Sam is always looking for ways to make a little extra money and enjoys sharing tips and advice.
Want to make some easy money online? Join the club. The bandwagon is pretty full, though, and there's a chance you'll come across a very grim reality: It's not particularly fun. Nor immediately rewarding. In all honesty, it can be kind of a drag.
But wait—there is hope! If you're armed with an iOS/Android-powered smartphone, there are actual ways you can start making a little extra moolah on the side—and if you carry the right mindset, it can extremely easy and a little fun to boot.
Set Your Expectations First!
A few things to ponder before we get going:
- Keep your day job. If you're looking for ways to make a living on the Internet, then you'd better start looking elsewhere—not a single one of the apps detailed here is going to make you rich(er) overnight. Being perfectly frank, they're not going present any miracles of grand wealth at all. If used properly, they can supplement a basic spending ("fun money") account, no more and no less, but such is the way of easy money.
- "Cash" doesn't always mean "cash." Some of the apps here provide PayPal deposit options, but you'll mainly be dealing with a variety of gift cards. One strategy you may choose to employ is the Amazon gift card trick, which isn't really a trick at all. Since Amazon allows you rack up a gift card balance that never expires, you have the ability to save your balance and beef it up for larger purchases.
- Don't forget to have fun! Your time is valuable, and earning a few dollars a day isn't worth hours of boredom. The apps selected for this article are meant to include some kind of fun factor, or, at the very least, are non-offensive time wasters you can use when you really have nothing better to do.
So what are you waiting for? Let's get this ball rolling so you can start the earning!
1. Swagbucks Mobile
Platform: iOS / Android
The first thing you'll notice about any of the Swagbucks Mobile apps is that they requires a (free) Swagbucks account. This shouldn't be a big surprise, since it really is supplemental to the Swagbucks loyalty service. It also happens to be one of the easiest ways to consistently earn points, which can then be redeemed for rewards including Paypal cash and a plethora of gift cards.
Let's backtrack a little for those of you who don't know what Swagbucks is. In a nutshell, Swagbucks is a great website that allows its members to earn points called "Swagbucks" from doing a host of different things such as: searching the web, watching advertisements, taking surveys, and (a big favorite) watching short video clips. The video clip section, labeled "Swagbucks TV" awards 3 Swagbucks for every ten videos watched, all the way up to 150 Swagbucks (at least until the end of 2013--the new year will likely bring back their 75 Swagbucks TV cap). This can easily be done by anyone while they're using their computer for other tasks.
The only problem? The videos aren't continuous, and must physically be clicked by the user to begin. So while you can certainly have the video clips play while you're doing something else (like browsing HubPages, for example), you have to consistently stop what you're doing every 90 seconds or so to start the next video.
Cue two awesome apps: the Swagbucks TV Mobile app, and the EntertainNow app, both which features continuous video playback and their very own dedicated daily earnings cap: 50 Swagbucks and 60 Swagbucks respectively. You could hypothetically have either one of these apps running on your favorite mobile device and simply let it play while doing other things, single handedly earning Swagbucks at the same time. Work this system out, and you're literally making money from nothing. It gets even sweeter--while the regular Swagbucks TV earns you 3 Swagbucks for every ten video clips watched, the Swagbucks TV mobile app gives you 2 Swagbucks for every five videos watched. It works out to be around 33% faster.
The EntertainNow app isn't nearly as lucrative--it offers 2 Swagbucks for every 10 videos, but there are plenty of short clips under 30 seconds so it's not nearly as bad as it could be. It doesn't hurt that the video clips they feature on these two apps (and at the regular browser-based version as well) are actually pretty entertaining, and span a good variety of content including news, fashion tips, cooking programs and--this author's personal favorite--movie trailers. No matter how you look at it, it's a win-win situation.
Oh, and there's more! Swagbucks also offers a dedicated "Swagbucks" mobile app that gives you immediate access to your account. Though it's rather limited when compared to their desktop website, the Swagbucks Mobile app has its own dedicated search bar for "search and win" moments, access to a daily poll that always awards 1 Swagbuck, and--here's the big one--a "Discover" section that provides certain offers designed especially for mobile use.
This "Discover" section is actually the best part of the app, since it allows users to download other free apps in exchange for a variable amount of Swagbucks. It's a method not unlike what is offered via AppJoy (which we'll discuss later on within this hub), but if raking in Swagbucks is your preferred reward earning method, it really adds quite a bit to the entire experience. If nothing else, it really does put the "easy" in easy money. Visit this site to learn more about earning Swagbucks.
