Money Making Ideas for the New Year

Money Making Ideas for the New Year

Is making more money a New Year’s resolution? You’ve come to the right place! January 2020 marks the beginning of a new month, year and decade and what better way to enter this transformative period by setting up additional income streams? Whether you need extra cash to aggressively pay off bills, augment your paycheck, save for a vacation or start striking out on your own, making money yourself is incredibly liberating.

Making Money in the New Year

No matter what your personal strong suit, there’s a way to make money doing it. Stretch your fingers, bust out the crafting kit and grab that laptop stylus because we’ve put together some of the best ways to make side cash in 2020.

making money new year

Making money blogging

Blogging isn’t the easiest way to make money – you need to be at least moderately talented at writing or some other creative endeavor. You also need to pick a niche that is interesting and can draw in viewers; you might have a passion for snow crabs, but if nobody else cares, then your blog won’t get traffic.

To generate money using a blog, you need to:

  • Create a blog on or some other intuitive platform that allows you to monetize your posts.
  • Pick a niche that makes money. Topics that are good for this are health, weight loss, IT, web design, financial planning and parenting but there are tons out there. Use Google analytics to find a frequently searched topic you know about and start there.
  • Post. This is the most important part. You need engaging content and it needs to be regularly posted.
  • Once you have a niche, a blog and regular posts that are drawing in views, you can then find a way to monetize your viewership. Ways to do this include:
  • Displaying ads with Google Adsense
  • Doing sponsored posts for businesses in your niche; Intellifluence is a good way to do this.
  • Sell a product you personally create or a service you provide
  • Affiliate marketing by linking to another person’s product or service and getting a percentage of the sale

Simple but not easy

Blogging requires skill and discipline, but if you are able to parlay your interest in a valuable topic into a hobby that pays you money, you’re only one step away from turning it into a full-time business. And of course should you need a blogging mentor, you’re only one step away from connecting (*psst* it’s me – I’m a mentor ;-))

Finally, if you are able to market yourself, you can make good money ghostwriting for other people’s blogs and letting them take the credit. Update your LinkedIn profile to add “freelance blogger” and add some examples of your work. There are dozens of new jobs posted daily in this field on LinkedIn looking for writers to create content for already existing blogs. This is a good way to find work to supplement your own blog’s income.

Freelance writing

If blogging isn’t your thing but you’re still a compelling writer, you can go the freelance route. There are plenty of websites out there that broker fees to find writers for all sorts of jobs. Some pay very little but offer constant work, and some pay more based on your own ability to write, but if you have the talent and time, you can absolutely make money with freelancing.


We’ve written about Textbroker in the past, but it’s still a great site to find work in a variety of topics. Simply apply and test, and you’ll be given at star-level that corresponds to your ability and pay rate. If you get good at turning out orders, there’s a feature where clients can direct order from you and you set the price.

With consistency, Textbroker is a great place to make some extra cash for writing.


Upwork as a site offers jobs for more than just freelancing, but it does have plenty of writing jobs available. The pay tiers are less well-defined than Textbroker – you bid on jobs along with anyone else who is interested, and you offer a price along with a sample of your work. The job owner picks the writer they want.

This means you can find some jobs that pay really well and turn into long-term gigs, but it also means there are some on there that want to pay you $5 for 1000 words, which is an insanely small amount of money.

One tip I will give you in particular is never accept less than a penny per word. That’s a very low amount of money as it is but you can at least turn that into cash. Less than that is effectively working for free – and working hard – and it’s insulting. You can find better than 1c per word on almost any broker site, so never accept less.


Verblio is a little more involved to sign up for than Upwork or Textbroker, as they need writing samples and a resume. That means, however, that their pay rates and job opportunities are usually better. On Verblio, you apply for casting calls and if the job owner likes your pitch and resume, they hire you directly. There is also a pool of work that anyone can pick up if they meet the criteria, but the real benefit of Verblio is the direct-author jobs as these can turn into ongoing gigs.

Digital media jobs

There are more spaces opening up for digital media experts than in years past. As more businesses are commanding an online presence, they need graphics and charts to visually relay their messages and brand. This is great news for someone with digital media experience.


There are probably as many media jobs on Upwork as there are writing jobs, if not more. It’s become a great place to pick up work and the pay is often more competitive than with writing jobs. They’re still not going to pay you what your time and effort are worth as an experienced artist, but it’s a good way to buoy your resume and make some money while you look for better jobs.


