Many of us are feeling a financial pinch due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking for ways to make money during the lockdown.
The COVID-19 2020 pandemic has forced a lot of us to change how we make money. While some of us are fortunate and able to work from home, others have seen their hours reduced, or they have lost their jobs entirely. With the impacts of social distancing and the reduced job force looming over the future like a dark cloud, many of us have had to find new ways to draw an income or make some extra money.
Luckily there are several ways to earn money during the lockdown from the comfort and safety of your own home. Below you can learn the best ways to earn some extra money or rewards along the way, whether just side gigs or a legitimate way to make money from home. Of course, these are not ‘get rich quick schemes' and may require some perseverance to rack up the money, so don't expect to make money fast, but desperate times call for drastic measures. Here's how to start!
We decided to poll the best financial bloggers, work from home business owners, and everyday people what are some of the best ways to make money during the lockdown, and here is what they had to offer.
25 Ways to Make Money in Lockdown
1. Free Cash Apps
Cashback apps and websites are a great way to make money online on the purchases you already planned to make. These websites either refund you a percentage of your purchase or help you save money by finding the best coupons and deals for you. While it's not a steady side income, you'll get paid for the online shopping you were already planning on doing.
Rakuten (previously Ebates)
Rakuten helps users earn cashback while they shop. Most cashback totals are between 2-3%, but some even pay back 12% of your total. Users receive $10 just for signing up, and as you shop with Rakuten's e-commerce platform, you'll continue to get more back.
Ibotta is a cashback site that offers you $10 just for signing up! To get cashback, all you have to do is upload photos of your receipts every time you shop online or in-store. You can even get $5 just for every friend you get to sign up for the service too.
2. Make Money on Your Smartphone
MobileXpression is a market research company that aims to understand the patterns and behaviors of people through their mobile devices. You can easily earn your first gift card within a week, just by downloading their Android app and using your phone as usual! Find out if you qualify today!
3. Play Video Games for Cash
If you haven't played Mistplay, you're missing out! It is one of our favorite apps here at YMG. The Android app offers users the opportunity to play mobile video games in exchange for monetary rewards.
From the minute you start playing the free games, you're eligible to receive compensation. With Mistplay, you can even play with your friends and level up as you unlock achievements and earn points faster. They are user-driven and also offer chat features to allow participants to stay connected.
The only downside is that you can't get direct PayPal cash, but you can earn gift cards and sell them online for money! They even offer gift cards to major retailers such as Amazon, Google Play, and Visa gift cards.
What are you waiting for? Grab your Android and start making money!
MyPoints is one of the best small task sites on the internet. You can easily earn money by playing games, shopping online, watching videos, and completing surveys. Every task earns you points, and you can choose from your favorite gift cards or transfer your payout to your PayPal account. MyPoints is available for both Android and iOS users. You can even earn a $10 bonus when you reach your first $20 in prizes.
InboxDollars is a cash-based online rewards club. Unlike other websites, you earn cash instead of earning points. You can vary your activities by taking online market research surveys, reading advertising emails, watching videos, searching the web, completing offers, playing games, printing coupons, and so much more. Earn $5 just from signing up for the app. Once you earn $30, you can get your money via check, debit card, or gift card.
4. Get Paid for Your Opinion
With the closing of many shops, restaurants, and workplaces, many people are stuck at home. Instead of going crazy with boredom, there are lots of ways to make extra money during your downtime.
One of the easiest ways to make money from home is by taking online surveys. Of course, spending a few minutes a day on surveys won't make you rich, but every little bit helps, especially in a crisis.
So how does it work? Many brands, research groups, and even political organizations are looking for help on the latest trends and what people like YOU think. In exchange for your opinion, you will get paid for the time you put into answering a few questions.
Most surveys take anywhere from 5-30 minutes, and you'll get paid a few dollars for your time. However, there are sometimes surveys that can pay $50, $100, or more. These usually require a little more involvement, such as being part of an in-person or online focus group, or testing out a new product and providing feedback.
According to Andrew, a personal finance blogger at Wealthy Nickel, two of the best survey apps for newbies are Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. They both are highly rated, with a long track record of paying out cash to their members.
