According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spent over $60,000 in 2018. Additionally, 9 out of 10 categories of household spending, such as housing and groceries, increased between 2017 and 2018.
Spending money is a fact of life. Thanks to inflation, it’s also likely your annual expenses will keep rising, especially if you don’t take actions to protect your purchasing power.
However, if you take advantage of various gig economy jobs and shopping apps, your next shopping trip can provide a way to make money instead. If you want to get paid to shop for someone else or the next time you buy something for yourself online, you have numerous options.
Get Paid Shopping for Other People’s Groceries
If you do the grocery shopping for your household or want to try a new side gig, you’re in luck. The rise of grocery delivery services and reward apps means grocery stores now offer ample opportunity to make money by shopping.
- Pros: High hourly pay; few job requirements; flexible schedule
- Cons: Shipt doesn’t cover expenses; work opportunity varies by city
- Verdict: Easy side hustle that generally pays more than minimum wage (if you have a reliable vehicle)
Shipt is the fastest-growing grocery delivery service in the United States and provides a straightforward way to make money shopping for groceries.
As a Shipt shopper, you’re responsible for making same-day grocery and Target.com deliveries to Shipt members. You also handle every delivery step, including scheduling your shifts, accepting incoming orders, shopping for groceries, and delivering to customers.
To become a Shipt shopper, you must:
- Be 18 or older (or 21 or older to deliver orders containing alcohol)
- Have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance
- Have a reliable vehicle that’s 1997 or newer
- Be capable of lifting 40 pounds
Considering these lenient requirements and that Shipt shoppers make $22 per hour on average, according to Indeed, this is a lucrative way to get paid to shop.
Like any delivery job, remember to consider vehicle depreciation, fuel costs, and tax implications. Shipt shoppers are independent contractors, which means you have to track and accurately report your taxable income.
- Pros: Few job requirements; flexible roles and schedule
- Cons: Instacart doesn’t cover expenses; less lucrative than Shipt
- Verdict: More flexible than Shipt if you don’t have access to a vehicle
Becoming an Instacart shopper is another way to earn money for buying groceries. Unlike Shipt, Instacart has two types of shoppers:
- Full-Service Shoppers. This role is similar to working for Shipt. Full-service shoppers are independent contractors, and you’re responsible for every part of the delivery process.
- In-Store Shoppers. This role is more rigid, as in-store shoppers are W-2 Instacart employees. In-store shoppers shop for groceries at Instacart-partnered stores and hand groceries off to full-service shoppers.
This W-2 distinction has tax implications. However, being an in-store shopper is ideal if you don’t own a vehicle or don’t want to work as a full-service shopper. You must be 18 or older and be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada for both roles. If you’re a full-service shopper, you also need access to a reliable vehicle.
According to Glassdoor, in-store shoppers earn $13 per hour on average, whereas full-service shoppers earn between $10 to $21 per hour, also according to Glassdoor. Either option is a reliable side hustle, especially if you want to make money by shopping for others.
3. Amazon Prime Now
- Pros: High hourly pay; few job requirements; flexible schedule
- Cons: Limited job availability; short shifts aren’t ideal for serious side hustlers
- Verdict: Ideal if you don’t have a vehicle
Amazon’s expansion into grocery delivery and its acquisition of Whole Foods has created another way to make money with Amazon.
Amazon Prime members have access to Prime Now, Amazon’s free two-hour delivery program that offers everything from groceries and household items to electronics. Prime Now customers can also order groceries from Whole Foods, where Prime Now shoppers get paid to shop.
Prime Now shoppers package orders from Whole Foods to hand off to Amazon delivery drivers. This job is similar to being an Instacart in-store shopper, except you only work in partner Whole Foods stores.
As a Prime Now shopper, you select your shifts and can work up to 20 hours per week. You only have to work a minimum of four hours per month, and shifts are roughly four to five hours. Amazon guarantees at least $15 per hour, and you can start working as soon as seven days following your application.
Amazon doesn’t require a resume, degree, or previous work experience. Amazon already offers many high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree, and making money as a Prime Now shopper is no exception.
Get Paid Shopping for Your Own Groceries
- Pros: In-store and online rebates; rebates on more than just groceries
- Cons: U.S.-only; limited earning potential
- Verdict: Few downsides if you regularly shop at Ibotta partners anyway
Apps like Ibotta are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s a reason Ibotta has emerged as a leading rewards app.
