17 Legit Ways to Get Free Money

Looking for free money?

While the idea of “Free Money” seems a bit like an oxymoron, the truth of the matter is pretty straightforward:

There are ways you can earn free money or cash in a variety of ways, from taking advantage of new bank account bonuses to using surveys and even governmental grants.

In some instances, you might have to get a little creative, but there are many avenues available for you to find free money. Today, we will discuss some of the more legitimate options for getting free money below.

17 Creative Ways to Get Free Money

1. Get A Cash Back Reward Credit Card

If you have a credit card that you use for regular everyday life purchases, why not take advantage of some cashback rewards?

Most credit card companies offer rewards in the form of a cash bonus or cashback option ranging from 1% to 3% on average. That said, if you spend $100 a month on gas, the extra $3.00 isn’t too hateful, considering you did nothing besides spending your regular gas money.

Just make sure you don’t rack up your credit card debt just because of a few cash-back rewards.

2. Credit Card Arbitrage & Card Trading

Ever heard of credit card arbitrage? The idea is pretty simple.

According to Investopedia, “Credit card arbitrage involves borrowing money from credit card companies, then investing that money in an instrument offering a higher interest rate than what you’re paying.”

The entire thing is a little risky and takes some financial wherewithal so be careful with this one. You could also do some card trading meaning you can take advantage of one credit card reward or promotion followed by another by card hopping.

3. Get $50 To $100 Through Online Surveys

Most likely, you have heard all the survey companies that will pay you money for filling out online surveys:

The process it is pretty simple for each. Download the app or get the sign-up bonuses from each, which can range from a few dollars to $10. Participate in surveys or “Market Research” and earn free cash for giving your opinion.

4. Earn Rewards Points

Rewards points come in many forms, from shopping online to credit cards and surveys. You can get some extra cash each month when you cash in on reward point opportunities from apps such as:

  • Ibotta (you can link your shopping accounts)
  • Rakuten
  • Fetch Rewards
  • ShopKick (a bit outdated)
  • KashKick

5. Sign Up To Be A Mystery Shopper

A mystery shopper is someone who poses like a normal customer but is really paid to be there to complete a little retail espionage.

All jokes aside, mystery shoppers often have the role of observing how employees interact with customers, how clean a facility is, or provide other forms of valuable feedback. Companies to consider include:

  • Sinclair Customer Metrics
  • Elite CXS
  • Market Force

A plus is some will pay you to eat at restaurants, maybe a good side hustle idea?

6. Ask For Price Adjustments On Your Credit Card

This isn’t technically free money. It is money you owe in most cases for an overdue credit card bill. However, if you owe it and can find a way not to pay it, well, maybe it is free.

Simply call your credit card company and see about getting any fees or charges waived. Oftentimes they will do it, especially if you’re a cardholder in good standing. One thing you can do if they seem not to be willing to negotiate is let them know you are going to have to look into other companies.

That last line seems to do the trick every time.

7. Get Free Money from the Government:

COVID Relief and More

Obviously, one of the biggest sources of free money ever was the stimulus checks in 2020 and 2021 (free money is a bit of an exaggeration due to taxpayers contributing to this).

Either way, there was plenty of resources available due to economic hardship from COVID for citizens and business owners such as housing waivers and employee payment assistance. For a full list of some of these programs that still might be available if you qualify, use this link here:

Covid-19 Economic Relief Programs

Government Grants

The government offers tons of grants for just about anything and everything. From college to research, you can find an entire list of grants available here.

Visit Unclaimed.org

Did you miss out on some security deposits from college? If so, check into unclaimed money on Unclaimed.org and you might have some unknown money owed to you that you had no clue about! Perhaps if you’re old enough you might have some unclaimed pension funds!

Find Money for Child Care

If you visit the Child Care government website you can learn about child care financial assistance options and whether you qualify for some of the programs. While this is not free money like you might get from an app bonus, it is a way to subsidize costs if you are in hardship. Typically, this is reserved for low-income families.