So instead of twiddling your thumbs, or staying glued to the TV watching events unfold, take a few minutes out of your day to improve your finances with online surveys.
Swagbucks is one of the most popular survey websites on the market. You can earn $5 just for signing up, and they have the highest reward-per-survey ratio among competitors. Creating an account is easy, and after a short survey, Swagbucks starts matching you up with the best surveys. Payouts are delivered to you via PayPal once you reach $25.
Survey Junkie is one of the most trusted online survey sites. They connect companies that need market research with consumers in their respective markets, making it a little more difficult sometimes to qualify for surveys. Each survey earns users points, which can be exchanged for cash. The minimum cash out amount is $10 and can be received in increments of $5.
5. Find a Part-Time Gig ASAP
In a large-scale Coronavirus shutdown both locally and nationally, for schools, offices, and restaurants, two places will continue to remain open pharmacies and grocery stores. The closures, along with quite frankly a bit of public panic, are putting tremendous stress on the supply chain, causing food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and medicine to be in demand.
Right now, grocery stores are working overtime to meet the needs of everyone and need your help. A part-time job at a grocery store is a great way to earn some extra income and help others in your community.
A quick search on indeed, and there are over 35,000 open part-time jobs nationally. Here are a few companies looking for help.
- Whole Foods
A part-time job offers a flexible schedule and can be worked during nights and weekends. Unlike other side gigs that often take time to build an income, a part-time job will pay you within 1-2 weeks.
Brian, a blogger at Debt Discipline, described how a part-time job helped him fund his holiday shopping and avoid debt.
“I worked a part-time job during nights and weekends for six weeks during the holidays and was able to earn over $2K during that time. Yes, I worked a lot of hours, but the short time sacrifice was well worth it to avoid going into debt.”
6. Clean Out and Cash-In!
One man's trash is another man's treasure. Clearing out your clutter while making a little extra coin has financial and environmental benefits!
Use this opportunity of extra time at home to do a deep Spring Clean of your closets, drawers, and attic. Go all Marie Kondo on your stuff and get rid of anything that doesn't spark joy. Then, see what of your cast-offs you can turn into cash by selling them via various online marketplaces and apps.
- Got a wedding dress to sell? Try out, StillWhite.
- An old cell phone or tablet in your drawer? Try Gazelle.
- Last season's clothing? Sell it on Poshmark.
- Computers, cameras, video games? Try eBay.
- Purses, Shoes, (unopened) Makeup, etc.? Check out Mercari.
- No matter what you're trying to sell, there's probably an app for that.
Of course, take the proper precautions for health and safety. Make sure to clean and disinfect all your items before you box them up and ship them out to their new owners.
7. Offer Childcare & Babysitting Services
Schools, daycares, preschools, and everything in between are shutting down (if not already shut down) for the foreseeable future.
While that might be OK for some folks, for the most part, working parents are scrambling to find childcare solutions.
Even those fortunate enough to work from home need help to manage it all. While it might not be your ideal way of making money, especially if you don't have kids of your own, you can offer daycare services and make money in the process to offset the pandemic.
Blogger and teacher turned entrepreneur Josh from Money Life Wax had this to say:
“Growing up, my mom ran an in-home daycare. She typically watched 5-6 kids of varying ages and charged $125-$200 per kid, depending on their age. It was how she made a living and got to stay at home and raise her three boys.”
Josh had this to offer if you're considering watching kids at your house or helping a neighbor or friend out:
Tips for watching kids during the lockdown:
- Don't overwhelm yourself; watch 2 or 3 kids max, preferable family members, neighbors, or friend's kids.
- Wash your hands often and make them wash theirs too
- If someone has any flu-like symptoms – they need to stay at home.
- Charge $25 a day for up to 7-8 hours (Get paid upfront).
- Don't watch babies unless you have experience (Like full-time daycare experience)
- Have fun and carve out some daily reading time
8. Sign Up With DoorDash – They Need Help!
The global pandemic has people afraid to go to the grocery store or out to eat. Actually, in many places, grocery stores are low on supplies, and restaurants are shutting down.
The result is that many people are not able to find what they are looking for at the store. And, many are just afraid of catching the virus at a restaurant. That's where you'll come in.
Help support your community while making some extra cash by applying to work for food delivery and meal services like Uber Eats, Postmates, or Door Dash.