Ibotta is free and lets you earn cash-back rewards to save money on groceries and household products. Plus, using Ibotta is incredibly easy:
- Download Ibotta for Android or iOS and create an account.
- Search for offers. Ibotta works at over 500,000 stores across the U.S. and lets you earn cash back for buying sponsored products.
- Purchase cash-back offers and provide proof of purchase by uploading a receipt, linking a reward card, or shopping online through Ibotta.
- Once you reach $20, redeem your balance through PayPal, Venmo, or free gift cards.
If you’re the primary shopper for your household, Ibotta is a simple way to make money for buying products you already enjoy. Plus, you can stack Ibotta with coupon apps and cash-back credit card rewards to maximize your efforts.
Read our Ibotta review to learn more about this leading rewards app.
5. Fetch Rewards
- Pros: Rebates on more than just groceries; low reward redemption requirement
- Cons: U.S.-only; limited earning potential; limited online rebates
- Verdict: Viable alternative if apps like Ibotta are too much work or lack offers that suit your preferences
Ibotta has two main drawbacks: the $20 redemption threshold and the requirement to preselect rebates before shopping.
In contrast, Fetch Rewards is a mostly passive way to get paid to shop. Fetch Rewards lets you earn cash back for buying from their brand partners rather than specific retailers. As long as your shopping receipt contains a partner brand or sponsored offer, Fetch Reward pays you for that purchase. There’s no need to preselect rebates before shopping.
Fetch Rewards has dozens of grocery brands. Additionally, you can save by shopping for household essentials, magazines, alcohol, and personal care products. Ibotta typically has higher-paying rebates but requires effort. If you want a simple receipt scanning app, Fetch Rewards is a better option.
You can redeem Fetch Reward points for a variety of gift cards once you reach $3. This low threshold and the range of partners ultimately make Fetch Rewards another leading rewards app that’s worth downloading.
Get Paid Shopping for Other People’s Essentials
Shopping takes time and energy. And not everyone has easy access to a vehicle or public transportation.
As such, there’s a growing number of ways to make money shopping for other people’s essentials. If you don’t mind running errands on behalf of strangers, these side hustles are quite lucrative.
- Pros: High hourly pay; few job requirements; flexible schedule; choose your gigs
- Cons: 15% service fee; it might take time to find your first client
- Verdict: Lucrative if there’s enough demand in your city
TaskRabbit is a gig-based marketplace that connects people who need help with a task to “taskers,” who are independent contractors offering services through TaskRabbit.
Some common TaskRabbit gigs include:
- Assembling furniture
- Mounting televisions
- Helping people move
- Cleaning jobs
- Plumbing and electrical work
However, TaskRabbit also has plenty of popular gigs that pay you to shop. As a tasker, you can complete general shopping trips, buy groceries, return products, and even wait in line for special events to make money.
TaskRabbit lets you set your own rate and schedule and accept the jobs you want. According to TaskRabbit, taskers earn an average of $35 per hour in the U.S. TaskRabbit also operates in Canada, the U.K., and France.
Taskers keep 85% of each gig. U.S. job requirements include being 18 or older, having a checking account and credit card, being eligible to work, and consenting to a background check. If you live in a major city, chances are there’s enough demand on TaskRabbit for you to boost your monthly income as a tasker.
7. Care.com Shopper
- Pros: High hourly pay; choose your gigs; variety of job roles
- Cons: Slow onboarding; it might take time to find your first client
- Verdict: With enough shopper demand in your city, high hourly pay and the chance to make money by helping those in need
Care.com connects families and individuals who need caregiving assistance to local caregivers. You might think Care.com is only for babysitting or senior care, but you can make money with a variety of services, including:
- Day care services
- Pet care
- Running errands and completing odd jobs
Creating a Care.com account is free. Once you enter your location, availability, and phone number, you create your profile page. That includes the services you offer, your hourly rate, education, relevant skills, a profile photo, and additional information, such as caregiver or child care certification.
Care.com has a fairly intensive hiring process for nannies or caregivers. Families usually interview applicants and run a background check. The service also runs its own CareCheck background check, and your profile doesn’t appear in search results until it’s complete.
