5 Ways to Make More Money During Your Lunch Hour


Earning extra cash on your own schedule—from the comfort of your couch, as you scarf down a sad desk salad during your lunch break or while sitting poolside on vacation—may sound like a pipe dream. Or a corny infomercial.

And it’s true that there are many ways to make money online aren’t actually all that rewarding, with many (like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform and other micro-gigs) only offering earnings of about $2 per hour. That’s at least five hours of work before you’ve earned the equivalent of a Chipotle burrito bowl.

Want a little more for your time and effort? We’re rounding up online gigs that pay at least $5 per hour—and as much as $30 or more. Even at $5 an hour, set aside just one hour a week, and you could save $260 in a year. Or incorporate one of these tasks into your lunch break every weekday, and you could be $1,200 richer (or more) in 12 months.

1. Fill out surveys.

It’s not sexy or groundbreaking, but completing online surveys only requires access to the Internet and an opinion—two things in healthy supply these days. Generally, taking one survey nets less than $1, but it doesn’t require much time or attention. (Can you say Netflix and fill?) Start with sites likes Survey Junkie and Swagbucks, where the minimum earnings to cash out is on the lower end.

2. Test out new platforms.

“User testing” is when companies ask regular people like us to test-drive new sites and apps. That involves completing a series of tasks, then providing video or audio feedback. Tests generally take about 10 to 20 minutes and pay around $10 apiece, meaning you could rack up more than $30 in a hour. Check out User Testing, User Feel and Userlytics for postings.

3. Be a juror.

No one likes getting summoned for jury duty, but opting in can pay off. eJury.com provides a platform for lawyers to try their cases in front of practice jurors, who get paid $5 to $10 per case. Average case time is 35 minutes, though it may take longer until you’re familiar with judicial terminology, like “negligence” or “proximate cause.” (Note: This does not get you out of real jury duty.)

4. Pick up some freelance work.

Sites like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork can offer relatively high-paying work for services like proofreading or serving as a virtual assistant. But even if you’re just starting out, you can find easy, one-time gigs on Fiverr that won’t take up much time, from transcription to data entry.

Related: How Much Money Can You Really Make on Fiverr? I Found Out

5. Play a game.

Who says work can’t be play? Apps like Blast and Bananatic reward you for trying out new games or completing tasks while you play. Think: getting paid to play Words with Friends for five minutes or battle on Clash of Clans for 20 minutes.

In addition to its cash-earning potential, Blast (which was started by Acorns co-founder Walter Cruttenden) includes a feature that encourages saving by making transfers from a linked checking account into a savings account. If that’s not your thing, you can disable it, but Cruttenden said those who do use the feature save an average of $30 to $40 a month. (Blast will also put additional money into savings accounts when users complete certain “missions” like trying a new game or leveling up.)

While Bananatic does compensate you for your game time, it only offers cashouts in the form of gift cards.