Sam, a personal finance expert, and co-founder of How To FIRE says this: “Even the cheapest meal delivery service will make a tough situation easier for those stuck at home. If they can't find the food they are looking for, help bring it to them. Also, many kids are home from school right now, so make a hectic situation easier for parents!”
Make sure you follow all federal and state guidelines for staying safe and healthy, but you can expect to make upwards of $12 per hour with this side hustle.
Just remember to keep your hands and car clean with frequent washing, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes!
9. Use Symposium to Teach Online
One of the easiest ways to make money online is to become a tutor. However, with social distancing becoming the new normal, many online tutoring platforms may see an influx of new applicants. Also, even the best tutoring jobs only average between 14 to 60 dollars an hour.
It is good money, of course. However, higher-skilled workers may find it short of replacing their working wages.
Additionally, most tutoring positions require a bachelor's degree and training. For those that earned their life experience in the school of hard knocks or the board room instead of the classroom, traditional tutoring may not be an option.
However, hope is not lost to monetize your experience online. Symposium offers the perfect solution for the work-at-home job seeker to launch a viable side gig or even a full-time career.
Symposium is an online app and marketplace that allows anyone with experience to market and sell one-on-one or one-to-many presentations. The possibilities are virtually endless, consultants can use the app to consult with clients virtually, or fitness professionals could use the app to offer one-on-one fitness training to those homebound.
What sets Symposium apart is the ability to teach almost anything, considering social distancing, you could teach anything from how to cook to how to prepare for quarantine. For those looking for a bit of fun during the uncertainty, you could offer lessons on how to make DIY projects and crafts at home.
Think of Symposium like a combination of YouTube and Facebook Live. If the topic made for a great YouTube tutorial, it would make an excellent listing on Symposium. Unlike YouTube, you don't need hundreds of thousands of views to start making extra money.
With Symposium, you could charge as little to 5 to 10 dollars for people to attend a one-to-many presentation and, with minimal effort, make a few hundred dollars per session. Once your lesson has ended, your funds are instantly transferred to your debit card, making Symposium one of the fastest ways to make money online.
10. Use Freelance Opportunities
As you may be forced into quarantine, to stay home due to your place of work temporarily closing, or worse, recently got laid off, you need a way to make money fast. Preferably, that way to make money needs to be done from home as things progress through this pandemic.
Freelancing with a specific skill set you have is a great way to make money from home (or anywhere) as it can all be done remotely.
Software engineer and entrepreneur Daniella from I Like To Dabble described how she found her first freelancing gig:
“After I experienced my first lay off was when I first found freelancing. At the time, I was a web engineer for a small startup in St. Louis, and after I was laid off, I looked towards the ‘jobs' and ‘gigs' sections on Craigslist for freelancing coding opportunities. I found a former client of the old startup I had worked for and they needed some WordPress custom sites done. They offered $100 an hour for around 20 hours a week and I accepted. It was the perfect opportunity at that time and helped me out.”
Other resources to use to look for freelance opportunities:
- Freelancer Facebook Groups and Virtual Assistant Facebook Groups
11. Data Entry
Data entry jobs could also be with the freelance section but felt it could be its section. This is probably the easiest way to make money during the lockdown.
It also can be the most tedious as you are just entering data, cleaning up spreadsheets, etc. It's not sexy. But it's a simple way to make some extra cash from the comforts of home.
I will warn that this area does have people scamming others. Do not pay for anything if you find a data entry job requires it as that is a scam.
You know the saying, if it is too good to be true, then it's probably a scam. You won't make huge sums of money, so if a job offers that big number, be very skeptical.
The above isn't to scare you off from doing data entry as there are legit jobs in this area. Many people and businesses don't want to get bogged down with data entry tasks, so they look to others for help.
You can find work in places like Upwork, Amazon's Mechanical Turk, Fiverr, and more.
12. Apply for Unemployment Insurance
Many assume that Unemployment Insurance (also known as employment insurance, social security, and job seekers allowance) is only available to people that are laid off from their job. The truth is, if you lost your job or had your hours reduced through no fault of your own, you likely qualify to receive financial assistance.
