The Best Money Earning Apps Of 2018: 9 Free Apps That Will ACTUALLY Make You Money

March 15, 2018 Jordan Meola 22 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read My Disclosure for more info.



So if you’ve ever looked for some free and easy ways to save money, or make a little money on the side, you’ve probably heard by now that there are lots of phone apps out there that can help.



Fresh out of college I found myself with a fair bit of student loan debt, and it was obvious that I needed to cut down on expenses everywhere I could, so naturally I looked into this a bit.



I have tried a TON of free “money making” apps.



And wanting to make sure I picked the right ones, I read tons of lists (sort of like this one) to find the best free money earning apps out there.



I’m going to be honest, they drove me crazy! Because almost every one of the lists I found were promoting every single option that gives a referral bonus, whether they were worth it or not!
So I have made this list based on both the apps that worked really well, AND the ones that did not, and I’ll be as straightforward as possible with you



If you’re looking for some free ways to passively save or make some money, these are the best money earning apps available in 2018… in my experience.



Just bear in mind, these do require that you have a smart phone, which if you clicked on this, is probably already the case.



Best Money Earning Apps of 2018 Listed








Dosh is a fairly new app. It’s one of the MANY in the cash back family.



Essentially, the way it works, is that you download the app for free, link your credit or debit card to the app, and then every time you use that card to make a purchase at a store that’s on their list of qualifying stores, they give you some money back on it.



It’s super easy, super passive, and you can completely forget it’s even there until you suddenly have $20 to withdraw from it.



What I like about this app is that while most similar apps, like Drop, will just give you points towards gift cards (to basically spend more money), you have the option of getting Dosh cash sent to your PayPal, or even direct deposited in your bank, so that you can do whatever you want with it. Put it in savings. Use it to pay bills. You name it.



The other thing I love about Dosh is that you can actually make decent money by referring this to your friends (and beyond). Rather than simply using the app, you can also get anywhere from $5 to $15 (depending on the promotion at the time) for every person that gets the app, and links a card, per your recommendation! Think outside of the box – recommending a free app that will SAVE people money is a really easy sell – post it to dozens of public Facebook groups related to shopping, buying, selling, or saving money! There are people that have made thousands of dollars in a couple weeks doing this.



There are some catches as well. Take a look at the pros and cons of Dosh here:





  • Extremely easy to use, and almost entirely passive
  • Ideal if you frequent restaurants, fly often, or book hotels often (it’s perfect for travelers)
  • Pays actual money (not just points and gift cards)
  • Easy and lucrative to refer friends, because it’s free for everyone
  • Great if you use Sam’s Club, or Forever 21 regularly





  • The list of qualifying businesses, especially in small towns, is very small
  • Most rewards are related to travel
  • Some may be uncomfortable with linking a card



Dosh can be frustrating because of the limited number of participating businesses, but it’s an easy and passive way of saving money, and it’s my favorite in this category! You can download it HERE and GET A $5 Sign-Up Bonus!






Ebates is by far the best cash back option for ANYONE who ever does shopping online. You can read my more in-depth review of Ebates HERE.


The way Ebates works is this: every time you purchase something online, from Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, or any one of thousands of stores, go through Ebates first and they’ll give you some money back on it.



The number of stores that will give you money back through Ebates is ENORMOUS. Sometimes these may be amounts of only 3%-5%, but many will pay much more than this.



For example, I purchased my wife a $30 bouquet for Valentine’s Day, through The 30% cash back from Ebates meant I got over $8 back of what I paid!



This screenshot was my Ebates account in less than a month of getting Ebates:



It’s often a debate whether or not it’s cheaper to shop online or in-store. You may have to pay shipping online, and gas to get to a store, but the reality is there are more and more ways to avoid shipping costs now (Amazon, for example, will ship for free on an order over $25, or if you have a free-trial or subscription of Prime).



Ebates will give up to $75 back on your phone plan if you sign up with Verizon, $30 if you host your website through HostGator, and $150 for getting Dish network, just to name a few non-shipped options.



You can make it even EASIER by applying the Cash Back Button, which will attach to your browser so you get the cash back automatically, without even having to go to Ebates first.



Considering it’s a totally free app, there’s no reason NOT to use Ebates. Try it HERE and GET A $10 Sign-Up Bonus (if you use it).




Inbox Dollars



Now I want to be careful recommending this one, and make sure you read this fully before signing up for this!



Inbox Dollars is a free website, but MANY of the ways you can make money through it are a complete waste of time, and not worth the small return on your investment.



