The Truth About Earning Money ‘On the Side’

I get it. You can’t browse through Pinterest without seeing at least one ‘How to Make Money by XYZ.’ Still, it’s hart to see if they work. More bloggers are aiming for transparency by talking about their affiliate links or sharing their income report. But, let’s be honest: those reports are often still pretty daunting. They also take a lot of time and effort. If you’re on the side of “I only want to get some extra Christmas cash” instead of “I want to quit my job and do this full time,” those methods aren’t for you.
Let me tell you about some of the ways I earn extra spending dough without blogging. I’ll be pretty clear – this isn’t how to make a living online or even significantly supplement your income. It’s about how to earn a little extra money here and there.
Please note, I am using referral links in this post. If you sign up under them, I get a little bonus on my own earnings. For more information, see my full disclosure.
Dollar Bill - The Truth about Earning Money on the Side

Am I earning money on the blog?

Okay, yes, I’ll get this out of the way first. I run a blog with affiliate links. I also stock an Etsy shop. Honestly, though, I’m so not anywhere near actually making money on either of those things. I’m talking about how I earned spending cash as broke college student and how I still make money for guilt-free treats.

If it’s not going to pay the bills, why do it?

There’s any number of reasons. You’re bored. You want to save up for a birthday gift that’s just a little out of your budget. You saw an adorable notebook that you have to have … even though you’ve got a dozen more at home. (Guilty!) Maybe you do have a blog and you’ve been eyeing a new course to take your business to the next level.
Personally, I use it as my guilt-free spending. There’s something I don’t need and haven’t budgeted for. This is my pass to use the money on something fun.

I’m in! Show me the money!

There are three sites I use the most to earn money. I’m in the US, so I can’t speak for other countries, but several of these do accept people from other countries.

[bctt tweet=”Learn the truth about making money ‘on the side’ and 3 ways to do it!” username=”vellumjournal”]


InstaGC is by far my favorite of the three. It has the easiest (and quickest) reward payout and tends to have good offers.
Ways to earn:
  • Watching videos
  • Taking surveys
  • Completing ‘offers’ (such as sign ups or searches)
Note, that I only do free offers. The videos are good if you leave them running in the background; otherwise, they aren’t worth much. Surveys are hit or miss, but you do get a point even if you get disqualified.
Why I love it:
  • Gift card redemptions are instant
  • Ability to get check or direct deposit (instead of gift cards)
  • Chat section where others point out easy offers!
  • 100 points = $1

Earn Money with InstaGC

Unlike the other sites, you can really cash out at any time and there’s no wait. There isn’t a minimum requirement – the lowest Amazon gift card is for $1!

InboxDollars / SendEarnings

InboxDollars and SendEarnings are technically two different sites, but they’re exactly the same. As in, run by the same people with the same layout with the same rules, etc. Seriously, look at two the side by side.
Earn Money with InboxDollars Earn Money with SendEarnings
Ways to earn:
  • Reading emails
  • Watching videos
  • Doing surveys
  • Doing searches
You must have at least $30 in rewards to cash out, so it takes a little longer than the others. Also, if you redeem less than $40, they charge a $3 ‘processing fee’ that comes out of your reward. However, you get that back because the first thing they’ll do is then give you a $3 bonus after redeeming. Weird, huh?
Why I love it:
  • Simple!
  • Visa Gift cards are an option

You’ll get a $5 sign up bonus as well!


I’ll admit that Swagbucks is my least favorite, despite it being the most popular one out there. I used it quite often for a couple of years, but then I got a little bored of it. I do still go on from time to time and it is a great option if you want to earn cash back on online purchases.
Ways to earn:
  • Watching videos
  • Taking surveys
  • Completing ‘offers’ (such as sign ups or searches)
  • Shopping through their links
  • Collecting Swagcodes

Earn Money with Swagbucks

The great thing about Swagbucks is that, because it’s so popular, there are a ton of guides out there on how to make money!

Get earning…

These are sites that I’ve used for years and have never had a problem getting payouts from them. There are a ton of other sites out there as well (and some that aren’t very good about paying up), but I’ve had great personal experiences with these ones. If you want to earn a little extra cash, I highly recommend you try them out!
Have you used any of these sites before? Will you check them out?
I’m happy to answer questions you have about any of the sites!

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