How To Make Money Online: 9 Sites That Won’t Waste Your Time

The internet. We love to hate it, but we love to love it, too. For every “the internet is ruining” post, you have people using the internet for some pretty neat stuff. One of those things is learning how to make money online. 

Making money online is just as much of a mixed bag as the internet itself. There’s the good, the bad, and the downright criminal. When you need a little extra income, chances are that you turn to the internet only to be completely overwhelmed. Opposite advice, opposing reviews, and downright scams make you want to avoid the internet altogether. 

The good news is that you can make money online. Today, we’ll share our top 9 picks for websites and apps that won’t waste your time or scam you out of your money. With these under your belt, you can make a plan for how to make money online to meet your financial goals. 

Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash

How to make money online in 2022

Looking to make some extra cash? It’s not just you – more than half of Americans are still experiencing financial hardship from the fallout of COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, this means that online opportunities to make money are more competitive than ever. Several online-only companies even switched their pay scheme in 2020 to account for the huge number of new users!  

When you look up “how to make money online”, most advice falls into one of two categories. Either you’re told to jump into freelancing with both feet or turn to surveys. 

“Start your own business!” these sites proudly proclaim, “It’s easy!” The problem is that it isn’t easy. Starting a business requires time, effort, energy, and (most importantly) spending some money. Even if you find a site that doesn’t encourage you to start your own business, freelancing sites like Fiverr are no better. They’re not tutorials for how to make money online, as much as tutorials for being a business owner.

Don’t have the time or energy to start your own small business? Surveys are pitched as the “easy” way to make money. There’s just one problem. How much you can make on survey sites depends on what the site decides you’re eligible for, and even when you’re eligible, you can be criminally underpaid for your opinions. 

Survey sites have successfully convinced many people that their opinions are almost worthless, but that’s simply not true. The worldwide data market is currently worth $162.6 billion – and growing. Meanwhile, SurveyJunkie, one of the largest survey sites, has paid out around $1 million to date, and some sites pay even less. 

In case you’re curious, that means that the amount survey sites are spending is around 0.0007% of what the market is actually worth. On top of that, companies that collect and use data, even if that’s from survey sites, can be up to 60% more profitable than businesses that don’t. 

What does this mean for you? It means it’s time to ditch the survey sites! They’re taking advantage of your data and not giving you a fair cut at all. Instead, learn how to make money online using the non-survey sites that are out there. Let’s dive in!

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

9: Get some cashback 

Ok, so this one isn’t technically making money, but that’s why it’s the lowest on our list. Don’t count out cashback just yet – cashback can definitely find a place on a list of how to make money online. With a little planning, just about everything you buy can give you anywhere from a couple of cents to a couple of dollars in cash back. 

Think about how many purchases you make in a month. Every single time you swipe your card, tap your phone, or hit “Buy Now”. It’s a lot, isn’t it? From gas to groceries and even impulse purchases, you can bet that couple of cents each time will add up!

Here are some of our suggestions to get you started with earning cashback:

  • Upside allows you to get cashback for buying gas (and visiting some restaurants).
  • Ibotta has a mobile app and a browser extension – so you can get cash back no matter how or where you shop!
  • Capital One Shopping is a browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes and cashback offers when you shop online. (And no, you don’t have to hold a Capital One account to use it.)   

8: Publish your creativity online

Do you like writing or drawing? Try self-publishing your work on Amazon! You can list your e-book for $0.99, and ditto for any templates or coloring pages that you create. As we mentioned earlier, though, this can get highly competitive. A couple of viral videos about how to make money online included this, so there has been a definite uptick in submissions.

You may find that you need to put in extra time, research, and effort to even rank in a search. However, if you’re doing this kind of creative work anyways, might as well share it! Just don’t lean too hard on that income, since it’ll likely be weeks or months before you see any returns at all. 

7: Get paid to workout with Sweatcoin

Ok, with the general tips out of the way, let’s get to specific apps that you can use in your plan for how to make money online. First, an app for people who are active (or want to be).

If you do a lot of walking, running, or cycling, check out Sweatcoin. Sweatcoin rewards you in their own currency – Sweatcoins – for the number of steps you take each day. Then you can redeem Sweatcoins for all kinds of rewards, including real money. 

You can even participate in auctions for things like vacations, $100 gift cards, and gaming consoles. The one drawback to Sweatcoin is that it isn’t one of the more lucrative options on our list. If you max out the amount of Sweatcoins you can earn in a day, you’re looking at $5 a month or so.  

