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21 Smart Ways to Make Money Online (without paying anything)

Looking for ways to make extra money at home? This list of simple ideas for working at home (without investing money) has the potential of earning $1000 or more per month! Get started with these easy side hustles and start making money today!

How to Make Money Online without Paying Anything

Have you ever wondered, “how to make money online for free?”

When I’m scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, sometimes I’m bombarded with posts from friends inviting me to join their new business opportunity. That’s when I start wondering if there’s any chance I can find stay at home mom jobs to make money without paying to get started.

I see my friends’ posts and really it looks fun…hanging out with friends, selling products over social media, and going to company retreats. But the reality is I need a job because I don’t have money!

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably struggled with figuring out ways to make money online without paying anything to get started.

You need extra money fast, which means you don’t have the money to invest in a side job. That’s why I’ve spent hours searching for the best ways to make money on the side that don’t cost anything to get started. All you need is a computer and internet connection to find real ways to make money on the side.

Whether you are looking for a stay at home mom job to fit your schedule, a college student, or working at a part time job, there is a job for anyone who wants to take advantage of even the smallest opportunity to earn money online.

Check out this list for how to make money online without paying anything!

What is your side hustle?

~ This article may contain affiliate links. I only suggest product or services I believe will benefit my readers. All opinions are 100% mine! ~

First let’s talk about side hustles…it’s basically side jobs for extra money. Learn how to make 1000 dollars a month or more with these different ways to make extra money: everything from pet sitting to answering surveys online to starting an online business. The possibilities are endless!

I started my work from home career with 4 real ways of working from home online without investing money. I was able to save money from those jobs to start my blog (which earns me way more money now). While I didn’t have to invest money, I definitely invested my time and energy into learning new skills! 

This list of jobs covers smart ways to make money online without

1 – Make Money with Online Survey Junkie

Paid online surveys and focus groups are one of the easiest ways to make money without paying anything to get started! All you have to do is sign up with survey companies and get paid for sharing your opinion. It does take time to qualify for surveys, which is based on the demographic a customer is needing for the survey. The key to get paid to do surveys through PayPal is to consistently take surveys each day.

Survey Junkie is a legit online survey company. I love that Survey Junkie doesn’t waste my time. I can earn points even if I don’t qualify for a survey. Survey Junkie allows you to redeem your points for Paypal cash, and it’s easy to cash out! Read more about my experience in this Survey Junkie Review.

Sign up with Survey Junkie today!

2 – Make money fast with QuickThoughts

QuickThoughts is an app that has been around since 2013 offering paid surveys. QuickThoughts is the easiest way to make money from your phone. You can literally do surveys where ever you are and earn between $0.50 – $3.00 for a survey. Imagine all the time you spend waiting in a week…turn that time into extra cash!

Sign up with QuickThoughts today!

3 – Get Paid to Watch Videos with Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the easiest ways to make money with your phone! Download the Swagbucks TV app and start watching videos. You can earn points for the videos that you watch.

Turn those points into money deposited into your Paypal account.

My favorite way to multi-task is to turn on Swagbucks videos while I’m doing something boring like folding clothes or washing dishes.

Sign up with Swagbucks and get a $10 Bonus!

4- Easy Money Online: Download the Nielsen App for $50 per Year

Have you heard of the Nielsen rating company? You probably know them for rating TV shows, but they also are interested in learning about your browsing behaviors.

They will pay you $50 for the first year for downloading their app and keeping it on your favorite  phone. 

It’s the easiest money you can earn just for doing what you normally do.

Here’s how the Nielsen App works…

5 – Earn Gift Cards while You Shop with Shopkick

Shopkick is an app that let’s you earn points by walking into a store, scanning products, and purchasing through their app. The “kicks” or points that you earn by completing the activities can be exchanged for gift cards to favorite stores like Target and Amazon or you can get Paypal cash.

When my kids were 4 and 2, I needed a way to get us out of the house during the winter months. We live close to an indoor mall with a small playground. A few times a week I would take the kids to walk the mall and earn our “kicks” with the Shopkick app. I used the “kicks” to earn gift cards and Paypal cash that we used for the next Christmas!

Start getting your kicks today with Shopkick! 

6 – Sell Gift Cards Online

Did you know that you can sell your gift cards online? If you have left over gift cards or new gift cards to places that you never go, then you can earn some extra cash selling your gift cards online. is a gift card selling platform that let’s you sell full or partially used gift cards. You get to set the price and list the card for free. When you sell the gift cards you will receive payment through Direct Deposit, Paypal, or check.

For more details check out

7 – Create & Sell Digital Products Online

Digital products are one of the cheapest ways to go into business for yourself. You can start a digital design company with no investment up front other than your computer and internet.

Use the free version of Canva to design your digital products. Then put them up on Etsy to reach a broader audience of potential buyers.

Popular digital products include invitations, party decor, wall art, planners, and organizational printables.

8 – Use Your Expertise to Develop & Sale Online Courses

Use your experience and knowledge to develop an online course. The key is to provide valuable information that teaches people how to do something.

You can create a course and host it on a site like Teachable, or you can post your course to places like Skillshare and Udemy.

9 – Write an eBook and Sell on Amazon

Is there a story you need to tell? Do you have a message to help people take back their lives? Writing an ebook and selling it on Amazon is much easier than you think.

Steps to Write an eBook…

  • Write the book on Google Docs or Word
  • Convert the book to an ePub file
  • Set up your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  • Upload the file
  • Price your book
  • Go live on Amazon

For more details about how to complete each step check out this Easy Guide to Write & Sell an Ebook on Amazon.

