Non-Scammy Ways To Make Some Scratch Online

Despite what those Nigerian fellas would have you believe, the road to making money online doesn’t come with easy windfalls. Like any other potential cash source, you must choose your spots wisely and spend your resources efficiently to wring some extra pocket money from your endeavors.

Fabulously Broke put together a helpful guide to finding income streams online. Well, perhaps “income trickles” is a more fitting description.

Her selections include:

Surveys. Sites such as : (SurveyBounty) can be grinds, but they are honest organizations that will pay up if you put in the often copious effort.

Sell your stuff. If you’ve lived in the same place for any significant amount of time, odds are you’ve got a bunch of usable junk you’d like to get rid of. Hocking it online will almost always bring you more than the pocket change you could muster with a garage sale. There’s effort involved with posting sales, packing and shipping, but you can set prices that will make the costs worth your while.

Make stuff and sell it. If you’re crafty, you can turn your home into your own private sweatshop and foist your knickknacks to unsuspecting collectors of sweet nothings. You can make wallets, jewelry, decorations and the like with cheap raw materials from craft stores.

If you make money online, how do you do it and how much do you pull in?

How to make money online: part one [Fabulously Broke]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sian says:

    I make my own..


  2. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Assume the name “ShaNeeQua” and offer your “services” on Craigs list.

    Am I really that does this?

  3. turkishmonky says:

    being as I am a web developer, all of my money is made “online”

  4. tater says:

    I did market research surveys through several sites for a few years and made up to $600 per year. Also received some free products.

    Granted, I became incredibly skilled at BSing my way through the “qualifier” surveys that were taken prior to the actual, paying surveys.

    • pop top says:

      What BSing do you have to do exactly?

      • tater says:

        I recall it being a lot of “Have you ever used Kittyturds McEngineer 2000x Software Pro Xtra Fancy Version before?”… kind of crap to which I’d answer “yes”, of course. Then I’d have to answer a bunch of questions about the software. I just guessed everything. Once you’re past the qualifier survey you’re in, so who cares what you say at that point?

        It was always lots of computer software and electronics-related stuff.

        • Plasmafox says:

          I also made a run at surveys once.

          I am a 35-year-old latin woman who eats prepackaged sausage, has diabetes and owns an Xbox 360. Because apparently that is the only demographic eligible to participate in any surveys from toluna.

          Even then, that only raised my acceptance rate by about 10%, about one in four surveys were still like NOPE. Eventually I got a $20 check in the mail representing about ten hours of work.

  5. tater says:

    The majority of checks I was issued were from one research company, in particular (site below). I haven’t used it in a number of years, however.

    • Jigen says:

      I’m on surverysavvy and rarely ever get anything to take. Make like $4 a year

      • tater says:

        I haven’t used the site in 5+ years so it’s possible they’ve restructured the whole system since. I recall receiving some checks for $80 or more which always felt like a lot of money for 45 mins (ish) of survey. Doubt it took them long to realize the same.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Gonna check it out. I enjoy taking surveys (do Zoompanel but they don’t pay money).

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Sounds like that group wants you to harass your friends and family into taking surveys as well. Ugh.

  6. Kate says:

    I’m a graphic artist on the side (I have a real life job as a programmer with health benefits), and one year (before the recession) made more than my salary selling my images. It’s still damn lucrative, if you know how to do it right, not that I’m going to tell you that part.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    Since I happen to be a pattern day trader (according to the SEC) I make all of my money online.

  8. lint42 says:

    I watch deal sites all day and buy stuff low and resell for a small profit on CL, Amazon, Half, and Glyde (not much eBay, they are assholes). I am a stay at home father and as I only made about $700 doing this last year for about 6 months, every little bit helps.

  9. Portlandia says:

    yeah, same here…really easy to BS your way through the surveys.

  10. GMurnane says:

    Not sure if this counts as “making money,” but finding coupons, deals, and money saving tips online has “made” me lots of money.