- All three of the Swagbucks Mobile apps require a Swagbucks membership, which is always a nice thing to have!
- The SBTV app has a daily earnings cap of 50 Swagbucks and the EntertainNow app caps out at 60 Swagbucks, but they are independent of the regular browser based Swagbucks TV cap of 150 Swagbucks. You could hypothetically earn 260 Swagbucks daily from simply watching videos!
- 1 Swagbuck is roughly equivalent to $0.01, but they are worth more if you want to redeem them for a $5 Amazon gift card (which costs 450 Swagbucks).
- $25 Paypal Cash (2500 SB)
- $5 Amazon Gift Card (450 SB)
- $10 Starbucks Gift Card (1,000 SB)
- $10 Target Gift Card (1,000 SB)
- $25 Best Buy Gift Card (2,500 SB)
- $50 Regal Cinemas Gift Card (5,000 SB)
- And more!
There are thousands upon thousands of apps available for both iOS and Android, many of them strikingly similar. Wouldn't it be nice to watch video previews of them before sacrificing your precious disk space? Presenting AppTrailers, a neat little dual-platform app that literally provides trailers for apps...and pays you to watch them!
Well, you get paid in "points," which can then be redeemed for...okay, you get the gist of it. Paypal deposits and gift cards! Sorry, couldn't resist. Anyway: back on track. Each trailer earns you 5 to 30 points, with a heavy emphasis on the "5." Once you preview the app, you can download it, and then leave a "tip" comment which will give you more points. Rack up the points, get free stuff. Everybody wins!
So the most basic function of this app, watching app trailers and getting points, is great and all, but it has another additional feature that kicks it up a considerable notch: user videos. With AppTrailers, you have the ability to upload your Facebook videos into a YouTube-esque format which can also be viewed for points. If your video is popular, users can upvote it, earning you even more points. If you're already already web-clip savvy, then this added bonus is kind of a no-brainer.
Want more? Sure, there's a little more. Aside from offering a ridiculous amount of redeemable gift card options (seriously, it's kind of out of control), users can also redeem their points for touch-screen "scratch" style lottery tickets for the chance to win even more points. It's a nice touch, but be warned: gambling addicts prepare to lose all your "hard-earned" points in silly games of chance!
- You only get points if an advertisement plays before the video. This shouldn't be a problem, but if you start getting videos withouts ads, try deleting and re-installing the app.
- The bonus scratch game is fun, but be careful with it! It can get addictive, and next thing you know, all those saved points will vanish!
- $0.50 Paypal Cash (500 Points)
- $1.00 Amazon Gift Card (500 Points)
- $5.00 Best Buy Gift Card (5,000 Points)
- $9.99 Xbox Live Gift Card (9990 Points)
- SO MANY MORE!
Before we dive into this app, it's important to note that this app goes by two different names: AppJoy and AppNana. They are mostly identical in function, and feature the same exact interface. Both AppJoy and AppNana are available for iOS, and only AppNana is available for Android.
The premise behind AppJoy/AppNana is extremely simple: download free apps that they recommend/advertise, start the apps, earn points which can be redeemed for stuff. Delete the app from your device if you don't want to keep it. The AppJoy app itself sports a clean and pleasant aesthetic, and unlike other reward services out there, the point system they use (called "Nanas") work in extremely high increments.
In other words, downloaded apps reward you anywhere from 400 to 4000 points, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's awesome because earning lots of Nanas is a satisfying and visceral experience. It's lame because the prizes cost a lot of Nanas. It's a neat trick, but in the end, the points-to-reward ratio isn't any better than other options that are available for you.
Breaking down AppJoy a little more: when you want to earn Nanas, you have several sponsor affiliates to work with, each one of them differing slightly in how they look. Each sponsor offers a different variety of apps to choose from, but you're going to see a lot of overlap. This is an important factor to consider, since some sponsors may offer more nanas for the same app, but you can only get credit for a particular app download once.
It's a good idea to explore the sponsor offers to see if one of them is offering more Nanas for the same app download. This is important because, as you will probably notice after a little trial and error, that you can only get credited for an app download once.
