College Campuses Closed, Now What? 19 Ways For Students to Make Extra Cash At Home

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.

Since colleges around the nation moved to online-only courses, it’s been a huge change for both students and teachers. Depending on your learning style, online classes take some time to get used to.

Most students have also moved back home as well and with the uncertainties of daily life now, one thing is for sure, making extra money however you can, even when you’re stuck at home can be vital to you and your family.

All you need is reliable internet and a smartphone or laptop. We go over our favorite ways for students to make money, even while at home.

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. Make Easy Money Just Trying and Playing Games

There are so many new games coming out on the daily that it’s hard to choose which to play, even if we’re experiencing extra time at home.

My strategy? Only focus on the games that pay for my time.

You can do it with AppStation, an app that pays you to try out new games.

When you earn coins from trying new games, you can redeem for:

  • PayPal Cash
  • Amazon gift card
  • GameStop gift card
  • PlayStation Store gift card
  • Xbox Live gift card
  • And too much more to list

Nab a 4,444 coin welcome bonus too, which is basically around 50 cents in value. And if you don’t like to wait, you can choose to payout as low as $1.

If your friends want to get it on the money action from afar, introduce them to AppStation, where you’ll get bonus coins and 25% of all their earnings. To make it a supportive group, your friends will also earn 25% of your earnings too!

3. Get Cash Back on Groceries, Delivery, and More Both Online and Off

In a current world where you’re experiencing sold out items and having to limit grocery trips, it’s reassuring to know that you can still get cash back on your purchases both online and in-person.

Since saving is now more important than ever to stretch that budget, use Ibotta for free to further save on the essentials and shopping you need like:

Grocery shopping: Find offers in the app or try something new in your quick grocery trips to Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Target, and more. Even get cash back on grocery delivery from Walmart! Get paid after taking a pic of the receipt or linking your Walmart account.

Food delivery: Skip cooking a few times to have your meal delivered with Uber Eats or Grubhub and get cash back.

Online shopping: Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Shop through Ibotta to get cash back at 100+ online retailers like Sephora, Under Armour, Gap, and more.

And since contactless payment is ideal over touching cash, use Ibotta’s included feature “Pay with Ibotta” to pay straight from your phone and earn cash back on your purchases instantly too.

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up!

4. Get Paid in Gift Cards if You’re Chill with Lock Screen Ads

The average person unlocks their phone 110 times per day – that’s a lot of time spent looking at a screen for free.

With S’more you get paid every day you unlock your phone. It’s even easier than it sounds, and since you can cash out with as little as $1 there’s no waiting around for your rewards!

They partner up with brands looking for more impressions (aka your eyeballs) and you don’t need to click on anything to get paid either.

S’mores pays in gift cards so you can redeem for:

  • Amazon.com
  • AMC Theaters
  • Best Buy
  • CVS
  • Target
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Starbucks and more!

Just use your phone normally, and your earnings will apply daily. Pretty much the easiest thing to do and you’ll be earning gift cards to use online while social distancing and for IRL fun when quarantining is over!

5. Get Paid for Playing Free Lotto Tickets

When you’re stuck at home, you have to keep yourself occupied. Make killing time fun and productive when you play free digital scratchers on Lucktastic. It’s just like getting the ones from the gas station, but…free.

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!

6. 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.

7. 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 investing1 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 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.*

8. 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!+

9. Budgeting Made Easy With This App - Even if You Don’t Know How

First things first, if you have trouble budgeting, you’re not alone as most people actually don’t know how to. When you understand how much money comes in and how much goes out, it’ll all start making sense.

Truebill easily helps you budget, even if you’re clueless. 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).

Truebill’s five-star reviews come from people formerly bad at budgeting. Nicole M. said Truebill “tracks spending and makes you accountable for every place your dollar is going. Shows you how a ‘few bucks’ here and there can really add up over time. Also gives you clues on how to save based on your spending. It’s like having a personal accountant tracking my money.”

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. Another user, Krystyna D. said, “This app is a lifesaver for budgeting. It lists your transactions in a minimalist and customizable way, has a spending graph that compares your current spending based on last month, and has a really great budgeting feature. I’ve been using the app for just about 7 months and they’ve done nothing but make a really great improvement to the service. I’ve tried some of the other services and they’re all cluttered and give you too much info without making what you want to see accessible.”

It’s simple but actionable budgeting that anyone can follow and it’s free to use! Join the many users today and control your spending with Truebill!

10. Stack Your Cash Back Earnings with This App

When the coronavirus outbreak passes and the economy starts to rebound, we can get back to racking up rewards through our credit cards and travel reward programs.

In the meantime, free cash back apps like Drop, offers a practical and rewarding alternative that gives points back for shopping online at all your favorite brands, completing super-quick surveys, and playing fun arcade games in-app.

There’s virtually limitless earning potential and the points you earn turn into free gift cards that you can redeem at places like Amazon, Whole Foods, Target, Uber Eats and so many more. Double-dip on earning points with their Stacked Deals section too.

