Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ways to make $$$ on the Internet--some excellent, some stupid--by the woman who has tried them all

I recently passed the dubious milestone of having made $500 on the internet over the last few years, so I figured it was high time I collate all of my knowledge on the subject into one handy blog post for y'all.

There are a lot of ways to make a little cash on the internet. Some are amazing. Some are dumb. Let me help you sort the wheat from the chaff.


If I could recommend but a single website for making a little money on the internet, it would be Ebates. Ebates offers cash back (right into your PayPal account!) at practically every online retailer you can think of. I've gotten $62.05 through Ebates in the last year with virtually no effort. If that's not enough, you get a free $10 gift card (I picked Target) after you make your first purchase. There is literally no reason you should not use this for online shopping! If you stack your cash back with a coupon code (I love retailmenot for coupon codes), you can ridiculous deals. If you decide to sign up, use my referral code and I'll get a little kickback.

TOTAL I'VE MADE: $72.05 ($62.05 cash and $10 gc) since 2011


Swagbucks is a strange, addictive little site that offers a zillion different ways to earn Swagbucks, which are redeemable for gift cards and trinkets and other stuff. For some reason the prevailing wisdom on this site seems to be that the $5 Amazon gift cards are the best value. I guess that's why I've gotten $220 worth of them in the last couple of years. You can earn Swagbucks by searching through their search engine, watching videos, taking polls, doing tasks, etc etc etc. They also give Swagbucks away via codes posted on their blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up for this awesome email group to get email alerts when there are Swagcodes to be found. If you decide to sign up, use my referral code and I'll get a few extra Swagbucks.

TOTAL I'VE MADE: $220 in Amazon gift cards since 2010


This crazy little app allows you to send free gift cards to friends. I've been sending out free $5 Sephora, H+M, Threadless, and GAP gift cards to my pals all week, so you'd better believe I've gotten some back. I literally do not understand how this is free. Y'all better jump on this before these people bankrupt themselves.

TOTAL I'VE MADE: $30 in various gift cards just this week alone


Upromise is a neat site that gives cash back for groceries, travel, online shopping, and all kinds of other neat stuff. You just enter your store loyalty cards, and if you choose your credit cards, and you'll get a percentage back on some items. The money goes into a college savings fund, but you can get the money out at any time. I've made $141.92 over the last 10 years doing absolutely nothing. And hey! I've got a leg up on my future kids' college funds.

TOTAL I'VE MADE: $141.92 since 2003


I signed up for InboxDollars a few years back when I was really hard up for cash. They have a few different ways of earning, like polls and special offers (like Netflix free trials), but the main event is the paid emails--you get 2 cents for clicking a link in an email. Yes, I said 2 cents. Once you get to $35, they'll send you a check.

Y'all, don't do this. That's like 1750 emails you have to open to get $35. I can't quit this stupid site. After I finally got to $35, they gave me like a $10 bonus, which sucked me back into trying to get to $35 again. WHYYYY. Every time I try to delete my account, I see my balance (now at $18.25) taunting me. If you care to join me in this torture, at least use my referral code.

TOTAL I'VE MADE: $53.25 since 2007

I also can't forget gems like Groupon, which has given me several hundred dollars in credit for referring friends (and in turn a boatload of free goods and services); Foodler, which gives nice, fat rewards for ordering takeout; and LevelUp, an app that allows you to pay at certain businesses using your phone and gives you rewards for doing so. Paying for stuff with my phone makes me feel like a wizard, and it has saved me $18 so far at my favorite lunch spot. (If you sign up for LevelUp, use my referral code 66221.)

Thanks for all the money, internet!

Discussion Question:
What's your favorite way to make a little $$ on the internet?


  1. There has to be some good way to exploit InboxDollars. A simple few lines of code to open next message, search for and click the link (opening in a new tab), close link tab, delete message, repeat.

    Get Nick on it and we'll split the money in 3rds.

  2. GOOD CALL. Robot husband, get to work.

  3. Eek - yes ma'am. Good post honey :-)

  4. Yeah I'm totally addicted to Wrapp already, I have been sending and sending and sending and sending lol

    1. Thanks for hooking me up, honey!

      Btw I just saw that kickass sketch of you on your blog!! Is that a sassy that did that?

  5. Hi!

    The answer why we're giving out free gift cards is pretty simple. Our partners are using our service as a part of their marketing strategy. Instead of spending all the money on advertising, they are giving out free gift cards through our service.

    Your friends get a gift card, and the retailer gets a new customer. Win-Win!

    Best regards,
    Kristofer (Wrapp Community Manager)

    1. Well, bless y'all! Do you know how hard it is to get any kind of discount at Sephora?? Those $5 gcs are like gold. I love your app so far and can't wait to see how it will expand. Thanks for stopping in!

  6. You really want a ralph lauren private sale schedule and early access code. Buy their stuff in November and early May. Then totally pause at stop lights.

    High Fashion.

  7. I'm impressed! I can't even keep track of my frequent flier cards, so I definitely don't have the skills to take advantage of these coupony code things. I'd be the one who was losing money so savvier folks like you could make it. But I've been harvesting about $10 a month by whoring out my blog to Google Adsense banners.

  8. Just stumbled across your blog, and nice recap! You've got to check out the WeReward app on your smartphone. You can get $0.10 for each photo check-in and sometimes more for chain restaurants and stores. You can cash out via PayPal when you hit $10, which is easy to achieve in just a few days if you're always on the go like me.

  9. Wrapp is free, because to access it you have to grant permission for it to access your phone contacts, your Facebook profile, pictures, and even friends data, plus agree to their terms stating that your permission is non-reversible and they can take information through your social media account "without limitation" and use it in "a variety of ways". It's so vague, who knows what they are taking or what they are doing with it. To me, that's just too high of a price for a free gift card. I'd be so mad if I found out my friends sold my data for a gift card.

    1. Anyone who feels that way about their personal data probably shouldn't be on Facebook to begin with!

    2. I see your point and in a way agree, but I read terms of service and permissions before I agree to them, so I know what I'm doing with my own information. Knowing 92% of people don't read this before agreeing, you'd have to go to extremes beyond removing your Facebook account to stop friends from releasing your personal data. They take your phone contacts too through the app you're required to install on your mobile phone. To stop Wrapp from taking my personal information, I'd have to remove my phone number and email address from every one of my business contacts, friends, and family's phones. Now you have to think about who you give your phone number to and if they'll program it into their mobile phone. My air conditioner repair guy is amazing. He owns a family business and runs it from his home. He programed my number into his phone, so he could call me when he found a sold-out part that was needed to fix our AC. Should I have stopped him, because he could give away my phone number to an app like Wrapp when he accepted a $5 gift card from a trusted friend? That's unrealistic and it's sad that we live in a world were we have to be that untrusting to protect our data.

  10. I agree--it's a jungle out there!