You don’t like to think about it, but between the up-front cost and the monthly contract payments, your phone costs you a fair bit of money. What you might not realize is that it can make you money, too.
You won’t get rich, but you can pay for a few trips to Starbucks. Here’s how to get started.
1. Sell your photos
I’ve talked in the past about making money with microstock photography, but it involves taking pictures, moving them to a computer, cleaning them up, finding a good site to upload them and then promoting them. It would be nice if you could trim down the process.
Foap is an app (Android, Apple; Free) that does just that. Simply take pictures with your smartphone’s camera and your favorite photo app, and then add them to Foap.
Just about any kind of image can sell if a company thinks it will work for it. That means that cute pet picture, vacation photos, even photos of food if you have those.
There are no limits on how many photos you can upload, and for every sale you get $5. If you want to make more, Foap offers photo missions where big brands pay hundreds or thousands to get specific photos.
2. Do tiny tasks for big payoffs
If you don’t mind getting out and about, you can take small jobs around your city. These are things like verifying that a display stand has been put up in a store, or the arrangements of products on a shelf. If you don’t like to travel, some tasks can even be done from your living room.
Just grab the Field Agent app (Android, Apple; Free) and create a profile. Then do a few fast “screener” jobs that open up certain types of work. It could be taking pictures of your pet or the kind of beer you drink.
Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to take real jobs. These pay from $2 to $12 a task, which might not sound like much, but if you’re already at the store or it’s something you can do at home, it’s no big deal.
Payments are sent though PayPal or Dwolla, so you will need a free account with one of them. Field Agent says it’s paid out over $4.5 million to agents so far. Some of that could be yours if you get going now.
3. Get cash back for shopping
Shopping is something you have to do, so why not get some money back on products you’ve purchased? No, I’m not talking about mail-in rebates, which take forever and can be hit or miss.
The Ibotta app (Android, Apple; Free) gives you instant rebates on items you buy. You can use it at stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Sam’s Club and many more. Plus, it works for online stores like Amazon and many retailers’ online shops. You can even use it on top of other coupons, promo codes and discounts for extra savings.
The money you get back from Ibotta can transfer to your bank account as cash via PayPal or Venmo. Or you can turn it into gift cards for Best Buy, Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon and more online places you or your family like to shop.
It might sound too good to be true, but it works. In fact, Ibotta says it’s the 16th most-used app in the U.S. Plus, it’s free, so you have nothing to lose.
4. Get your expenses reimbursed
For frequent business travelers, or for freelance and contract workers, expenses are a big deal. You’re spending your money and trusting that your company or the client is going to pay you back (or you’re hoping the money you spent on the company’s dime doesn’t get taken out of your pocket). If your paperwork isn’t ship-shape, you could end up losing big.
You need a foolproof and easy way to prove to the company or client that you actually spent the money, and that’s usually a receipt. But who wants to collect and carry around a stack of receipts?
The Expensify app (Android, Apple, Windows Phone; Free) is the answer. It automatically creates reports right from the photo of a receipt. You can track the hours you worked with a tap, and it also tracks mileage using GPS or with a picture of the car’s odometer.
Expensify will link up with your bank account or credit card to pull transactions that don’t have a receipt. It can even generate IRS-guaranteed eReceipts. Finally, it’s compatible with major accounting software for easy report submission, or you can create a PDF to submit.
5. Give your opinion and get money
Whether it’s a product, brand, movie, TV show, government policy or something else, I’m sure you have an opinion on something. Now you can get rewarded for sharing that opinion.
The market-research company Ipsos operates a service called i-Say. After you sign up, it will send you surveys about a wide range of topics. The average user gets about eight surveys per month.
You can sign up to get email notifications, or you can occasionally check the website. To access and fill out surveys, you can log in to the i-Say site on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Every complete survey gives you reward points you can use to exchange for gift cards or products at major retailers. Plus, every survey you finish gets you an entry into a drawing for prizes like overseas vacations, TVs, iPads, gift cards and more.
Ipsos is very clear that you won’t get rich with i-Say, but it is good for a little extra spending money. You might also be a lucky winner and get a gift card or that gadget you were saving up for.