Fiverr is a site where people post jobs for anything under the sun and pay you $5 flat for it. While this doesn’t sound awesome, you can get paid $5 for 10 minutes of work designing a basic logo, which is pretty cool.
Obviously it’s on you to decide if what the client is asking for is worth $5, but if it is, then it’s a quick, easy way to make the money to pay for lunch.


Normally known for full time job placement, Indeed has started branching out to allow for short term, remote and freelancer jobs to be posted on their site. The best part of these jobs is that Indeed isn’t cheap to use as an employer, which means you shouldn’t be bombarded with “design the layout to my entire book for $7” offers. These are real offers from real companies, and should lead to more in the future.

Creative Circle

A much more sophisticated job site for artists in every niche, Creative Circle has professional-level jobs for digital media, marketing, writing and advertising, among a slew of others. These are real jobs that require you to make a profile and post a resume, and as such, pay very competitively.

The only downside here is that you won’t get very far if you don’t have a decent resume with some work history, so find work you can be attributed to and build your CV to improve your job chances.


Stock photographs are one of the biggest searches on Google, for everything from digital marketing firms to farms. People want high-quality photos for their sites, books and emails, and often don’t have the talent or time to do it themselves.

This is where you come in and partner with these sites below to get your name out there as a photographer and make some cash in the process.


Alamy is the largest source of digital photographs online, and as such, they are INCREDIBLY picky when it comes to whose photographs get sold on their site. You’ll need a DSLR, 6-megapixel camera at least, and then they still might not accept your photos if they’re not perfectly clear and free from glare and other undesirable bits.

With this said, they are the go-to for people who need digital photographs and they pay well, so if you’re talented with good equipment, it’s a great place to start.

Adobe Stock

People using Photoshop or Illustrator who want professional photographs have the option of buying the rights directly from Adobe, which can be faster and easier than searching online and paying a separate service. Adobe pays 33% of the sales price to the photographer, which is a very competitive rate, and if you’re good, this can be a fantastic way to earn extra money as a photographer


Perhaps one of the most well-known online photograph purveyors, Shutterstock is a great way to sell your images. Because of its brand reach, it’s often the first site that people search for when they need a specific photograph, and their quality control ensures that their stock is high-quality.

Shutterstock also pays around 33% of the sale to the photographer and they have a referral program that pays .04c per sale your referral makes. While that might not sound great, if they’re a prolific photographer, that adds up quickly, especially when you refer many talented friends.

Take photos of local events and sell them on Pixieset

For this you’ll need a personal website to show off your photography and a Pixieset account, but both are incredibly easy to get. Cover your local sports teams, parades and other events, take great photos and upload them to your site, with corresponding Pixieset links. Pixieset will print and ship the photos when someone buys them and they’ll pay you a commission.

Making money in other ways

Creativity expands into a million different categories – baking, sewing and painting are all ways that you might be creative in your personal life that you can potentially still monetize online.

Open an Etsy store

There are Etsy stores for everything – digital photography, clay work, woodworking, and sewing are some of the most popular. In fact, if you’ve ever cosplayed, you’ve probably bought something from an Etsy seller; it’s just that popular.

Along those lines, if you’re considering breaking into the Etsy sewing game, you’ll find there’s plenty of areas to focus your talent and make money. As long as you have the talent, a great sewing machine, and you pick a good niche, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up with demand for your stock.

Gig apps

Apps that pay you to complete a simple task are becoming increasingly more common. Two of the most popular are TaskRabbit and ThumbTack.

TaskRabbit was bought by Ikea as one of the most common tasks requested through TaskRabbit was to build Ikea furniture. This should give you an idea of the types and ranges of jobs offered through the platform.

ThumbTack requires you to pay to bid on jobs and you pay whether you get them or not, but the jobs pay well. Unlike Upwork which also requires you to pay in credits to bid, there aren’t any extremely low-paying gigs on ThumbTack but the market is competitive.


If you have reliable transportation, Postmates will pay you to deliver everything from lunch or booze to important legal documents. Originally designed as a courier service between companies in large cities, Postmates has expanded into almost every marketplace, ensuring quick delivery of whatever you need right now.

No matter your talents, you can make money online in the new year

There are plenty of opportunities out there for someone who wants to make money online. If you’re particularly good at what you do, it’s possible to make a career out of online work, at distance and on your own schedule.