Care.com has to approve your profile before you can apply to errand-runner jobs. It lets you filter by hourly rate, job distance, and whether you want part-time or full-time work. According to ZipRecruiter, errand runners earn $12 per hour on average. However, it’s worth checking Care.com for local jobs since your area might have higher-paying clients.
Overall, if you have access to a vehicle and want to help busy families and seniors with their shopping, creating a Care.com profile is an excellent way to start.
Get Paid Shopping for Your Own Essentials
If you don’t have time for a side hustle but want to recoup your hard-earned money whenever you shop, you have options. Shopping reward apps make it easy to earn cash-back rewards for shopping online and in-store, and savings go beyond groceries.
- Pros: Thousands of partners; cash rewards
- Cons: You can’t redeem rewards whenever you want
- Verdict: Worth signing up for if you frequently shop online
When it comes to online cash-back rewards, it’s hard to compete with Rakuten. With Rakuten, it’s easy to earn cash back when shopping at more than 2,500 stores. Additionally, Rakuten sends cash-back rewards quarterly through check or PayPal, which lets you spend your rewards as you please.
Using Rakuten is simple:
- Sign Up. Create an account with Google, Facebook, or email. New Rakuten members earn a $10 bonus after they spend $25 shopping through Rakuten.
- Shop Online. Visit Rakuten before shopping online and pick your stores. Rakuten connects you through its website and credits you with cash back after you shop.
- Earn. Rakuten pays you quarterly as long as you have $5 or more in your account.
One weakness of online reward websites is that you often forget to use them before shopping. However, once you install the Rakuten browser extension, you receive notifications whenever you shop at a Rakuten partner. Clicking the extension activates your cash-back reward so you never miss out on the chance to save money.
Rakuten is available in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. Ultimately, the number of partners and simplicity make Rakuten one of the best money-saving browser extensions.
For more information, read our Rakuten review.
- Pros: Thousands of partners; price watchlist feature; gift card variety
- Cons: No PayPal rewards; U.S.-only
- Verdict: Best for coupon lovers and frequent online shoppers
Rakuten is an easy way to earn cash back for online purchases. However, if you want to take your savings to the next level, try the Wikibuy browser extension.
Wikibuy is a U.S. coupons and deals website owned by Capital One. Creating an account is free, and Wikibuy helps you save money with numerous features:
- Automatic Coupons. Wikibuy automatically applies coupon codes at checkout to help you find the best deal possible.
- Price Watchlist. Add products to your watchlist to receive notifications when prices drop. It’s an effective way to save money on big-ticket items.
- Wikibuy Credits. Like Rakuten, Wikibuy rewards you for shopping at eligible stores. Instead of earning cash back, you earn Wikibuy credits redeemable for free gift cards.
Wikibuy is an easy way to save money and get paid to shop. It’s still worth comparing Rakuten and Wikibuy offers before shopping to find the best deal, but Wikibuy is still a must-download extension for any U.S. shopper.
Checkout our Wikibuy review to learn how to maximize your savings.
- Pros: Thousands of partners; international; gift card variety
- Cons: No PayPal rewards
- Verdict: Excellent Wikibuy alternative, especially for those outside the U.S.
If you want a Wikibuy alternative that also makes it easy to save money and earn rewards for shopping, the Honey browser extension is worth considering.
Honey is incredibly similar to Wikibuy. Once you install the extension, you automatically apply coupon codes whenever you shop at a Honey partner. You can also add products to your Honey Droplist to receive alerts for price drops.
Like Wikibuy, you also earn credits, known as Honey Gold, for buying sponsored offers. You can redeem Gold for free gift cards once you reach 1,000 credits, which is worth $10. Honey works with more than 30,000 stores, including international websites, a major distinction from Wikibuy.
Furthermore, Honey Gold lets you redeem rewards if you live in Canada, European countries (including those in the U.K.), Australia, and the U.S. Its versatility is a significant perk, and if you live outside the U.S. or don’t find success with Wikibuy, Honey is your best option.
- Pros: Entirely passive; cash rewards; save money on travel
- Cons: U.S.-only
- Verdict: A low-effort way to earn cash back for shopping
If you want to automatically make money while shopping without worrying about preselecting rebates, Dosh is the perfect app.
