Earn Money

17 Easy Ways to Make Money Without Changing a Thing

I don’t think there’s a single person out there that doesn’t want to make more money. But let’s be real, the thought of slaving away several extra hours per week at a second job is less than appealing to most people. Wouldn’t it be great to earn more money by doing practically nothing? Surprisingly, it’s totally possible! Here are 17 ridiculously easy things you can do to make more money without barely lifting a finger.

  1. Ask For a Raise

When trying to make more money, the easiest place to start is at the job you already work at. So ask for a raise! If you’re as valuable to the company as you know you are, they should be happy to oblige. It costs employers a ridiculous amount of money to hire and train employees, so smart employers will do what they can to keep good employees.

2. Adjust Your Federal Tax Withholding

Most people look forward to a windfall every year courtesy of Uncle Sam himself. Unfortunately, this isn’t the government’s way of being generous and giving you a bonus. This is money that they took out of your paycheck all year to give themselves an interest-free loan. The fewer allowances you claim on your W-4, the more taxes will be withheld. If you claim a higher number on your W-4, you will have a smaller refund but will have more money on your paychecks each month — money that you can put away and earn interest on!

3. Online Surveys

By filling out short surveys online, you can earn gift cards or even cash. You definitely won’t get rich filling out online surveys, but if you’re consistent you can make a little extra spending money. My Survey, Swagbucks, and Global Test Market are my personal favorites.

4. Swagbucks

Swagbucks, as I mentioned in the previous section, is much more than just an online survey website. You can also surf the web, play games, and watch videos to earn money.

5. Install Data Collection Apps

There are companies out there that will pay you just to install an app on your phone. These apps analyze your phone habits: what apps you download, what websites you visit, how much time you spend on certain tasks on your phone. All you do is download the app, let it run in the background, then collect money or gift cards for letting it run. Nielsen Mobile Panel and Smart Panel are two that I have used with success.

6. Download Digit and Acorns

Digit and Acorns are apps that don’t actually make you more money, but they save money for you, making you feel like you’re making more. Digit analyzes your spending and earning habits and skims a little money here and there to deposit into a separate savings account. The idea is that by taking just a few dollars every few days, you never miss the money and you wind up saving money that you didn’t think you could save. Acorns is similar, but it rounds your transactions up to the nearest dollar then deposits the difference into an investment account for you.

7. Take Pictures

Are you always snapping cool pics on your phone? Sell them to stock photo websites!

8. Freelance Writing

Do you enjoy writing? Become a freelance writer and sell your writing!

9. Get Crafty

Remember those Pinterest DIY and craft projects you constantly pin but never get around to? Start getting crafty and sell them on Etsy!

10. Ebates

Ebates is an awesome website that I’ve been using for years. Every time I shop online, I pull up the Ebates website first. From there I find the website I planned on shopping at and click the link to that website. For example, I love online shopping at Nordstrom. Instead of typing in Nordstrom.com, I type in ebates.com, click on the link to Nordstrom, and it pulls up the Norstrom Website. I shop as normal, then Voila! Ebates sends me a check for a percentage of what I spent on my order.

11. Spring Cleaning

Start selling things around your house on Craigslist, Offer Up, or at a local consignment store. Hey, you’ll be doing your spring cleaning anyway. Why not get paid for it?

12. Lose Weight

I kid you not, there are companies that will pay you to lose weight! Now if that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is. I recently joined Weight Watchers while they were running a promotion offering to pay me $100 if I lost 10 pounds within 90 days. (I’m happy to announce that my $100 Visa gift card is en route as we speak). Healthy Wage is another company that pays users to lose weight.

13. Start a Housesitting or Dog-Walking Business

You need somewhere to sleep, so why not get paid to sleep over at someone’s house while they’re on vacation? Or if you were already planning on going for a walk or walking your own dog, get paid to take someone else’s dog along!

14. Rent Out Your Spare Room

If you have an extra room in your home, find a roommate and charge them rent each month. Or rent it out on AirBNB for a few days at a time.

15. Switch to a Credit Union or Online Bank

Credit Unions and Online Banks tend to have much higher interest rates on checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and CD’s than your typical big, for profit bank.

16. Claim Your Unclaimed Property

Ever wonder what happens when you move and someone sends a check to you? Check with your state’s unclaimed property department (every state has one) to see if they’re sitting on some of your old checks.