It requires hard work – probably harder work than simply going to a 9-5 – but the feeling of being your own boss and getting paid for your talents is incredible and will fuel your desire to do it more and more. Let 2020 be your year to break free from the daily grind.

Get Started with Mystery Shopping

Get Started with Mystery Shopping

If you’ve ever considered mystery shopping, you know it can be kind of…confusing. There are companies that claim to be mystery shopping firms but are really scams. Then there are mystery shop companies that never have any offers and just wastes your time. The fact is that if you’re doing it right, mystery shopping can be fun and earn you some free meals, items and actual cash. The trick is getting into it the right way.

Using this tutorial, you should be able to get started with mystery shopping, avoid predatory companies and start enjoying all the cool perks of the gig.

Earn Freebies and Cash By Mystery Shopping

get started mystery shopping

How to start with mystery shopping

The first thing you want to do is ensure that you know what mystery shopping entails. Most shops will require you to purchase goods or services for which you will be reimbursed down the line, and usually compensated on top of that. With that said, it can be a month sometimes before you’re paid out, so setting aside some funds for the sole purpose of this gig is a great idea.

Open a separate bank account or simply keep a ledger of mystery shopping expenses. This way you can see what you’re spending on shops and set aside some of your earnings to pay for future shops. For instance, we went to a local restaurant a few weeks ago, a shop that reimbursed us for the dining experience and paid us, but we won’t get paid for that until the end of the month. Dining out can be expensive with kids, so reinvesting into your side gig can keep costs from spilling over into your normal budget.

Check out the MSPA Americas’ website. Basically the who’s-who of mystery shopping partners and programs, the MSPA will get you started with companies and opportunities in your area, and help you avoid scammers.

Avoid Mystery Shop Scams

Once you know how to avoid scams, start finding opportunities. We were only signed up with Bestmark for a long time, and it allowed us a handful of jobs a month, usually restaurant visits, but hardly enough to really make money. Once we started to really look for local gigs, we found that we could actually earn additional, relevant income from mystery shopping. A few places to look are:

  • The best is always going to be Google. Search for your area and find quality companies with shops in your area.
  • Craigslist is another place where you might find companies scouting your area for shoppers, but be especially wary and only go with these opportunities if you can verify it’s from a reputable company.
  • Bestmark is a A+ Better Business Bureau company and is the largest, most reputable mystery shopping business there is. We’ve had dining, electronics shopping, cellphone shopping, and service opportunities through them and they always pay.
  • Market Force is another tried and tested name in mystery shopping. You can sign up and like the others, you’ll get paid out monthly for your efforts. Typically these are more retail shops than dining or services, but not strictly.
  • A Closer Look is another company that hosts mystery shops. They’re open to shops in both the US and Canada currently, but they are more selective on their shops. This means less opportunities overall but better incentives when you do get one.
  • Secret Shopper is last but not least in our list of reputable, online mystery shopping groups. They also have global opportunities if you’re not in North America.

Take Notes as a Shopper

Keep track of your shops, the companies you worked for and dates you went. This provides you a sort of resume from which you can solicit your own shops. If you know a company in your area is more selective about which shoppers they hire, this can give you an edge.

Be persistent. The best gigs and most opportunities go to the shoppers who are on-the-ball, respond quickly and complete shops regularly. Apply for as much as you can reasonably do, but don’t apply for things you will likely flake on, as that will impact your ability to get future jobs. Finally, complete the exit surveys and questionnaires as thoroughly as possible. Use good grammar, write in-depth, and do a fantastic job and you’ll be much more likely to get more work.

Other things to consider when getting started with mystery shopping

If you’re diligent, you’ll make extra money fast with mystery shopping. That said, be aware of a few things:

