S.A.D. is Coming – Here’s How to Beat the Winter Blues (And Make Money Too)

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.

The season of S.A.D. is coming, which stands for seasonal affective disorder where the winter blues just get to you. 

For the most part, you feel listless and everything feels like a chore dampening the holiday’s cheer. One of the most popular ways to beat it is light therapy, lamps that mimic outdoor light if you can’t physically soak in the sun. 

Another way is to just preoccupy yourself, particularly with FUN things to do. Even better when fun activities double as money-making activities, which we’ve listed out below. Don’t let the season get to you, have fun with these apps, and come out on the other side with some extra spending money.

1. Turn Your iOS Screen Time Data Into Cash

Share information on how you use your iPhone and get rewarded with the MSR app.

MSR uses simple “video tasks” instead of boring surveys. A 2-minute video task pays out as much as an average 20-minute survey on other platforms. Easy!

You’ll earn points and redeem free gift cards from 40+ brands including Amazon, VISA, and more. Or you can earn straight cash via PayPal. Plus, it’s free to join! 

Within the first 4 weeks, members have earned more than $20 in rewards with minimal effort. There are also surveys and other earning opportunities available.

For extra rewards, refer friends to earn 40% of everything they get for passive earning!

2. A Legit Way to Earn $750 This Week

You can get $750 direct deposited into your Cash App account and all you have to do is try out some deals. The catch? You can only do this once a year!

Seriously, anyone 18+ can join Flash Rewards is a rewards program that’s been around since 2016 and has rewarded $11 million dollars to members over time.

So how do you get the money? Answer: You just have to follow the instructions carefully!

Flash Rewards work by showing you “deals” they think you would like. This includes mobile apps and games, subscriptions, financial services, etc. Each type of deal you choose has its own mini task to complete.

  1. Head over to Flash Rewards and fill out basic info (Email, Name, etc.)
  2. Take a quick Survey (it helps them figure out what offers & deals to recommend you)
  3. See if any Offers interest you (optional)
  4. Important: Get to Level 5 and follow the instructions on completing the specific number of deals for each level

You won’t get your reward if you don’t complete the required amount of deals. Sure, it takes a little more effort but it’s legit. Get your $750!

3. Play 3 Minute Games & Win Cash Over $1,000 Every Day

Productive games? It’s a thing. Check out Pocket7Games which despite the name, actually has 9 different classic games to choose from like Bingo Clash, Bubble Shot, 2048 Blitz, and more. 

Every day over $1,000 free cash is awarded to players who join the free entry events.  Win Amazon gift cards, and tech prizes like Xbox, AirPods, and iPads, too. Never be bored with plenty of surprise events and activities that give free cash plus earn up to $40 per friend referral!

More than $70M in prizes have already been rewarded so get in on your share of the fun. Note that cash games are not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, TN, VT.

4. Earn Up to $200 Every Time You Win This Viral Bingo Game

Bingo Clash is the free modern version of bingo where you can play on your iPhone, and win big with cash and real-life prizes. Daily cash prizes and weeklong tournaments have prize pools that go up to $25,000! You can also win items like iPads, kitchen appliances, LEGO sets, other electronics, even cars.

Pro-tip: Don’t hit the Bingo button until almost the end of the game to rack up BONUS points!

Play cash games for the bigger prizes but note that they aren’t available in these states AZ, AK, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, TN, and VT. However, Bingo Clash iOS is free to play, is fun, and you could win prizes, so check it out!

5. Get $10 to Invest in Google, Amazon, Tesla, 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 Google, Amazon, Tesla, 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 $1. 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 some of the major companies that you use or buy from regularly to make a custom Personal Portfolio.

With Stash Growth and Stash+, you can also choose the Smart Portfolio option which offers hands-off stress-free investing since Stash will invest for you based on your risk tolerance. Plus claim bonus stock when you attend Stash’s virtual Stock Parties!

As a bonus, Stash is giving new members $10 for any first investment so create an account to get started.

Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.

6. The World’s First App That Pays You to Pay Rent

Paying rent each month is non-negotiable but with Piñata, you’ll get paid to pay rent on time.

It’s super simple. Pay rent on time and earn rewards and discounts for doing so. Plus get optional boosts to your credit score too (average increase of 42 points!)

Piñata is completely free to use and any renter can join. Members save over $4,500 a year!

Every time rent is paid, the member gets $20 Piñata Cash, which can then be saved and redeemed for free gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, The Container Store, Class Pass, and more. You’ll also get access to Piñata Perks, a marketplace that has over 300K+ deals to help you save even more money on top of your rewards.

