13 Simple (and Legal) Ways that Help Millennials Pay Rent

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

No matter your level of adulting, there’s an invisible line that should be avoided. And that’s the “move-back-in-with-your-parents-cause-you’re-outta-money” line.

For real though, you don’t want to resort to that.

Even if you have the best relationship in the world with them, it’s not your own space.

They probably also have a knack for saying stuff that really riles you up, or is that just my own immigrant parents? (“Don’t eat so late, you’re gonna get fat,” “You’re throwing this away? Why? I’ll save it for later.”)

So to avoid that situation altogether, let’s make rent. Regularly.

Of course, you’ll still need a full-time job on your own.  But to give you some extra cushion though, you can check out these simple ways to make rent.

1. School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In

When you want to take a 5-minute break, check out Solitaire Cube, which is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash.

The game matches you with players of the same skill level, so you have a solid chance of winning. If you’re a good Solitaire player, you could win some serious cash, like Katie Nguyen who took home $380,984 last year as one of the Top 10 Solitaire Cube players! Even casual players like Amanda, a stay-at-home mom won a 55″ TV, $6,000 and more!

So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire Cube to win legit cash, definitely download this game for free. 

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

2. You Gotta Eat! Get Up to $240 Cash Back in Grocery Savings

Drobot Dean

Did you know that it’s 325% more expensive to eat out versus eating at home*? Maybe it’s time to make more trips to the grocery store instead.

You’ll be aware of all the ingredients in your meal,  in addition, you’ll get paid just for shopping!

It’s simple. All you have to do is take a picture of your grocery receipt and Ibotta will pay you cash.

Here’s how it works:

Before you go to the store, search for your shopping list items in the Ibotta app. After your store visit, take a photo of your receipt to get cash back.

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up! They’ve already given out $186 million dollars cash back to savers in 2019 alone.

Some offers we found:

  • 25 cents back on any item
  • $3 back on various shaving razors
  • $2 back on KIND Protein Bars
  • 25 cents – $4 back on ice cream
  • $2 back on Herbal Essence Haircare

Popular stores are Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s but Ibotta also works at restaurants, online shopping sites, and even at the bar. On average, active Ibotta users save up to $240 a year or more but the highest saver got $13,000 in cash back this year! What would you do with that extra money?

Welcome Bonus: Up to $20
Average savings a month: $20
What it could add up to in a year: $240
Additional Referral Earnings: $5 per referral

3. Get a Personal Loan Fast Even if You Have Bad Credit

Your credit score is important but sometimes, unfortunate circumstances happen to good people. It’s not always a fair representation of your financial history to be judged by 3 digits.

Even if you have a poor credit score you could still get a personal loan for your short-term financial needs, especially during these uncertain times.

OppLoans can help if you’re qualified (see list below).

Submitting an application doesn’t affect your FICO credit score and you’ll be able to get the best personal loan that you may need for car repairs, medical, family, rent, major purchase, etc.

Here’s who can qualify:

  1. Residents of AL, AR, AZ, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KY, KS, LA, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NM, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, SC, WA, WI, WY, or VA
  2. Have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 for the states listed above except AL is $3,500, and GA & ID is $3,000
  3. Employed at your current job for at least 3 months
  4. 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
  5. A traditional bank account in your name that’s been open for at least 90 days
  6. You get your paychecks via direct deposit

Qualified borrowers will be able to borrow up to $4,000 depending on their state.

And when monthly payments are made back on the loan, OppLoans will notify the 3 credit bureaus to build up your payment history!

4. Figure Out Where You’re Wasting Money and Stop With This App

Realistic budgets are hard to make, especially if you’re kind of lazy, to begin with. (No judgment, I am too).

You know you should start, but it just gets put off.

Here’s an easy solution though: Truebill.

Their simple to follow budgeting pulls your historical spending, organizes it, and allows you to clearly see your spending so you can set a target budget with context. (Aka you can see where you’re wasting money on).

It’ll also track budget pacing, which sounds fancy, but it just means you’ll see the percentage of how much you’ve spent so far in each category. Like it’s only the 2nd week of the month, and I’ve already spent 74% of my dining budget? Time to eat out less.

Truebill will also alert you if you’re getting a little too spend-happy in your budgeted categories so you know when to curb it.

It’s simple but actionable budgeting that anyone can follow and it’s free to use!

5. Affordable Car Insurance Exists - Check Every Year and Save an Average $479

So let’s be real. When was the last time you checked auto insurance quotes? People who shop around every 6 months or every year, tend to pay a lot less than those who stick with their current provider.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Instead of individually requesting quotes from companies (which can get messy and take forever), just answer a few questions on CarInsurance.net and they’ll match you among dozens of regional agencies and insurance carriers to save on your car insurance.

It literally takes a few minutes answering quick questions like how many drivers you want to insure, if you’ve had any accidents the past 3 years, what your vehicle year/make/model is and other simple one-tap questions. On average, you can save $479 with CarInsurance.net!

