5 Tips for Making Money on Your Phone

5 Tips for Making Money on Your Phone

You’re looking for a way to earn extra cash, and you want to do it without a lot of effort because you work plenty hard already. In other words, you should think about trying to make money on your phone.

If that’s a goal, you should be able to score. There are a slew of phone apps and websites that can help people earn extra money. Still, if you're exclusively looking for strategies to earn money on your phone, preferably without leaving the comfort of your couch, you can do that. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.

1. Earn cash back when you shop

This is one of the more obvious and easiest ways to earn money on your phone. There are numerous websites that offer ways to earn cash back when you’re shopping. A few include:

  • Rakuten
  • RetailMeNot
  • Ibotta
  • Capital One Shopping
  • Fetch Rewards
  • TopCashBack

All of these cash back sites work differently, and alas, you can’t always use more than one at a time. But the bottom-line with cash back sites is that they can be worth using. Cash back websites generally will provide a slight discount, often shaving off 3% to 5% from the retail price of whatever you are buying. If you use cash back sites and make the purchase with a credit card that offers cash back, you can make out even better.

2. Take a survey and get paid for it

This is another popular way to make money through your phone. There are numerous apps that offer opportunities to take paid surveys. Of course, using the word “opportunity” might be a little generous since the pay is often pretty low. You’ll want to keep your expectations in check and not plan to earn a fortune doing this.

Kathy Kristof is the founder of SideHusl.com, a website that reviews other websites that allow people to make money on the side. She says that many of the survey and cash back apps and websites that let you earn money on your phone can be done while you’re stretched out on the sofa watching a football game on your phone – but generally, this isn’t the type of money that pays for a vacation.

“We estimate that if you’re lucky and efficient you’ll make about $2 to $3 an hour,” she says. That’s not a lot. “But it’s more than you’d normally earn while watching a football game,” Kristof says.

Some of the paid survey apps you may want to check out include:

Branded Surveys
Google Opinion Rewards

There are plenty of others. As with the cash back sites, these paid survey apps all work differently, and you may not enjoy working with all of them equally. Actually, you may not enjoy working with any of them, which brings us to our next bit of advice.

3. Find websites or activities that you’re going to enjoy

Because you aren’t likely to earn a fortune off  of your phone, it makes sense to spend time trying to earn money in your spare time by doing something that you enjoy. If you like offering your opinions on surveys, then earning a few bucks an hour might be totally worth it. If you find it a chore, surely there are better ways to spend your time.

For instance, Earth.fm is a website run by a nonprofit that allows you to earn money by recording nature sounds. It’s a streaming website, accessible by phone or any device, that looks for unique sounds from around the world, like the sound of frogs croaking in a bog or of a thunderstorm rolling in. Its founder, Catalin Zorzini, based in France, says that compensation is “typically between $100 and $300 per hour of usable sound.”

That’s a seriously nice amount of cash to earn on your phone - far more than $2 or $3 an hour - for pressing the record button. Still, you could record hours and hours of compelling sounds and, for whatever reason, not have them be accepted by the website. But if you relish being out in nature and traipsing out in the wilderness to listen for interesting and relaxing sounds, you may not care whether you make money from it.

4. Sell stuff

If you would like to avoid hoarding things that you no longer use and you aren’t in the mood to donate your stuff, you might consider trying to sell some of your belongings by using your phone.

Nicole Booz, founder and editor-in-chief of GenTwenty.com and GenThirty.com, says that she has earned quite a bit of money selling items out of her house with her phone.

“Instead of donating items I already own, I sell them. No flipping involved,” Booz says.

She admits she has to get off her sofa and do a little bit of work, but Booz says that she has earned $6,000 selling items on the app Mercari.com over the past two years.

“It’s still fairly simple,” she says. “I keep items in a pile and then take pictures of them in a nicely lit spot and then list them while I watch TV. I print the labels directly from my phone, pop the item in a shipping box and schedule a USPS pickup.”

She adds: “I consider this a spare time hobby for extra spending money and wouldn't even call it a side hustle.”
Of course, there are a lot of apps you could download on your phone and then make money from. Several of them include:

Facebook Marketplace

These sites all have their quirks and pros and cons. For instance, eBay is great for selling items to the world; other websites, like Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor or 5Miles, may be better bets if you’re looking to sell locally. Decluttr specializes in selling tech, so if you have an aging iPad to sell, this may be the place to go.

5. Always have a plan

Brainstorming is very sofa-friendly. You don't need to devise a 40-point business plan, but on the other hand, that wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you really want to make money off your phone, it is going to require some time and diligence. If you’re going to make a living, for instance, by making videos on YouTube, aside from requiring some talent and getting people to watch you, you’ll likely need something to say or skills to showcase or information to impart.

In other words, if you’re going to make serious money on your phone, whether through paid surveys or selling your belongings or however you plan to do it, you’ll have to spend some time and energy doing it. It may look easy to make money on your phone, but unfortunately, you really can’t phone it in.