Believe it or not, the holidays are almost here! And if you’re stressing out about money, trust me – you’re not alone.
We want the holidays to be as stress-free as possible, so we’ve put together a list of 10 ways you can bank some extra cash.
Just take 2 hours and complete everything on this list and you’ll be $565 richer. Pretty cool, right?
1. Download These Apps
There are a number of companies, including Google, that will pay you to install their app on your cell phone. And they’ll pay you for every month you keep them installed.
The apps collect data from your cell phone and help companies better understand web and mobile usage better — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).
Here are my favorites (install all of them and earn $80+ before the holidays):
– Nielsen Mobile Panel – If you’re between the ages of 18-24 or 45-60, the Nielsen mobile panel wants to pay you to install their app. And they’ll give you up to $50!
– Digital Reflections – When you sign up for this they will send you $5, plus they’ll send you an additional $20 after you use the Digital Reflection Panel meter for 10 days.
– Smart Panel – Once you’ve qualified and downloaded the app, they will give you $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you’ll earn another $10. And then for every month that you keep the Smart App installed, you’ll get another $5. All total, you can earn up to $75 for the 1st year!
– Media Insiders Panel – If you install their app, they’ll pay you $5/month per device. And you can install the app on up to 3 devices. Plus they’ll send you a $5 bonus after the 12th week. (Totals $185/year)
2. Become a Nielsen Family
You’ve head of Nielsen, right? Yep, the same company that tracks TV ratings. They’ve got a new app that will pay you to scan the groceries in your fridge.
Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Homescan family, the company will send you a free scanner or you can use your smartphone. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen.
If you want to give it a try, you can fill out the application here: Nielsen Homescan Application (you can’t download this one from the app store; you’ll need to visit their website first).
As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items, and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points towards prizes. You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles.
3. Change Search Engines
If you spend a lot of time searching online, you might want to think about leaving Google/Yahoo and make Swagbucks your default search engine.
You can earn SBs through Swagbucks every time you make a search — credits you can cash in for gift cards to a variety of stores like Amazon, Toys ‘r Us, and Starbucks. I usually only make an extra $5-$10/month, but it all adds up, right?
4. Go on a Scavenger Hunt Around the Mall
Do you like scavenger hunts? Download the Shopkick app and take it to the mall. Their app will rewards you with points for scanning certain products at hundreds of different stores (you don’t even have to buy them!).
Just to give you an example, my local Target is offering 30 Kicks just for me to walk in the store (the app uses your phone’s GPS to know you’ve arrived), plus I can earn up to 605 Kicks by scanning the 30 items on their “scan list.”
It only takes 1250 Kicks to get a $5 gift card, so if you scan all the products on the list at 8 different stores, you should have enough for a $20 gift card!
One reader told me her and her husband have made it into a game. They both downloaded the app and now they race every time they’re at the store to see who can get all of the scans first.
5. Sign Up for Free Gift Card Promotions: $10
Believe it or not, there are sites that will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.
One of my favorites is Ebates, the cash-back shopping site. They’re giving away $10 gift cards if you sign-up as a new member and earn your first cashback rebate. You can choose either a $10 Target, Walmart, Macy’s, or Kohl’s gift card.
You do have to wait 30 days. But, it’s free money so can you really complain?
6. Open a New Checking Account at Chase
I hate to be the one to break it you, but chances are your bank is ripping you off. The top 10 banks in the US charge an average of $7.50/month for an account. That’s insane!
You should try switching to an online bank. They have lower overhead costs and are able to pass those savings along to consumers. There are a bunch of great online banks, but my favorite is definitely Chase because they’re currently offering Penny Hoarder readers $250 just to open an account.
7. Get Cashback on All Your Shopping from SendEarnings
Are you familiar with cash-back shopping sites like SendEarnings? They’ll give you a cash rebate if you do your online shopping through their site.
You just need to create a free account and then use their site to shop at your favorite places like Target, Amazon, and Kohl’s (there are 1000s of stores on there – those are just a few). SendEarnings will then give you up to 25% cash-back on whatever you purchase! Crazy, right?
I use this year round, but it’s especially helpful at Christmas time. Consider that the average family spent $801 in gifts last year and you can see how fast this would start to add up. Use this site for your Christmas shopping, average around 10% in cash-back rebates, and save at least $80 this year!
8. Sell Some of Your Old Stuff
We’ve all got way too much extra junk just sitting around. Get rid of some of it and use the extra money for your Christmas shopping.
You could of course have a garage sale or sale some stuff on Craigslist, but one of my favorite ways to get rid of stuff is to use the Bookscouter app.
You scan your book’s barcode with your smartphone and Bookscouter will let you compare the payout of 20+ different buyback companies. Cool, right?
Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent and prepare the books to be shipped. Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.
9. Watch More Television
Alright, just hear me out on this one. It’s definitely possible to get paid to watch TV… There’s a new company called “RewardTV” that pays you to answer trivia questions about last night’s TV shows.
Do you know who they killed off in Game of Thrones last week? Tell them about it and they’ll pay you.
Did you know which contestant got kicked off “The Voice” this week? They’ll pay you.
You’re not going to get rich doing this, but it’s a fun way to make an extra $15-$20/month. Pretty cool, right?
10. Take 10 Surveys from Springboard Panel
The Springboard Panel is one of the only legitimate paid survey apps out there (they’re the same company that does most of the political polling during elections).
I’ve heard some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10-15 minutes. Also, Springboard rewards you with points which can then be redeemed for Paypal or gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, etc. (example: 1000 points can be redeemed for $10 Paypal).
We hope this list makes your holidays a little less stressful. Have a Merry Christmas! And thanks for being a reader!