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’re looking for something to do at home, 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 all is fair. If you’re a good Solitaire player, you could win some serious cash, like Katie N. 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 from IL, 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, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

2. 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 which is perfect for home!

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, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

3. Never Overpay for Car Insurance - Save $826 a Year

Let’s talk about the not-so-sexy topic of car insurance. You need it, you have it, but you’re probably overpaying for it. By how much though? It can depend on your car, location, age, and more, but on average you’re probably spending $826/year more than you need to.

You’ll know how much if you use Savvy to check for fast and easy savings. There are no forms to fill out since it uses your existing insurance info, and the system will instantly check for a better deal. It literally takes 30 seconds and they protect your phone number and email from spam.

Once Savvy finds you a better deal and you choose to switch, they’ll help you cancel your old policy, enroll you in the better one, and get a full refund on the unused portion of your prior payments. It’s the simplest and easiest way to get a refund on your overpriced car insurance policy.

4. 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 paper sheets 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 virtually.

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 which is perfect for home.

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, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.

5. 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!

6. Get Paid for Playing Free Digital Scratch-Offs

Don’t bother going to the liquor store to buy physical scratchers (they get expensive too).

Instead, play digital scratchers for free on Lucktastic.

There are a ton of different scratchers you can play, and you can earn both cash and tokens.

Scratched all of them for the day? Don’t worry, there are specific night-time scratchers that are available every night too!

When you want to redeem your earnings, you can choose from:

  • Amazon gift cards
  • CVS gift cards
  • Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards
  • Check mailed to you
  • Visa gift cards

Lucktastic keeps things free by showing a few ads here and there plus it’s easy to play and multi-task at the same time. Get a chance of up to $1M in cash prizes!

7. 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

8. Scan the Stuff You Buy & Get Free Rewards

The exclusive National Consumer Panel (NCP) program is opening up again for more participants! This is your opportunity to make your consumer voice heard! (And get paid for it)

When you become a panelist, just use the app to scan the barcodes of items you purchase, provide a few additional transaction details, and you’ll earn points for:

  • Gift Cards
  • Tablets
  • Electronic Equipment
  • Flat Screen TVs
  • and much more from their gift catalog!

Plus, all panelists are automatically entered into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual drawings to win extra points and gift cards – even a quarterly sweepstakes to win $5,000!

The more you share your shopping habits (scan barcodes), the more rewards you can get. You can also answer surveys and share information about your overall shopping trip.

“Scanning my purchases is fun! I also enjoy taking the surveys. Earning points is fast and easy and they have a great selection of rewards.” – Jennifer B.

It’s a fun way to earn more rewards on items you’ve already purchased and at no extra cost to you.

Register now to see if you’re eligible to be a National Consumer Panelist. Eligibility will be based on your location. If you don’t get accepted this time, don’t worry! They’re always expanding locations, so check back again.

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 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 and have been turned down by credit card companies, you could still qualify for a personal loan for your short-term financial needs.

OppLoans can help. They work to rescue and rebuild middle-income credit-challenged members for a brighter financial future.

Submitting an application won’t impact 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 FL, AL, AR, AZ, DC, DE, 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. 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
  4. At least 90 days at current employer
  5. Have direct deposit

Qualified borrowers can borrow up to $5,000 depending on creditworthiness and state of residence.* “Payback is on a set term so no surprises and they are cheaper than those payday loans. I was able to get approved in just a few short hours. They really came through and helped me out!” Mike from Clover, SC.

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

11. Get $5* to Invest in Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and More

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Danny Guinta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

You might think that investing is complicated. Or that you’ll never get a share of these well-known brands like Apple, Facebook, Spotify, etc., but you can. And you don’t have to be rich either.

That’s because Stash, an investment app, lets you start investing with just $11. You can choose where to put your money in and they provide guidance and tools to help you along the way. You can invest in major companies that you use or buy from regularly to make the investing process custom to you. Plus, it’s affordable.

As a bonus, Stash is giving new members $5 for any first investment so create an account to get started.*

12. Get Paid to Save and Bank Just by Playing Games

If you were rewarded for doing something, wouldn’t it make you more likely to continue doing it?

In this case, Long Game is rewarding its members for responsible saving and spending just by playing free games on their app and making banking fun. Games are light and easy-to-play (think scratchers, slots, spin-to-win, and more) and you can win daily cash prizes up to $1M (yes, million) and crypto too!

When you set up a savings account, you access the games. You get a full banking experience with all the bells and whistles; an FDIC-insured savings account earning interest, a Visa debit card for instant access to your cash, custom savings goals, and more.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download Long Game
  2. Set up a savings account (Note: They ask for SSN to verify your identity but don’t worry, all info is encrypted and transmitted securely. Plus, it’s required by law and your SSN will not be stored)
  3. Link your bank so money can be transferred or withdrawn whenever you want
  4. Start playing games!

The more money you save, the more you can play and the debit card lets you earn more rewards just by spending normally. The RoundUp feature 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 is completely free when you set up auto-deposit or direct deposit and use your debit card. Otherwise, it’s $3/month. There’s no way to lose money, but plenty of ways to earn and win! Plus you can withdraw your money at any time.

13. Pop Some Colorful Bubbles to Make Some Bank

The classic bubble game comes back with a modern twist where you have 3 minutes each game to pop or clear as many bubbles from the board as you can.

It’s called Bubble Shooter League, and no matter your skill level, you can have fun against real players around the world.

Our favorite strategy? Hang multiple bubbles from a “parent” bubble, and then POP the parents so all the bubbles drop at once! It’s extremely satisfying to get those combos.

Play for free, and when you’re ready, switch over to cash games to earn faster! Cash game winners can win up to $10,000 (no joke).

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

BONUS: Make 1.21% 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 1.21% 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.

BONUS 2: De-Stress and Boost Your Mood 5 Mins a Day

Note: We know this doesn’t make money but we feel keeping your mental health in check is important, especially during these times. Hopefully, this is a useful suggestion!

Even if you’re at home, there’s a lot to be anxious about.

Your income, your family, your health, and wondering when you’ll get to go out and be normal again. A way to help with de-stressing, falling asleep easier, and even losing weight is meditation.

It boosts your immune system and your mood for overall well-being. The Breethe app gives access to over 1,000 tracks of guided meditation, bedtime stories, hypnotherapy, sleep music playlists, and master classes from mindfulness coach Lynne Goldberg and more.

After a quick initial setup of what your goals are (e.g. reduce coronavirus anxiety, relax, improve relationships, etc) you can dive right into guided meditation lasting 5 minutes or more. You can listen to the free content or try the free 14-day trial where it unlocks all content. If you enjoy Breethe, then it’s just $12.99 a month for better health and emotional well-being, something we all need during these times.

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!

*Loan approval is subject to confirmation that your income, credit history, ability to repay, and application information meet the minimum requirements established for this offer. Not all applications are approved.

^Applicants’ credit scores are obtained from Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency, which shows up as a soft pull on your credit report and is only visible to you.

+OppLoans reports customer payment history to the three major credit bureaus. On-time payments may improve credit score. Credit reporting not available for Texas customers.

*Promotions are subject to Terms and Conditions.

1For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian. For current fee schedule, please see the Stash Wrap Fee Brochure. Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.

The Smart Wallet is a paid solicitor of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

*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.