17. Sell or Trade Old Gift Cards

We all have old gift cards we’ve been sitting on but never plan on spending. Like the $25 Coldstone gift card I’ve had for the last 5 years, which I’ve apparently been holding onto in case I ever decide to say a big eff you to my lactose intolerant stomach. Using websites or in-store kiosks you can either sell your gift card for money or trade it for a gift card that you’re much more likely to use.

Managing Money

4 Common Money Mistakes Made By Women

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. Overly plucked eyebrows. Cringe-worthy haircuts from years past. Blurry, tequila-fueled hook ups with men that haven’t quite figured out they’re gay yet. There’s always something we, as women, can look back on with regret. Thankfully, the pain of these awkward memories usually fade, just as sperm-shaped eyebrows always grow back. But sometimes women make terrible mistakes that stick around for decades (just like that shamrock-shaped tattoo you got in a tent outside of a bar on St. Patrick’s Day — yes, that really did happen). Money mistakes can take many shapes (fortunately, most aren’t in the shape of a lucky plant). Here are 4 of the most common mistakes I see women make with their money.

Trying to keep up with Ms. Jones

Your favorite celeb posts an Instagram picture wearing her new waist trainer, so now you have to have one too. You can’t make your car payment this month, but you definitely can’t miss your bestie’s bachelorette weekend in Vegas either. You can’t be caught dead in a car that doesn’t have heated seats and built-in GPS. Whether or not we like to admit it, women care about how other people perceive them. We want to be the prettiest, the smartest, the most talented, or the wealthiest, just so we can impress other people that probably don’t even care about those things to begin with. Unfortunately, this usually comes with a price tag (both literally and figuratively). We buy things to make us appear more like the person we want to be. It’s fine to buy things that make us feel good about ourselves, take ourselves on a relaxing vacation, or even reward ourselves for a job well done. It’s not OK, though, to buy ridiculously expensive designer sunglasses then not have enough left over to pay the rent or buy your baby’s formula. It’s all about balance. Make sure you pay for the essentials first (including putting something into savings), then by all means spring for those hot new shoes if you have extra cash leftover.

Assuming he’ll take care of you forever

“My husband has a retirement account, plus a pension from the military, so I don’t need to save for retirement.” But what happens if you get divorced? “That will NEVER happen.” What if he dies young? “He’s perfectly healthy.”

This was a conversation that I had several times with a friend, and it absolutely kills me to think about all of the what ifs. No one ever plans to get divorced or expects their seemingly healthy husband to pass before you’re both old and gray, but guess what? It happens! It happens ALL THE FREAKING TIME! My dad was 71 when he passed away, which is still relatively young. My 63 year old mom suddenly found herself solely responsible for the mortgage and day-to-day expenses, despite my dad’s pension and social security income being slashed in half upon his death. Thankfully, my parents were always very smart with their money. Plus they had ample time to get the finances in order prior to his death. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many widows lose their homes, have to live with their children, or just simply not even know how much money they have or where to access it.

Long story short, never rely solely on your significant other to manage your finances and your financial future.

Rushing into things

Along those same lines, I’ve seen women totally screwed when they moved too fast in a relationship. One friend purchased a home with her fiancé, only to divorce him less than a year after marrying him. She kicked him out, he didn’t have a job, so he quit paying his portion of the mortgage. I don’t know the specifics on how much of a struggle it was for her, but I know she moved in a few roommates and a new boyfriend soon after, which I assume helped her make the payments.

Similarly, I have a cousin that signed an apartment lease with a guy she’d only been dating a few weeks. Sure enough, her crazy started showing through and he bailed. She tried to sue him for his portion of the rent that he’d promised to pay when they signed the lease. That failed miserably when she saw him across the courtroom and fell for him all over again. Oddly enough, he bailed once again, just as soon as she dropped the lawsuit. Go figure.

Not asking for more money

It’s no secret that men make more money than women. Just last week people were posting all over Instagram in support of Equal Pay Day, which highlights the wage gap between men and women in the United States. Part of this is a broken system. But part of it is that most women are afraid to negotiate their pay. I have hired a few employees in my day, all of them women, and not a single one has ever tried negotiating with me for higher pay. I’ve also spoken to several friends who tell me they’ve never tried negotiating their pay either upon hire or after a performance review, out of fear of rejection or fear of coming across as greedy. I don’t know how greedy I’ve come across, but in all of my negotiations, I’ve never had anyone flat out refuse. Maybe they didn’t give me as much as I’ve asked for, but they’ve always increased the offered amount. In my opinion, it’s better to ask and be turned down than to risk not asking and losing out. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.