New members get a welcome bonus of $20 Piñata Cash as well as a $30 gift card so sign up for free now to start getting rewarded for rent day!

7. Satisfyingly Pop Bubbles to Make Cash

Who loved popping bubble wrap growing up? I still do.

So when the classic bubble game is shortened to 3-minute games to pop as many as you can, it’s exhilarating. Bonus points for clearing the whole board!

Check out Bubble Cash for iOS where you can go on a popping frenzy against real players online to win actual cash. Drop a bunch of bubbles at once and get those high-scoring combos.

Play for free on iPhone, and then switch over to cash games whenever you want. Seriously though, cash game winners can win thousands of dollars…by popping bubbles. Take part in thrilling raffles to win BONUS cash on top of your regular winnings. Plus, enjoy extra rewards every day.

Just note that cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, IA, LA, MD & SC but everywhere else is fair game to win actual money!

8. New Year, New Side Hustles. The Best Side Gigs and Remote Opportunities via This App

Side gigs and work-from-home opportunities are here to stay, and one of the easiest ways to find these jobs is via the free Steady app. Their community of ~3 million people says it’s one of the best free ways to find flexible jobs to earn extra money!

Once you securely link your bank account, the app’s Income Tracker feature will give you personal insights into the extra income you’re making.

Not only can you find thousands of new part-time opportunities every day, but you can also earn cash rewards through their Income Boosters perk. Basically, get paid to try out useful brands!

“I’ve made more money from my part-time gigs through Steady last month than my actual salary and I enjoy these jobs much more than my regular work!” – one of many positive reviews.

On average, Steady Members earn over $5,500 in extra income per year. It only takes a few minutes to sign up for free and answer some work history questions and what type of job you’re looking to see opportunities immediately!

9. Instantly Get Paid $1 for Each Survey (No Limit!)

SurveyTime will instantly pay $1 after each survey completion. No waiting around to accrue at least $15 to cash out like other sites, just get paid right after!

Take as many available surveys as you want since there’s no limit. Then choose between popular gift cards, PayPal, or Bitcoin via Coinbase.

It’s free & easy to start. Be sure to check your confirmation email to answer a few intro questions.

It takes a few days for the system to learn your profile to match you with the best surveys so expect to be disqualified in the beginning. Then you can take as many surveys as you want. On average, each survey could take 10 minutes with some being as quick as 3 minutes!

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

Blackout Bingo is 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!

You can play for free on iPhone 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. Residents of AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN can’t participate in cash games but can win prizes!

11. Never Pay an Overdraft Fee Again - Here’s How

Skip the bank fees and apply to Chime, an online bank account with absolutely no monthly fees (yes, seriously) and savings at 0.50% APY1 — which is 8x2 the national average!

Their SpotMe feature lets you continue with a needed transaction even if you overdraft. That extra $20 you needed for groceries? No worries, Chime will spot you up to $200.3

No monthly fees, no minimum balance requirement, no foreign transaction fees, and FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Get paid up to 2 days earlier** too since Chime processes your employer’s deposit immediately, giving you access quicker than traditional banks.

Chime is free to use, so why not give it a shot?

12. Get Free Stock Worth Up to $225

Investing may seem expensive and most people put it off until they have “enough” money for it.

But time is the most important factor and Robinhood lets new investors get started with just $1.

This free trading app lets you trade stocks, ETFs and options, along with cryptocurrency, commission-free! When your application is approved, they’ll give free stock worth $2.50 up to $225 for new members, with chances to get a high-value stock in Facebook, Microsoft, etc.

With a near-perfect 4.8 score from 2.3 million people, it’s a popular app that you should check out if you’re interested in investing.

13. Fetch All Your Receipts (Even Virtual) & Get Free Money Back

Alice Ly / The Smart Wallet

Check your pockets; check your purse. And keep email receipts.

Grab all the recent receipts you have and scan them into Fetch Rewards to earn points towards free money. Even better? Connect your email inbox and it’ll count your email receipts too from Amazon, Instacart, Shipt, and more!

Basically, shop at any store (grocery, drugstore, warehouse, everywhere and online), snap a pic with the app, and boom, you’ve got points for money. Upload your restaurant and drive-thru receipts too.

There’s no minimum spend, no need to manually select items, just scan in any receipt from any store and it’ll automatically reward you.

Be sure to grab 2,000 welcome points on us when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt!