  • You will need to apply to forums, look for jobs regularly, and complete tasks to the best of your ability to make good income this way; no being lazy!
  • There will be some weeks where there doesn’t seem to be anything going on and you might get discouraged, but the best season for mystery shopping is around the holidays. This is where your diligence pays off, because by slogging through the summer, you’ll be one of the first people picked for good opportunities around Christmas and the New Year.
  • Never EVER get with a company that requires you to “make a deposit” or send them money to get you on a list or get started. These are always scams. A reputable company will only ever pay you out directly and will never ask for money from you. This is different, however, from shops that require you to make a purchase of dinner or a retail item and then reimburse you later on; these are often how you shops will go.
  • If you can’t get out to locations, some companies like Bestmark and Market Force have “phone shops”. These opportunities allow you to call a company and ask a few scripted questions. They’re quick, and usually pay $3-5 dollars each, which isn’t bad considering you can do them from home in your pajamas!
  • If the payment comes before the shop, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are scammers that will pose as representatives of actual, reputable companies that will send you a huge check in advance of a shop, or just a big payment for a mundane task. These are scams, and you’ll need to be wary. Nobody is paying $100 to walk into a Best Buy and look at televisions!
  • If you get offers through text or phone calls, chances are good it’s not legit. Market Force has a tightly controlled app that they communicate with their shoppers through, and Bestmark communicates via email which links to their secure forums. Each company is different, so learn the channels of communication through which they operate and you’ll be safe.

Mystery shopping is a fun, simple way to earn some nice rewards

With a little effort, attention to detail, and persistence, you can get continual cash flow on the side for shopping at places you’d normally go. Free or cheap meals, discounts on goods and services or freebies are all part of the gig if you’re good at it, and seasonal upticks in business can mean some awesome potential around the holidays!

Be diligent and wary of scammers, write great reviews and make sure you’re applying for everything you can find and you’ll get the hang of mystery shopping in no time.

Do you have any experience mystery shopping, either in-store or on the phone? Do you make good money doing it? Let us know in the comments; our newbies would love your tips!

The 12 Absolute Best Money Saving Apps and Extensions

The 12 Absolute Best Money Saving Apps and Extensions

There are apps for everything now, so it makes sense that coupons are going the digital route. From grocery stores to fast food, there’s a discount app or several out there that will scratch whatever particular itch you’ve got going on. Some take some planning to make the most of them and some are automatic but no matter what, each of these are worth the time investment in the money you’ll save.

The Best Money Saving Apps and Extensions

money saving apps

Apps to Help Save Money


I’ve written an Ibotta review in the past and I use it every time I go to the grocery store. It’s a handy little application that allows you to save on things on your meal plan (you are making a meal plan, aren’t you?). You simply search, find what you’re looking for, and then buy it! Sometimes there are caveats like needing to buy something else as well (for instance, pizza with soda) but generally they’re things you were going to buy anyway, and you get a pretty amazing amount of cash back.

Simply snap a photo of the receipt and then the bar code on the purchased product and voila! The savings appear in your Ibotta account.

What’s more, you can use the Ibotta app when you’re shopping online to get automatic savings on the purchases you make through the app on the retailer’s store. Sign up through this link and get $5 deposited into your Ibotta account automatically!

Some stores also allow you to connect your customer loyalty account with the Ibotta app so you can circumvent the entire process of scanning receipts, which is very handy.


Find&Save is an interesting website that partners with local newspapers, media outlets, and retailers in your area to bring you solid deals. While it started as a website, it’s now also added an app as well. In addition to constantly updating their deals and coupons, they also have great leads on back-to-school and holiday sales at over 500 major retailers.


This one is an interesting blend of useful app and fun technology. It’s a points-based rewards program and a discount app all mushed together that sends you deals based on your shopping preferences. One big difference here is that ShopKick uses your GPS to reward you for simply going into a store. If you walk into a brick-and-mortar store with your GPS on using this app, you don’t even need to buy anything to get rewards points. Finally, it uses your location data to ping you with nearby deals, which is especially nice around the holidays when certain stores might have short windows of very juicy sales.

Fetch Rewards

This is an interesting one. You download the app and scan in every receipt, every time, and you’re given an amount of points based on each item from participating vendors. You can then use those points at a huge variety of other vendors like Sephora, Best Buy, AMC Theaters and many, many more. The best part of Fetch Rewards is that it might pick up some items that your other apps can miss, so definitely give it a try.

More Money Saving Apps

Savings Star

SavingsStar works a lot like Ibotta – you can link in your participating grocer’s rewards card directly to the app. Then you select whatever rebates are relevant to your purchases and shop, checking out and scanning your rewards card as normal. Instead of the discounts being taken off your bill, they’re added to your Savings Star account and once you hit $20, you can cash out through Paypal or your bank. You can also upload receipts too, just in case your store doesn’t have a rewards card.


