18 Ways to Get Free Money Fast
There’s nothing like the possibility of getting free money. Unfortunately, the promise is almost always too good to be true. That said, if you’re in need of some extra cash, there are ways to get free money fast. To inspire you, I’ve compiled a long list right here. While most of these free cash ideas will require some effort on your part, not to mention your time, they are all legitimate ways to make money at little or no expense to you. Ready? Let’s get started!
Get Paid to Lose Weight
HealthyWage is a website that pays you to lose weight, literally. Sound too good to be true? Here’s how it works. You begin by entering the weight you want to lose. This amount can be between 10 and 150 pounds, but it must be at least 10% of your starting weight. Then, choose a timeframe to achieve your weight loss goal, as well as the dollar amount you are willing to bet (per month). For example, $20/month, for 6 months. The HealthyWage Prize Calculator then determines your prize amount, based on your inputs. By signing up, you are committing to pay the monthly amount that you chose, for the duration of the challenge. Knowing how much money is on the line can be a huge motivator.
If you hit your weight loss goal, you win the prize amount. It’s that simple. Of course, you’ll need to provide video evidence of your starting and finishing weight. If you don’t hit your goal, you’re out the money that you bet. Visit HealthyWage for more information, and to check out their prize calculator.
Shop Online and Get Cash Back
One of the best ways to earn free cash is by shopping online using a cashback website. Take Rakuten for example. Formerly known as eBates, Rakuten allows you to take advantage of cash back offers when you shop at a huge number of retailers online. Rather than bounce from one retail site to another, you can access them all via Rakuten. And you’ll get paid to do it. I’ve seen cash back offers as high as 40%, although 5% seems to be more typical. Regardless, if you’re an avid shopper, it won’t take long for your cash back to add up. Rakuten even offers a referral bonus of $25 when you refer a friend and they spend at least $25 on the site. You can grab a referral link from Rakuten and share at will. Other examples of Canadian cashback websites are Great Canadian Rebates, Swagbucks, Nielsen Homescan, and Checkout 51.
Get Paid to Shop for Others
Instacart is an app that allows you to make money by shopping for groceries for other people, then delivering them to their home. When you sign up, you’ll begin to receive customer grocery orders via the Instacart app. From there, head to the grocery store, shop for the items, and deliver them to the customer. Depending on who you ask, Instacart shoppers can make upwards of $20/hour, although the average appears to be closer to $12. Instacart shoppers act as independent contractors, similar to an Uber rideshare driver. While Instacart won’t make you rich, it’s a great way to make money around your schedule.
Sign up For a Free Bank Bonus
From time to time, you can earn free money when you open a chequing account with a new bank. Every once in a while, Canada’s big banks will run a new account promotion as a way of attracting new customers. While the offers vary, you can receive as much as $300 cash just for opening a new account. To qualify, you’ll need to fulfill a couple of conditions, such as connecting your payroll deposit to the account, and making a couple of online bill payments. Oh, and you’ll have to keep the account open for at least a few months. Once you receive your cash though, all bets are off. The timing of these rather lucrative promotions vary, so make sure you keep your eyes and ears open.
Apply For Scholarships and Bursaries
Are you the parent of a child heading to college or university? If so, they can get free money towards their post-secondary education by applying for scholarships and bursaries. You may be shocked by the number of awards available to graduating students these days, and your child doesn’t need to be at the top of their class to qualify. In addition to scholarship awards, bursaries are available to students of limited financial means. In a world of rising tuition costs, even $500 or $1000 can make college that much more affordable. To obtain a list of awards your child may be eligible for, contact the school’s guidance counsellor.
Take Advantage of Rewards Credit Cards
This is one of the best ways to get free money. Providing that you do it properly (pay your balance in full each month), you can make a lot of money by using a rewards credit card. Often, these rewards come in the form of cash back, or travel points that can be redeemed for free flights, hotels, car rentals, you name it. My advice is to wait for a promotional offer, to earn hundreds of dollars worth of points just for signing up and using the card. If this interests you, but you’re not sure where to start looking, check out my list of the top cash back credit cards in Canada for 2020.
Switch to a High Interest Savings Account
Do you have money that’s just sitting there, doing nothing in your savings account? It could be a rainy day fund, or money you’ve set aside for a big purchase. Unfortunately, the interest rate in most bank savings accounts is a fraction of a percent, yet thousands of Canadians park their money to get almost nothing in return.
Thankfully, there are several online banks that offer a much higher rate of interest for regular savings. The best part, is that in most cases, you can open an account online within minutes, and easily transfer your funds over. Not only that, but most of these accounts are no fee, have no minimum balance requirements, and offer unlimited transactions. Wondering where to look? Try EQ Bank’s savings account, currently paying a whopping 2.3% interest, or Tangerine Bank, with their introductory offer of 2.75% interest for the first 6 months at the time of this writing.
Move Your Investments to an Online Broker ($50 signup)
More and more Canadians are embracing the convenience and control that comes with investing online, through a discount broker. Not only is it a great way to save on fees, but one of the top online brokers is offering free money just for signing up. Questrade, who happens to be our top choice for online broker here at MapleMoney, will pay you $50 when you open an account using this exclusive link. Questrade is known for its low fees, and how easy it is to open an account. Not only do they offer commission free purchases on thousands of ETFs, their stock trades start as low as $4.95/trade. For more information, check out my full Questrade review.