Employment Service Specialist and personal finance blogger Amanda of My Life, I Guess says:
“Most people don't realize that if they quit, were fired, or are sick – including being quarantined or taking time off to care for a sick family member – they may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance. Everyone has the right to apply. It's up to the agency to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements or not.”
The specific requirements will vary between each state, province, and country, as will the amount paid and weeks of entitlement. But thankfully, the government is responding to our current reality and is making it easier to receive this short-term benefit. In the USA, for example, they are allowing states to amend their laws and be more flexible with their eligibility requirements. In Canada, they shortened the waiting period and are prioritizing applications for those under quarantine.
So if you are sick or quarantined and don't have paid sick days or sick leave through your employer, apply for sickness benefits or disability insurance.
If your company has shut down or reduced your hours, whether it's temporary or permanent, apply for unemployment insurance.
And if you are the caregiver of someone who is sick, apply for caregiver benefit or file a paid family leave claim.
13. Become An Online Tutor
It seems the Coronavirus Pandemic has finally pushed public education into the 21st century. With all of the panic, schools have shut down, and teachers are quickly attempting to adapt to an online learning environment.
By becoming an online tutor, you can provide much needed additional instruction to kids without worrying about exposing you or the kids to other health risks.
Also, by working with VIPKid, you can make up to $22 an hour by working from home! While VIPKid focuses on teaching English as a second language to native Chinese speakers, you don't need to worry about knowing Chinese – it's an immersion program!
Ryan from Arrest Your Debt put together this list of online tutoring programs:
- Chegg (various topics from calculus to biology)
- Pay – $20 per hour
- Brainfuse (variety of topics – elementary to college level)
- Pay – $10 – $15 per hour
- Tutor.com (must be considered an expert in a subject)
- Pay – $9 – $13 an hour
- Skooli (K-12 courses as well as college-level classes)
- Pay – $25 per hour
- Yup (primarily math and science classes)
- Pay – $10 – $13 per hour
- TutorMe (over 300 subjects to include ACT and GRE tutoring)
- Pay – $16 per hour
- Chegg (various topics from calculus to biology)
14. Become a Virtual Assistant ($15-50+ per hour)
A virtual assistant is kind of a catch-all term for almost any administrative task you can think of.
Owners of successful businesses (online or otherwise) are extremely busy and need help with day-to-day tasks as simple as responding to emails or organizing their calendars.
As a virtual assistant, you can be the one to take those tasks off their plate and make money doing it. As long as you have some basic administrative and office software skills, you can get started quickly through sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, or even Craigslist. That will allow you to try many different tasks and see what you enjoy doing and what you don't.
Once you've built up some experience and credibility, I'd recommend going out on your own as an independent contractor. You will generally boost your income this way and make a name for yourself in your niche. If you specialize in a particular skill set, you can find clients through referrals, Facebook groups, or by creating your website marketing your services.
Here are just a few of the services you could offer as an online virtual assistant:
- Customer service support
- Social media management
- Graphic design
- Personal assistant
- Website setup or tech support
- Data entry or analysis
There are so many different skills you can use to make money as a virtual assistant. If you niche down (for example, by focusing on becoming a Pinterest expert), you can make $50-100 per hour or more while helping other business owners step up their game!
15. Freelance Writing ($100-500+ per article)
As a freelance writer, you can make money online from the comfort of your couch by writing articles for blogs or news publications. As a side hustle, you are trading your time for money. But if you enjoy writing (and researching), it may not even feel like a job!
Similar to becoming a virtual assistant, you can initially find work through sites like Upwork. But to get regular paying gigs, setting up your own business and focusing on a particular subject that you are interested in can allow you to make more money in the long run. For example, if you like writing about traveling or living in an RV full-time, you can target blogs in that niche and build a relationship with the owners.
Once you establish a track record and can point to the excellent content you have created, the referrals will start to pile up, and you can pick and choose what you want to write about. You can also command higher rates – whereas you might start at $50-75 for a 1,000-word article, as you gain credibility, you can raise your rates to $200-500 for that same content!
Until I started my blog, I had no idea all of the different hats you have to wear to run a successful blog – and writing is just a small piece of the puzzle. A reliable freelance writer who can put out consistent content is worth their weight in gold.
