Coin Bank
Credit: MaryTilden

When paying with cash, coins can add up quickly.

Earning returns on bank investments has lowered dramatically since the last generation’s prime years. Up-and-coming generations who save from their first, meager paychecks are lucky to earn pennies in their saving accounts. However, since this flinty return on bank investments has remained sketched in stone throughout the past several years, new working generations and some long-standing workers, desperate and hopeless, have come to accept these mere pennies as the current economy’s acceptable return on the dollar. To everyone’s relief, these pennies can accumulate into dollars, if only the penny gatherer knows where to gather.

Where to Earn Free Money: Accumulating Pennies into Dollars

Conscious of this new standard on returns in today’s economy, and in the foreseeable future, companies in financing and advertising have created innovative and fun means to reap free pennies. Traditional ways to save money are also true today, despite rising prices in produce and commodities. Provided below are five methods, newfangled and old-fashioned, to save dollars by gathering pennies. These methods may seem only for those on hard times, but everyone who uses two or more of these techniques will find the money for nights on the town or small and thoughtful gifts for friends.

1. Swag Bucks - Watching, Playing, and Shopping for Cash

Credit: MaryTilden

An old picture of what this popular website used to look like.

Presented with some time, such as when watching television or waiting for an appointment, penny gatherers can earn free money on the Internet., serving as one of many penny-earning websites, allows penny gatherers to earn Swag Bucks by watching videos, playing games, answering surveys, searching the web, shopping online at Swag Bucks-friendly stores, and more. Advertising supports this website, so the website’s activities predominantly revolve around watching advertisements and purchasing products. Each activity rewards members with Swag Bucks, and each Swag Buck equals one penny.

Average people will consider Swag Bucks, set up an account, experiment with some activities, decide the activities take too much time, and never return to the website. They likely have salaried positions and would rather veg with the television as cheap home entertainment. Penny gatherers have unwanted time on their hands. Based on the commentary in the daily polls and the team challenges, they tend to work fewer hours and at odd times. Therefore, they spend their free time earning Swag Bucks and redeeming them for gift cards, advertised products, and hard cash. Donating to charities and entering sweepstakes for greater rewards are also available options.

2. mPOINTS - Playing on Smartphone Apps to Pay for Household Goods and Amenities

Update: mPOINTS is now known as mPLUS

Credit: MaryTilden

Apps and activities that gave points on mPOINTS were easy and fun.

Smartphones can deliver monetary returns, given some time and effort. Reward programs like mPOINTS will interest penny gatherers, specifically those who have invested in smartphones and hope for some return on investment. Created for iPhones and Androids, mPOINTS associates with various smart phone apps, collaborating with app programmers to decide on reward structures, and rewards points to those who use these apps. Affiliated iPhone apps include Office Zombie, MyPlate, Dictionary, Scramble, LightDaFuse, Balloons Flight, Highway Rider and more.

Registered mPOINTS users who download affiliated apps and do certain activities on these apps, whether playing games, entering information, or searching data, will receive a predetermined amount of points for each activity. Though penny gatherers cannot receive hard cash through this reward program, they can redeem their mPOINTS for gift cards to popular places for household goods and amenities, such as Wal-Mart and Target. Like Swag Bucks, registered mPOINTS users may also redeem points for advertised products, give points to charities, or enter sweepstakes for larger rewards.

3. Credit Cards - The Easiest Return on the Dollar

Credit Cards
Credit: Sean MacEntee

Many credit cards give reward points.

To benefit from credit cards, penny gatherers must pay the entire amount spent as credit. If credit card holders spend 500 dollars, pay the 500 dollars when the bill shows up in the mailbox. The invoice may recommend for the penny gatherer to only pay 30 dollars, but to prevent debt, the credit card holder must pay the entire amount. Untroubled by debt, penny gatherers can then enjoy the Cash Back feature and other reward systems on their credit cards. Spend seven dollars on well-needed hair products, and receive seven or more pennies in return.

How much Cash Back received depends on the credit card company and card type. All the major credit card companies, including Chase, Capital One, Discover, and Citi, offer 1% Cash Back credit cards for applicants with decent credit scores. Applicants with ideal credit scores qualify for 1.5% Cash Back credit cards. As long as penny gatherers pay the entire amount spent as credit, they will qualify for the highest percentage Cash Back credit cards. Similar to other reward programs, credit card companies offer physical commodities and gift cards as redeemable options for credit card points, so penny gatherers have a variety of options. Unfortunately, the only way to earn free money through this means is to spend money.

4. Saving Accounts - Transfer from Checking Accounts to Earn the Most Pennies

Piggy Bank
Credit: Ken Teegardin

The coin bank, decorative or plain, just needs filling.

Abysmal only begins to describe the return received on bank investments. Nonetheless, the pennies collected from saving accounts eventually tally dollars. The process of pennies turning into dollars requires hundreds and thousands of dollars saved and possibly several years or decades of money sitting in the bank. But penny gatherers earn more from placing their money in saving accounts than leaving their money in checking accounts.

Whereas saving accounts only need a few hundred dollars before offering returns, checking accounts typically require a few thousand dollars. The return on money saved in saving accounts is .01% for most penny gatherers, .03% for penny gatherers using credit unions. Utility bills and rent demand payment, so people only place small portions of paychecks for safekeeping. However, over several years of continual saving, the .01% and .03% will bring smiles to the economical penny gatherers.

5. Coin Bank - Picking Up Pennies from the Street

Coin Bank
Credit: MaryTilden

Pennies quickly add up, and sometimes other coins are on the street, too.

Old methods of saving money work charmingly when valued and operated properly. Penny gatherers keep coin banks. If buying an item or two with hard cash earlier in the day, then deposit the change at home in the coin bank. Coffee containers, canned goods jars, and 16.9 ounce bottles serve well for this purpose. and sell original coin banks, as well. To have the coin bank overflowing, pick up pennies off the street and ask friends for their unwanted coins.

Simply keeping a lookout for loose change and expanding the minimal effort required to retrieve it adds up quickly. Depending on the container’s size and the average coin collected, full coin banks will contain anywhere between 20 and 100 dollars. Purchase some coin rolls at the nearest dollar store, spend several minutes rolling all the change, and deposit the full rolls into the saving account. The figure in the saving account will raise and the future will suddenly seem that much more secure.

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Choosing Methods to Save Money and Thinking about Budgeting

Time and effort, on finances, lead to higher returns. New and creative ways to earn free (albeit taxable) money include watching videos online, playing games on smartphones, and spending hard-earned money via credit cards. Traditional methods consist of saving money in bank saving accounts and keeping coin banks. Most people have some downtime in which they can click-through some advertisements, enter information into an app, swipe a credit card, transfer money with online banking, or add coins to a coin bank.

Performing two or more said methods will save enough money to buy small collectibles for friends or snacks during the day job. Creating personal budgets and using the saved money on friends will benefit one and all. Economic times are difficult, despite what the media states. Earning enough money to survive is difficult in any economy. So when money seems transparent, remember to gather pennies.