19 Weird (but Totally Legal) Ways To Pay Rent This Winter

Woman sitting on a low wall in the park with snow all around
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.

Ahh, winter. Depending on where you live, you’re either miserable with the freezing temps or it’s just another chillier season.

It’s basically the end of 2020 though and we should be grateful for our health. And a place to live.

Even though every time that chunk of rent payment leaves your bank account and into someone else’s, it hurts just a little bit. But it’s the price to pay for having your own living space and basically, a non-negotiable.

Because no matter what, you gotta keep adulting when you don’t want to move back in with family. Seriously.

So keep making those rent payments and we’re making it a little bit easier by suggesting some things you can do to earn some side cash as well as manage your money more efficiently. Even better when you can get paid for doing stuff you already do!

1. 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!

2. 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!

3. 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.*

4. 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!+

5. 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.

6. 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!

7. 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!

8. More New Games, More Cash to Earn

When you’re ready to add even more games to your lineup, then download Cash ‘Em All, an app that pays you to try out new games for yes, you guessed it, for cash. All are free to download!

Just earn coins from trying new games, and then you can redeem for:

  • PayPal Cash
  • Amazon gift card
  • GameStop gift card
  • PlayStation Store gift card
  • Xbox Live gift card
  • And more good stuff

A 4,444 coin welcome bonus is yours immediately too when you sign in.  (Worth 50 cents!) If you’re impatient, you can cash out as low as $1 as well.

Enjoy playing new-to-you games for some side fun money!

9. 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!

10. Improve Your FICO® Score Instantly With Streaming Services Payment History - 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 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. Even better is your on-time payment history to streaming services also counts now!

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, telecom, and streaming services payments to 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. Try out the fastest and no-cost way to instantly improve your credit scores!

*Results may vary, see website for details.

11. Try Games, Get Gift Cards. Play More to Earn More

Alice Ly | The Smart Wallet

We’ll probably be the only ones to tell you this but, please play more mobile games.

Play more games so you can earn more gift cards through the Rewarded Play app, a free to download game platform that lets you try as many games as you want.

Popular games include Yahtzee, Wheel of Fortune, Words with Friends, mystery games, fantasy games, puzzle games, and a lot more.

You can then redeem for gift cards from 20+ retailers including favorites like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. The games are fun, it’s an easy way to earn some cash especially when we’re bored at home, and bonus, there is an active customer support team!

12. Never Pay Overdraft Fees Again - Banking That Has Your Back (And Your Community’s!)

Overdraft fees. They’re avoidable yet people still get hit with them costing them an average of $250/year. That’s a lot of wasted money!

Instead of punishing you for silly fees, Chime, has your back. It’s an award-winning (and free to use) mobile banking app that lets you overdraft up to $100 with no fees1 via their SpotMe benefit. This means that $8 you were short on at the grocery store gets spotted and your account won’t overdraft, saving you money. Plus, you get a sleek-looking debit card!

They also care about empowering the community to take control of their finances too. That’s why they’ve teamed up with Grammy award-winning hip hop artist 21Savage as well as the Dallas Mavericks to provide free financial lesson plans to the youth community as well as guiding students to become entrepreneurs. #Values

Combined with no hidden fees, the ability to get paid 2 days earlier,2 and auto-savings starting at 1.00% APY makes Chime a stellar online banking option that doesn’t focus on profiting off of you like traditional banks. Since it’s free to use, give it a shot!

13. Find Out Why 1 Million People Start Their Day With This

While in college and preparing for the business world, Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief realized their classmates all felt the same way: traditional business news was dry, dense, and boring. Their fellow millennials wanted to keep up with what was happening but didn’t have a news source that spoke to them.

That’s why they started Morning Brew – the free daily email that delivers the latest news from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Written in a conversational tone and sprinkled with punchy humor, it makes reading the news actually enjoyable.

From Elon Musk’s latest move to the stock market’s highs and lows, Morning Brew covers the top news shaping the business world. With a touch of culture and lifestyle stories, you’ll get up-to-speed on what you need to know in just five minutes.

Find out why over 1 million people start their day with Morning Brew — sign up for free here.

14. Don’t Get Gouged at 29% APR on Your Credit Card. You Could Get a Low 4.99% APR Instead

If you don’t want to go into your next decade of life with debt looming over you, consider debt consolidation. In the long run, you’ll save money from not having to continuously pay high-interest.

Debt consolidation just means you’re borrowing money at a low-interest rate and using that money to pay off the outstanding balances from your high-interest credit cards.

If it sounds foreign to you, don’t stress. You can keep your research simple with Fiona, the fastest, easiest, most comprehensive way to search for loans from the top providers.

It’s free to use and the application takes less than 60 seconds to complete. Fiona will search all the top online lenders to get you the best personal loan anywhere between $1,000 and $100,0000. You’ll find rates as low as 4.99% APR and loan terms from 24-84 months depending on the lender.

Not only will they help with debt consolidation, but they can also help with any big moment in your life that you may need a personal loan for like Home Improvement, Wedding, Medical bills, and more.

15. Get Extra Cash Back on Grocery Pickup & Delivery Plus More

Who wouldn’t want cash back?

Use Ibotta, an app that pays you real money on your everyday purchases, from groceries (both online and in-store), essentials, personal care items, to meal delivery to online shopping.

It’s simple:

  1. Just check Ibotta first to find offers, and when you purchase your items, scan the receipt to get cash back. Popular stores and services include Target, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, Uber Eats, and more.
  2. NEW: Online grocery purchase for pickup & delivery – Just open Ibotta, and see a list of supported grocery retailers and delivery services including Walmart Grocery, Instacart, Shipt, and more. Link accounts & get cash back on eligible products within 24 hours after your order is picked up or delivered!
  3. Online shopping – purchase from 100+ online retailers that include Sephora, Under Armour, Gap, and more to get money back.