In the same vein as Ibotta and SavingsStar, Checkout51 scans your receipts for savings you might have missed. Essentially it compiles a wide variety of coupons and then applies them in reverse, giving you money in your account rather than taking it off your total at the register. These various apps are useful independent of each other because some will definitely be better depending on where you like to shop and where you live.


KeyRing is great because it’s a decluttering app and a coupon app all in one. Download KeyRing and start scanning in all of your store loyalty cards and then throw them away because the app holds them for you. Then you can browse discounts specific to the store and have the cashier scan your phone rather than a clunky piece of plastic hanging from your car keys.

Coupon Sherpa

This app allows you to search your local area for great discounts on dining, shopping, or entertainment. One thing that differentiates Coupon Sherpa from other apps is that you typically need to print out these coupons to use them, which is helpful for people who are making grocery lists and trying to avoid impulse purchases. At the same time, the app has digital savings and gives you location-based savings information, so it’s win-win either way.


InboxDollars is such a great way to make and save money! Not only can you access coupons via the app, but you’ll actually get paid to download those coupons!

Check Out Our InboxDollars Review!

Browser extensions to Save Money


Honey is a free browser add-on that simply discounts whatever you’re shopping for online. Click through to a store, and it will automatically scan for available discounts and pop up a little box asking if you want to apply them. It’s really super easy, and with their rewards program – Honey Gold – you can get rewards points, even if the store doesn’t have coupons available. Check out Honey and get started earning rewards and saving money on the online shopping you already do!


I’ve spoken at length about how much I loved Ebates and just because it changed its name to Rakuten doesn’t mean I love it less. This site allows you to get great discounts at various retailers online, as well as returning some of your purchase back to you in the form of quarterly payouts. Some retailers offer 1% cash back but some like Dell have 5-10% back, and when you’re making a sizeable purchase, that can translate to a lot of money. Check out Rakuten through our referral link and earn $10 back on your first $25+ purchase in addition to whatever you get back naturally from Rakuten.


Similar to Rakuten and Honey, RetailMeNot offers another way to find discounts at online retailers through their app or browser extension. Having several of these will allow you to figure out the best possible savings for your needs by comparing and contrasting available discounts.

Find the discounts, wherever they might hide

Using these apps – particularly together – along with making a shopping list and meal plan will help you save a tremendous amount of money. Some give rewards, some save directly on your receipt, and some give you a nice payout each month. Regardless of how you use them, there’s at least a few that will benefit you, so check them out!

Did we miss any great coupon, savings or rebates apps and extensions? Let us know in the comments which are your favorites and we might add them in!

22 Ways To Make Cash Fast

22 Ways To Make Cash Fast

Sometimes quick cash needs to be just that – quick! When an unexpected event hits our wallets (and we didn’t build an emergency fund beforehand!), it can be hard to not just sit and wallow.

As a parent, though, sulking simply isn’t an option. So when random events call for more money than we have on hand, it’s on us to get creative to solve the budget problems.

While getting a second job is a possible solution, most people don’t want to have huge amounts of their time at the disposal of another job after their first. Thankfully the internet provides us with many ways to earn money on the side without having to give up 2/3 of our daily hours.

The turnaround time on some of these varies, but none of them should take longer than two weeks to get you cash in your pocket, though some do have fixed payout schedules. Still, we have avoided including anything where the payout is months in advance; the goal of this article is to provide quality earning potential as quickly as possible in as many ways as possible.

As is typically the case, some of the links below may be affiliate links; this means I’ll earn should you click through to make a purchase or sign up for a service. This is no way impacts my recommendation of said products or services.

22 Ways To Make Cash Quick

Actual jobs


With the advent of constant internet access via our phones, Postmates has gone from a few shops in major cities to being pretty much available anywhere. The company connects a goods-provider like a restaurant with a delivery person – you – and then your job is to get the goods to the customer, for which you’re paid a fee. You can sign up at the link above and download the app to start delivering pretty much anything and get paid for it.


We’ve done a Textbroker review in the past but if writing is a skill you possess they are still the best bet for finding reliable work in a large variety of subjects. They pay out every Thursday (you have to actually manually request a payout) but it will be in your Paypal on Friday. Again, if writing is your thing, few online “jobs” are going to be as reliable as this one.

Amazon’s Mturk program

Always at the forefront of data gathering, Amazon offers a wide variety of at-your-desk jobs that don’t require a lot of skill or effort. Mostly product reviews and information-gathering, Mturk pays you money to poke around in Amazon’s database.