There are many ways of making money through Inbox Dollars:



  • Taking “paid” surveys
  • Watching vidoes
  • Downloading apps or joining free survey sites
  • Using the Inbox Dollars search box to serf the internet
  • Shopping through Inbox Dollars (similar to Ebates)
  • Answering a daily trivia question



There are TONS of ways to make money through Inbox Dollars. The ONLY ones that are really worth it are: signing up for free stuff you would get anyway, joining something like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, or Hulu, and watching the videos.



Inbox Dollars will pay you, on average, around $0.10 for every 20-30 minutes of their TV that you watch. The thing is, you can leave the TV running on your phone, through this app, and go about your day, completely ignoring it.



Plug your phone into the wall at work, hit play, check on it periodically to apply the earnings to your account, but otherwise just forget it’s there!



It may be a slow way of earning, but you can do it almost 100% passively.



If you work 8 hour days, 22 days a month, it’s safe to say you could pocket an extra $50 per month by making this a habit.



I only remembered to do it about half of the time, and this was my earning after a couple months:




You can start using it for free HERE and get a $5 Sign-Up Bonus Instantly! Just remember, DON’T DO THE SURVEYS! Surveys will waste massive amounts of time, and rarely ever pay enough to compensate it. Inbox Dollars will notoriously ask you tons of questions, and then disqualify you and pay you nothing.



The only survey/product testing website I would recommend is Product Report Card.





By far one of the best cash back apps that you need to be using is Ibotta! It’s the only “grocery app” that I recommend, because others I have tried like Shopkick, and Checkout 51 (unless you buy in bulk) have been abysmal.
You can read my more in-depth review HERE.



This is how it works:



  • Buy your groceries
  • Check Ibotta for matching offers
  • Scan your receipts (and sometimes barcodes)
  • Ibotta gives you money back on them



It’s by far the best of these apps because it’s easy to use, it pays you in MONEY, and there are tons of options for you to scan.



This is a screenshot of my earnings after only 2 months of using the app:



And this is from groceries that I was buying ANYWAY! Eggo waffles, Ritz crackers, Red Baron frozen pizza, Green Giant green beans, often ANY BRAND items of milk, eggs, or butter, and so on. The $48 amount + $6.81 coming in is ONLY from purchasing my regular groceries, and household items (like hair gel) and getting cash back on them.






– A grocery app that pays in money, instead of points and gift cards

– The only one I’ve found that actually has a wide variety of options

– Fairly easy to use

– Pays quickly

– TONS of participating stores

– It’s free money!





– Sometimes the items that qualify for bonuses will be the more expensive items.

– Only seems to pay through PayPal at this point

– Only available in the U.S. and Puerto Rico



You can try Ibotta at THIS LINK and get a $10 BONUS (as long as you use it).







S’more is a fresh new entry in the long list of lockscreen apps.



Basically, this is how it works – you download the app, it puts an ad on your lockscreen so you have to swipe twice to get into your phone, and it pays you $0.10 per day to keep it there.



It’s 100% free, of course, and it’s really just a matter of whether or not you have the patience to put up with seeing an advertisement on your lockscreen, with the time and date.



I recommend S’more above the rest because it pays you a very consistent $0.10 every day, while many others will only award points or cash sporadically.






– it’s an extremely easy and passive $3 each month

– A little coffee money can never hurt

– it’s surprisingly easy to just get used to

– it’s better than others, like Slidejoy, because it pays consistently






– The payments are extremely small, like any lockscreen app

– This is one of the only apps i recommend that pays only in points for gift cards (like Amazon and Starbucks)

– Can be annoying, especially at first



S’more is a very simple free app, that will pay you a little pocket change for doing nothing other than opening your phone once a day. If your budget is tight right now, try it out HERE and get a free $0.25.









Ok, here’s the thing; I specialize in helping people grow their money. This is what I do for a living.



There are a lot of different ways that you can do this, and using safe retirement investments is ALWAYS a smart road.



With a good lump sum of money, and a bit of time, an annuity can guarentee you an excellent income for life.



There are some Indexed Universal Life policies that are hitting 12% interest rates on the cash value (compare that to a savings account for a second…) , and your money withdrawals are not only 100% tax free, but it won’t even affect or raise your tax bracket.
There are plenty of good ways of growing money.



But perhaps the most potentially lucrative money-growth opportunity is through investing in stocks. Many people who aren’t familiar with stock trading (and even many who are, hit some bad trades, and got cynical) will talk about it like it’s the lottery. This isn’t necessarily true at all.



It’s a riskier investment, but I would suggest that penny stocks (combined with some strategy and a knack for timing) are the easiest way to grow small amounts of money into massive retirement fortunes.