Since it’s such an easy and free process, try it out to see how much you could be saving on the road.

6. Don’t Toss That Receipt! Do This First for Free Money

Alice Ly / The Smart Wallet

Before you crumple up that receipt in your pocket or forever lose it in the abyss of your purse, scan it into the Fetch Rewards app, and earn points towards free money. I repeat, free money.

It’s ridiculously simple and actually fun to use.

Shop at any grocery store, convenience store, club store, neighborhood store, or big box store, take a picture with the app, and that’s it. (Favorites include Target, Kroger, and Walmart!)

Unlike other apps, you don’t have to go to specific stores, there’s nothing to pre-select prior to shopping, and there’s no minimum spend. Just scan in any receipt from a store that sells groceries (even when you didn’t actually buy any groceries) and boom, points for money.

You can start cashing out as soon as $3 (3,000 points) and you can grab a $2 welcome bonus on us (2,000 points) when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt!

Welcome bonus: $2
Average savings a month (depends on purchases): $25
What it could add up to in a year: $302
Additional referral earnings: $2 per referral

7. Fun Times in 3 Minute Increments – A Classic Game for $

3 minutes.

Make as many 21s as you can within that time or until you run out of moves.

That’s the basic gist of 21 Blitz, a modern take on a classic game where you’re no longer just playing against the dealer but with actual people around the world.

It’s fast-paced and it basically does all of the math for you. This game is great for killing time and earning cash all at once.

You can play for free against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…well, cash! Cash game winners can win up to $7,000 or more in the mini-tournament.

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

8. Play Games, Save Money, Win Cash. Saving is Actually Fun Now.

Look, we know saving money is boring, but it’s just one of those non-negotiables in life. 63% of Americans don’t even have enough to cover a $500 emergency. Yikes.

That’s why Long Game Savings is actually making saving fun by just playing free games on their app. Games are light and easy-to-play (think lotteries, scratchers, slots, and more) and you can win daily cash prizes up to $1M (yes, million) and crypto!

When you set up a savings account, you access the games. The more money you save, the more you can play and now, their new debit card lets you earn more rewards just by spending normally. It has a RoundUp feature that lets your purchases be rounded up to the nearest dollar with the change going towards your savings. So every time you’re buying a meal, getting stuff at Target, etc, you’re contributing to your savings and earning interest!

Long Game Savings is completely free-to-use as banks pay them, not you. There’s no way to lose money, but plenty of ways to earn and win! Plus you can withdraw your money at any time.

9. An Innovative New Way to Improve Your Credit Scores Instantly - And it’s Free

Having a low credit score can impact a lot in your life, like the ability to rent an apartment, get a car, and even a cellphone plan.

That’s why it’s important to maintain positive credit card payment history and to keep credit utilization ratio in check (not using more than 30% of your credit line on any credit card).

Regardless of what your score is currently at though, everyone can use a boost to their 3 digit number, and Experian® wants to help.

A new feature called Experian Boost™* can help instantly improve your credit scores for free.

Experian does this by adding your positive payment history from utility and telecom bills to your Experian credit file. This is huge, because previously, your gas, water, electricity, TV, internet, and phone bills that you already pay for didn’t affect your credit. Now it does and to your benefit of potentially increasing your credit scores!

It’s simple to start, and all you need is a free Experian Boost membership and a few minutes to connect read-only permission to the online bank accounts you use to pay bills. Experian will check only utility and telecom payments and get you credit for the payments you’ve already been paying.

This process doesn’t hurt your credit at all and you can choose to remove the boost if you want.

Compared to expensive and drawn out credit repair services, this new alternative is the fastest and no-cost way to instantly improve your credit scores.

*Results may vary, see website for details.

10. Get Paid To Share Your Opinion Anytime

Samantha Gades

Your opinion is valuable. So valuable you deserve to earn extra cash for sharing it.

You can do it with Survey Junkie. They pay cash to members who participate in surveys about their shopping habits, cell phone usage, and more. Basic stuff.

Completing a survey earns you 20 to 100 points. Each point is worth one cent, and when you hit 1,000 points (or $10) you can cash out.

Redeem via:

  • Online gift cards
  • Paypal cash
  • Bank transfer

Signing up for Survey Junkie only takes a few minutes and you’ll earn your first 100 ($1 value!) points just by creating an account, filling out an intro questionnaire, and verifying your email address. Easy.

After that, you’re free to dive into surveys. They have surveys with various durations (5 to 20 minutes) to complete and new ones pop up constantly so you’ll never be bored! Fill one out when you’re waiting for someone or have time to kill.

Survey Junkie won’t get you rich quick (no survey sites ever do), but it’s an easy way to make some extra cash by doing nothing other than giving your opinions.

