Want to Earn Some Extra Money?
- Survey Junkie: Earn up to $50 per survey with one of the highest-paying survey sites on the web. Join Survey Junkie Now
- Swagbucks: Make money watching videos, taking surveys, shopping online and more. Join Swagbucks Now & Get a $5 Bonus
- LifePoints: Quickly becomming one of the best survey sites out there. Earn up to $10 per survey in a short time. Join LifePoints Now For a 10 Point Bonus
- MobileXpression: Earn free money (passive income) just by leaving an app installed on your phone. Join MobileXpression Now & Get a Free Gift Card in One Week
Money making apps are some of the best way to make some extra cash in your spare time. Most of the time, the amount of effort you need to put in is minimal and the tasks don’t take very long to complete. If you calculate how much time it actually takes to use them, you’ll soon find out that you can make anywhere from $10 – $30 per hour.
We’ve compiled a list of categories of money making apps along with a few examples of each one to get you started. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments down below.
1. Receipt Scanning Apps
Receipt scanning apps are a great way to get some extra money from shopping at your local grocery store. If you buy an item that’s available in one of the offers listed, you can get a certain amount of cash back depending on what you purchase. Most of the time you’ll need to purchase a specific product at a specific store, but depending on the app, sometimes it doesn’t matter where you make the purchase.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll come across an app that pays you only for the itemized receipt, meaning it doesn’t matter what you buy or where you shop. On average, expect to earn anywhere from $.25 cents to up to a few dollars per offer. However, the higher cash back offers usually require you to spend a bit more money.
The reason these apps are able to pay you is because they use the data from your receipt as market research and sell them to companies in order to improve their products and services. Each app has a different payout structure, but keep in mind that you can use multiple apps to scan the same receipt, thus stacking your earnings.
When you do take a picture of your receipt, be sure to include the price, store name, store location and a list of each individual item. In order to avoid any errors, we suggest just taking a picture of the entire receipt. If you’re receipt is too long, most apps will allow you to take multiple shots.
Examples of Receipt Scanning Apps
- Ibotta – One of the most popular receipt scanning apps. They’re partnered with a wide variety of stores and have the widest product selection out of any apps.
- CoinOut – A fairly recent receipt scanning app, but they’re quickly expanding across the market.
2. Task-Based Apps
Task-based apps pay you to complete certain tasks in areas around you. This can include scanning a barcode, checking-in at your local store or taking pictures of a display. Those living in larger cities will typically have more tasks available. Most people compare these apps to mystery shopping.
Be aware that sometimes there’s only a certain amount of tasks available in your area. Therefore, if you see an activity that’s easy to complete and you’re interested in it, we suggest completing it right away before it disappears.
For most of these apps, that payout isn’t extremely high. However, sometimes you’ll find tasks that can pay you up to $10 per task. Usually there are more offers available when you first register than later on.
Examples of Task-Based Apps
- ShopKick – Get paid to check into local stores and scan barcodes to common products. You can easily get a quick $.25 – $.50 cents per task. Refer your friends and get an added bonus.
- GigWalk – Their website states that you can earn up to $50 per task. In smaller cities, you’re going to have a tough time finding enough tasks to complete to earn a decent living. Some tasks include verifying business hours of a certain store or checking a product’s price.
- Field Agent – This one is very similar to GigWalk, and you also need to be in a somewhat large city to get a wide variety of offers. You may be asked to ask employees of a certain retailer some product questions. Expect to earn $10 – $20 per hour, but the offers become somewhat scarce after a while.
3. Video Watching Apps
For those feeling a bit lazy, video watching apps are definitely the way to go. All you have to do is play video ads from your phone and get paid for each video watched. Each video on these apps is typically 30 to 60 seconds long, and on average you can get about half a cent per video.
Unfortunately, you’ll find that a lot of these apps require you to click a button to go the next video, meaning you can’t simply leave the app running and continue to make money. There are a few like this, but they are far and few between. The one thing I personally love about these apps is that they have excellent referral programs that pay around 10% of all your friends’ earnings.
If you’re just getting started, we highly recommend the three apps below since you don’t have to click a button in order to go the next video. However, sometimes there is a limit to how much you can earn per day with each app.
Examples of Video Watching Apps
- Swagbucks – You don’t have to click a button to go to the next button. Simply start the videos and reach your daily limit. I can earn about $30 per month using Swagbucks.
- Perk TV – For the most part this app autoplays videos, but every hour or two you have to click a button to continue watching videos. If you have the maximum of 5 devices, you can easily earn an extra $100 per month.
- Checkpoints – This app has a great payout per video, but there’s a limit to the amount you can earn each day at about $.50 cents. However, videos go on autoplay and you can quickly reach your daily maximum. Use bonus code jwuerch to get some extra cash upon registration.