Like all loyalty reward services, you'll earn lots of points early on, but this will taper out and new app downloads will become pretty rare. In a move to entice users to consistently check the app for new material, 400 Nanas are awarded daily every time a person opens AppJoy/AppNana, and they also provide a 2,500 Nana referral reward system. If someone uses your referral code, both parties receive 2,500 Nanas.
Here's the kicker--your referral code can be entered by an unlimited amount of users, but you can only enter a referral code once. This little diddy has spawned the rise of lite-scammers claiming that they have "hacked" the system, and they proclaim that using their referral code will give you more Nanas. These are flat out lies--you can only get 2,500 Nanas when you use a referral code. Don't be a sucker.
- You can only get credited for an app download once, so make sure to explore a little and see if a different sponsor is offering the same app for more Nanas.
- Some apps have different versions optimized for tablets, which means you may be able to get credit for app downloads on two different devices.
- Don't believe the scam-artists! Referral codes can only be entered for 2,500 Nanas--never more than that!
- $1 Amazon Gift Card (30,000 Nanas)
- $3 Amazon Gift Card (60,000 Nanas)
- $10 Paypal Deposit (160,000 Nanas)
- $15 iTunes Gift Card (210,000 Nanas)
Taking marketing surveys for cash is popular way to make a little extra money on the Internet, but they are notorious for taking up gobs of time and offering very little in the way of return. The surveys that you take at http://www.ipoll.com aren't any different, but they have an alternative solution in the form of their mobile app (iOS/Android). Instead of taking long form browser based surveys, users with the iPoll app are provided short and sweet surveys they can complete for cash.
Most of the surveys you'll run into are location based, which means your planned trip to the grocery store or the bank could trigger a survey opportunity, and you could make quick, easy money in just a few short minutes. Sure, it's not as fun as earning points from watching videos, but the surveys are always very short and and engaging enough to keep the iPoll app away from "totally lame" territory.
One thing you may notice with the iPoll app is that unlike almost all other "easy money" systems out there, you get paid in dollar denominations, so there's no point-to-dollar conversion confusion. It's a nice touch, but it's also a little misleading: though you earn a dollar amount in your account bank, you can't actually withdraw any of it for actual (Paypal) cash until you've reached $50 (iPoll also charges a 3% fee for Paypal transactions). There are plenty of other redeemable items available for lesser denominations, but only one cash option. You also don't have the option to redeem anything within the app itself; all rewards have to be redeemed through the actual iPoll website.
As mentioned, the iPoll app isn't the most fun you'll have earning some bonus money, but it's certainly not boring, and can act as a nice little non-intrusive supplemental way to slowly get some decent rewards. And if you don't mind taking those long form surveys, the standard browser based website offers plenty of those as well, in turn improving profit potential.
- After you download the iPoll app, become familiar with their website so you'll know how to redeem your earned dollars
- The mobile surveys are quick and easy, but the browser based surveys are longer and typically take longer to complete. Remember not to rush through them, though--they won't credit you for those long browser-based surveys if you zip through them!
- $25 Gamestop Gift Card ($25)
- $50 Paypal Deposit ($50 + 3% fee)
- Various Magazine Subscriptions ($10 - $50)
- More more more!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Sam Islam
Jacobb9205 on February 17, 2015:
Thank you for these apps!
Joe from north miami FL on May 29, 2014:
thanks for the advice and yeah it definitely would add up
Sam Islam (author) from Vancouver, WA on May 28, 2014:
Hi joedolphin88, thanks for visiting my my hub and commenting! Swagbucks is a pretty great pay-t0-click (among other things) way to earn extra cash on the side. I make around $3.50 a day with it...not going break the bank, but it adds up over time! I recommend checking it out sometime.
Joe from north miami FL on May 28, 2014:
Not sure what swag bucks is surprised that 40% of people on here use it
Joe from north miami FL on May 23, 2014:
Wow I think it sounds easier in theory. highly interesting smartphone article. Just wrote three smartphone articles myself. If you get a chance let me get some pointers
Sam Islam (author) from Vancouver, WA on July 28, 2013:
Thank you SpaceShanty! And yes, these methods aren't the most lucrative way to make money, but it's hard to deny their ease. With that, though, if you use more than one of the apps at the same time (like I do), then earning potential increases quite a bit.
SpaceShanty from United Kingdom on July 28, 2013:
Very interesting Hub but I guess I will have to keep my day job!