11. Make 1.61% Interest On Your Money with Fee-Free Banking

Traditional banks may2 seem to take every opportunity they can to squeeze more money out of you. With everything from a monthly service fee to various hidden fees nibbling away at your account balance. Enter Varo which was founded to provide banking services without the hidden fees.

Yep, Varo has no monthly service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees. On top of having no fees, Varo lets you make more money on your money. Varo provides a high-yield savings account that starts at 1.61% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)1 that can move up to 2.80% APY1 based on qualifying activity. To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.09%.*

Varo has a few sweet extra features too:

  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier^
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Over 55,000+ AllPoint® ATMs worldwide to use your Varo Visa® debit card
  • Offers personal loans to pre-qualified customers who want to consolidate debt
  • Varo will send any paper check to anyone in the U.S. on your behalf
  • “Save the Change” rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the difference to your Varo savings account

If you’re sick of being charged banking fees and want to make more out of your money, check out Varo. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn more and apply for free.

12. Not Your Grandma’s Bingo - Play Anywhere for Cash

Classic bingo is a game based on both luck and skill since it takes strategy to beat the odds of the house and the players around you.

However, you can ditch the bingo hall and giant stamps in favor of Blackout Blitz, a fast-paced and competitive bingo game that you can play anywhere on your phone. And even against your friends.

2 minutes. That’s all you need per game where you play against another person around the world. Everyone sees the same card and balls so by daubing (tapping the number) fast and correctly, you’ll get bonus boosts for more points! Tap the incorrect number and points will get docked so don’t get sloppy!

This easy-to-learn game is awesome for killing time and earning cash all at once, anywhere.

You can play for free against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…cash! Cash game winners can win up to $1,000 or more in mini-tournaments.

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.

13. Earn Up To $40,000 (!) A Year By Renting Out Your RV On the Most Trusted Platform

Hanson Lu

If you own an RV, you know this better than anyone else: it stays dormant almost all year. And it’s true, 80% of RVs go unused for 300 out of the 365 days.

While it’s great to have one ready for road-trip purposes, there are more productive (and profitable) ways to handle the sleeping beast.

With RVshare you can earn up to $40,000 a year by renting out your RV when you’re not using it. List for free on their marketplace and people looking to rent can connect with you. It’s kind of like an Airbnb but for RVs.

The marketplace is completely free to use, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit with a fee while your listing is active. RVshare only makes money when you do, so after your listing is booked they’ll take a small portion to keep the site up and running.

Your RV is protected. There’s nationwide (plus Canada) insurance for both parties along with 24/7 roadside assistance to ensure your RV is taken care of while on the road.

You could also list your RV as a stationary rental, meaning it can stay on your property. This works best if your RV is parked near potential travel destinations. (Sorry, HI residents are ineligible to list!)

So take that dormant RV and start turning it into cash! Since it’s free to list, just add your make and model and RVshare will show you how much you can earn this year.

BONUS: Earn $20 Per Hour to Start Teaching English To Kids Online Working From Home

If you’ve been considering a side gig to supplement your primary income or love the idea of working from home, consider teaching English online to kids ages 6-10!

EF Online (Education First) is a teaching platform helping to connect students in China and native English speakers for over 20 years now. It’s a flexible schedule where you can work from home, earn up to $20/hr to start, and all lesson materials are provided.

Here are the requirements:

  • Must be a native English speaker living in the U.S.A or UK
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • By the start of your teacher’s contract term, you must earn and submit documentation of a 40 Hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification (or higher)
  • Agree to an online background check (no cost to you)
  • Be available to work during set hours
  • Have a solid wifi connection and headset
  • And lastly, be passionate!

Classes are 25 minutes each and they encourage repeat classes, so you might be teaching the same students regularly. In addition, their parents can book you up to 6 months in advance leading to a more stable income.

If you enjoy interacting with kids, this is definitely a rewarding and flexible gig from home!

BONUS 2: Pay Less on Student Loans. Get More Out of Life.

If you feel bogged down by student loans, you’re not alone. 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt, making the total student loan debt in the United States above $1.47 trillion dollars(*). However, there are options to ease that financial burden.

One way is to refinance your student loans (whether they’re federal, private, or ParentPLUS), consolidating that debt at a lower interest rate.

Credible’s made that part easy. Their loan marketplace helps you find prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just 2 minutes.

They can help you find options to lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payment, or both! To see your options, just fill out a quick information sheet and compare your prequalified rates – without impacting your credit score. You can even get your finalized offer in as little as one business day.

There are no prepayment penalties, loan application fees, or origination fees through Credible’s lending partners, and the marketplace is free to use!

*325% more expensive eating out vs home source: Investment Zen

*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on the state.

*0.09% national average APY: FDIC for the week of Feb 11, 2019- https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/#one

1 – Varo Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of March 31, 2020. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open account. Balance in Savings must be at least $0.01 to earn interest.

^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on timing of payer’s submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.