Ibotta has also teamed up with 50 leading brand partners like Flipz®, Macy’s, TOMS, Jell-O, and more to be committed to giving $10 million in extra cash back for the new school year. This means you get more cash back than normal!

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up so use it before buying anything!

16. Get Paid Up to $600+ Listening to Free Music

If you don’t go a day without listening to some music, then immediately download this app.

Current is a free app that literally pays you to listen to music. The more music played, the more you can earn points to redeem for cash, gift cards, and rewards. Choose from 100,000+ radio stations worldwide to discover new music or revisit your favorite artists.

Reward options include Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Google Play gift cards, PayPal Cash, and tech prizes like smartwatches, mini drones, bluetooth speakers, and more.

You can earn up to $600/year or more just listening to free music! The music plays from your lock screen and will periodically display muted video ads.

Other ways you can earn while listening to music (all optional):

  • Completely simple tasks/offers + surveys
  • Play games, the longer you play the more you earn
  • Watch simple 30-second video ads
  • Save money on your monthly bills
  • Refer friends to get up to $250 and 5% of their music earnings for life

Turn on the app whenever you want to listen to music and earn extra money while doing errands, jogging, working, or when you need a mood booster!

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

There are a lot of survey programs out there, but none as popular as Swagbucks, a free rewards program where you can earn cash for your time and opinion. Members can earn an average of $50 a month!

You 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. (Don’t skip out on those!)

Points can then be redeemed for free gift cards, cash, and sweepstakes entries. All just by completing fun activities and giving your 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!

18. Spin to Win - Earn Coins to Build Adventurous Villages (And Raid Others)

Note: You can’t make any money off this game but we’re adding it in just because it’s fun and a good way to distract yourself when you want to.

Coin Master is a free casual game that’s amassed over 81 million downloads and has earned the rep of being one of the most interactive games on the market.

Spin to earn coins, chances to raid other villages, and build up your own village to move to the next level. There are over 200 uniquely themed villages to build including Steampunk Land, LA Dreams, Magical Forest, Hell’s Village, and more. Pets can also be raised to help you get more coins.

When you need a little break from the real world, head into Coin Master to play for free!

19. Don’t Go Shopping Without This Free Money-Making App

Do you shop at brands like UberEats, Walmart Grocery, Old Navy, Groupon, Sephora, Lululemon, and Sam’s Club? You’re missing out on free gift cards for those purchases if you’re not using Drop as you shop online and in-stores at brands like these.

Drop, is a 100% free app that lets you earn reward points back on your normal shopping! All you have to remember is: Start with Drop before you shop. From there, it’s as simple as “Tap, Shop, Earn, Redeem.”

  1. Tap on the brand’s offer on Drop
  2. Shop through the brand’s app/website as you normally would. Drop will direct you there!
  3. Earn points back on your purchase.
  4. Redeem your points for a gift card of your choice – whenever and wherever you want!

Plus, when you link the debit/credit cards that you use most, you’ll get access to exclusive deals (like earning points back on every Postmates order) where purchases will automatically get tracked. You’ll even get personalized recommendations based on your shopping preferences.

And use Drop on top of your loyalty and credit card points to stack rewards!

The bottom line is: Not using this app would be like going to an all-inclusive resort, not knowing about all the free food/drinks/activities, and just staying in your room and eating crackers the whole time. No one wants that!

BONUS OFFER: Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 10,000 points ($10!!) automatically when you earn your first 1,000 points.

BONUS: Automate Your Current Savings and Save an Average $2,500 a Year

59% of Americans are constantly stressed about money.* And this was before the pandemic! That stress can cost you hours of sleep and take a toll on your health too.

A tool we really love is called Digit, a smart money app that can be your sidekick for keeping you financially healthy. Every day it’ll analyze your spending and income, then set aside the right amount of money into your custom savings goals.

Since Digit’s algorithm is constantly monitoring your money, each day will be a different amount as their technology will save based on what it knows you can afford, so it’s completely personalized to you! Not so big that you’d miss it, but enough to add up to a good chunk of change. Digit members save an average of $2,500 a year, and the savings are FDIC-insured and available to transfer at any time. Plus savers also get a 0.5% annual savings bonus, a.k.a. free money!

In addition to helping you save, you can use Digit to automate payments on your credit cards, student loan, or phone bills.

Digit will keep on saving for you while you sleep, while you work, basically anytime so you don’t have to think about it. Try it free for the first 30 days to see how you like it and after it’s just $5 a month.

BONUS 2: Stop Guessing Your Future. This Free Money Tool Tells You Exactly What You Need to Do

Americans suck at managing their money. 40% would struggle coming up with $400 to take care of an unexpected expense. So how is retirement going to look like?

Everyone needs a financial planner but obviously that is $$$$. But you don’t have to guess and fumble on your money’s future either. Get 100% free financial planning with Savology, where after answering some questions about your income, savings, assets, debt, etc. you’ll get a crystal clear picture of your financial strengths and weaknesses.

Takes about 5 minutes and you’ll get a free report card, financial plan, and most importantly, personalized action items on areas you can improve to get you closer to a comfortable retirement.

Jenny R. says “Love Savology. It’s the most efficient financial planning app I’ve ever used! Their recommendations are tailored specifically to the individual, which makes for unique financial planning according to one’s circumstances. Highly recommend it!”

So stop procrastinating on what to do with your money and start using Savology, a free tool that’s basically your personal financial advisor!


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