If you’re not writing-inclined but you have another marketable skill like graphic design or marketing, Freelancer has more options that might suit your talents. As a freelancer, you can “bid” on jobs in order to get the opportunity to do them and then of course get paid. They pay bi-weekly, and if you sign up using this link, you’ll earn $20 into your account once you start completing jobs. Check it out!


Another freelancing service, Upwork has a VERY broad range of jobs, from writing to proof-reading to actual voice acting work, so you’re bound to find something that speaks to your passions and talents. In addition, Upwork has some very entry-level jobs that might not pay great but you’re almost guaranteed to get, and you can build up from there to get better and better paying jobs.

Do some mystery shopping

The MSPA (Mystery Shopper Providers Association) is an ever-growing bank of mystery shopping jobs. These typically pay you through reimbursing your cost at the shop and then an additional fee or products. While it’s not as reliable as some of the other work on this list, it’s a nice way to get a free meal and supplement your income in the process.

BestMark is another great mystery shopping site to check out!

banner ad for bestmark mystery shop sign upGigwalk

Gigwalk pays you to scope out an area and take photos, record data, and report it back. Think of it like Google maps, but from a human perspective with human input. The pay isn’t outstanding but you’re effectively getting paid to walk and take photos, which most people do anyway.


Somewhat like Gigwalk, Foap allows you to snap photos from their app on your phone and upload them to their site. When a brand likes your picture and wants to buy it, they pay $10, which Foap splits with you. If you’ve got an eye for photography, a good camera on your phone, and a creative mindset, you can make a lot of money for a few snaps a day.


Since we’re on the topic of photography, don’t forget that Shutterstock is another great way to earn money! Many people turn to Shutterstock for their blogs, advertisements, websites, and more. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, you can still earn money every month submitting photos.


Fiverr is another online job site, with a variety of offerings that will suit your particular talents. While you can set up a variety of offers, many look to Fiverr for things like designing a logo, writing up a blurb for a website, or resume help.

Drive for Uber

Uber has made taxis obsolete in a lot of cities, and it’s little wonder why with their accessibility and real-time reviews, you don’t need to worry about slow, rude taxi service. Driving for Uber can earn you some serious money if you’re good, keep a clean vehicle, and you’re consistently working. The link above will take you directly to their driver application page.

earn cash for your photos

Local labor

Nothing beats the old standby of mowing lawns, bagging leaves, or shoveling snow. No matter the weather, your neighbors probably have work they need done. Offer to do it for them and if you do well, you might find yourself with a steady source of easy money.

Check your local university for paid participation

This is particularly great if you live in a large city with a bustling college campus nearby. Universities are always paying people for certain types of participation. For instance, legal colleges might hold mock juries that will pay you in cash immediately upon the completion of your involvement. Some research colleges will pay you for participation in drug trials, psychological studies, or survey research panels. It’s worth calling to find out!


There are so many great ways to earn quick cash simply by doing something you need to do anyway – clean out the closets and declutter! While the benefits of decluttering are innumerable, making money certainly tops that list.

Start selling on Ebay

Selling on Ebay seems like a given, but many forget it’s an option. Whether you have collector’s items you’re looking to get rid of or simply a bundle of children’s clothing, getting started selling on Ebay is easier than it seems!

Sell gold or silver

Those pawn shops and “We Buy Gold” places are going to give you less than your jewelry/silverware/whatever is worth because they can. Instead, take your pieces to a coin dealer or a reputable pawn shop. It also helps to weigh your gold in advance. Those pop-up “we buy gold” places will try different tactics to give you less than your gold is worth, so be careful. Finally, go to a few different places with your gold or silver to get the best price among them; never just sell to the first place you go.

earn cash quick

Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist

This is a no-brainer, but often overlooked. Sure, you can get some great sales at a flea market or by hosting a successful garage sale, but if you’re really in a hurry, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are still your best bet for efficient turnover on your items. What’s faster than finding a buyer, meeting, and exchanging goods for cash? Just be safe about it and meet in a populated, well-lit area.

Sell your electronics to Gazelle

Gazelle is a service that lets you send in your old phone and other devices for quick cash. Follow the banner ad below to get a fast quote on your device. Additionally, you can drop it off a their Gazelle kiosks, located throughout the country (typically in Walmarts). They even offer free shipping on any transaction over $1. If you’ve recently upgraded devices and/or have an old one sitting around, why not make some cash off it?

