If You Have One of These 9 Bad Habits, You Could Get Paid for It


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We all have bad habits. Admit it.

No? Not you? OK. Move along.

As for the rest of us, we have to admit we’re not perfect. The frustrating part is we know we do these things. But we continue to do them. That’s the “habit” part.

When it comes to your finances, bad habits can be devastating if they’re not held in check. But if you’re smart, you can make them work for you instead of against you.

Bad Habits That Could Be Good for Your Finances

We found some common bad habits that could actually work in your financial favor. Don’t believe us? Check it out.

1. Improve Your Finances by Keeping up With the Joneses

GizemBDR/Getty Images

Let’s be honest. You keep an eye on your friends from college and even your neighbors. What? They got another new car? How can they afford that?

Comparing your own financial well-being to that of friends and family is an easy trap to fall into.

So make it work in your favor.

Most of us don’t have friends — or even family members — who are willing to talk explicitly about these numbers.

Status Money is an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions. Tap into this database, and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.

2. Save Money While You Level up on a Cool Game

friends playing video games at home
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Hey, guess what. You’ve crushed all the candy already. Those birds? They’re not even that angry anymore. They’re just annoyed that we keep chucking them at pigs. Enough, already!

If you like playing games, make it count. Thumbing around on your phone could actually pay you back a little.

  • Instead of games, try scratch-offs for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s and Sephora.
  • The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  As you save and accomplish missions, you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes. We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels. Yell it out. No whammy! No whammy!
  • WinWin Saving is an app that makes saving actually fun. WinWin will walk you through how it all works, but here’s the gist: You’ll connect your bank account and set up an automatic amount to stick into your WinWin Savings account. Plus, you can play games (think: classics like pinball and breakout) for chances to win more money to boost your savings.

3. Fill Your Online Shopping Cart, but Don’t Buy the Guilt

A woman is shopping on a digital tablet
golibo/Getty Images

Boots are on sale? Yes, please! Click. Click, click click! Fill up that shopping cart, then do it again tomorrow. Eventually, you see just how much you’ve spent and then, yeah, you should probably return those fuzzy gopher socks.

It’s time to make some money back on all that online shopping.

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

It’s still online shopping, but you’re doing it smarter.

4. See Strangers as Opportunities

interior of airbnb listing
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Are you the type who runs around saying, “Strangers are friends we just haven’t met yet!” You’re a rare bird. Most people see a stranger and think of all the questionable things they could be up to.

Not you. You’re a trusting soul, and chances are, you’ve found some really great people by taking the time to meet them.

You could turn your adventurous socializing into a fun side hustle.

Have a spare room? Invite some of your soon-to-be friends in to stay for awhile by listing it on Airbnb.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We found a guy who earns $1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb!

5. Apply Your “My Way or the Highway” Attitude to Bills

Portrait of smiling young woman standing arm crossed on staircase
portishead1/Getty Images

Of course, you don’t think of yourself as argumentative. You just aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Sometimes that can rub people the wrong way.

Use your love of negotiating to snip some dollars off of your bills without ruffling any feathers. Or, at least, let someone else do it for you.

It’s time to call in a robot. The negotiation bot Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Also, if you have any outages, Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you. Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest.

6. Embrace Being a Night Owl, and Hunt for More Income

James Rottger of Buffalo, NY arrives at his destination in Tampa, Fla., after taking an Uber ride with Edwin Patrick Young on Friday Nov. 18, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

They say the early bird gets the worm, but you’re not really a morning person. Even when you mean to go to bed early, you end up staying up way too late… at least according to some people.

Maybe it’s time to do something productive with those late-night hours — like start a side hustle.

As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want. That means you could just do a couple hours each night, instead of re-watching “Chuck” for the eighth time on Netflix.

If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you’re under 23 years old), have a valid U.S. driver’s license and pass a background check.

Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.

7. Tell it Like It Is — and This Company Will Pay for That

Young Office Woman Working Something on her Laptop
ljubaphoto/Getty Images

If someone wants your opinion, you happily give it. If someone doesn’t ask for your opinion, they probably meant to, right? Some people might have called you “too opinionated.”

Instead of holding your tongue, get rewarded for your opinions.

Take surveys! Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money. It’s also famous for handing out free rewards points (they’re called SBs) at random just for being a member.

Plus, you get $5 just for signing up and taking your first survey.

For each survey you qualify for and complete, you’ll get SBs that you can redeem for cash via PayPal or gift cards to a number of popular retailers, including Amazon.

8. Get Paid When You Buy the Next Round. Or Two.

Kelsey Buxton, Stamatios Kapous, and Justin Morrison head to a happy hour in the downtown area of St Petersburg
female, girl, walking, portrait, male, candid, laughter, smile, summer, outside, downtown, happy hour, beer, joy, friendship, love, lifestyle, UPSTARTKELSEY
Kelsey Buxton, Stamatios Kapous, and Justin Morrison head to a happy hour in the downtown area of St Petersburg. St Petersburg, Fla., April 5th, 2018. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Yeah, yeah. We all know that drinking isn’t the healthiest of habits, but you still like to enjoy a few beers during Sunday Funday football or cocktails on a night out. It can be a little tough to fit into the budget.

Earn some money back on those party beverages!

We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your receipts.

Before heading to the store, search for items on your party shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Some boozy cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:

  • $2 back on Josh Cellars wine.
  • $3 back on Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
  • $2 back on Bacardi Rum.
  • $3 back on a 20-pack of Bud Light aluminum bottles.

Notice these savings include wine, liquor and beer. Many other options are out there. Just shop for your favorites and earn cash back!

9. Get Paid for Your Online Video Habit

Young woman relaxing in the livingroom ,drinking wine and watching tv
freemixer/Getty Images

You mean to get outside more, but you just really enjoy watching videos. Laughing is exercise, right? OK, maybe not.

Turn your love of binge-watching into a money-making opportunity.

InboxDollars hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows. The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

Fluff that couch cushion, because you have some serious work to do!

Bonus: Get $20 for Your Obsession With Green Energy

Light Switches turned off and on
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Can’t you just hear your father’s voice? “Shut that light off when you leave the room!”

Even if the habit didn’t stick, you can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where you live.

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

When you sign up your home or apartment (yup, renters are eligible, too!) with Arcadia, you’ll get a free $20 Amazon gift card.

Plus, Arcadia will search for a lower energy rate in your area and send you alerts if it finds one — so it could save you even more money on your electric bill without playing Lightswitch Police.

You Keep Doing You

See? Those are only considered bad habits if you look at them one way. There’s always a silver lining if you look hard enough.

You are your habits, both good and bad, so why not just make them all good… or at least OK? You just keep doing you.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

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