5 Easy Ways to Work From Home and Make Extra Money Online

If you’re trying to reach your financial goals and have already done everything you can to lower your bills, it may be time to start thinking about earning some extra money.

Legitimate websites and apps to earn extra cash while working from home 

When I was working to pay off my mortgage in two years, I primarily made more money by picking up freelance writing shifts with CNN and pet sitting through Rover.com.

Here are the other ways I make extra cash on the side by using legitimate websites and apps…

How to make extra money: Table of contents

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)

Amazon Mechanical Turk, also known as MTurk, is a platform that allows workers to complete simple human intelligence tasks (HITs) for a small reward. Examples of HITs include short transcriptions, identifying objects in a photo/video and surveys. I first signed up for MTurk in 2016 and wrote an article about my experience. It does start rather slow. However, I’ve been able to earn about $7 to $8 an hour after getting the hang of it. I usually complete surveys and find that it’s easy to do them during commercial breaks. The money I earn from MTurk can be transferred to a bank account or redeemed for an Amazon gift card.

TopCashback and Rakuten

If you do any shopping online, TopCashback and Rakuten (formerly Ebates) are two websites that you should sign up for. When you start your shopping through either of the websites, they’ll give you cash back on your purchase. For example, you might get 10% cash back at Hotels.com, 8% at Macy’s or 5% at Overstock.com. The offers change frequently, so I like to check both TopCashback and Rakuten to see which has the best cash back rate. Just recently, I went on a trip to Paris and booked with Booking.com. I started the process through TopCashback and earned more than $100 cash back. Of course, this is only a win for your wallet if you use these websites for purchases that you’ve budgeted, not impulse spending. You can use my referral links to sign up for TopCashback and Rakuten to receive a welcome bonus.

Referral links:


If you’ve been reading MichaelSaves.com for a while, you know that I like Swagbucks. I’ve been a member since 2011 and earn between $25 to $50 in Amazon gift cards every month. Completing surveys, searching the web, shopping online and taking advantage of special offers are a few ways to earn points that you redeem for gift cards or cash. I don’t really bother with the surveys on Swagbucks because most of the time I don’t qualify. MTurk is better for surveys. Instead, I like the one-time offers. For example, I recently earned 3,000 points ($30 equivalent) by signing up for DirecTV Now, a live TV streaming service. I’ve also seen offers for Blue Apron, Proactiv, Uber Eats and more. There’s always a bonus if you sign up with someone’s referral code. Click here to use mine and get started.

Ibotta, Fetch Rewards and Receipt Hog 

My lifetime Ibotta balance topped $2,000 recently! If you’re not familiar, Ibotta is an app that provides cash back for your purchases at grocery stores and other retailers. When I got started with Ibotta in 2014, it only had offers for grocery stores and that’s how I still use the app to this day. Since I became a vegan in 2017, I’ve found fewer relevant offers with Ibotta because it has so many that are for processed foods. That’s why I signed up for Fetch Rewards. It’s another app that collects grocery store receipts and doesn’t require as much work as Ibotta. It’s my new favorite. Finally, I upload receipts to Receipt Hog. The money adds up slowly for this app, but it accepts receipts from all retailers. For all three of these apps, I generally redeem my points for PayPal cash or Amazon gift cards. To save time, I put all of my receipts in a box after shopping and upload them to the apps just once a week.

Referral links:

RELATED: Fetch Rewards review: How I earned $300 in Amazon gift cards

Online banking and credit card rewards 

There are plenty of websites that will teach you the tips and tricks of the credit card rewards game, but this isn’t one of them. However, I have taken out credit cards in the past that have allowed me to enjoy free flights and hotel stays. Some of the sign-up bonuses for those rewards cards can be worth $500 to $1,000. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really slowed down my credit card usage and focused more on cash spending. As part of my overall financial strategy, I made the switch to banking 100% with online institutions. My two banks are Discover and CIT Bank. Both offer incredible interest rates on savings accounts compared to big banks like Bank of America, Chase and Citi. Read more about how I use five bank accounts to save more money!

RELATED: Best credit cards: My strategy to earn the most cash back

Final thought 

The strategies I’ve outlined in this post have served me well, but I know that there are other opportunities that I could be taking advantage of that may be better for my wallet.

I plan to update this article with additional easy ways to make more money as I learn about them and test them out. Got a tip to share? Let me know what works for you in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “5 Easy Ways to Work From Home and Make Extra Money Online”

  1. Thank you for your list. I also use the Checkout 51 app. It is like Ibotta with less ads. I have used SavingStar, too, but my account was inactive for a while and they took back all my money. I didn’t appreciate that kind of policy.

  2. Carol Ann Ellison

    Hi Michael,
    I sooo appreciate you and your financial know-how. I noticed this was posted in 2018, so do you still use these apps in this manner? Do you do anything differently today (Oct 2020)?

    1. Thank you for spending some time on my website. Yes, I use these apps. My favorites are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards, but I still check Topcashback and Rakuten (eBates) for online shopping. Some links to my reviews: https://michaelsaves.com/make-money/ibotta-review/ and https://michaelsaves.com/make-money/fetch-rewards-review/. I think Ibotta and Fetch are the way to start. You can use the apps together for the same grocery purchases, plus Ibotta also has online shopping offers that Topcashback and Rakuten do. So in many ways, you can earn the same cash back with fewer apps/websites. Stay safe.

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