  11. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Or you could do what I’ve been accused of: Working for corporations/Big Pharma by writing comments defending them on places like Consumerist and Gizmodo. Supposedly the pay is amazing.

  12. shthar says:

    Two words, homemade porn.

  13. JulesNoctambule says:

    I’ve been collecting vintage things for about twenty years, and I’ve used that know-how for selling it, too. As to how much I make, I’m definitely doing better than when I was working part-time as a shop clerk.

  14. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    I did the survey thing, and had it down so well, I was making like $11 an hour. I was in fake broadcasting college at the time, and would stay up every night and sit on my laptop and do them. Ended up getting about $360 worth of Best Buy gift cards before the websites finally grew wise to my completely-legal tactics ;) Only thing is I needed to give them my actual cell phone number. So the day I did that, I called Verizon and told them I didn’t want any text message services on my phone. That is one way these companies can get you, with unwanted texts.

    Oh, and before you say “Why didn’t you just get a job?”, I would ask you this: what job pays you $11 an hour to sit in bed, on your laptop, while listening to music?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Refer to post #2.

      • PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

        But once your services are desired, you have to get OUT of bed, unless you want the trick to come to you. Which, I have learned in the past, is never a good idea.

  15. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    T-shirt designer. I have a full time job and couldn’t just quit tomorrow. But, with a little pre planning and some free time I’ve made enough each month to pay mortgage payments, summer vacation, and for Christmas.

    Lots of great tips on how to do things.
    Basically, I am a pop culture fiend, so I’m always coming up with something.
    And if you want to know how much overhead I have? Around $60 a year for one of my sites.
    The others are free. I use Paint.Net which is free. Twitter, Facebook, Blogger.. free. I have an Internet connection already, so there’s no extra charge on top of my usual usage.

    And, I have a ton of shirts that I made that I like bought with profit.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Hey, those are cool. I love t-shirts. I might buy one.

      Amity Island Swim Club… that made me snortlaugh. :D

  16. livingthedreamrtw says:

    I run a popular travel blog that may or may not be obvious to people reading my name. Some months I earn $0, most I average around $300, and the best month I have had was $1700 from advertising revenue. My goal is to bring my average up to $1000/mo to pay for my half of rent, food, and insurance while I’m unemployed.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That seems very useful. Since I’m traveling more, I’m gonna bookmark it. :)

      • livingthedreamrtw says:

        Awesome! It’s addicting and my favorite hobby for sure. If you ever have any questions, feel free to email me or contact me via whatever medium you find best (have a huge contact info page on the site)

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Some of these sound okay, and some I’m thinking, meh. With more medical bills and the burning desire to blow this joint, any extra will help.

    1. Surveys – I do these on Zoompanel, just for magazines and stuff. A lot of it is “Would you buy this kind of juice,” etc.

    2. Swagbucks – I think I’ll try it and see how it is. Doesn’t sound like you can make much of anything; gift cards would be the best outcome.

    3. Freelance – Ha! I’m already doing it. XD

    4. Write an e-book – planning on it at some point.

    5. Sell your stuff – did sell my table on Craigslist, but no one wanted my cool Sweeney Todd-looking chair. :(

    6. Make stuff and sell it – don’t have time or I totally would. I’ll keep it in the back of my mind in case I move or lose my job.

    7. Start a blog – I have a writer one but it doesn’t have any ads. If I think of some cool stuff I might start a CafePress thing. It might be worthwhile to sell ad space to something writer-ish, if I can think of anything.

    • MMD says:

      I do SwagBucks and consistently get $25 in Amazon gift cards each month – $50 this month! I stored the credit up all last year and spent it on Christmas presents in November and December. Now I’m saving up to defray the cost of a laptop I’ll be buying this spring.

