Snagging a side gig is a typical way to earn extra cash, but let's be honest: A second job can be so time-consuming it could mean the demise of your social life. In some instances, its not FOMO but your busy schedule — like caring for family or being a full-time student — that stops you from taking on more work. But never fear: There's a way to make money without a big-time commitment.
You can thank technology, which has made it possible for just about anyone to make cash without working many extra hours. But there are other secrets to earning side money: You can actually get paid for doing things you normally do, like shopping, eating out, watching videos, working out or even sleeping.
Yup, you heard that right.
The typical time commitment might include completing a survey, shopping or downloading an app, but most of these cash-generating gigs can be done on the go or while you catch some Zs. Check out these 10 ways to make a few extra bucks without disrupting your daily life.
10. Get cash back on stuff you've already bought
Even if you love shopping, trying to keep up with retail sales can become a full-time job, which means you probably miss many price reductions and drops. But if you download a free app like Paribus, you won't lose out on any deals and can get cash back after an item you've purchased goes on sale. The app automatically scans your email offers from 16 of its participating retailers and identifies which stores owe you a refund on a purchase you've made if the price drops.
Of course, you can also save money with a quick move before you shop: Download apps like Ibotta and Ebates to find the best deals and earn cash back. Ibotta identifies where you can find deals within its network before you shop, either in-store or online, and provides three different ways to get cash back. Ebates offers cash back for online shopping, plus coupons and deals.
9. Share your habits — for money
Market research companies offer cash to find out where and how consumers are shopping and use a number of apps to gather this data — all you have to do is download them and go about your day.
Some apps pay cash, while others offer rewards. With SavvyConnect, you can earn about $5 per device per month (up to $180 a year) and Nielson Computer and Mobile Panel pays around $50 a year, the Penny Hoarder reported.
8. Become a "mystery shopper"
Retailers depend on high-quality customer service to get repeat business, which means many will pay for covert customer evaluations. Sign up with companies like Rewardable, Gigwalk, iPoll or QuickThoughts to earn cash and rewards for completing surveys and tasks at specific stores. Stores typically pay from $5 to $20 per shop for tasks like answering a questionnaire on customer service and shopping experience, Forbes reported.
While that may sound like chump change, one shopper reportedly made $14,000 in a year this way. But be wary of companies that say they will pay you a large sum up-front and of unsolicited mystery shopping offers, a sign of a scam, Time reported.
7. Go to the bar for extra bucks
One covert evaluation app might actually help your social life: The Bar Integrity Mystery Shop app pays you to review the conditions and customer service experience at your local watering hole. You might be asked about how long you had to wait for a seat, how your bartender behaved, and more.
Bar life isn't for you? Consider becoming a reviewer at Restaurant Cops, where your passion for dining can be put to work. Mystery shoppers at Restaurant Cops can make from $5 to $15 per assignment, plus are reimbursed for any purchased food.
6. Earn cash by working out
Does cold hard cash motivate you to get in shape? HealthyWage wants to bet it will, as you set goals and place bets on reaching those goals. People who have used the app to lose weight and get healthy said it works because you are betting your own money on your success.
"I knew that if I put money on the line, it [would be] a double-motivating thing," Ben Carnes, HealthyWage participant who lost 100 pounds, told NPR. Cash amounts vary based on how much you bet, but some participants have reportedly made more than $2,000 just by meeting their goals.
RELATED: Clever money hacks to help you get richer:
31 easy money hacks to help you get richer every single day this month
31 easy money hacks to help you get richer every single day this month
1. List at least one item you aren't using on Craigslist or eBay.
Not only will this help you clear out clutter, but it will turn an unwanted item into cash. If you get inspired and want to sell more, check out this Lifehacker guide to turning unwanted junk into cash.
REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo
2. Pack your lunch instead of buying it.
Time calculated how much someone in New York could save by bringing a brown bag lunch ($3) versus buying lunch ($15). At that rate of savings, if you packed lunch instead of buying it every day for a decade, you'd save $31,200. Calculate how much you would save using this Bankrate tool.
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3. Change out at least one incandescent bulb to a CFL.
