Study after study shows a lot of us use our smartphones when we’re in the bathroom. The most recent I’ve seen says nearly 90% of us “admit” to doing it.
It’s not a big secret. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just a smart use of otherwise idle time, IMHO.
Get through some emails. Catch up on the news. Respond to your @mentions on Twitter (you’re so popular). Play a game, because this is the only alone time you get all day.
Or… make money.
If you’re just scrolling to waste time while you’re on the can, try tapping a few buttons that’ll help you earn money.
We’ve found tons of apps that are quick to set up and let you start saving, earning or managing your money simply. Most offer a way to earn a few bucks right away — so you can emerge richer than when you entered.
So that’s what that satisfied grin is all about…
How to Make Money on Your Phone… From the Toilet
Check out these apps to bank more than $50 in bonuses and other cash — plus set yourself up to earn more in the future — next time you take a seat on the porcelain throne.
1. Start Investing — but Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Saving money is hard. Investing? Usually harder. Automating the process lets you get started on both without thinking about it.
The micro-investing app Stash does that for you.
With Stash, you can start investing with as little as $5. And you don’t have to know a lot about the stock market to get in. Just tell the app what you care about — the environment, for example — and it’ll invest your money into a portfolio that matches your goals and values.
In Auto-Stash mode, the app automatically withdraws a set amount of cash from your bank account as often as you’d like — from once a week to once a month. Pick whatever you feel like you can handle — even just $5 a month.
Or you can use Smart Save mode, which studies your spending and earning patterns to figure out how much cash you can spare. Little by little, the app automatically saves into your Stash account.
The best part? Sign up here, and you’ll get a bonus $5 when you make your first investment!
2. Sell That Wall Hanging Your Girlfriend is Sick of
You fought over whether you’d buy the framed picture of a bass for, like, a week. She finally gave in, but only if you’d hide it in the bathroom. Now you stare at it every time you’re on the toilet and wonder, “What was I thinking?”
It’s time to let it go.
With the app letgo, you can list pretty much anything you want to sell directly. All you have to do is snap a photo, and you can create a listing in less than a minute.
You don’t even have to leave the commode.
What do you think you can get for it — $5? Give it a shot.
You can download letgo for Android here.
3. Log Your Purchases to Earn Cash Back Every Time You Shop
Sign up with Dosh. Pull your credit card out of your pocket and connect it to earn a bonus $5.
I signed up for Dosh last weekend, and it’s the easiest money I’ve ever made, hands down. Signing up took just a few minutes, and I banked $5 immediately.
Here’s how it works: Dosh is a cash-back app that pays you for making purchases at more than 100,000 hotels, online stores and restaurants — including Marriott, Forever 21, Nike, Target, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and even local stores and restaurants.
To get your $5 bonus:
- Download the app, and sign up.
- Pull your debit or credit card out of your pocket, and securely connect it to your account.
That’s it. After that, live your life and watch the cash-back roll in as you use your card (or multiple cards) normally.
Plus, you can collect a $25 bonus for booking your first hotel through the app, as well as bonuses for referring friends and local businesses.
4. Snap a Pic of Your Gorgeous Commode
If you’re admiring the décor in your bathroom right now, the rest of the house is probably pretty impressive, too.
Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.
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 even found a guy who earns $1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are a few tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events in your area.
- Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
5. Save Your Emails to Get Money Back From Stuff You’ve Already Bought
Admit it: You’ve made a few impulse buys from the toilet. Unless you had Indian food for lunch, you don’t have enough time to carefully consider your decision before tapping “buy now.”
If you’re an avid online shopper, you might not like keeping evidence of your binges. We found a free tool that might make you reconsider.
Paribus gets you money back for your online purchases when an item’s price drops.
It’s free to sign up, and once you do, Paribus will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from a participating retailer, it will track the item’s price and issue you a refund based on retailers’ price-match policies.
You don’t have to do anything!
Paribus monitors more than 25 online retailers, so chances are you could get money back today.
6. Play This Game
Something about gas station scratch-off tickets is so satisfying, but I tend to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.
Instead, try using a free 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, enter contests and play games.
You’re playing games on the toilet anyway, aren’t you? (You don’t have to answer that.) Even if you just win $1, you’re still ahead!
The app is free to download — and play.
7. Text This Financial Assistant to Drop Your $10 per Month Gym Membership
Analyzing your monthly budget is, to put it simply, not fun. But you’re just sitting here for the next few minutes. Put it to use by cleaning up your monthly bills with this simple trick.
We all sign up for stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to put subscriptions on a recurring payment and forget about it. Getting rid of the subscriptions you’re not using and socking away the savings could save you a ton of money.
To keep track of them all, check out an app called Trim. Once you sign up and connect your bank account, it analyzes your transaction history for recurring payments.
Trim works like a digital financial assistant — for free — through texts or Facebook Messenger. Text it to ask things like your bank account balance, how much you’ve spent on Amazon this month and which subscriptions you’re paying for.
If you don’t use, say, that dusty gym membership anymore, go ahead and cancel it right from Trim.
8. Take This Survey to Earn $25
OK, not sure how long you’re on the toilet, but this offer might convince you to linger a little.
JOANY is a health care concierge service. It helps people find and compare plans, discover doctors and navigate complicated medical bills.
To best cater to customers, it needs you to answer some survey questions. It takes less than 10 minutes, with fewer than 50 (HIPAA-protected) questions. In return, you’ll pocket $25.
To participate, you need to meet these qualifications:
- You purchased health insurance for 2017 through your state exchange, Healthcare.gov, a broker or a plan like Oscar or Aetna.
- You don’t receive health insurance through your employer or school.
- You aren’t on Medicaid, Medicare or VA health insurance.
Good fit? Take the survey here.
9. Scan Your Favorite CD — Then Get Rid of It, and Turn on Pandora
Do you still have a CD player in the bathroom with that one CD inside? Sell it and go digital.
We appreciate your impeccably-alphabetized CD tower, but it’s time to dust off those jewel cases and cash in on your once-impressive music collection.
Decluttr will buy your old CDs, video games, DVDs and Blu-rays through its app. You scan the barcode with your phone, and Decluttr makes an offer.
Prices vary — usually about 50 cents to $3 per item — but you can unload your media in bulk to make an extra $50 to $100 pretty quickly. And never have to look at them again.
With Decluttr, you can sell stuff online without dealing with individual listings and buyers.
And shipping is free. The company emails you shipping labels to cover the cost. Just print, pack your items in any box and ship it.
Decluttr’s average basket price is between $50 and $60. If you’ve got a particularly impressive collection of dusty old media, you could make quite a haul.
One user, Gil Flores, sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs and made $275, an average of $1.57 each.
Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-in!
P.S. Don’t Flush Your Cash Down the Drain
As you’re finishing up, just a quick reminder: Don’t squander your earnings.
If you struggle to stay on top of your bills, credit card spending or debt, I recommend my favorite financial tool (really), Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame gives you a free credit report card — including a credit score — and provides you with recommendations and financial education resources. It’s free to use and makes managing your money actually, well, manageable.