14. Check Your Credit Score For Free

Drobot Dean

It’s smart to keep an eye on your credit score to make sure it doesn’t fall too much due to unpaid bills. Did you know that a low credit score could affect your ability to actually rent an apartment or even get a car? Yea, let’s try to prevent that from happening.

Credit Sesame is a free credit monitoring service that helps you improve and maintain your score. No credit card is needed!

You’ll get an easy-to-read view of your total debt plus everything that’s contributing to your current score like credit usage, credit age, inquiries, and payment history. It also comes with personal recommendations to help increase your score.

Credit Sesame alerted me immediately when my score decreased because of a credit card and I was able to fix it right away. It’s free to use so this is definitely a must-have in everyone’s life.

15. Scan the Stuff You Buy & Get Free Rewards

The exclusive National Consumer Panel (NCP) program is opening up again for more participants! Make your voice heard and get paid for it!

Panelists use the app to scan barcodes of items purchased & provide details. You’ll then earn points for gift cards, tech like tablets and flat-screen TVs, and much more from their gift catalog!

The more you share your shopping habits (scan barcodes), the more rewards you can get. 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. If you don’t get accepted based on your location, don’t worry!  They’re always expanding locations, so check back again.

16. Play Solitaire to Win Cash. No Longer a Single Player Game.

Less than a few minutes. That’s all you need to win real cash when you play Solitaire Cash, a fun Solitaire iOS game with a modern twist.

It’s like regular Solitaire but you compete against other players at the same skill-level as yours to see who can solve the deck the fastest, and for cash! Play in groups of 5 or more and the top 3 for each game wins.

Players have already won thousands of dollars! Solitaire Cash is free to download and play on iOS but cash tournaments are specifically not available in AZ, AR, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, SC, MT & SD.

If you like playing quick games for chances to win cash, check it out.

17. Instantly Raise Your Credit Scores (For Free!) Using Phone & Utility Bills

Adobe

The 3 most important digits of your life are your credit scores. Get an instant increase for free with Experian Boost™ which adds your positive payment history from phone, utility, & streaming services payments to your Experian® credit file. (Yes, your Netflix® payment counts!*)

On average, members see a 13 point increase. All you need is a free Experian membership and a few minutes to connect read-only permission to the online bank accounts you use to pay bills so Experian can credit your history properly.

This process doesn’t hurt your credit at all and you can choose to remove the boost if you want. Try out the fastest and no-cost way to instantly improve your credit scores!

Results may vary, see website for details.

18. Turn Errands into Earnings with Free Cash Back

About to get some gas, groceries, and/or hit up a restaurant?

Turn to GetUpside, a free cash back app that partners with over 30,000 local businesses, which include Shell, 76, Popeye’s, Papa John’s, Gelson’s, Safeway, and many more. You can earn an extra $148 a year (on average)!

Wherever you are, just use the app to see where you can get cash back! You can get up to 25¢ per gallon, up to 30% back on groceries, and up to 45% back at restaurants. For errands you were already going to do anyway!

Easily cash out via bank transfer, Paypal, or gift card and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. Download GetUpside for free to start earning cash back and new members can use a welcome code: TSW20 to get an additional 20¢ a gallon on their first gas purchase!

Gas offers are not currently available in NJ, WI, or UT.

19. This Paid Survey Panel Gives Out 7,000 Gift Cards Daily

Members can earn an average of $50 a month in popular Swagbucks, a free rewards program where you can earn cash for your time and opinions.

Get rewarded for doing surveys, searching the web, reading articles, watching videos, and playing fun games but the one activity that earns you the most points is completing surveys. Redeem for free gift cards just by completing fun activities and giving opinions!

New members can get a free $5 just for signing up, so join the other 10 million members already part of Swagbucks and start earning free rewards!

20. Free Cash Back on Gas, Groceries, and More!

If you’re not already using a Cash Back app, you should. You literally get free money back on your purchases, so why not?

Download Checkout 51, a free rebates app where you’ll get Cash Back on gas, groceries, pharmacy items, and more.

Find the nearest gas station in-app, pump your gas, and upload your receipt to get money back!

Every Thursday, new offers will appear that you can add to your list. Shop at your favorite retailer in-store or online, upload your receipt, and earn Cash Back! Rewards can go up to $10, depending on the products you buy.

Checkout 51 has tons of ways to save money. Once you’ve earned $20, you can easily redeem via Paypal or check. New members even get a free $1 cash back for uploading their first receipt!


Some of the sponsored links that appear on this page are from companies that offer investment advisory services. They compensate us; for details on our compensation arrangements, please click here.