12 Things To Do When You’re Broke And Need An Extra Paycheck

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Feeling pumped? Feeling ready? Feeling like a million bucks (or like you need a million bucks)?

This is a long list, so don’t get overwhelmed. Go ahead and start now, but be sure to bookmark this post so you can easily return later. We’ll keep it updated as offers change or expire.Without further delay, here are 13 things to do when you need an extra paycheck:

1. Get Paid to Drink Beer

Neil Callaghan, an advanced level cicerone, currently working at Cigar City Brewing. 
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

The craft beer industry is hoppin’, so take advantage of it by, well, getting paid to visit breweries.

When you sign up as a mystery shopper, it’s your job to go to a grocery store, gas station, restaurant or, in this case, a breweries, and provide anonymous feedback.

Now, you can get paid to mystery shop — and drink — at breweries in your area through Secret Hopper. (Clever, right?)

The company is looking for detail-oriented beer-drinkers to hop around to different breweries and objectively rate and review their experiences. One Penny Hoarder gave the gig a try. He paid $16 on his visit to a local brewery. Secret Hopper paid him $20 via PayPal within a few days.

So, no, you’re not going to get rich, but you will get free beer, and that makes us hoppy.

All you have to do is sign up, then it’ll contact you when you’re needed.

2. Earn Cash While Watching Cooking Videos Online

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s possible to earn up to $225 a month.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

3. Earn up to $60/Hour as a Part-Time Bookkeeper

Neustockimages/Getty Images

Can you open an excel spreadsheet? Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.

You don’t have to be an accountant or even really good at math to be successful in this business. In fact, all you need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

The ability to stay moderately organized is helpful too.

Median pay is around $19 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics— and you have no commute. It’s a great opportunity for parents who want a part time job, recent college grads and anyone who wants to bring in real money working from home.

Robinson shares what it takes to be a virtual bookkeeper, plus tips for making this career work for you in his free class at Bookkeeper Business Launch.

4. Get Free Scratch-off Tickets

A young couple buying lottery tickets at a kiosk.
urbancow/Getty Images

The odds don’t usually make playing the lottery worth your limited funds. But what if you could get the tickets for free?

Instead of a convenience-store stop, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out Lucktastic here.

5. Get Paid up to $600/Week to Drop off Starbucks

Your city is filled with two things: Starbucks, and people who want Starbucks.

An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver an extra latte when you’re already out and getting your caffeine fix. And it’s not just coffee. You can deliver from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Five Guys and hundreds of other restaurants in your area.

With Doordash, you set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.

You’ll earn money for each delivery, plus tips. Jose Neri, from California, reports earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.

The best part? No passengers — that grande, no-whip macchiato will be the only thing to hear your beautiful singing voice.

If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week.

6. Become a Mermaid

Three mermaids are underwater, and they form a circle with their arms and tails.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Do you want to be part of their world?

We went for a swim with the real-life mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida to find out how they get paid to slip into fins and perform for kids (and kids at heart).

From mastering underwater routines to learning how to use buoyancy to your advantage, this job isn’t exactly a day at the beach. But if you can keep up, it’s every bit as magical as you’d imagine.

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and be able to swim 400 yards in less than 15 minutes. Mermaids’ pay starts around $10 an hour.

7. Earn Extra Income — By Leaving Your House

Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know.

So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks.

Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area.

Tonya Peters’ husband, Miles Rugh, was one of of those skeptics.

She wanted to list their Virginia Village basement apartment in Denver, Colorado, on Airbnb, but he wasn’t keen on welcoming strangers into their place.

Finally, though, he agreed to give it a try. Now, three years later, the couple has hosted too many guests to count. And the extra income has been a great for them. They plan to use it for some home renovations they’ve been wanting.

“He’s definitely changed his tune,” says Peters, now an Airbnb Superhost. “And he loves having the extra income.”

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

8. Copy This Strategy to Get Checks in the Mail Totaling $526

Walmart store sign
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Remember when getting the mail was fun? Now it’s just bills. And Valpak envelopes.

But for Colleen Rice, checking the mail meant finding checks. For doing nothing. Seriously. Since she started using a free website called Rakuten, she’s received $526.44.

Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy toilet paper on Amazon — even book that flight home for Thanksgiving.

Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights. She even used the money she earned to help her pay for her recent cross-country move.

It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping your go-to stores through the site.

Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 on the first check it sends you.

Talk about money for nothing.

9. Make up to $15/Hour to Pick up Milk for Your Neighbors

A woman takes groceries to her car.
William DeShazer for The Penny Hoarder

The grocery store is a surprisingly zen place. Somewhere between the soothing elevator music, the free samples and the wafting aroma of rotisserie chicken, you settle into a peaceful groove.

None of the stress of work or home — it’s just you and the aisles.

Some people, for some reason, don’t feel the same. They’d rather avoid it altogether. And with an app called Postmates, you could get paid to pick up a few extra groceries for them.

Even better than getting paid to grocery shop? If you need the money, like, now, you can cash out instantly after each delivery.

Holly Gaston, of San Francisco, California, has tried plenty of side gigs. With Postmates, she makes an average of $15 an hour. Plus, she says it’s been much more enjoyable than any of her previous side gigs.

Signing up shouldn’t take you more than about three minutes. The hardest part will be choosing which selfie you want to use as a profile pic..

10. Get Paid for Your Screen Time

Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?

But there’s a company that will pay you for all that screen time.

Yep. Mypoints is a reader favorite, because it pays you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone.

You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and take you first five surveys. 

11. Get a $5 Amazon Gift Card For Playing Words With Friends

cash back apps
anyaberkut/Getty Images

Get paid to play games on your phone? Yeah, right. We’ve all heard that before.

Here’s what that usually means: Logging dozens of hours on games you’ve never heard of, just for a few cents.

Gee, thanks.

But a free Android app called Mistplay actually pays you for playing popular games like Words With Friends 2, Yahtzee, Clash Royale, Star Wars and more.

As you play, Mistplay rewards you in points, which you can exchange for gift cards for brands like Visa, Amazon and more.

You’ll even get bonus points when you sign up and enter the code penny50.

The more you play, the more you’ll earn. Plus, Mistplay offers some bigger in-game rewards — up to $20.

It takes just a few minutes to sign up and start getting paid to play games.

12. See If Your Cell Phone Company Owes You $80

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Is your cell phone company overcharging you?

Probably. In fact, there are secret discounts it doesn’t want you to know about.

You can find out how much you’re overpaying by signing up for TrueBill. Just connect your cell phone account and TrueBill will immediately try to get it lowered.

That’s what happened when William Ellis, a savvy saver from Indiana, used a similar bill negotiation service. He was able to get $80 a year back in his pocket when they convinced Sprint to lower his bill — for the same plan. He didn’t even have to pick up the phone.

TrueBill takes an upfront commission on any money it recovers for you, but there’s no charge if it’s not successful. So far, TrueBill has saved its users more than $14 million.

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