Dosh lets you automatically earn cash back for shopping at thousands of U.S. retailers. Additionally, using Dosh only takes three steps:
- Download and Connect Cards. Dosh automatically pays you cash back for shopping after you link your credit and debit cards to the app.
- Shop and Earn. Shop at thousands of Dosh partners and earn up to 10% cash back. Cash accumulates in your Dosh wallet.
- Redeem. Dosh lets you withdraw through PayPal, direct deposit, charitable donations, and Venmo. You must have $25 or more to withdraw, and the minimum withdrawal amount is $5.
Dosh’s widespread coverage and automatic rewards mean Dosh is essentially a humble source of passive income. Simply install Dosh, connect cards, and earn cash back without even thinking.
If you’re an avid traveler, you can also save money on hotels by booking through Dosh Travel. Booking through Dosh can pay up to 40% cash back, and Dosh works with over 600,000 hotels worldwide.
Get Paid for Secret Shopping
Major corporations typically want your shopping experience to be pleasant and identical at whichever store you choose. To help monitor their stores, corporations often hire secret shoppers to visit and rate the service level or product quality at different locations.
If you want to get paid to shop, becoming a secret shopper is another option to consider.
- Pros: Multiple earning options; free ways to earn
- Cons: U.S.-only; no cash rewards
- Verdict: Shopkick is worth downloading if you do most of the shopping for your household
Shopkick is a versatile rewards app that lets you earn kicks, the in-app point system, in various ways. Like Ibotta, Shopkick rewards you for purchasing sponsored offers, uploading receipts, and shopping online through the Shopkick app.
However, Shopkick also has secret shopper tasks. If you enable location tracking, Shopkick notifies you of nearby stores that have earning opportunities under the “Kicks Nearby” section.
The first way to earn kicks is by entering a specific Shopkick partner store. Shopkick wants to encourage shoppers to interact with their partners, and this is a free way to earn kicks. Secondly, Shopkick lists products you have to find and scan with the Shopkick app. Once you track down a product, use the app’s scan feature to scan the barcode for extra kicks.
These secret shopper jobs won’t pay for your next shopping trip. However, if you combine Shopkick’s different earning methods, it’s possible to earn a free $5 to $10 gift card after a few trips.
Some gift card rewards include:
If you want to turn your next shopping trip into a money-making scavenger hunt, give Shopkick a try.
13. Field Agent
- Pros: Multiple earning options; cash rewards; international
- Cons: Job availability is volatile
- Verdict: Perfect if you only want to work as a secret shopper
If you want a more serious secret shopper job, becoming a “field agent is your best option. The Field Agent app displays local secret shopping jobs, and you reserve jobs you want to complete if you see a task you’re interested in.
As a field agent, you earn cash for completing different types of jobs, including:
- Mystery Shopping. Visit specific stores and answer questions in the Field Agent app. Retailers are often curious about the quality of your shopping experience and if their stores are well kept, but questions vary.
- Surveys. Complete online surveys from home.
- Audit. During an audit, you take photos and answer questions about store displays and products.
- Buy and Try. Purchase sponsored products and share your opinion.
Once you complete a job, the Field Agent team reviews your submission to ensure you meet job requirements and upload the necessary reviews or photos. After approval, your Field Agent account receives cash. You can redeem your earnings through direct deposit, and there isn’t a minimum redemption requirement.
Most tasks pay a few dollars, but there are occasional higher-paying jobs that require more in-depth reviews and multiple photos. Field Agent jobs display their pay before you claim them, so it’s easy to pick local jobs that are worth your time.
Field Agent is available in Canada, the U.K., Australia, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, and the U.S. As long as you claim jobs before other shoppers, this is an effective way to make money while shopping.
It’s unlikely you can shop your way to riches. However, numerous side hustles involve shopping or reward apps that pay you for your loyalty without sifting through coupon apps.
If you want to increase your income and don’t mind shopping, doing it for other people is your best option. Alternatively, cash-back reward apps and mystery shopping jobs are an easy way to earn free gift cards and cash.
Just have realistic expectations regarding earning potential and keep things simple. Reward apps and secret shopping jobs are an easy way to make money, but going out of your way and dramatically altering your shopping habits probably isn’t worth the hassle.