Sign up For Round Up Savings (Mylo – $5 signup bonus)
Are you familiar with the concept of round-up savings? Made popular in the US by Acorns, it usually comes in the form of an app connected to your debit/credit card, and rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar. It then collects the “spare change”, setting it aside into a separate savings or investment account. The idea is that you won’t notice the tiny, yet frequent withdrawals from your account, and your savings will grow quickly over time. Canada has its own version of Acorns, called Mylo. Not only is Mylo a convenient and easy to use app that syncs to your bank account, but Mylo will pay you a $5 bonus when you sign up. It’s free money, with the added benefit of helping you become a better saver.
Make Money by Dog Walking
Rover is a dog walking/pet sitting app that connects more than 100,000 dog lovers across Canada, the US, and the UK. If you’re a dog lover, you can get paid to walk other people’s pets, or even pet sit while their owners are out of town. The Rover app will connect you with people in your community. If you live close by, this very cool side hustle can be had at little to no cost to you, making it a great way to make some extra cash. Another nice thing is having the ability to pick up jobs according to your schedule. You decide when you want to work, and how often. Check out the Rover app for more information.
Locate Missing Money
If a bank account stays inactive for more than 10 years, the bank will send the unclaimed balance to the Bank of Canada for safekeeping. If you think you might have left money sitting in an old account, you can search for your missing money using the Bank of Canada’s Unclaimed Balances Registry. Balances up to $1,000 will be held by the Bank of Canada for 30 years, and balances over $1,000, for 100 years! It’s free to search the registry, so, if you think you might have money out there, floating around, the Bank of Canada is a great place to start looking.
Consolidate Your High-Interest Debt
Are you stuck paying high-interest rates on credit card balances every month? If so, it’s time to recoup your losses by consolidating what you owe into a term reducing loan at a lower interest rate. For example, you’ll save $650 of interest over a 12-month period on a loan at 7%, as opposed to a credit card charging 20% interest. Over a 3 year period, that amounts to almost $2000 in interest saved. That’s free money that can stay in your pocket, or be used to pay down your debt that much faster. If you have lots of equity in your home, you may want to consider rolling your high-interest debt into your mortgage, or home equity line of credit. Of course, always consult with a financial advisor before making this decision.
Make Use of Your Workplace Benefits
Too many people don’t take advantage of the workplace benefits offered by their employer and are leaving free money on the table as a result. For example, many companies provide employees with a health spending account, which can be used to cover a wide range of items, such as prescription drugs, visits to a massage therapist or chiropractor, a gym membership, or the purchase of exercise equipment. Other benefits may include cheap insurance coverage, a clothing allowance, or an employee savings plan. Take time to review your employee benefits, to see what’s included. If you’re not taking advantage of all there is to offer, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars of free money.
Take Advantage of an Employer RRSP/Pension Match
Further to the previous item, if your employer offers an RRSP or pension matching program, are you taking advantage of it? If not, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of free money over the long term. Often, an employer will match 50%, or more, of any contributions you make to a workplace RRSP plan. Because these programs are often optional, employees don’t sign up due to a lack of understanding of how the plan works, or just plain procrastination. If you are eligible for an employer match, and you’re not using it, don’t delay. Get registered, and start collecting your free money today!
If you don’t mind giving your opinion, and you have a little extra time during the week, you can earn free money online by answering surveys. While this is no way to get rich, and there are some scammy sites out there you want to avoid, there are also a number of legit companies that will pay you an extra $10 or $20 here and there if you don’t mind investing the time. I recently wrote a full review of Survey Junkie, who happens to be one of the better survey sites out there. What I like about SJ, is that they allow you to cash in as soon as you make $10, so while you’re not getting paid much, you can get paid faster, and more often. Swagbucks is another website that will pay you for taking surveys, as well as doing other activities, like watching videos, shopping, or playing games online.
Get Paid to Shop at Your Favourite Stores
Mobile apps have given Canadians more choices than ever to make free money while they shop. One such app, called Drop, works by collecting points when you shop at 5 of your favourite stores, which you select right on the app. A nice feature of Drop is that it’s synced to your debit or credit card, which means there are no additional cards to scan when you are at the checkout, in person or online. You can redeem points for gift cards at a huge number of stores and restaurants. Download the Drop App for free, or check out my full Drop review.
Contribute to an RESP
Parents, consider contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to save for your child’s post-secondary education. Not only does this government-sponsored plan offer tax-sheltered growth while your funds accumulate, but you’ll also receive free money in the form of the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). Every year, the federal government matches 20% on the first $2500 that’s contributed, up to a maximum of $500.
Also, depending on your family income, you may be eligible for additional funds. When it comes to investing your RESP, there are plenty of options to choose from, as almost all banks and investment companies provide RESP accounts for their clients. Justwealth is one example of an investment company with a unique RESP offering. They offer RESP target date portfolios, which automatically adjust an investment’s asset allocation as your child approaches their college years.
Rent out a Room in Your Home
If you live in a major city, or just about any area that happens to be a draw for tourists, you can make money at little to no cost to you, by renting out space in your home with Airbnb. There will be some time required to list your property, prepare your space, and communicate with guests, however, this is as close to free money as you can get. Thousands of people across Canada and the US are listing their properties with Airbnb. So, if you have an extra room you’re not using, or you have the ability to make your entire house available, this could be the perfect side hustle
Final Thoughts on Free Money
If you’ve often wondered how to get free money, as you can see, there are plenty of ways it can be done at little to no cost to you. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can take advantage of any number of the ideas I’ve shared above. A few of them, like the online shopping and survey apps, is likely only worth a few bucks, while others, such as using credit card rewards or signing up for employee benefits or matching programs you qualify for at work, could be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars over time. My best advice is to pick one from the list and get started. As soon as you begin earning free money, you won’t want to stop.