6: Find part-time, full-time, or one-off jobs with Steady

Next, a project that has been funded (in part) by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Steady is dedicated to helping American families earn more steady income in any way possible. 

The platform is a job board – a little like Indeed or Glassdoor. Companies pay to have their jobs listed and then you scroll through to find the ones that work for you. Steady is unique in two huge ways, though. 

First, Steady offers cash incentives for certain tasks – like checking out other financial products. Second, Steady helps out when its users are in need. To date, Steady has provided more than $4 million in emergency cash grants. 

Steady is the best fit for people looking to find more “traditional” work or in-person side gigs. Depending on your area, though, Steady may post jobs that fit into your plan for how to make money online. You can earn anywhere from $10 to several thousand dollars a month with Steady.

5: Help AI learn with Appen

AI is rapidly developing – it can find and sort many things online, write scripts and music, and is getting closer to learning to do things like drive. There are a few things that AI still has trouble with, even now. 

That’s where you and Appen come in. Appen is a digital job platform focused on AI. Users on Appen help AI distinguish similar things and detect tone in writing. Not interested in AI? Appen also has data entry and data collection (survey) work available. 

The hours are highly flexible, with most people spending 2 to 10 hours a week using the site. The pay varies, too, but you can expect to be paid an average of $12 an hour with this site.  

4: Take Surveys with Opinion Outpost

Well, we had to put one survey site on here. The article is about how to make money online, after all, and this is just a classic way to do it. No survey site could crack our top three, but Opinion Outpost got pretty close. 

Of all the sites out there, Opinion Outpost is the way to go if you want to take surveys. They’re one of the most high-paying options. Each survey pays around $1, and you can take a max of 9 surveys a day. That means you can earn up to $200 a month, though most people won’t qualify for the full 9 every day.

There’s no mobile app here, so you’ll have to log into your computer to check for surveys. The good news is that Opinion Outpost keeps their surveys on the short side so that $1 is only for a few minutes of work, not a full hour.

3: Listen to music with Current

Alright, we’re into the top three on our list of how to make money online. Number three is listening to music. If you (like us) can’t function without some tunes in the background, check out Current (or Mode if you’re an Andriod user). 

Current will pay you for listening to music on any one of more than 10,000 stations available. You can boost your earnings by watching ads, taking surveys, or even playing games! Then, you just have to check in periodically to prove you’re still listening. 

If you listen to Current radio for about 4 hours a day, every day, you can earn $50 a month or more. The longer you listen, the more you earn! 

2: Game with Mistplay

Do you absolutely love gaming? Mistplay is the side hustle you never knew you needed. The app curates suggestions for games you’ll enjoy and then rewards you for trying them out. 

Each time you download a game, you get a reward. Then you get more rewards for playing the game, answering questions about your experience, and even making in-app purchases on your favorite games. 

As you use Mistplay, you get achievement badges that can increase your earnings more and more. They even have regular prize drawings, so you could win big by playing – without spending anything!

This cracked our top three in the list of how to make money online just because of how lucrative something this fun can be. Playing for a couple of hours a day can earn you up to $50 or more a month

1: Earn Passive Income with Honeygain

Drumroll, please! The number one “how to make money online” spot goes to a totally passive way to make up to $55 a month. Honeygain is an app and browser extension that lets your devices act as “internet bridges”. 

Through your IP address (and some other tech-y info), Honeygain allows your devices to act as view towers. This means people all over the world will experience quicker load times and better user experiences online. 

Everything that passes through Honeygain is secure, and once you get it set up, you don’t have to do anything to earn. There’s a very small chance your IP address could accidentally get blacklisted, but that’s both reversible and very rare.  

How to make money online and avoid the scams, traps, and time wasters

Making money without needing to do any physical tasks can be incredibly helpful to all kinds of people. People with chronic illness need flexible, low-impact jobs. People who are elderly and retired might enjoy some side income. Maybe you’re planning for a new addition to the family or some other major financial goal. 

No matter who you are, learning how to make money online is a great idea. The problem is that for every legit site out there, there are a few who will try to scam you and dozens who will underpay you. Your time and your information are valuable. Don’t fall for any tricks that tell you otherwise!

Instead, limit your time on any one site. After a couple of months, you’ll start to see which sites and apps are working for you and which aren’t. This way you can invest your most valuable asset – your time – into the sites that reward you for it the best. 

While no side-gig can replace a full-time income, they can be instrumental in helping you achieve your financial goals. At Millennial Dollar, we try to do that, too. If you’re looking for help with making money, saving money, and investing without wasting your time, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get tips, tricks, and articles like this delivered right to your inbox so you can start living your best financial life.