16+ Ways I Made Money (without a job) in 2016!


In 2015 I lost my job, and half of my family’s income. My dad had just recently died of lung cancer and I was nine months pregnant with my second son who ended up in the NICU after he was born. It was a terrible, stressful timeΒ – with money concerns high on the stress list! However, despite the challenges,Β I have not returned to work in the traditional sense. Instead, I have been home with my two boys (avoiding childcare costs) and my family has been in “make it work” mode ever since.

I have put in a lot of effort while staying home with my sons to contribute financially to the household. I am highly motivated by my desire to get out of debt. I wanted to share with you today over 16 different ways I have earned money without a job in 2016. This is not the kind of article where an author just lists a million ideas, whether they have tried them or not. Anyone could write that if they wanted to. Every single thing in this post is something I have personally done, this year, to earn money for my family. Enjoy and I hope you find a new way to help yourself financially! πŸ™‚

make money without job

16+ Ways I Made Money (without a job) in 2016!


I love apps. Especially apps that allow me to earn free money. And the simpler the better. I have not tried every app that exists however. These are my favorites that I have used consistently throughout the year.


made money no job

SIGN UP RIGHT NOW! <– That’s my referral link and you’re crazy if Ibotta is available in your country and you’re not using it yet. Ibotta is a rebate app and I personally use it most for my grocery shopping. I have earned $338.75 via Ibotta so far in 2016. And this is actual cash (via PayPal or venmo), that I am able to use to pay bills or pay down debt.

I wrote about my extreme love for Ibotta here if you want to read more.Β I’m clearly a big fan.Β Seriously, sign up!

Receipt Pal

I wrote about Receipt Pal here if you want to read more.

Receipt Hog

I haven’t reviewed Receipt Hog but it works similarly to Receipt Pal (above), with a few additional bells and whistles.

Panel App

I reviewed Panel App here if you want to learn more.


I haven’t written about Shopkick on the blog yet, but I very casually used it throughout 2016. I recently redeemed my earnings for a giftcard that I put towards groceries.

Walmart Savings Catcher

Really loving this one and wish I had started using it earlier in the year! An easy to use app that is putting cash into my pocket by letting me save on groceries. Learn more about my experience with Walmart Savings Catcher by reading this post.


made money no job

Ebates is a no-brainer if you do ANY online shopping. I do very little shopping, and I still am able to earn some cash back via Ebates. It’s very simple to use. When you are ready to shop, check the ebates website first. You may earn a certain percentage of cash back on purchases you were going to make anyway. They also sometimes have extra coupons or deal codes for you to use! Ebates send “big fat checks” a few times a year, and I am expecting one next month! πŸ™‚ Sign up through my ebates referral link! When you sign up you should get a $10 giftcard!


made money no job

I have been using Swagbucks for YEARS! I absolutely love it and have used it to varying degrees during different stages of life. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Swagbucks is a way of earning free giftcards by doing a variety of “everyday tasks” online. There is everything from a simple daily poll, to longer surveys, online shopping, special offers and videos you can watch for credit. My favorite way to earn Swagbucks is through their mobile apps. I let the videos run throughout the day, and I let my ‘bucks build up for several months before cashing out.

I’m currently waiting on $75 in PayPal cash via Swagbucks. It will arrive any day now and I’ll be sending it off as an extra debt payment! πŸ™‚ In previous years I have used Swagbucks (turned into Amazon.com giftcards usually) to buy kids birthday and Christmas gifts, diapers, groceries, and household goods. I even wrote about it in the very early days of my blog. Sign up now through my Swagbucks referral link!

Selling Things – In Person

Adult Consignment

Using local consignment shops I have sold clothes (my own and some of my mom and sister’s), and household items. Here are my best tips for consignment selling success.

Kids Consignment

Kids consignment is a much bigger money maker for me than the adult stuff! Kids just require so much stuff, and don’t use it for very long. I sold A LOT of baby clothes, shoes, toys, books and gear in 2016!

Used Book Store

We have a used book store locally that is very picky, but I have had some success in selling books to them. Check to see what’s available in your area.

Selling Things – Online


I used the Wallapop app to sell some baby stuff, maternity clothing, and books this year. The app may no longer exist but there are quite a few other options on the market – check the app store! Read my tips for selling online here.

Facebook Yard Sale Groups

Another great option for making money off of your unwanted stuff! Local “yard sale” groups! I have sold a mattress and some other furniture via Facebook groups. Relatively easy and painless, just follow the guidelines and the group you are in.


Sponsored Posts

I had my first taste of writing sponsored posts this year! I have enjoyed the experience so far and will consider more in the future if they are a good fit for my blog and my readers. πŸ™‚

Virtual Assisting & Social Media Marketing

One of the most rewarding ways I have made money so far this year. I have done a few different things for a few different clients. The tasks have varied quite a bit but have included creating Pinterest graphics, updating website links, setting up social media accounts, submitting links to blog link parties, creating quote graphics, posting regularly on a Facebook business page, and writing emails. My clients have been fellow bloggers, local small business owners and local real estate agents.