Think about it, many penny stocks start out at $0.05 per share! You could get 100 shares of this with a $5 dollar bill. Penny stocks are extremely volatile, because they’re so young, so if you aren’t choosing well, it could easily go bust… but it could also launch to $400 per share, and you would then be in possession of an extra $40,000, on a $5 investment.



Even if it climbs only a few dollars, it’s a fairly significant gain.



If you understand that penny stocks are so much about human nature, emotions, and greed (more than they are about numbers and algorithms), you can become extremely effective at sensing when other people think they found the next Amazon or Google. It could be a totally rotten stock, but if you know how to jump into the wave, and back out, you can make small, fast gains with ease, and grow your money exponentially.



The biggest issue with trying to trade tiny penny stocks, with tiny amounts of money, is that the vast majority of places to trade will also charge you trading fees and commissions on your earnings.



This is where Robinhood comes in.



The Robinhood app not only makes buying and selling stocks super easy (for once), but it is also one of only 2 options I have ever found that is 100% free to use!


I opened an account with Robinhood, did my research, and made a 65% gain on my money in less than 3 weeks. Sell it. Then do it again. It’s fast growth.



The Pros of Robinhood:



– No hidden fees, no trading costs, no commissions, period.

– Incredibly simple and easy to use

– A perfect option for beginners that gives you more control than something like Acorns



The Cons of Robinhood:



– The #1 issue I have with Robinhood is that the options for small penny stocks and cryptocurrencies is fairly limited

– If you’re more advanced in trading, it may be TOO simple



I have another account with TD Ameritrade, which is excellent, for when I am trading more obscure penny stocks, but Robinhood is by far the best trading app I have ever found, and makes the whole process so much more affordable!



For free trading you can join Robinhood HERE, and you and I will both get a free stock.




Receipt Hog


Receipt Hog is a pretty straightforward app.



Take those grocery receipts that you scanned for Ibotta, and also scan them on Receipt Hog.



Receipt Hog doesn’t care about specific products, as long as the store you shop at is on their list they will give you credit just for snapping a picture of your receipt on the app.



This is fantastic because you are unlimited by super specific eligible products – as long as you have a receipt with SOMETHING on it, you can be rewarded.





– All you need is receipts to scan, even if you’re collecting them from your Mom!

– Points can be cashed in for money through PayPal, or pre-paid Visa cards

– Takes almost no time, and is very easy

– No worries about qualifying products




– Receipt Hog does not pay a ton

– Currently only available in the U.S. and the U.K.







Swagbucks is nearly identical to Inbox Dollars.



Although it looks better, more modern, and runs more efficiently, Swagbucks isn’t quite as good as Inbox Dollars in my experience, and here’s why:



1. You usually can’t leave the videos running if your screen is not open to the videos.



2. It is based on a points system (swagbucks) instead of actual cash, and although the swagbucks can be turned in for money, it’s easier for sites like this to get away with awarding extremely small amounts of money and make it sound like a lot



This doesn’t mean that I don’t endorse Swagbucks!



It DOES offer an absolutely massive number of ways to make money, many of which are completely free. Considering that you can get an easy $5 bonus for signing up HERE, and $3 every time you get a friend to join it for free, it’s worth adding.



Just remember, don’t waste your valuable time on surveys! By all means, leave those vidoes running, but don’t do surveys. You may not hear this much online, but I assure you there are better and more valuable uses of time.




Field Agent


I was pretty skeptical about Field Agent when I first checked out the Google Play reviews of the app (though it holds almost 5 stars in the Apple store), until I noticed that the majority of negative reviews were by people that expected the app to replace a full time income… let me just emphasize – that’s not what this app is for.


I decided to try the app out for myself.


This is how it works: you can scroll through a variety of “jobs” on the app, which are basically “paid to shop” opportunities. And some of the options are super easy ways to put a few extra bucks in your pocket while you’re at the store! It typically involves buying certain products, asking an employee for help, or taking a couple pictures of something. They usually pay between $3 and $12.


For example, I needed to buy brake lights for my car a few weeks ago – Field Agent would pay me about $3 to go to Auto Zone and buy car washing soap (they also reimburse you fully), so I not only got free $6 car soap but I also got almost the entire cost of my brake lights back in cash.


I got another $7 yesterday just for picking up my groceries from Walmart, snapping 3 pictures, and answering a 1 minute survey.


It’s NOT a big money maker – the point is to reduce your costs without having to change your shopping habits.




While Givling is NOT a money earning app (at least not consistently) I had to include it on this list because it’s pretty great.



