a tax deduction. Don’t worry if you did, because you can file an amendment to your original tax return and get your money back in your pocket. Learn more about it on the official IRS website.
10. Lower your mortgage
If you own a home and need some extra cash in your pocket, consider lowering your monthly mortgage payment. How can you lower your mortgage? Try extending your repayment term or refinancing. Other options include reassessing your home tax and seeking out federal loan modification programs. The only downside is you may end up paying more in interest over time.
11. Refinance your student loans
Starving students are called starving for a reason, but that shouldn’t mean you should be forever in debt. Consider refinancing your federal or private student loans to get a lower interest rate and save extra money. With a lower interest rate, your monthly payments will drop and you’ll likely be able to pay off your loan even faster. While refinancing may cost you money upfront, it will save you a chunk of change in the long-run, especially if you plan to pay off your loan over several years.
12. Get help with your down payment
Interested in buying a home but don’t have enough money for a down payment? Are you a first-time home buyer? You’re in luck, because many states and counties offer grants plus zero-interest loans for first-time homeowners. It’s like earning free money to use on your down payments and closing costs!
13. Get free stocks
Too skeptical to invest your money? Start by getting free stocks. That’s right, apps like Acorns, Robinhood, and Stash Invest give you free stocks and account bonuses for downloading and signing up. The amount you can get varies between $5 to a whopping $1,000!
14. Keep an eye out for unclaimed money
Did you know each state has unclaimed property programs, which means you can get free money as an owner of a forgotten asset? What this means is that you can claim money that’s rightfully yours — if it exists that is! So, if your grandparents or great grandparents left something behind that went unclaimed, it could be yours. It’s worth checking out!
15. Find tax credits for healthcare
Another way to access easy money is by getting premium tax credits via the Affordable Care Act. Whether you’re an individual or family, as long as you buy coverage through the government’s health insurance marketplace, you can potentially qualify for credit toward your insurance premium. The credit you receive can be paid directly to your insurance provider, which will help cut down your monthly costs.
16. Start a workout routine
Whether it’s the start of the new year or halfway through, it’s never too late to start a workout routine. Earn free money with Sweatcoin, where you’ll get rewarded for following your fitness goals. With an incentive like this, there’s hardly any excuses left for skipping your next workout.
17. Get assistance with your utilities
Earn money towards your utility bills and start saving more cash every month. One option is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income households with heating and cooling costs. Another option is the Lifeline program, which offers discounts to phone and internet services. You have to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to qualify.
18. Apply for educational grants
If you’re a student or you’re thinking about becoming one in the near future, you can earn free money to help you achieve your goals. That’s right, free money — as in, you don’t need to pay it back. Apply for educational grants, which are available to you to make school less stressful and financially doable.
19. Search for childcare assistance
As a parent, raising one — or more than one — child can be quite expensive. Childcare costs continue to rise as parents continue to seek these essential services in order to work and grow in their careers. The Child Care and Development Fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides relief for parents struggling to cover their childcare costs. Read more on their official site to see whether they can cover the cost of your child care for children under 13 years of age.
20. Take advantage of freebies
You can find virtually anything on Craigslists, but did you know there’s a “Free” section on their site? Here, you can find people listing items they’re giving away absolutely free, like old furniture or home equipment. If you have a good eye for it, you can grab these free items and flip them for a profit.
Watch Out For Scams
As you can see, there’s tons of ways and opportunities for you to earn real, free money to add into your wallet. While some rewards may be smaller in size, others can be more substantial amounts to help you with your living expenses.
It can be exciting to get extra cash in your wallet, but it’s always important to watch out for scams — especially online. Make sure to cross check sites that claim to give you free money and visit official government websites for reliable information. Always remember, the government will never reach out to you — via phone, text, or email — and offer free money.
Congratulations! You’re one step closer to earning some free money. Maybe you’ve already followed through on some of these ideas and earned yourself a good amount of cash. You’re probably thinking, what do I do next? These are some of our ideas to help you spend your new money wisely.
Buy Things You Need
While you may be enticed to go on a shopping spree with your new money, first take some time to think about what you really need to buy. You may have overspent in one category in the past and held off on something else. Well, now’s your chance to reconfigure your spending and purchase those products that’ll make your life so much easier. Always be careful not to overspend!
Pay Off Debt
Most people have debt, whether it’s from school, a car, a home, or something else they previously purchased. Having earned free money and saved more than last month, try paying off some of your debt.
Not sure where to allocate your money? If you have multiple loans, look into each of their interest rates and repayment terms. It’s better to pay off those with higher interest rates, so you best avoid paying more in the long-term.