Sell your old stuff to a pawn shop

This is probably one of the oldest methods to getting quick cash but there’s a good reason pawn shops are a centuries-old business; they work. If you have quality items in good shape, pawn shops are your best bet.

Sell old instruments

There is a robust market for old instruments, particularly violins and brass like trumpets and tubas. Nobody wants to pay full price for a new one. If you’ve got an old one lying around, you can make some quick money on Craiglist or the Facebook Marketplace. If you want to sell more quickly, skip the pawn shop and head to a music store. They’re far more likely to offer you a real amount rather than try and pull one over on you.

Try a consignment shop for clothes

One of my favorite ways to save money on kids clothes is by buying used and re-selling later. While it’s not a guarantee, these shops will give you likely the best price you’ll get for clothes.

No time to get out and about? Check out sites like Swap and ThredUP!

sell on thredup bannerMake Money Online

You’re online anyway, why not make some money? There are many ways to make money online, but here are some of the ones that’ll pay quick.


Ever downloaded an app or went to a site and thought “this is an awful site”? How would you like to be PAID to express those thoughts? That’s where UserTesting comes in! This site allows you to view a website, and use your device’s microphone to capture your review. You’ll get paid a minimum of $10 per accepted review, so it’s not chump change either.


Though it can be a grind, InboxDollars is a great way to earn money with surveys. You can also earn by playing games, using their search engine, and referring friends. They also have a variety of contests you can win, which is always fun.

Not sure where to start? Check out my guide on how to earn with InboxDollars!

Earn some quick cash when you need it most

Naturally some of these methods will reap far more immediate rewards – like pawning gold – but the drawback is more substantial. Earning some side money will never hurt and will help create a buffer in circumstances where you need it fast. Even if you’re not in dire need at this moment, give some of these a try today.

What Happened to Ebates?

What Happened to Ebates?

If you have an Ebates account, you may have noticed something new in the banner area –

Ebates is now Rakuten

Ebates Is Becoming Rakuten banner

Why Did Ebates Change its Name?

According to the Ebates/Rakuten website, “taking the Rakuten name most accurately reflects who we are today: a company that gives you all the Cash Back you’re used to, with even more opportunities to save.”

Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner!

Disclosure: This post contain a referral link, which means I’ll be receive a monetary bonus should you choose to sign up. For more information on my policies and disclosures, visit this page.

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten is a Japanese marketing company that acquired Ebates in 2014, but it wasn’t until the 2019 Superbowl that they began to really publicize the merge.

I’ve actually been a part of Rakuten for nearly as long, as it’s one of the ways I make money with affiliate marketing.

Rakuten itself was originally (founded in 1997) but they were then bought out by the Japanese company in 2010 as an attempt to enter the American market. They actually became a very close competitor with Amazon before the buy out!

Not only that, but if you were someone who made money selling on Ebay around 2008, you may very well remember They formed a partnership with Ebay and quickly became their top seller, but were not charged listing fees – something that angered a lot of independent sellers.

Maybe this is my nerdy side coming out, but I find the growth of this company to be fascinating (all the more with their Ebates merge, too!)

How do You Pronounce Rakuten?

It’s certainly not as easy to say as Ebates, but it’s still just as easy to use!

Is Rakuten legit?

Rakuten is truly such a great way to make money!

If you’re new to Ebates (or Rakuten), it’s a site that allows you to earn cash back if you click through their links before shopping. Even better, they’ve recently added an “in-store” option!

The best part is that you don’t have to do anything special, you just click through and shop like you normally would.

How to Sign Up for Rakuten

First, create an account by clicking HERE! By signing up through this link, you’ll earn an automatic $10 after your first $25+ shopping trip – not bad for 30 seconds of work, yeah?

How Does Rakuten Work?

Rakuten incentivizes shoppers to go through their platform by offering a certain percentage back on their purchase. While this may seem nonsensical on the surface, it’s actually a win-win for everyone.

A customer may not be set on buying anything today, until they see that the shop is offering 8% back through Rakuten today only – a win for the shop as the buyer is now all the more eager to buy.

Then not only does the buyer earn that 8% back, but Rakuten will get a small commission from the shop as well.

Using Gift Cards with Rakuten

If you’re planning to do a lot of shopping, this is my top tip (it’s the best way to save during the holiday season!)