10 – Use Your Social Media Skills to Manage Accounts for Businesses

Businesses are increasingly using social media to build their brand and sell their products. It makes sense! How many times do you have your phone in hand browsing Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest?

The problem is…just because a business owner has a social media account doesn’t mean that they are leveraging the platform to grow their following.

You can help businesses establish their brand on social media by creating a strategy that will help the business to grow.

11 – Make Money Shopping with Instacart

Instacart is a fun way to make extra money if you like to shop!

Here’s how it works…

  • Download the Instacart App
  • Sign in to work
  • Accept a job
  • Go into the store and purchase the items
  • Deliver the order

You get paid based off of the size of the order, driving distance, and tip.

12 – Get Paid for Freelance Writing

There are several ways to get paid as a freelance writer. You can write blog articles, online magazines, ghost writing novels, social media posts, email marketing newsletters, and more.

Freelance writing is a growing field with projected growth from 2010 to 2020 to be 6% according to the US Department of Labor. Most freelance writers earn an average of $97,000 per year working from home!

We know it’s possible to make money at home with those kinds of statistics, but you need to know how to get the jobs that pay well. My friend Gina Horkey turned her freelance writing gig into a full time business earning 6 figures in just a couple of years.

She is teaching others the exact steps to becoming a successful freelance writer.

Check out this list of over 200+ Freelance writing niches! 

13 – Make Extra Cash as a Virtual Assistant

Work as a virtual assistant for businesses and online entrepreneurs.

Small businesses today have so much to do to keep the business running smoothly. You’ll often hear business owners talk about not having time to work on their business because they are always working in their business sending countless emails, marketing, posting on social media, just to name a few. Over the last 3 years, there has been a 95% increase in demand for VAs.

The role of a VA is to provide administrative support, so business owners can focus on the things that make their business grow.

As a VA you can choose the services you want to offer, and become an expert which will allow you to set higher prices for your services. Currently, US virtual assistants earn between $25 – $50 per hour.  

Not sure what services to offer? Check out this list of 150+ Virtual Assistant Services to Offer.

14 – Make Extra Money Driving for DoorDash

You can make money without paying anything (as long as you have a car and driver’s license) delivering food with DoorDash. You basically are paid to pick up food orders from restaurants that have partnered with DoorDash and deliver the food. This is a really flexible job that you can get started making money fast!

Start delivering with DoorDash today!

15 – Make Money RideSharing with Lyft

If you have a car and a smartphone (iPhone or Android), then ride sharing is a great way to earn extra cash as a side hustle. The hours are flexible and allow you to work when it is convenient for you. There are some car requirements that must be met, but this is based on individual states. So make sure you check out the requirements here before applying.

Lyft drivers average about $17 per hour and they provide a signing bonus!

Join Lyft right now, you can earn a $300 signing bonus!

16 – Sell Your Stuff with Decluttr

Clean out your closets and make some extra cash with the Decluttr app. Not sure what to sell? Decluttr makes it easy. Scan barcodes on items around your house like CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Games, and more. Decluttr will make you an offer on the spot!

Check out the Decluttr app now and make cash fast!

Want to know the best things to sell for extra money? Check out the list here!

17 – Make Easy Extra Money Teaching ESL to Chinese Students

Teaching ESL online to students half way around the world is becoming more and more popular! You can sign up to teach English to Chinese students with pre-planned lessons provided for you. You may need a few props for each lesson, but it’s usually things that you have around your house (shoe, stuffed animals, fruit, etc.).

EF Education First is a new company similar to VIPKid! They offer amazing training and the pay is comparable to other online teaching companies

Apply for a job with EF Education First today!

18 – Make money fast with User Testing – Earn $3 – $10 per test

User Testing pays you to review specific websites or apps from a computer, phone, or tablet. You have to record your screen and voice during the test while you offer feedback to questions from the company. User Testing pays 7 days (to the minute!) after you finish the test.

19 – Make money online selling t-shirts to Print on Demand (POD) sites

You can design your own t-shirts online for free, and then upload and sell them through different Print on Demand websites. They beauty of selling t-shirts this way is that the t-shirts aren’t ordered and created until a customer orders.

Did you know you can sell POD t-shirts on Etsy and Amazon?!

Even if you are a beginner and have never designed a shirt before in your life, you can learn everything you need to know watching YouTube videos and following Facebook Groups. This work from home job may take a little more time to start earning money, but once you learn the ropes the payout will be much bigger!

Check out one of my designs that I have up for sell on Amazon!

20 – Make extra cash working from home with Rev Transcription

Rev is a transcription company that hires transcriptionist with no experience. If you have a strong typing speed then this could be a great fit for you. As a transcriptionist with Rev you will need a headset, computer, and internet access. You will listen to audio recordings and type out the contents into a word document.

21 – Earn Extra Cash with Appen

Appen is my favorite place to help people get started working from home. They hire people to evaluate search engines online and on social media. The test can be very tough to pass, but it’s totally worth the effort to land a job with Appen.

I love the flexibility that Appen offers. You basically log-in and work when it is convenient for you to work. This makes it really easy to work around nap times, school pick-up, and toddler meltdowns (if you know what I mean!).

What are your favorite ways to make money online without paying anything?

  • Use your hobbies to make money by selling products, courses, or materials online.
  • Clean out your closets to find !



SmartCents Mom

1 comment

  • Thanks for sharing such a huge list of ideas to make money online. I hope this idea will work great to make money. Thanks once again for sharing this post with us. Keep sharing. Looking for the more valuable post like this from you.