Bonus Ways

These fall under the blogging category technically. I have earned money from these avenues, but not enough to cash out and receive the funds yet.

Amazon Associates

I use Amazon Associates on this blog. When website owners and bloggers who areΒ associatesΒ create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn referral fees. It’s free to join and easy to use. If you have a blog, you should definitely sign up! Here’s my associate link to the main Amazon page. If you were to click through that link and then make a purchase, I’d earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Easy peasy.

Google AdSense

I use Google AdSense to place advertisements on my blog. I’m not earning the big bucks, since I’m not a huge blogger, but I will get a pay out eventually and I view this as passive income. I set it up once and don’t think about it often!


Chitika is a fairly simple, easy to set up ad network you can add to your blog. Yes, you can use ChitikaΒ if you are already using google AdSense! πŸ™‚ They also have a referral program. Click here on my referral link to sign up!

Find What Works For You …

This list is not the be-all, end-all, list of ways to make money without a job. They are things I have tried and had success with. I highly encourage you to find what works for you. It may be something I have not tried yet – like babysitting, dog walking, selling on Etsy, some kind of freelance work, or an app I haven’t discovered.

But Never Sell Yourself Short …

One piece of advice, if you are trying to earn money without a traditional job – please have high expectations for yourself. One of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey is when he says “don’t step over dollars to pick up pennies.” Please don’t spend hours of your time on survey websites earning just a few cents for your time. You are better and more capable than that, I’m sure of it! Really think about the skills you have (we ALL have skills!), and ask friends and family if you need help coming up with a list. There are things you can do to earn money from home, you just may need to open your mind to the possibilities!

How did you earn money in 2016?

make money no job

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  1. Love this because it shows you can still make a difference with side hustling and so many little things here and there.
    Julie recently posted…10 Goof-proof Digital Marketing Tips for Freelancing MomsMy Profile

  2. I have the ibotta app on my iPad but have never used it. Maybe I should start. I use Checkout51 all the time and have gotten paid from them, they are great.
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…Realistic Virtue Names for Your BabyMy Profile

    • You should use it Jenny! πŸ™‚ I had checkout51 on my phone at one point, but find more rebates on Ibotta! πŸ™‚ Whatever works for you, right? πŸ™‚

  3. This is a very informative post. I love using Ebates and Ibotta. I’ve tried signing up for receipt hog. I have to look into receipt pal now. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great list! I love Ebates! I use it all the time.
    Amber Myers recently posted…Hey, It’s OkayMy Profile

  5. wow this is a great post! Thanks for sharing
    chei recently posted…$200 Holiday Gift Box Giveaway + August 2016 Monthly Income ReportMy Profile

  6. This is excellent information! I am considering staying home for a year with my son and this bolsters my.confidence a bit. I know it won’t be quick riches, but just seeing someone else hustle her buns off is quite a motivator for me to follow my own dream. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely click your referral links should I decide to go through with it.

    • “hustle her buns off” I love it!!! πŸ™‚ lol I do feel like that’s what I’m doing most of the time – and you can totally do it too!

  7. I have been working from home blogging since 2009. I don’t make as much money as I would outside of the home. However when you consider what I am saving on childcare costs, I am probably ending up with the same amount of income. Thanks for sharing that list of apps. I hadn’t heard of most of them and will have to check them out.
    Jen V. recently posted…Raw Spice Bar Subscription Review ~ Go on a Culinary World Adventure!My Profile

  8. Great post! Ebates is definitely awesome! I used it every time I shop online and it’s so nice to get some cash back. I’m going to look into Swagbucks. Thanks for this list!

  9. Great list – I use ebates (when I remember ) but I haven’t heard of many of the other programs. Something to look into thank you.
    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project recently posted…How to Make the Ultimate Vegan Superfood SmoothieMy Profile

  10. Thanks for sharing. I use ibotta and trying to start a virtual assistant business.

  11. Wow this is great. Good for you, still making money without having a job. Some great ideas here.

  12. Really great tips! I have used a few of them such as Swagbucks but I always forget to use websites when I online shop which is annoying! I need to sign up to some more πŸ™‚


  13. Good ideas, definitely worth exploring for those who need some extra money, whether they have a “regular” job or not.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Essential Tasks to Take Care of Your Family When Life HappensMy Profile

  14. It’s so cool how many options people have for making money. I’ve been curious about ebates.

    • Ebates is just a no brainer Jill, I hope you’ll give it a try. You just have to remember to use it. There’s no “catch” or work involved! πŸ™‚

  15. Such an insightful read! Really considering developing some side income streams!

  16. The only app I used in your list is Walmart Savings Catcher. Although I do plan to use the ones you listed for sure, thank you!

  17. Absolutely an awesome post! I love all these tips. Thank you for sharing

  18. That’s a lot of sources and congratulations to you! It’s always rewarding when you earn money through something you enjoy doing, like blogging!