Other Programs:

  • Get Help With Utility Bills
  • Down Payment Assistance Programs
  • Find tax credits for health insurance
  • Tuition reimbursement

8. Get Paid to Use the Internet With Swagbucks

Swagbucks will pay you for surveys, your internet browsing, and your activity. Simply follow these steps and get paid in Swagbucks or SB, which can be redeemed for cash or gift cards:

  1. Sign up with Swagbucks
  2. Go to your browser address bar.
  3. Right-click and select Edit search engines… from the dropdown menu.
  4. Under the Other search engines, scroll down to Swagbucks and hover over it.
  5. Click on Make default on the right of the row.
  6. Click Done.

9. Use Cashback Sites for Online Shopping

When you do your regular shopping, you can get cash back for your online shopping. The process is pretty simple:

  1. Visit top cashback sites like Ibotta or Rakuten
  2. Sign-up and link your bank accounts
  3. Shop online
  4. Get free money rewards for your normal shopping

10. Scan Your Receipts for Cash

Similar to how your online shopping will give you points or cash, finding free money is pretty simple when you keep your receipts, here is how:

  1. Download the Ibotta or Fetch app
  2. Scan your receipts each time you shop at the store
  3. Get points that can be redeemed for money for your Paypal account, check or gift cards

11. Win Free Money from Competitions

Are you an elite athlete, competitor, or expert dart player?

Regardless of your unique talent, you might be able to win some free money when you compete and win competitions. Sure, you can also lose money, but if you happen to be really good at a hobby that might allow you to compete for prize money, why not try?

One reader who was really good at triathlons has won $100’s of dollars in gift cards for winning small triathlons in their area!

12. Earn Credit Card Signup Bonuses

It is pretty straightforward:

Credit card rewards are available when you signup for new credit cards.

You can get a new credit card every year and get tons of free money in the process with one-time sign-up bonuses. Some credit card companies offer $100 all the way to $300+.

13. Get Free Money from Bill Negotiation Apps

One of the best ways to get some free money – aka money you didn’t know you were paying – is with bill negotiation apps. Apps like Truebill and Trim are designed to look for unused subscriptions and better deals on your reoccurring bills.

Let’s say that you download Trim and you decide to let it negotiate your car insurance; the money saved is given to you and a percent they keep. NOW, one trick is to let Trim or Truebill find out where you could save money and do the leg work!

14. Get Free Money Playing Games

You read that right; you can get earn free money playing games online with Mistplay. Extra money never hurts, and when you can do it with a hobby like playing games on your phone – that’s called a win-win!

Download Mistplay here!

15. Get Free Money by Downloading an App

There are plenty of apps that will give you free money, free stocks, or points to earn cash prizes simply by downloading and capitalizing on sign-up bonuses.

For example, some of these apps have been known to give $5 sign up bonuses, stocks, or more:

  • Robinhood
  • SoFi Invest
  • WeBull
  • Acorns
  • Swagbucks
  • Survey Junkie
  • Inbox Dollars

16. Earn Free Money for Reading Emails

Believe it or not, companies will pay you anywhere from 1 to 5 cents for opening the email they send you. Reading emails can be a quick way to get some free money and companies that offer this option include:

  • Pinecone Research
  • Branded Surveys
  • Vindale Research
  • Inbox Dollars

17. Other Ways to Get Free Money

While we listed out seventeen ways to earn some free money, it is worth noting there are many other ways to consider in case you don’t enjoy playing games or prefer not to do silly tasks for quick cash, consider these:

  • Earn Passive Income with a High-Yield Savings Account
  • Save money and get “Free Money” with the savings interest
  • Join Sites that Give You Free Money to Invest in Stocks (up to $1,000)
  • Take advantage of your employer’s 401(K) match at work.

The Verdict on Earning ‘Free Money’

What you might have quickly noticed about this list of ways to get free money is that many involve signing up, completing a task, or playing with your phone.

Everything on this list is not actually free money, it’s just of no cost to you other than your time. From the government programs paid with tax dollars to the company providing the signup bonuses, as the saying goes – nothing is free in life.

Earning free money online or, in general, is smart to take advantage of, but spending time with a lucrative side hustle or starting a business might be better long term!


Josh Hastings
Website | + posts

Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.