Help for Tight Budgets!

I know a lot of us want to make some extra cash to supplement our household income.  Reasons vary from just needing to make ends meet, trying to eliminate debt, wanting to be able to give more to others, afford more healthy food, travel more, or just buy some “me” items that aren’t in the budget.

If you’re in this boat with me, read on to see if any of these suggestions might help you!

My current winners:

  1. Swagbucks – This is my favorite cash back earning site.  You can earn by taking surveys,  eating at local restaurants with a linked credit card, watching videos, free trials of things like meal delivery services, Hulu, and personal care products.  The easiest of all their ways to earn (in my opinion): online shopping.  You just start the shopping from their site to credit you the cash back from your order (anywhere from 3-10% cash back on each purchase). I earn about $10 a week with light use and probably could be about $5 a day if I interacted with it more.  It’s set up with many of the same websites as Ebates and MyPoints.
    1. Ebates – I like it, but don’t like that they only send you cash back checks once a quarter.  If I’ve earned it, I want to redeem it on my timetable, not theirs.
    2. MyPoints is also useful and they give you points just for clicking on their daily emails.  It’s very similar to Swagbucks, but doesn’t hurt to do both.
  2. Quickthoughts – I haven’t been using this app too long, but I can usually earn a $10 Amazon gift card per week if I remember to take the surveys.  They’re between 5-20 minute surveys on a variety of topics.   I’m not aware of rewards other than Amazon, but it’s been quite handy for some extra money to spend online.
  3. Walgreens Balance Rewards – This is one of my favorite “set it and forget it” type rewards programs.  If you have a fitness tracker or fitness app, you can link to this program and it will automatically credit you $$ to spend at Walgreens.  The redemption limit used to be $5 or 5000 points, but they recently lowered to being able to redeem at 2000 points ($2) which is cool.  I don’t shop at Walgreens all that often, but you can bet when I do, I use my points to get free things!  It motivates me to exercise more, and also gives me points for each time I weigh in and meet my health goals.  Really hope this one stays around for a long time.
  4. Achievemint – This is another fitness based app that has been good to me.  It rewards you for sleeping (if you use a fitness tracker), checking in to healthy locations, walking/running, reading articles about health (that’s pretty neat!), logging your food (MyFitnessPal lovers), and tracking heart rate, among other things.  It takes a while to earn your 10,000 points ($10 gift card), but since it’s another “set it and forget it” that auto credits with linked trackers/apps, I’m all for it!
  5. Grocery Store Apps – The 3 I use most are Checkpoints (scanning bar codes while you shop – max 5-10 per trip), Ibotta (scanning receipts to get cash back) and Makeena (same as Ibotta, but for organic food!).
    1. The downside of Ibotta/Makeena – you have to earn $20 cash back to cash out your reward and Ibotta seems to steer you toward more expensive products, but if you’re going to buy it anyway, might as well get cash back.
    2. I love that Makeena is NOT brand dependent – you can get cash back for ANY brand of organic fruit/vegetable that is on their list that week, so I plan to use that one a lot in the future.
    3. Checkpoints is just fun for me – my husband  knows I’ll always run around Walmart to do my “scans” before we leave, and I usually can earn about $1 Amazon credit per week or you can save up for their bigger rewards like airline miles.  Pretty cool stuff!
  6. Google Opinion Rewards – if you don’t mind Google tracking your location (let’s be real, they already do anyway unless you’re savvy enough to block that feature).   This sends you VERY short surveys (1-2 questions) on places you’ve visited recently.   Usually things like, “did you make a purchase in this store?”   It’s quick and easy – if you don’t mind the lack of privacy.  I’ve been using since 2015 and have earned $122.  Won’t make you rich, but it will let you have enough Google Play credit that you shouldn’t ever have to pay to stream any movies (you can get free books and games too) 🙂

These have potential, but like this cow, I’m on the fence:


  • Slidejoy – This is one where you earn rewards for sliding the lock screen on your phone – you either swipe right or left depending on if you’re interested in the ad, but earn either way.  I’m not sold on it because they hold your credits that you’ve earned until the next month and you have to earn quite a few “carats” to get any legitimate rewards.   It’s a little annoying to swipe a lock screen if your phone has a 2nd lock screen behind it. We’ll see how this one pans out.
  • Sweatcoin – In theory I like this idea – digital currency rewards for working out.  The downside for me: it only rewards you for steps taken OUTSIDE.  No credit for the gym or anywhere inside, which makes winter earning a little hard.  I think runners or any outdoor athletes could seriously make bank with this.  Most of their rewards right now seem to be $5 off or a percentage off of particular services.  They do have some gift card rewards – for example, a $50 Paypal gift card for 3650 Sweatcoins, but I feel like it will take forever for me to earn that, since I typically earn about 2-3 Sweatcoins per day.  If you’re into delayed gratification, this could be right for you.
  • Job Spotter – I have this installed but haven’t used it quite yet.  They pay you in Amazon credit for submitting pictures of Help Wanted signs along with a picture of the business storefront.  I’ll keep you posted on if this one is worthwhile.  Seems easy enough.

What programs and apps have you used to make extra income (Direct Sales not included, please!!)  Would love to hear your experiences and recommendations!

2 thoughts on “Help for Tight Budgets!

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