Here are some of our favorite offers on Drop right now:

  • Uber Eats – 50 points per $1
  • Walmart – 20 points per $1
  • eBay – 5 points per $1
  • Glossier – 80 points per $1
  • Lululemon – 120 points per $1 (limited time 3x boost!)
  • Disney+ – 10,000 points for new members
  • Instacart – 400 points for new members

This app is a no-brainer for anyone looking for new and fun ways to stretch their dollar at home!

Kickstart earnings today by using promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 10,000 points ($10!!) automatically when you earn your first 1,000 points.

11. Get Paid to Try New Games. Every Gamer’s Dream.

Adobe

Who would’ve thought you can play games to make some money? Especially now when that’s easy to do from home.

All you need is Mistplay, a game platform where you can try new games to earn points redeemable for gift cards like Amazon, VISA, PlayStation Network, XBOX Live, and more.

In the app, all available free games are listed so just take your pick to try, especially high unit multiplier games! For example, the 4x unit multiplier games will earn you 8 times more units (and dollars) per level than the 0.5x unit multiplier games.

You’ll only get paid for playing games if Mistplay is running so be sure to always install games from the Mistplay app!

12. 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.

13. Make Up to 2.80% 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 0.81% 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.

14. Flex the Bod: Get Paid to Lose Weight

There’s nothing like money motivation right? Especially for fitness. It’ll also give you something else to do besides being a couch potato and reading about unhappy news.

You might be extra inspired because there’s a health and wellness company that will pay you to lose weight. Seriously!

It’s called HealthyWage .

They have a ton of testimonial/pictures on their site along with legit places reviewing them from CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.

So if you need some money motivation to lose weight, here’s how it works:

1. Start with the HealthyWage calculator (Read More )
2. Decide on a weight goal & amount of time to achieve it
3. Bet on yourself ranging from $20-$150 a month
4. Achieve your goal and you could win up to $10,000 depending on your HealthyWager!
5. If you don’t achieve your goal, the money goes to support HealthyWage, including prizes for others who achieve their goals

15. Get Paid to Take Popular Surveys, Watch Videos, and Even Read Emails With This Site

Priscilla Du Preez

If you’re looking for an easy way to snag a little extra cash by being online, look no further. Inbox Dollars has a wide array of ways to make some money on the side.

Founded in 2000, Inbox Dollars has been around and paying customers for their opinions for over 19 years and counting! They are one of the most trusted survey sites with fun, multiple ways to earn extra cash that sets them apart from the others.

You can stick to sharing your opinion and take surveys, but you can also watch videos, play games, and even read email for some extra cash. Who wouldn’t want to watch movie trailers for money?

They also offer cash back for online shopping and coupon cash rewards to use at the grocery store too!

So if you’re looking for some extra cash and enjoy a wide array of options to earn, Inbox Dollars is a great platform to make a little side money. It’s free to sign up, so give it a try today!

16. 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.

17. Empower Yourself Financially, Especially for Women

Whether you think about it or not, there are important realities in a women’s life.

Gender pay gaps where women make less than men, career breaks where women’s earnings drop significantly after having a child,(*) and longer than average lifespan meaning women need more money to live.

That’s why it’s vital to save for retirement and invest, especially if you’re female and why
Ellevest exists, an investment service and money membership created by and designed for women.

Men and those that identify as non-binary are welcome to join as well but it’s the first company to take on women’s unique set of obstacles when constructing an investment portfolio.

With affordable flat monthly fees starting at $1 and maxing at $9, you can be sure that your financial health is taken care of with personalized retirement planning (Plus and Executive memberships), investments with no asset management fees outside of your membership fee, and discounted sessions with career coaches and financial planners. Membership also includes an Ellevest debit card,* which gives you the option to round up spare change to help you save further** as well as unlimited ATM fee refunds.***

With the current world events, it’s even more important to make sure that your “future you” will be comfortable, so take advantage of the first free month and see how it can help you.

18. Work From Home: Earn $20 Per Hour to Start Teaching English To Kids Online

The past few months have been rough on Americans and their livelihoods. If you’ve been considering a side gig to supplement your primary income or need a job working from home, teach English online to kids ages 5-13!

EF Online (Education First) is a teaching platform helping to connect students in China and native English speakers for 20+ years with their global network of 600+ schools. You’ll experience a flexible schedule where you can work from home, earn up to $20/hr to start, with all lesson materials are provided. While teaching experience is preferred, it’s not required. Earn extra rewards the more you teach!

Here are the requirements:

  • Must be a native English speaker living in the U.S.A with a 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 a set range of hours
  • Have a solid wifi connection and headset
  • And lastly, be passionate!

Classes are 25 minutes each and since EF Online encourages repeat classes, you might be teaching the same students regularly. In addition, 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!

Note: The following U.S. states are excluded from this gig – CA, IN, MA, NH, NJ, NY, and IL.

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