4. Cash Back Portals
Cash back portals are online websites or mobile apps that partner with thousands of retailers across the web. The place all of their retailers’ links onto one page, and when you click on one of their links to make a purchase, they earn a commission and give a small portion of it back to you in the form of cash back.
The amount you can earn depends on the store you’re shopping at as well as the portal that you’re using. On average, expect to earn 7% in cash back across the board. When you reach the minimum balance in your account in earned cash back (usually around $20), you can cash out to PayPal or for gift cards to popular retailers.
A lot of these portals give you excellent bonuses just for signing-up. For example, TopCashBack and BeFrugal give you $10 just for registering as a new user. Not only that, but you can earn the same amount when you refer a friend and they request their first payment.
Examples of Cash Back Portals
- TopCashBack – This is personally my favorite shopping portal. They have some of the best cash back rates around and are partnered with thousands of retailers across the web. You’ll often find that they have special promotions as well.
- BeFrugal – This portal has similar cash back rates to TopCashBack. I usually switch between these two portals, and for both of them you get a bonus of 3% when you withdraw for Amazon gift cards instead of using PayPal.
- Ebates – This portal doesn’t have as high of cash back rates as the first two, but every once in a while when they’re holding a promotion you can find a better deal. The one thing that pulls me back to this program is their excellent referral program. Refer 3 friends and you can get a bonus of $60 plus a free entry into one their sweepstakes drawings. Not only that, but they’re currently the only portal that offers cash back for in-store shopping.
5. Lock Screen Apps
Aside from receipt scanning apps, lock screen apps are my favorite category. The amount of effort you have to put into these apps is incredibly minimal and you can easily earn a few extra dollars per month.
When you have these apps installed, each time you unlock your phone an ad will appear. You typically swipe right to go to your home screen or swipe left to engage in the advertisement.
Depending on the app, you don’t have to view the app to get paid. However, this isn’t always the case. You can easily earn an extra $10/month depending on how often you use your phone.
We don’t suggest continually trying to unlock your phone trying to earn more cash since your payments are determined by a complex algorithm. In other words, you won’t receive money each time you unlock your phone screen. Since it’s quite random, we recommend just using your phone like you normally would. This way you’re not really doing any extra work but are still earning some cash on the side.
The great thing about these apps is that they can stack with each other. If you have six of these apps installed, you’d have to swipe left or right six types before you get to your home screen. However, you’re getting nearly six times the cash because of this. With all of them installed expect to easily earn an extra $50 – $70 per month.
The one downside to all of these apps is that most of them are only available for Android devices.
Examples of Lock Screen Apps
- AdMe – This app has one of the highest payouts per screen unlock. They don’t pay very often, but for those who don’t use their phone much, this would be the best app to choose. Use bonus code bNALpS6gKV to get a $1 sign-up bonus.
- Slidejoy – This is one of the more popular lockscreen apps. The payout isn’t as high, but they do tend to give you cash on a more frequent basis. I typically earn an extra $10 per month from this app since I tend to unlock my phone quite frequently.
- Whaff Locker – The great thing about this app is that you always know when you’re getting paid and how much you’re getting paid. You only get paid for viewing ads ($.03 cents each time), but they’ll tell you beforehand if you’re going to earn any cash. Use bonus code BQ17924 to get a bonus on registration.
6. Downloading Apps
There are certain rewards apps that pay you to install and try out new apps. All you have to do is install the app, run it for about 30 seconds, and wait up to around 24 hours before your account is credited.
With a lot of these apps, there’s usually a lot of offers when you first install them, making it easy to earn a quick $5 right off the bat. After your first selection of downloads, we suggest just checking back about once a week for new offers – there’s no need to do this more than that.
Sometimes you’ll have excellent referral bonuses, ranging anywhere from 10% – 50% of your friends earnings. Most of the time these apps will also have other tasks you can complete for some extra cash, such as doing daily check-ins, watching videos or completing small tasks.
All of the apps that you download are completely free. If you ever run across an app that you have to pay for, we suggest not downloading it and only completing free offers.
Examples of Apps That Pay To Install New Apps
- AppMan – If you’re looking for an app that has a lot of offers available, AppMan is the way to go. Furthermore, they have a 50% referral bonus for any friend that you get to sign-up using your link. Payouts are quite high at around $.50 – $1 per download.
- Gift Box – This app also has an excellent payout rate and a lot of offers with a 30% referral bonus. Some other tasks you can complete include watching videos and doing a daily check-in. Use bonus code ot8y9ed to earn extra cash on sign-up.
- CashPirate – You can quickly earn a few extra bucks when you complete your first round offers, and you only need a minimum of $2.50 to cash out to your PayPal account. You get 10% of your friends’ earnings and 5% for each friend they refer. Use bonus code XZQBIU to get extra cash upon registration.
Although it’s difficult to believe, by combining these apps together you could actually make enough money to support yourself as a single person. It just might seem a bit tedious at first until you get into the swing of things.
If you have an app or an app category in mind that’s not on this list, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.