More Ways to Make Money During the Lockdown
16. Start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business ($60-100 per hour)
If writing isn't your thing, maybe you're a numbers guy or gal like me. Many business owners are great when it comes to producing, marketing, and selling their products, but their finances are a disaster.
I've always loved tracking and dissecting my finances (nerd alert), and there are a lot of small business owners out there that need your help.
The great think about bookkeeping is it is something you can start with no degree, no prior experience, and almost no startup costs.
As long as you are willing to put in the effort to learn as you go and aren't scared of numbers and financial software like Quickbooks or Xero, you are all set to go. Unlike an accountant or CPA, you are there to keep track of the day-to-day finances and help the owner track their income and expenses to make better strategic business decisions.
Attention to detail is critical if you want to make money online.
A CPA is excellent when it comes to tax planning, but they are not there to see the daily functions of the business. That is where you, as a bookkeeper, can become indispensable to keep the financials running smoothly.
As with any freelance business, finding your initial client is usually the most challenging part. But by defining a niche (such as online business owners, or real estate investors, or electricians), you can become an expert in their business model, help them improve their financial position, and ultimately demonstrate your value and increase your pricing.
With the proliferation of web-based file management and accounting software, you can be an online-only bookkeeper very easily, which keeps overhead low and profits high. If you target small-business clients, you are usually providing monthly transaction recording and reporting services which may take 4-5 hours per client, and earn you a profit of $250-300 each. Just having 3 or 4 clients on the side of your day job could bring in a significant amount of extra income for your family!
17. Selling items online (eBay, Amazon, Etsy)
Selling stuff on eBay or Amazon has become a pretty lucrative gig, but also crowded. Yet, even with tons of people selling things, you can still make easy money from home.
I know a few people who are doing this full-time and others who just sell things whenever they have time. But, if you are looking to make some extra cash, selling on one of these platforms is pretty simple.
You can sell things from your home you no longer need, can buy stuff from garage sales and flip them, etc. It takes a few minutes to take some pictures, write a good description, list your item, and send it via mail once someone purchases.
It also may take some time to build traction at first, but if you are looking to make some easy money from your stuff, this is a potential way to go. Get a deeper dive with selling on eBay here.
If you are crafty or artsy, you can also sell your work on Etsy. Again, something you can do right from home. You build your own Etsy page and begin selling your artwork, photography, or crafts.
There are two other ways to make money with eBay and Amazon, but it can take a bit more work and is not as easy as listing or flipping items.
18. Start a Blog ($0-unlimited)
You can't have a list of online side hustles that is complete without mentioning starting a blog. I think blogging has gotten a bad name because the people promoting it as a side hustle want you to believe it's super easy to make $100,000 a month online so that you'll sign up for their hosting affiliate or their latest “blogging secrets” course.
The truth is that blogging is challenging work. Unlike freelancing or other “easy” ways to make money online, you won't see a return from blogging for 6-12 months or even more.
This is NOT a get rich quick scheme. Not even close.
If you're genuinely passionate about writing, marketing, social media, networking, and everything else that goes into it, you will push past the barrier. It's kind of like rolling a snowball down a hill, it takes a lot of work at the beginning, but once it picks up momentum, it almost runs on its own.
Once you get to this point, you can make $2,000 a month, $10,000 a month, even $100,000 a month while working less than you did at the beginning!
But it takes that initial sacrifice to get there.
19. Work from Home Remotely
Have you considered turning your day job into a remote position working online? Many companies these days are embracing telecommuting to save money on office space and also promote better work-life balance. If you're wondering how to make money from home, this could be the easiest route you hadn't thought of yet.
If your current company or role doesn't allow for it, consider other related jobs that may be more amenable to working remotely. There are plenty of websites out there, such as FlexJobs, that will allow you to find companies hiring specifically for remote positions.
20. Affiliate Marketing
Do you have a successful blog, YouTube channel, or social media account? Then you should look into affiliate marketers to help you get the most out of your hard work in your niche. Research companies that are on-brand with the content you create and work with them to advertise their products.
For example, there's a massive market in the betting and gaming industry. You might consider promoting licensed Canadian casino games websites and earn a commission every time someone signs up with your affiliate link.