According to Consumer Reports: "By replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb — the most common household bulb — with a spiral-type 13-watt CFL that produces an equivalent amount of light, you could save more than $57 over the life of the CFL."
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4. Program your thermostat to turn off while you are at work or sleeping.
According to Energy.gov, "You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting."
5. Delete your stored credit cards from online accounts.
Have your credit card stored to make one-click purchases? If you instead have to manually enter your card each time, you make buying online more of a hassle, which will limit impulse purchases.
(Shutterstock / Vladimir Gerasimov)
6. Eat meatless.
Many people have adopted Meatless Mondays to help save money and the planet. Start this Monday and see if you can make it a habit.
7. Buy a re-usable water bottle.
Consumer Reports calculates that bottled water costs $346 a year, while tap water costs just $0.48. If you are using bottled water, stop now and start refilling a water bottle instead.
A Planet Money report found that half of all members of one popular gym never go — and theWashington Post reports the gym industry actually relies on members paying for, but never using, the service. Don't let money be auto-debited monthly for anything you don't actively use. Call now to cancel, and read Mic's guide to getting fit for free.
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11. Make sure you are using the right bank.
Check out what unnecessary fees you pay for ATM use and for maintaining a monthly account. If you're paying anything, it may be time to switch to a different bank: Check out Mic's guide to some of the best banks to use in 2016 to 2017 and see how your bank compares. If your bank falls short, make the switch.
12. Open an IRA, if you don't already have one. If you do, check on your investment mix.
An IRA is one of the best ways to save for retirement because you can potentially get tax breaks for investing in it. Check out this 5-minute guide to retirement savings to find out more and follow this simple step-by-step primer on opening one. If you already have an IRA, use an asset allocation calculator to see if you have the right mix of investments.
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13. Create (or review) your budget.
Read up on the basics of how to budget so you can determine the steps you need to take to get a handle on where your money is going. You can also use recommended budgeting apps to make the process easier.
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14. Make sure you are using the right credit card.
Figuring out the best credit card for you is a matter of looking at your usage and needs. If you carry a balance, it's time to shop for a low APR card with a 0% balance transfer. But if you are a responsible card user, aim for a card with big cash-back perks or rewards.
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15. Clean out the air filters in your car.
Pro Car Mechanics explains: "The benefits of a clean air filter are almost immediate. Airflow goes back to the proper level to mix with the gasoline. It has been estimated that replacing the dirty air filter will increase MPG on the car up to 10% and also generate a fuel savings of close $.15 per gallon at the fuel pump." Cars Direct explains how you can clean out your car's air filter.
16. Review your debts and make sure your repayment approach is optimized.
If you owe money on credit cards or loans, review the interest rates, terms and repayment strategy. If you have high interest debt, refinancing could make sense.Think through your debt repayment strategy and evaluate whether you can or should make extra payments.
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17. Call your cell phone and cable companies.
Go over your monthly plans to find out if you are paying for services you don't need. Ask for any discounts that could potentially help you to spend less. Check out these tips for saving money on cable TV.
Learn to let out pants, tailor your own skirts, change the oil in your car or fix a stopped up sink. Wisebread has a list of 10 life skills to learn to save money.
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20. Call your insurance agent.
If you have car insurance, homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance, you may be able to lower your deductible, bundle your policies or get rid of coverage you no longer need. Investopedia lists 6 ways to save on insurance.
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21. Print, cut, or buy coupons.
Using coupons can help you save on groceries, dining out and other items you buy. Browse sites like RetailMeNot for printable coupons or use TheCouponClippers to purchase cut coupons from the newspaper. Focus on items you are going to buy anyway. You might also visit websites like DealSeekingMom to find out how to get items like toothpaste and toilet paper for free — or close to free.
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22. Unsubscribe from daily deal sites or online websites.
If you are subscribed to a bunch of sites that alert you to sales and bargains, you are more likely to spend on items you don't need. Buy stuff when you decide you need it, not when an online newsletter tells you the item is on sale.
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23. Go for a walk instead of watching TV.
You won't waste the electricity on running the TV — and you won't see ads shilling for products. Plus, walking is a healthy and free way to get exercise.