      Want a referral link? ;-)

  18. Wolfbird says:

    I build costumes. I don’t suck at it and other people with my skill level can make a few hundred sometimes. Since I’m going to do it anyway (it’s fun!) I might as well sell some them.. my closet is only so big :C

  19. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    NIche site with targetted ads.
    Google Adsense + affiliate commissions.

  20. CrankyOwl says:

    I’ve been working for a company in the UK for about 6 months, rating online search results. I was skeptical because it sounds like a typical ‘make money online’ scam, but they’ve been paying me ($14.50 an hour) promptly every month. They limit you to working no more than 20 hours a week, but I can only manage about 12 anyway since I work fulltime at my ‘real’ job.

  21. mike says:

    Secret Shopping is my favorite. I got the tip from consumerist way back when.

    Pro-tip: if you have to pay to get secret shopping gigs, then it’s a scam.

  22. spark says:

    I love how cavalierly this tosses off “make stuff and sell it.” Making more than pennies an hour on hand-crafted goods is HARD. Most knick-knacks compete directly with mass-produced WalMart crap, and getting people to pay more than just your materials cost for your stuff is a lot easier said than done! And if you’re going to make more than a tiny trickle of pocket change, there’s a lot of work required beyond just “make stuff.” Advertising, networking, attending local events (which nearly always have fees, and which almost never supply setup, so you need to buy tables, canopies, display stands…) Next thing you know you’re putting in full time hours, but you don’t get paid anything for all that extra work unless you build it into your prices, and then it’s that much harder to sell your stuff (and you get that many more “I could buy this at X retail store for less” comments.)

    (And yes, I make a full time living at “making stuff and selling it” but it’s not something I’d recommend as a career for most people.)

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Yeah I can’t imagine its easy to make money off crafts, materials aren’t cheap and rent to set up at a local fair has got to be pretty high. Unless you have a steady stream of customers who want your goods, if you are just trying to sell stuff randomly at events and fairs I can’t imagine it working out too good. There are so many craft vendors at the fairs here it is insane. Its also quite time consuming to make stuff. Crafts are a good hobby but its probably not something your average person can start up easily and make money on. I have done crafts as a hobby, but the finished product is definitely something I don’t think anyone would want to buy.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Maybe an online marketplace like Etsy would be more cost effective? I don’t know, as I haven’t done any homework about it, but the people I know who prefer to buy crafts made in America as opposed to buying made in China stuff love Etsy and buy the crap out of it. I’ve even started buying body lotions and the like from them.

    • Tenacity says:

      Agree. I had a small arts and crafts business, and folks always came in wanting my expertise for free. Then, they’d go buy stuff at Michael’s, etc. Customers never wanted to pay me for my time. I closed the business after 6 years. Today, I do my crafts for enjoyment only.

  23. Outrun1986 says:

    Contests and sweepstakes. companies give out stuff for free, and all you have to do is fill out an online form to enter. Dedicate about an hour to it a day then watch the prizes start coming in. As far as I am concerned I have won more things than I can count. Even the small prizes like a $10 gift card or coupons for free products help a lot and can add up fast. I have not been called excessively as a direct result of entering contests but you should set up an email dedicated specifically for contests because there will be a lot of spam. You have to check that email at least once every day because most contests will require you to respond back to an email within a certain amount of time.

    This is generally better than GPT sites or survey sites. I haven’t been able to make much off survey sites because I generally don’t qualify for the surveys. In my opinion you can make more by winning prizes than you can on a GPT site and you don’t have to deal with scammy offers that hardly ever approve for credit. It may take a year to earn $200 on a GPT site but with contests winning an item worth $200 won’t take you nearly as long.

    There are two sites that I earn well on though:

    Inboxdollars – literately pays you for clicking a link in an email, you don’t get paid much but it adds up fast. You can only cash out when you have $30 but its nice to get that payment once in a while, and it takes very little effort to get money from them. They are also very reliable. There are other ways to earn with inboxdollars but clicking the emails is the easiest.