If you know ahead of time that you’ll be shopping at a certain retailer, be on the lookout for discounted gift cards through sites like Even if you don’t do a lot of online shopping, be sure to check out – if you know you spend money on a regular basis somewhere (like a certain gas station!), why not buy gift cards for yourself and save even more?

For example, I recently purchased a $50 Kohl’s gift card for $41.90. Then I made a purchase through Rakuten for $53, using mainly that gift card and earning myself a nice $4.24 back. So instead of spending the full $53, I’m actually only looking at a total spent of $37.66.

More Rakuten Tips and Tricks

how to make money with rakuten

First, make sure you’ve got the Rakuten extension downloaded for your browser!

Just check out the bottom of the Rakuten homepage to download. This way you don’t even have to worry about going through the site first when you’re browsing your favorite shopping site – seriously, could it get any easier to make money with this?

Also, if you can behave when using credit cards, another “must do” with Rakuten is to have the Rakuten Cash Back Credit Card.

Just check out the footer on their homepage for more information, but basically it allows you to earn even MORE cash back (typically an additional 3%). So in my above gift card example, if I used my Rakuten card, I could’ve only spent $36.07 on a $53 purchase. LOVE IT!

Rakuten earnings

In-Store Shopping with Rakuten

Something else you can do to make even more money back is to choose to “pick up in-store” while still shopping online. This is especially great if you’re prone to impulse purchases at your favorite store or if you want to save time when running errands. Not only will you earn that cash back you wouldn’t otherwise, but you can run in, pick up your stuff, and get on your way!

Coupon Codes with Rakuten

Another great thing about Rakuten is that you can combine the cash back you’re earning with any coupons available. They even have coupon codes right there for you – no need to hunt down a mailer you got or sift through e-mails. It’s especially easy if you’re using the mobile app or the browser extension.

How to Refer Friends to Rakuten

Finally, you can of course refer your friends to Rakuten. By just referring THREE friends, you can earn $75! How awesome is that?

It Pays to Share Refer a Friend earn $25 at Rakuten

Rakuten Proof of Payment

Just in case you’re still not totally sold on Rakuten, check out just how much money I would have otherwise lost out on last quarter were it not for shopping with this cash back app:

Proof of payment rakuten ebates

So to re-cap:

  • Rakuten membership is free.
  • There’s no limit to how much Cash Back you can earn.
  • There are no rebate forms to mail in or points to count— they just send you your Cash Back, no strings attached.
  • Literally everyone should sign up!

Despite the new name, Rakuten is Ebates and there’s no catch here – so sign up today!

The #1 App for Entertainers

The #1 App for Entertainers

In a world where more and more people find themselves driven to profit from their passions, it can be hard for live entertainers to find their break in an already inundated industry. So how do you make money from your genius when you’re still struggling to be seen?

Enter Damon Wayans, Jr. and Kristopher Jones – the two creatives behind the oh-so-amazing Special Guest App, a booking app that makes it simple to connect gigs with paid talent.

Special Guest App Review

Special Guest is a platform for talent to use to find gigs in a far easier manner than the traditional route (and best of all, it’s free!)

Entertainers and the like can create profiles within the app to showcase their talent and personality. Venues are then able to use the Special Guest App to search for talent based on things such as location, availability, price range, etc.

This means that anyone, anywhere can use Special Guest to hire live entertainment with just a few simple touches of their phone! From finding a guest speaker for your next podcast to hiring a magician for your child’s birthday, Special Guest makes it easier for everyone to connect.

One of the best parts (in my opinion) of Special Guest is that they handle the legal agreements, including cancellation policies. They have many other fantastic features, though, such as:

  • In-app messaging to reduce e-mail clutter
  • Easier to use discovery tool to help you narrow in on exactly the talent you need
  • Ratings and reviews of the entertainment so you can trust in your hiring decision
  • Facilitate payments on behalf of the venue so you don’t have to stress about how/when that check will be cutparty planning tip special guest app

This app is truly great all around, whether you’re looking to hire or be hired.

As a busy mom, it means a lot to have this app available should I need to hire a band for my friend’s wedding or a face painter for our school’s fun fair. But I don’t just support it because it makes my life easier! I love that it gives entertainers the virtual space to be seen. It’s so important to support each other as we work toward living lives on our terms and Special Guest helps to do just that.

Don’t just take my word for it, though! As I said, it’s FREE! So go check out Special Guest now and enjoy!