There's no magic trick to making affiliate content work for you. You have to work to foster relationships and gain a following that will help sell products. It takes a lot of perseverance, but it can yield some significant money! So why not put your passions to good use and start making a passive income?
Extra Easy Ways To Make Money From Home
The above are ways you'll have to work to make money. Not that they are necessarily hard work, but for most of those, you won't just be able to sit on idle mode and collect cash.
But this is why I separated these other two ways below. Because there is no work involved at all, you can generate income from home, and you don't have to do much.
21. Get Your Money Back With Unclaimed.org
One of the easiest ways to potentially make some money is to look for unclaimed property. It only takes a few minutes of your time to search and see if you have any money in your name!
The challenge is that you won't receive fast, as it took over two months when I had over $300 from an old health savings account. Plus, with any shutdowns happening, it may take a bit longer for it to process. But, that doesn't mean you should not move forward with it either.
There could be refunds, stocks, checkings or savings accounts, trust distributions, and many more instances waiting to be claimed.
Head over to Unclaimed.org, select the state you live in, and follow the instructions on the treasury site to see if there is any unclaimed property in your name. If you have lived in multiple states, ensure to check each state's treasury too!
It's easy to make money. Just take a few minutes out of your day.
22. Optimize Your Recurring Expenses
Aside from earning extra money, if you find yourself with some free time, now is a perfect chance to go through all of your recurring expenses and shop around for lower prices.
Take a look at your bank statement for the account you use to cover your expenses and see what you're spending money on each month. You might find some subscriptions you aren't using anymore and can cancel for instant savings.
Make a list of all your recurring bills and go through each one to shop around for better deals. If you haven't ever done this, you might end up cutting your monthly expenses by a significant amount! Every little bit that you can cut adds up and will be money saved from this point forward.
It's also a good idea to optimize your utility expenses. Try to use as little water and electricity (or gas) as possible and watch your power bill drop drastically!
23. Put money in a high yield savings account
For most traditional banks or credit unions, the annual percentage yield (APY) is typically quite low. Maybe around 1%, or if you are like my bank, it's a fractional percentage. Yikes!
But there has been an explosion of online banks that yield anywhere from 1.5% – 2.6%! Many offer additional benefits and services that you can use to your advantage. But if you are building your emergency fund and want to get a return on your money by doing nothing, an online bank might be the way to go.
Here are a few of the popular ones:
24. Invest money in your 401k/IRA
Besides putting money in a high-yield savings account, investing money in your 401k or IRA is also another relatively easy way to make money from home.
As you consistently invest for your future, you'll get returns from employer match (if you have a 401k and company contributes), dividends, and capital gains, for example.
You do need to pick low-cost funds and stick to investing for you to reap the benefits, but there is no work involved. Occasionally you may want to rebalance your assets or make some minor tweaks, but other than that, let the money roll in and compound.
25. Don't Sell Your Investments!
That is not an idea of how to make money. It's more of an idea on how not to lose money!
Though, to me, money not lost is money gained.
Alright, enough with the double negatives.
The stock market is facing unprecedented volatility and huge swings day after day. It can make even the most determined long term investor re-think their plans.
But you shouldn. Long-term plans are called long-term for a reason. You should not make short-term decisions based on what you are reading in the headlines.
A funny, but accurate, the snippet I read on Reddit sums it up best:
“Don't just do something, stand there.”
As Kevin from Just Start Investing put's it, “Sometimes, the best thing you can do is nothing at all. Just wait out the storm, and ten years from now, you might forget this ever happened.”
If you don't have a long-term plan or are looking to get started with investing, you can learn about getting started with index funds here.
Nobody knows what the result of the Coronavirus pandemic will be. There have been talks about a basic income check for Americans soon.
Regardless, while the majority of people are self-quarantining and practicing social distancing, it's always good to keep things in perspective when something like this occurs. Your money, your job, your education – all of it – might be on pause for the foreseeable future.
But remember, it will all be OK, and everything will bounce back. How do we know? Because it always does. It's not a matter of if, just when.
During times like these, though it's not always easy, do your best to focus on what is most important to you. Things like family, your health, and what you do have are essential to keep in mind.
Stay positive, have a solution-seeking mindset, and leverage some of these ways to make money during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will all work out!