24. Plan a weekend of free events.
Make a commitment to not spend any money this weekend. Look for free community events to attend — or invite your friends over for a potluck or clothing swap party.
25. Plan your meals for the week.
Meal planning allows you to avoid wasting food since you can make a grocery list and buy only what you need. Lifehacker has a simple guide to meal planning and you can check out Mic's tips for healthy eating on a budget.
26. Cook and store food strategically.
Following your meal plan, make up a few meals you'll eat over the course of the week. You can even make some extra to freeze for when you're in a rush and don't have time to cook or pack a lunch a few days later: Just portion out food in little freezer bags so it'll be easy to thaw individual meals.
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27. Have a no-spend day today.
Make a commitment not to spend even $1 on anything for one whole day. Prep your coffee at home, bring your lunch, bike to work, and eat one of your pre-planned, home-cooked meals for dinner.
28. Automate all of your bill paying ... and saving.
If you are still manually paying your bills each month, set up automation for any accounts you can. This helps you avoid late fees if you get busy or forget. If you have a savings account, set up an automated transfer of at least a few dollars per month so you can make sure you are saving something.
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29. Find a cheaper way to commute today.
If you normally Uber, try taking public transportation. If you normally take public transportation, walk or bike to work. If you drive, see if you can arrange a carpool or switch to the bus. Your commute can cost you thousands over your working life.
30. Call HR and ask about workplace benefits.
You should definitely be investing in a 401(k) if your employer offers one. However, you may be eligible for other benefits like corporate discounts on cell phone service or hotel rooms. Find out what benefits are available that you can use to save — you might be surprised (see: "cash in lieu").
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31. Carry around healthy snacks bought in bulk.
It's not just meals that are a money suck, and hitting the vending machine can add up. Buy some dried fruit, granola bars or trail mix in bulk — and then bag it up into snack-sized portions to help your wallet and your waistline.
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5. Make money in your sleep
With researchers trying to get a handle on what helps you sleep, organizations are paying sleep-study participants good money for simply heading off to dreamland. Literally.
While it's not as simple as cashing a check for your sleep every morning, if you don't mind a little prodding and poking before researchers track your sleep, you can make almost $12,000 a year for two studies, a writer from the Penny Hoarder found.
Sites like MissingMoney.com find money that you'd forgotten about but is still owed to you. That can include old bank accounts, refunds and more.
Another surprisingly lucrative move? If you keep throwing loose change into a junk drawer or letting coins marinate under seat cushions, you could be missing out on a lot of cash. Collect your coins and dump them into a coin-counting machine at your local grocery store, bank or credit union.
While coin-counter machines like CoinStar charge a small fee, you may be surprised by how much money is lurking around your house: One person turned coins into cash and unexpectedly had more than $300 dollars!
3. Get paid to make new friends
Like to meet new people and make connections? Believe it not, you can get paid to make a new friend through RentAFriend.
This company pays people to make platonic, friendly connections with others to perhaps help someone warm up to a new city or to meet for dinner. "Friends" earn up to $50 an hour, depending on how many hours you work, and there is no specific schedule or minimum amount of time you need to commit.
Ready to go beyond chatting? Become a professional snuggler or get paid to be part of a wedding or to mourn at a funeral.
2. Purge clutter for money
Selling your clutter can possibly result in a windfall, especially if you've been paying for a storagespace to contain all of it. Of course wading through your closet or storage space might take time, but if you planned to make 2017 the year you finally Kondo your life, why not get paid to do it?
Although you can sell your stuff on places like Craigslist, check out apps such as LetGo and DeCluttr or BookScouter, which is great for students and readers who want to sell their books. One money blogger made well over $1,000 selling various stuff on Craigslist.
1. Make coin surfing the web
If you already waste time online and like funny videos or websites, you should be getting paid for your pastime. For instance, Inbox Dollars and FusionCash reward you for watching videos or interacting with certain websites, and UserTesting pays people to test websites. You can also earn money for your photos by contributing images to Shutterstock.
Other online test and review sites to check out for rewards instead of cash include BzzAgent and Influenster, or provide feedback to manufacturers and you might get rewarded.
Love a particular brand or type of food? Here's a guide to getting companies to give you free stuff for a year — or for life.