    Epinions – money for writing reviews on products. Write a bunch of good, well thought out reviews for electronic products and you will be earning. Every time you write a review it stays in your account forever and keeps earning money forever I assume. So if you get a bunch of good reviews going on there you can make some decent money. There are bonuses for those who write a lot of reviews or those who write very good ones.

    Cashback websites, surprised these haven’t been mentioned yet. There are a variety out there to choose from. Depending on how much you shop online, you could be getting hundreds back a year just for shopping online. All you do is set up an account on one of the sites, find the merchant you want to buy from and click the link and make your purchase. Its basically free money. I find its best to use several sites and shop around to find out who is giving the most cashback for the merchant you are buying from. Different sites also have different lists of merchants so you will want to sign up with a few for the best selection. All the big online retailers participate in cashback programs except for Amazon, I even get money back for iTunes app purchases.

  24. Nighthawke says:

    I save the wear and tear on my nerves, not to mention my mailbox from becoming overstuffed with junk mail, and keep my demographics to myself.

    If i want to make money online, I’ll be using craigslist to sell swag and junk, thank you.

  25. kittenfoo says:

    I make a living writing about 4,000 words a day of web content for people and supplementing it by selling quilts on Etsy and occasionally flipping an expensive handbag on eBay. I have two thrift stores within walking distance of my house run by sweet little old ladies who sell all their handbags for a buck or less. I’ll occasionally find a genuine Coach or Fossil that I can unload for a profit pretty quickly.

  26. lordargent says:

    “Sell your stuff. If you’ve lived in the same place for any significant amount of time, odds are you’ve got a bunch of usable junk you’d like to get rid of.”

    I saved my money by not buying a bunch of junk :D

  27. joshua70448 says:

    I got an invite to e-Rewards via a Gamestop email, and they’ve been really good about sending out rewards. So far I’ve gotten $125 in Gamestop gift cards, $30 in Borders credit, and a coupon for Omaha Steaks, and my wife’s gotten $100 in Gamestop cards from a similar survey site.

  28. pot_roast says:

    I tried many of these. I am not artistic, so that counts out half of them. I tried blogging, and found that I’m lucky to get 5 daily visitors. Adsense revenue is $1 over 6 months. The link sharing programs just turned out to be trash. And she’s right, it takes up a LOT of time. Unfortunately way more time than was really worth it. :/
    Tried freelancing some other skills, and was immediately undercut by kids in eastern europe.

  29. teamgwho says:

    Sell on amazon. I make about $100 a month profit selling books there that I get at garage sales. The key is to buy in large quantities. I try to pay a dollar or two/box of books (which is anywhere from 20-50 books). If you I find a lot of useful books which I keep. I sell anything I can sell for more then 1.00 (anything less is a waste of time) and those I can’t I offer on paperbackswap so I can get books I do want (or dvds I want since the credits are transferable to swapadvd) If you can’t store a boat load of books though, this really won’t work. I have about 5000 books (120 milk crates worth). The alternate is to be more choosy and only sell what is worth at least say… 4.00 and giving the rest away immediately to cut down on the storage space needed, but that will mean less sales and less profit. but less work also.

  30. Yorick says:

    Everytime I’m about to start selling my possessions (before they seriously begin to possess me) I suddenly have to spend more time at work, raking in overtime – and having no real free time among everything I have to do to handle the selling. It’s coincidental, but the consistancy of it worries me.

  31. Midnight Harley says:

    I put Guitar Hero 3 Wii & the controller on craigslist, and got $40 for it. I also bought Just Dance 2 for $7.99, and turned it around and sold it for $36 on Ebay. :D

  32. chaelyc says:

    I made about $120 in 12 months a few years ago doing surveys (plus a random contest or two that I won for participating) for

    It was sort of a grind, as the article states, but considering that I took the surveys during my down-time at work it wasn’t like I sacrificed to make that money.