Givling is a trivia app that you can plan twice a day for free. Every day there is an opportunity to win a different amount of money (ranging from $100-$1,000), but it when you allow it to play ads it goes towards crowdfunding students loans and mortgages!



The app donates it’s earnings towards paying off $50,000 of a student loan, or $25,000 of a mortgage. By joining the app your name will going into a queue, which is essentially a lottery, for having your loan paid off.



The chances of your loan actually being paid are pretty low, but being put into a lottery for a loan repayment just for playing a fun, free trivia game is still a sweet deal!



If you want to use my code JM10956 when joining I would appreciate it! It gives me an extra free plan :).




Those are by far the best money earning apps that I have experienced, A penny saved is a penny earned, as they say, and these apps (along with a few other habits I mention HERE), collectively save me around $1,000 a year just by shaving off my living expenses.



If you’re looking for ways to make SUBSTANIAL income online you can read about my top recommended options at these posts!:



How Do You Make Money With Blogging
How Is Affiliate Marketing Online?
The Wealthy Affiliate Program

22 People reacted on this

  1. Hello and thank you for this informative article and summarizing all the best pay back options out there that actually work.
    I personally never use these because I don’t l shop online but maybe the time has come for me to change this paradigm and get more into it. I was particularly drawn to the ebates and I guess I have to do it once to see it works and repeat action. I’ll save your article and thanks again

    1. Hello Eli, thanks for commenting! And I’m glad you found the list helpful. 

      Many of these apps are best suited to online shopping, but some of them don’t require it at all. If you do a lot of your shopping in stores Ibotta and Receipt Hog are two of the best options. Ibotta will pay you for purchasing groceries in-store, and Receipt Hog will pay you small amounts just for having a receipt from a store, which can add up very quickly. 

      Ebates is an excellent resource, which I have used to get money back when shopping online. You can cut many costs using Ebates.

  2. What a great way for making a little extra cash especially if you travel and dine out on a regular basis.
    I had no idea these apps even existed and unfortunately, I am not in a supporting country. I see students getting behind these apps and reaping the benefits. I like the groceries apps best as you do this several times a week and still get a return

    1. Hello Geoff, I’m glad you found it helpful! Though it’s unfortunate that many of these apps are not yet available outside of the United States, UK, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Ebates IS available in Asian countries, but some of the companies to purchase from online may not be available in all Asian countries.

  3. I love the money making apps which pays actually money and not points. It is all about the money! I will be trying out those apps.
    I have some student loan debt to pay off, so I very much like Givling. Does Givling helps to pay off student loan debt worldwide or is it only for specific countries?

    1. I like them too! I get very frustrated with points-based apps, because it’s easier for them to award extremely small rewards and make it sound like it’s a lot. 

      None of these apps will replace a full-time income. But they can save a LOT of money, without spending much time, when used right. Between this and some rewards programs I save around $1,000/year just by cutting costs this way, and without living like a miser or refusing to ever spend money. 

      Unfortunately, Givling is not yet available outside of North America. It’s fun, and the concept of it is very good, I hope that it will spread outside of the U.S. quickly! 

  4. Hey there!

    What you are presenting on your website is really useful information. Since I find it really hard to figure out the best apps for money making because there are hundreds available. You did a great job in choosing this headline.

    Would it also possible to rank that app list by importance? What app would be the first you would recommend? Would be really interested to hear your opinion.
    All the best

    1. Hello Johann! Thanks for commenting!

      I have sifted through a ton of money making apps over time and it definitely helps to have a good list to narrow them down.

      It’s difficult to make a number 1 app, or to rank them, but I would say that Ibotta, Ebates, and Robinhood are the 3 most important. Ibotta and Ebates are extremely effective at saving you money on your expenses. Robinhood is one of the only places where buying and selling stocks is both free and easy. So it has a huge advantage to anyone trying to grow their money.

  5. Hi Jordan!

    I’ve seen a lot of these apps elsewhere, and these apps are great in making some money while using these apps.
    I prefer apps like Dosh, Ebates, Robin Hood and Receipt Hog.
    The main issue with these apps is that the work in some countries only. Living in a small country, I find it difficult to find any of these that are of a practical use to me.

    So, I’d like to ask, which of these apps work worldwide?

    Thanks for the insight!

    1. Hello Marios! Thanks for commenting!

      Ebates is available in many countries. It’s a free app/website that you can use in most nations, as long as the U.S. companies you order from do not have sanctions with the country that you reside in. 

      It does at least require that you’re able to order from companies that are a part of Ebates, but there are thousands of companies that qualify.