  19. There really are plenty of opportunities online! I think it’s great that you have so many sources of income. That’s really amazing!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bankMy Profile

  20. Some great ideas here! I work part time but I do a lot of competitions, and sending in comments / pics to magazines for extra cash. πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much for sharing over at #FridayFrivolity!
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Friday Frivolity – Halloween CostumesMy Profile

  21. Wow! It’s amazing that you made it without ever having a job! You are very inspiring! The best part for me was when you advised us not to sell ourselves short.

  22. Awww I love your encouragement at the end! Don’t sell yourself short! We ARE worth more than the time some of these things cost, so it’s a fabulous reminder. πŸ™‚

    • I think we all sell ourselves a little short, don’t you? We really need to up our value, thanks for reading Heather! πŸ™‚

  23. These all sound like great ways to make extra money

  24. Some great ideas here – I don’t think they will all work for us in the UK but it’s certainly given me the impetus to have a look at what we have which is similar! #brilliantblogposts
    Cherry – The Newby Tribe recently posted…Our Family Review : The StorksMy Profile

    • I bet there are lot’s of options in the UK too Cherry! πŸ™‚ Just have to keep your eyes open to the possibilities πŸ™‚

  25. These are great ways to earn some extra money. I love Ibotta and Ebates!
    Tara recently posted…Halloween on a BudgetMy Profile

  26. I am a single mom, always looking for ways to make an extra buck! Thanks for the leads

  27. I never thought of using apps to make money! Thank you for offering a great list! When I check them out, I will use your referral links:)

  28. Great start with your blog! It took me like 2/2 and a half years to start making a noticeable income from my blog, before that it was all random one off things and maybe an Amazon payout every 6 or 9 months. I’ve only received a Google AdSense payout twice.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #165My Profile

  29. Thanks for sharing! I was looking into consignment a few months ago but I found it hard to pick out stuff. Every time I picked something I felt like no one would really want this so let me just keep it. lol
    Sylvia @ Professional Girl on the Go recently posted…2016 Goals: Quarter 3 RecapMy Profile

  30. What great info! I knew of a few of these opportunities, but many of them I’d never heard of. Thanks so much for the great tips!

  31. So many new thoughts here. I need to do some research!
    Michele Morin recently posted…Each Day By NameMy Profile

  32. Love all these tips. It’s great to be able to stay home with the kids, but not if you are always stressing about money. I love Ibotta, and there are a few more apps that I want to try out here. You are the best for sharing your experiences. I’ve tried the survey route and was inunuated with emails and phone calls, UG! So much time to remove them from my inbox, painful! Going to def. look into Swagbucks! Thanks.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Gifts for a Crafter or DIYer-Holiday Gift ListMy Profile

    • Oh yuck! Sorry about the phone calls and emails, I would hate that! Apps are just so simple for me, that’s why I love them so πŸ™‚ Swagbucks I have been enjoying for years!

  33. These are all wonderful ways to earn money from home. I have used many of them myself. Swagbucks is one of my favorite sites. I am also a virtual assistant for bloggers too.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkyParty.
    Crystal Green recently posted…Motivation Monday Linky PartyMy Profile

  34. You are amazing! I love that these are all things you’ve actually tried. And thanks to you, we’ve been using Ibotta for a couple months now, and we’ve got a handy little cash stash there. πŸ™‚
    Samantha @ Momma Wants Java recently posted…The Beginner’s Guide to Bullet JournalingMy Profile

  35. this is awesome! I’m sharing this with my sister; she does a lot of money saving posts on her blog. I use ibotta and checkout51, and a few other apps. I also sell off my old books to used bookstores.

  36. Very informative post! I had no idea about most of the apps you mentioned. I am not sure if ibotta works here, but I am definitely checking it out?
    Husna recently posted…AWESOME BEAUTY HACKS YOU MUST NOT MISS!My Profile

  37. Great list! I’ve got to check out Chitika! Thank you for sharing at #Fridayfrivolity, and way to go being resourceful to take care of your family!
    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom recently posted…Funny Halloween Cats for a Laugh! #FridayFrivolityMy Profile

  38. Love this list! I started working as a VA in July and it’s been amazing. I also just got my first payout from Swagbucks!

  39. I use some of these, but right now I’m loving perk. It’s kind of like swagbucks, and they have a mobile app, where you can watch videos and earn points. Like swagbucks, but unlike swagbucks, there isn’t a limit, so I can literally earn a couple of hundred points while I’m sleeping. They have other apps too, and other methods for earning, too, but I haven’t invested much time in checking those methods out. It might be worth looking into for you. http://perk.fm/4tjxs (That is a referral link, but if that’s spammy you can delete it. I’m not trying to be crappy.)
    Jessica recently posted…WAYWOW Social Media Blast – Pinterest Week – Just Pin It!My Profile

  40. Sponsored posts have worked well for me, enough to make blogging my full time job πŸ™‚
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Getting Ritzy at The Ritz-CarltonMy Profile

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