      I believe that Dosh is only available in North America, and Robinhood is currently only available in the U.S. and Australia, but is planning on becoming more global. Receipt Hog is available in the U.S. and the U.K. 

      What country are you located in?

        1. Cyprus! I’ve heard it’s beautiful but I’ve never been there. I live in the states, but descended from Italy. I have visited Venice, and all of the nations in the Balkans, including the coast of the Adriatic. It’s a very beautiful place.

          There are several very good cryptocurrency exchanges that you can use in your location! Do you use the Euro? My understanding is that there has been some regulation in Cyprus but nothing too limiting. These are the 3 best crypto exchanges available in your area to my knowledge: BitSquare, Lake BTC, and BitStamp. Coinbase is available, and very popular, but you will find the best and cheapest exchange opportunity at one (or all) of those 3, okay? Generally fewer deposit or withdrawal fees which is excellent, and generally lower trading fees.

          Getting verified (so they know you’re not a hacker or a risk) can sometimes take a while, because crypto is very popular, but it offers a lot of upside once you’re in.

  6. This is pretty cool information. This is a great way to get a few extra dollars every month. As long as it doesn’t take too much of my time and attention I think they all should be tried.
    Currently, I have ebates and Walmart. I know you didn’t mention Walmart, but if you do shop there, the Walmart savings catcher app will pay you the difference if they find the product priced cheaper in your area. I get at least $20 a month!

    1. Hello Cynthia, I’m glad you found it helpful! And thanks for the tip! I actually do a good bit of shopping at Walmart, so I think that could be really useful for me. I’ll definitely try it out, and maybe add it to the list! 

      Thanks for the advice! 

  7. I have been searching for money making apps. You have given many options which I never knew existed. I am currently using MooCash and MOBROG. MOBROG pays for surveys. I would like to try out Inbox Dollars as it sounds similar to MooCash. Another that I may want to try is Robinhood but since it relates to penny stocks I am worried if it is easy to lose lots of money as well if not careful.

    1. Hey rmija, I’m glad you found it helpful! There are a lot of really great apps out there. I’m actually using one right now called Stride that helped me track all of my business expenses as a self-employed person. It’s super useful!

      I actually haven’t heard of MooCash or MOBROG, I’ll have to check them out some time.

      InboxDollars can be really useful. It has so many ways of making a little cash. It will pay you $0.05 just to walk in to certain stores, like Walmart, pays some change to let videos play, and a bunch of other fairly passive stuff. 

      Robinhood is definitely the app to start with if you want to start trading stocks. It’s the only platform out there that’s 100% free to use. Others will charge commissions or trading fees. Penny stocks definitely have some risk, but also a ton of upside potential. 

  8. Thanks for selecting this idea
    That is a more informative site regarding money-making apps with game apps and e-commerce platforms like Shopify.
    and also you mentioned affiliate marketing too, with Wealthy Affiliate
    actually better informative idea for e-commerce and online business. I ‘d like to ask regarding cryptocurrency apps, is it included in this apps?
    thanks very much these content

    1. Hello, thanks for commenting!

      I can see that you and I have a lot of similar interests. eCommerce is an exploding industry now, it’s growth has been huge! And with Shopify anyone can become successful with it. My wife and I are launching a store soon. 

      I do not have a lot of familiarity with crypto, although I am interested in it. I know that the Coinbase app is one of the most popular and reputable crypto trading apps. You can also use Robinhood, which is a stock trading app that recently added cryptos. They have Stellar, Ripple, Eth, and a few others. It’s totally FREE to trade on Robinhood too! The only downside is that there’s a waiting list right now to get onto the crypto trading platform. 

  9. I love Ebates. I have been using the app and the Chrome extension for a while now. Sometimes I earn money without even realizing it until I get the email saying how much money I earned in my account for the month. I have downloaded Ibotta but I still haven’t used it. After reading your review I definitely need to get into gear with uploading these grocery receipts!

    1. Hello Josephine, thanks for commenting!

      I’m a fan of Ebates too. It’s so passive, and saves money so easily. For anyone that orders anything online, there’s no reason NOT to use it and save a little money. 

      I’ve had a really good experience with Ibotta. It depends a little bit on what grocery store you use, but Wegman’s, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Giant, and a bunch of others have a ton of rebates you can get money back on. 

    1. Hey Evon!

      Great point! Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars are 2 very good options that are available in many different countries, but beyond these I’m not too familiar with many international options. I’ll tell you what – I will look into this and produce a post soon that covers some international options for money earning apps.

      Thanks for the ideas!

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